What Is The ‘Green Faces’ Diet?

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Although the name might seem a little off the wall, the concept is pretty basic. Quite simply, someone following the green face diet  is allowed to devour ‘anything that is green and once had/would have had a face’.

The fundamentals of this 'diet' stem from the now highly popular Paleo lifestyle. Loren Cordain, PhD claims that by eating like our prehistoric ancestors, we’ll be leaner and less likely to get diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems.

Essentially, it is a high-protein, high-fiber eating plan that in no way promotes cutting calories but promises fantastic health benefits and weight loss results. In fact, the Paleo lifestyle actually encourages foods that commercial diets like 'Weight Watchers' and 'Slimming World' deny dieters. On the Paleo diet, followers can chow down on Weight Watchers points heavy nuts and Slimming World condemned syn saturated fats like avocado. Why? Because they're good fats. 

Good Fats?

Mark hayman, practicing physician for the Huff Post blog says that 'fat does not make you fat or sick'. In fact, there is a awful misconception surrounding the consumption of animal fat.

The low-fat message is has literally been drilled into us within adverts and on shopping trips that for the ardent dieter like myself, it may be incredibly difficult to get your head around the fact that fats can actually be good for you. I don't ordinarily have much of a brain for science, but there is good science to back up the safety of consuming a higher-fat diet, and in order to get behind the paleo lifestyle, I needed to understand it.

I caught up with Mark Tregilgas, owner of 30+ Mens fitness who said that 'ror too long there has been a misconception in the health and diet industry that fat, in particular saturated fat is bad for us -this is certainly not the case'.

Mark said that without 'fat in our diets we would not be able to absorb soluble vitamins A,D,E and K which are vital vitamins. He says that 'coconut oil which is also one of the finest products for health and fat loss IS a saturated fat and its benefits are endless' adding that 'other sources of great fat which have no ill effect on health, in fact benefit our health include extra virgin olive oil, avocados, real butter, nuts and seeds'.

So, where did the anti fat crucade begin? I watched an interesting BBC documentary called 'The Men Who Made Us Fat' recently, it's a good watch, you can watch it for yourself here:

 

 

The Origins Of The Misconception:

Within the programme, the presenter Jacques Peretti said that it was a theory devised by Ancel Keys, an American scientist who studied the influence of diet on health that 'had a decisive impact on what we would all eat' and 'also a devastating side effect creating the conditions for obesity'.

Dr. Lustig says that 'he was the originator, the inventor of the K-ration, the K-ration was a way of getting 12,000 calories in a very small compact little box that soldiers during world war 2 could carry with them as a sustenance during battle'.

Peretti added that 'the K-Ration contained a lot of very sweet food like chocolate because Keys’ believed sugar was energy never for one moment that it could be harmful'.

Keys’ theory was that fat alone caused heart disease, an idea he picked up in Britain.

'He actually said that back in the 50’s before he did any studies. And he spent the next 50 years attempting to prove himself right'.

Lustig, an American pediatric endocrinologist said that 'in 1952, Keys did a sabbatical in England where he saw the epidemic of heart disease himself and correlated it with the enormously poor British diet of fish and chips, etc'. He then 'decided that saturated fat had to be the culprit'. However, 'he actually said that back in the 50’s before he did any studies. And he spent the next 50 years attempting to prove himself right'.

And so Keys’ view on fat as the enemy became the orthodoxy widely accepted not least by the food industry.

However, there was one man that contested Key's flawed 'studies'. John Yudkin was a British physiologist and nutritionist, whose book 'Pure, White & Deadly' positioned him as an isolated thinker about fats and sugar and their effects on the body.

In 1972, when Yudkin initially proved that sugar was bad for our health, he was ignored by pretty much all of the medical profession and slammed by the food industry. But not because his theories were unfounded or flawed, but because the sugar market in the UK alone was worth nearly £1billion!

Yudkin died in 1995 and in his obituary in the Independent it read that 'Yudkin was far ahead of his time with his idea of nutrition as a subject of great breadth.' It wasn't just his study of the composition of foods, 'but the importance of enjoying a variety of fresh foods, and the recognition of the psychological and social factors that cause us to choose certain foods and avoid others too'.

Fast forward to 2014 and it appears that Yudkin is finally starting to get the widespread recognition that he deserved way back when. In fact,  "Paleo diet" was one of the most "Googled" terms of 2013.

The Paleo diet promotes eating real foods in abundance and eliminates all processed forms of sugar, particularly those high in fructose, which is why it is a trend that we think Yudkin would be particularly happy about. 

So, what does a caveman eat?

As we said above, when thinking about what you can eat on the Paleo diet, think “the caveman”.

Cavemen wouldn't (and couldn't) fill up on sugary snacks and processed crap. No, instead they hunted animals and lived off the land. 

The Paleo mantra is 'keep clean, stay lean' or a variation to that effect. Genrally speaking, if it has been refined or processed, stay well clear. 

If you're thinking that means you'll forever be sucking on a lettuce leaf and chewing on a hunk of meat you couldn't be further from the truth. Check out these fantastic resources for paleo inspired feats and treats:

Photo Credit: Banksy’s caveman.  Lord Jim (Stefan Kloo) via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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