Discovery! Paleo People Actually Ate Bread: Here are the Best Types of Flour to Use
By Kat Gal
Have you ever heard of the paleo diet?
Paleo has been one of the most popular diets out there over this past decade. The paleo diet aims to replicate how our cavemen ancestors ate, claiming that our digestive systems couldn’t possibly keep up with the modern world. Paleo shuns grains, sugars and modern vegetable oils and chooses high quality meat, fish, eggs and vegetables.
Paleo has its pros to it, because it encourages you to avoid processed food and sugar and instead encourages real foods. It is also high in vegetables, which are the true superfoods full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Due to its high meat consumption, paleo is certainly not environmentally friendly nor cruelty-free, though there are some alternative initiatives for following a vegan paleo diet using similar principles.
But what about bread?
Paleo and vegan paleo eschews grains, therefore avoiding bread too. Of course, if you follow the paleo diet, you may bake or purchase bread or bakery products made of almond flour, for example.
But breads made with grains are off the list for Paleos, because they believe that the cavemen did not make bread.
Well, turns out they were dead wrong!
I have bad news for you Paleo lovers – or rather, good news, bread-lover Paleos!
Some cavemen actually did bake bread. A 30,000-year-old cave was discovered known as Grotta Paglicci that was once actually a bakery.
Researchers from the University of Florence have been exploring Grotta Paglicci. It is an ancient cave that once was occupied by Paleolithic people.
Among many interesting things, they have found this pestle.
The most interesting thing they found on this pestle were a couple of oat starch grains still attached. And guess what? They were actually baked with the same process we still use to make flour today. This is the oldest evidence of flour-making ever found at 30,000 years old.
This is not the only evidence that points out some faulty ideas in the Paleo diet. A prior study using forensic genetics also traced the importance of carbs to our genetic development.
Looking at these studies, it seems that the ancient diet was actually much more varied than we thought it was. Maybe it was even closer to our current diet than we think.
But does this mean that you should run and stock up on white bread and sweet cakes?
Not at all. Mainstream bakery products are full of processed sugar, unnatural coloring and additives. Even just plain bread made of white flour is damaging to your health, especially in huge amounts.
Up to 30 chemicals are added to white flour, as well as chemical dyes that are damaging to your health.
To make white flour, the bran and the germs are removed. These are the parts of the grain that actually include vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, phytochemicals and all other nutrients. Without that, white flour becomes dead food with no nutritional value. Who would want dead bread?
Yet, white flour is everywhere. It is a large component of processed food, making up a large portion of the Standard American Diet (SAD). You can find white flour in bread, pizza, pasta, cookies, crackers, cereal, chips and so on. These empty calories without any nutritional value are only contributing to the fact that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. They could be contributing to your weight and health issues too.
But what’s the alternative?
If you don’t want to give up bread and food made of flours, whole grains are a much better alternative.
When eating white flours, you aren’t being protected from the diseases below – in fact, you may even be contributing to them.
However, decades of scientific research has shown that whole grains may actually lower your risk of the following diseases:
- Artery-narrowing plaque
- Blood pressure
- Cancer (especially: bladder, breast, colon, esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, larynx, non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, pectal, stomach)
- Cardiovascular disease and heart attacks
- C-reactive protein
- Cholesterol and triglycerides
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Gum disease
- Inflammatory diseases
- LDL cholesterol
- Muscular degeneration
- Metabolic syndrome
- Varicose veins of the legs
- Weight regulation, lower BMI
Whole wheat flour is a much better alternative to white flour, but there are some better alternatives that are lower in gluten and easier on your stomach, including:
Sprouted flours are always better than non-sprouted flours as sprouting makes them come alive, makes them more digestible and makes them contain better available nutrients.
If you are Celiac or have a gluten intolerance, you still have so many options, including:
As you can see, there are many options to make nutritious and delicious breads following the caveman’s footsteps. However, don’t forget that, no matter what kind of flours you use, you can’t live on just bread and other baked goods.
To eat a balanced, healthy and nutritious diet, eat a wide-variety of organic whole foods, mostly plant-based with the large majority coming from leafy greens, vegetables and fruits.
But for now, I would love to hear from you. What kind of flours do you already use in your household? Which flours are you ready to try this week? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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