The Paleolithic time period, also referred to as the Stone Age, is an extended period of human history that ended roughly 12,000 years ago. During this time, humans relied on rudimentary stone tools and traveled in small bands. Members of those bands relied on hunting animals and gathering plants as their only source of food.
This time period makes up around 95 percent of all human prehistory. To put things into perspective, the Paleolithic era covered millions of years while the time following is barely more than 12,000. However, the changes that have taken place during those 12,000 years are far more numerous than those that occurred during the Paleolithic era. It is believed that humans during that time period lived relatively similar lifestyles and evolved at a slow rate.1
Throughout the Years: From the Paleolithic to the Modern
Many experts are fascinated by this period of time due to its great length, as well as how different it is from our time. In particular, those experts are interested in the way Paleolithic humans survived in such dangerous environments. The changes that have occurred since the end of the Paleolithic period have affected how humans live together, interact, eat, and even breathe. But is that necessarily a good thing? After all, the previous way of doing things worked for millions of years.
In many cases, the changes that occurred were not intentional. For example, humans did not intentionally change the air that they breathed: it was simply a byproduct of building towns, settlements, and eventually large cities. Those cities replaced the existing landscapes filled with large trees and other plants. With those plants gone, the fragrant compounds in the air changed, and thus the way humans breathed and how they benefited from that air changed.
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Another common point of comparison between their era and ours is what humans ate. This change was more intentional, but not necessarily more beneficial. Paleolithic humans were hunters and gatherers. But after the end of the period, humans discovered agriculture. They began to build farms and to domesticate animals. This was mostly for convenience, but it had a significant impact on their diets, their digestive systems, and their health.
The question that many individuals pose today is whether or not returning to some elements of Paleolithic lifestyles could be beneficial. Of course, we don’t need to abandon all civilization and return to hunting and gathering in small bands. However, what if we return to eating the foods that our bodies spent millions of years adapting to? And what if attempted to breathe air that contained the same fragrant componts as the air that early man breathed? These are the two primary concepts behind the Paleo Diet and the idea of Paleo Air.
Studies have shown that both of these changes could be beneficial to the body, and every year, more people experience the benefits of the Paleo Diet and Paleo Air.
What is the Paleo Diet?
As previously mentioned, Paleolithic humans were hunters or gatherers. They did not eat domesticated animals, nor did they eat produce grown on farms. A Paleolithic diet consisted primarily of wild fruits, berries, and nuts. But they certainly weren’t vegetarians. They also hunted wild game that consisted primarily of lean meats, as well as plenty of seafood.
It’s very likely that many Paleolithic humans ate more plants than meat because hunting was dangerous and not always successful. It was far easier for them to acquire fish if they were close to a reliable source.
However, Paleolithic humans did not eat grains, dairy, sugar, or salt, aside from that which is present naturally in foods. Simply put, foods that did not exist before the Neolithic Revolution are often considered “non-paleo.” This also includes a variety of more modern foods, such as processed foods and soft drinks.
So, what is it about the Paleo Diet that makes it supposedly healthier than a modern diet? For starters, we know that the human body spent millions of years adapting to this particular diet. Our bodies evolved specifically to digest and metabolize these particular foods. However, humans have had little more than 10,000 years to adapt to this new diet with grains and barely more than 100 years to learn to digest sugars, synthetic additives, and processed foods.
If you want to know how the body is reacting to these changes, simply look at the growing number of diet-related health conditions affecting greater numbers of individuals each year.2
Paleo Diet Benefits
A Cleaner Diet
A food additive is any substance added to food that is intended to enhance the flavor of the food, improve its appearance, or preserve it. These types of additives are found in many foods and most people pay little attention to them. While it’s true that not all additives are dangerous, some of them have been linked to potential health concerns.
Trying the Paleo Diet involves taking the time to read through the additives listed on food labels before making a purchase. For example, annatto, which comes from the achiote tree, is a safe and natural additive that could have been gathered by early man. Meanwhile, sodium benzoate is a potentially dangerous additive that humans in the Paleolithic period would not have consumed.
By adopting a Paleo lifestyle, individuals eliminate many of these potentially dangerous additives. Overall, that means that their diet is cleaner and creates fewer health risks. Though some aspects of the Paleo diet are debated, there is no denying that removing these harmful substances is a smart choice. You can simply breathe Paleo Air with MONQ’s Healthy personal essential oil diffuser.
The primary reason that individuals begin new diets is that they are looking to lose weight. The Paleo Diet is by no means a “lose weight fast” miracle diet—which is a good thing given that crash diets can lead to a range of health issues—but it can certainly help a person achieve healthy weight loss goals over time. It accomplishes this naturally without any boosting supplements and without counting calories.
One method it uses to accomplish this is properly balancing carbohydrates and fats. Many of the foods consumed by early man had fewer carbohydrates than modern foods. Over time, the body evolved to rely on fat as its primary source of fuel and carbohydrates as a secondary fuel. Bodies that relied on burning fat operated with a higher efficiency because the fat burned slower than carbohydrates.
Our body naturally burns through carbohydrates before fats and then stores the remaining carbohydrates as fat for another day. Unfortunately, the modern diet is so heavily saturated with carbohydrates that individuals are eating more than they actually burn. Thus, they are continually stockpiling fat and gaining weight.
Not only are the primary foods in a Paleo Diet lower in carbohydrates than most modern foods, but the diet also eliminates a number of wasted carbohydrates and calories. For example, this diet removes processed foods, junk foods, fast food, and sugary drinks.3
What Is Paleo Air?
Paleo Air is an equally beneficial component of the Paleo lifestyle. Luckily, it’s far easier to manage than a diet. All you need to do to experience the benefits of Paleo Air is breathe air that is similar to what humans would have breathed in the Paleolithic area. Though there may be very little we can do to remove pollutants from our environment, we can introduce specific substances into our environment that were in the air during the Paleolithic era. One way that MONQ helps remove pollutants from our environment is through their recycle program which can be found on their website.
Remember, the Paleolithic era lasted for millions of years. During this time, humans, plants, animals, and bugs all evolved alongside one another. Plants, for example, evolved certain defenses for ensuring their survival, in part by releasing secondary metabolites. These same compounds that ensured the plant’s survival could also provide benefits to humans, however. While a plant might evolve to produce a substance that repels beetles, when inhaled by a human, that same substance could have a calming effect. These compounds are referred to as secondary metabolites, the most prevalent of which are terpenes, and these are an important component of the concept of Paleo Air.
Primary And Secondary Metabolites
All plants produce substances known as metabolites. A metabolite is any substance that is important to that organism’s metabolism. These substances fall into two separate categories. The first is primary metabolites and the other is secondary metabolites. Primary metabolites are important for the growth and survival of a plant. For example, a primary metabolite might regulate certain aspects of photosynthesis. A plant would not survive long without its primary metabolites.
Secondary metabolites are not responsible for such crucial roles. Even without their secondary metabolites, a plant would not necessarily die. Their goal is almost always defensive. They include essential oils, lignins, phenolics, and steroids. The concentration of secondary metabolites in a plant is much smaller than its concentration of primary metabolites.
Over time, some of these secondary metabolites are introduced into the air. If only one plant nearby is producing them, then the effect is not noticeable at all. But in a forest where all plants produce secondary metabolites, the concentration of these metabolites in the air will have an effect on the individuals who breathe them.
Paleo Air has a high concentration of secondary metabolites. It is the type of air that people in the Paleolithic period would have breathed. Today, the Earth has far fewer areas of dense vegetation then it did at that time. Thus, Paleo Air must be found at certain locations like forests or reproduced inside the home using essential oils. There is even a modern practice known as Forest Bathing that requires an individual to spend time walking through a forest and inhaling the air.4
Alternative methods of breathing in the terpenes that have been found to be so beneficial for health includes the use of aromatherapy, and the most direct method would be to use a personal essential oil diffuser.
Benefits of Paleo Air
The specific benefits of Paleo Air vary according to the secondary metabolites that are in the air, but the most common benefits associated with this practice include reduced stress, increased focus, decreased blood pressure, and improved immune system function.
A number of secondary metabolites have an impact on the body. The most beneficial of these are known as terpenes, which are also the primary components of essential oils. They are also used widely for their flavor profile and aromatic properties.
As you may know, a specific essential oil may be used in a certain situation because of how it affects the body. For example, orange essential oil is often used in the morning because of its energizing effect. The energy-boosting properties of orange essential oil come primarily from terpenes, in this case, the terpene limonene. Other important terpenes include menthol and linalool.
The primary benefit of Paleo Air is its ability to alleviate stress. In studies measuring cortisol— the stress hormone—levels of participants before and after being exposed to Paleo Air, often in a forest therapy session, the amount of cortisol present in the saliva was lower in the group exposed to more secondary metabolites. Breathing MONQ’s personal essential oil diffuser Forest can help bring you one step closer to experiencing Paleo Air and it’s many benefits.
Thinking about the big picture, reducing stress is critical. Stress is linked to a number of health conditions, and reducing stress is the easiest way to lower the risk factor for these conditions. Stress can drain the body of energy, cause loss of memory and focus, and increase irritability.
When combined, the Paleo Diet and Paleo Air can improve your life for the better. The diet can eliminate risk factors associated with diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Paleo Air can reduce risk factors for the same conditions as well as risk factors for stress and anxiety. They can both lead to a happier and healthier lifestyle.