UPDATED - 27 April 2013: I have updated the list of chemical additives that you should avoid.
This is the first of four posts that describe my Rapid PT Food Pyramid. This pyramid is the synthesis of everything that I've learned over the past four years. It combines perspectives from the Paleo, Primal, and traditional diet philosophies, as well as some of my other investigations (e.g., sports performance, optimal nutrition). Following this generalized diet outline should help you easily maintain a more ideal body weight, enjoy more energy, and possibly eliminate some/most of your current health problems (of course, the diet and lifestyle history of you and your family can limit how much you can reset your health).
My food pyramid is divided into four sections: Avoid, Minimal, Optional, and Foundational. It's basically designed so that the foods found at the bottom of the pyramid (Foundational) are eaten the most; those found at the top (Avoid) are eaten the least.
The Foods You Should AVOID
The Avoid section contains all the foods that you just shouldn't eat if you want to be healthy and fit (except for your cheat meals). It contains seven foods: Wheat, soy, gluten grains, refined sugar, chemical additives, high omega-6 oils, and trans fats. I like to call this group The 7 Deadly Foods because, from an evolutionary point-of-view, they are new to the human diet and (I believe) cause most of the diseases that plague Western societies.
The main reason that I chose these seven foods is because they are associated with the negative consequences of the agricultural, industrial, and green revolutions. I will talk about these consequences in greater detail in a later post.
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WheatOriginally, when humans were hunter-gatherers, they ate a variety of meats, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. These early diets produced strong, healthy people.
About 10,000 years ago, a few humans in the Fertile Crescent started to cultivate wheat (and other grains), ushering in agriculture. While grains provided a storable form of food, it came at the expense of poor health and disease because it was a food that the human body was unfamiliar with. Although it took a while, grain-eating humans eventually adapted genetically to grains and figured out how to make them more nutritious and less toxic (through fermentation, sprouting, and soaking), allowing human health in these populations to eventually recover.
For thousands of years, human health wasn't too affected by older species of wheat (einkorn, emmer, and durum) because these species of wheat contained little gluten and were properly prepared. Then came the Green Revolution in the 1950s. A higher-yielding dwarf wheat was created to eliminate the many famines experienced at that time. This modern dwarf wheat slowly replaced the wheat traditionally grown and consumed for thousands of years.
Since then, wheat has been further modified to continue to increase its yield and baking qualities. An unfortunate consequence of all this modification was the creation of a wheat that now produces fewer nutrients and more gluten, starch, and lectin. Together, these three ingredients of modern wheat can cause: (1)
- Autoimmune disease
- A less robust gut barrier
- Chronic pain syndromes
- Increased appetite and hunger
- Insulin resistance
- Gut irritation
- Leptin resistance
- Poor nutrient absorption