Were your caveman ancestors... fishermen?
Q: What exactly can I eat on the Paleo diet if I'm not a big fan of meat?
GR: As I shared with you last week, there are many reasons why some folks give up meat.
But I didn't mention those who just don't like the flavor of a juicy steak or a piece of crispy bacon.
I'll admit that not every animal protein is for every person, but our modern, American diets tend to focus too much on the meats from certain domesticated livestock -- cows, pigs, chickens -- and completely ignore the many ways that people around the world get their protein.
Getting a little adventurous with game meat is one option, but you may not like the idea of cooking or cutting into bison, elk, ostrich, rabbit, or goat (what the Mexicans call cabrito) -- at least, not all of the time.
But, as I've shared with you before, even getting a little meat is better than no meat at all. Just make sure it's organic and raised without antibiotics and hormones.
In the absence of being a carnivore -- and really, "going Paleo" is much more about being an omnivore and eating ALL the healthy fruits of the land -- let's not forget the many benefits of being a pescatarian.
That is, indulge in the many fruits of the sea!
In fact, this is the perfect time to remember an incredibly healthful Old World tradition: The Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Festa dei sette pesci, as it's known in Italian, is an elaborate multi-course seafood meal of seven different fishes cooked seven different ways that Italian families would enjoy on Christmas Eve.
It's a nice, Paleo-friendly alternative to baked ham... pork roast... roast beef... turkey... and any of the other meaty dinners that so many American families indulge in this time of year.
And it's not only good-tasting, but it's good FOR you, too!
If you've been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that fish -- like salmon and mackerel -- that contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. Omega-3s can also reduce your risk of having a heart attack -- and if you DO have a heart attack, they can significantly reduce your risk of dying from it.
Studies have shown that getting enough fish oil in your diet can actually prevent your brain from shrinking -- and, as a result, seniors who eat plenty of omega-3s perform better on cognitive tests.
They can even protect your eyesight!
Now, you don't have to be Italian (or Italian-American) to enjoy some fish around the holidays -- and you don't have to stick to the number seven.
Just be sure to choose wild-caught fish, which don't have any artificial colorings and pack the biggest nutritional punch.
And don't overdo it on the seafood selections that notoriously contain high levels of mercury, like tuna. If you're not sure, choose fish that are smaller and lower down on the food chain, as they tend to not carry as high of a toxic burden.