“The Caveman Diet” Ummm….cavemen existed many years ago. Where are they now? If they don’t exist any longer then why do people follow the paleo diet?
With every diet and gimmick out there today it’s difficult to differentiate the monotonous false claims from the actual facts. When you look at the big picture, every diet is going to work if you get subjective about it. If I can justify a banana split these people can find a way to make any diet look good.
“Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”
“Lose fat without exercise!”
“Science based approach to melt belly fat”
“Eat this food and never diet again!”
“The miracle diet”
Do any of these sound familiar? Maybe they pop up in your facebook? I know I’m not the only one that’s targeted by these ads! Here’s a simple equation:
Calories In < Calories Burned = WEIGHT LOSS
Right now I’m actually experimenting with the paleo diet in conjunction with intermittent fasting. I’ve been focusing on high protein for a couple of years now so it isn’t a far cry to take the next step. Although the equation above is simple, I prefer to benefit from the right nutrition; you feel satiated with the right foods. When I began eating high protein/low carb I experienced a whole physique change. I looked much leaner than I ever had. Unlike some paleo foodies I am not stringent about what I eat; I enjoy a few cheat meals and I love my chai with skim. Although I’m not going it “hardcore” I appreciate the concept of this eating style and therefore have composed a few Q&A for you.
What is the Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet revolves around a simple concept of eating more natural foods; foods similar to what would have been found in the stone age (paleolithic). With this diet we return to our hunter-gatherer roots. Cavemen don’t exist today but we are not THAT different from our ancestors; we now have more technology and we eat like crap. Take a look around and the waistlines will show you what today’s food has done to us. We process food and come up with manmade chemicals that our bodies don’t recognize. Maybe these new chemicals emulate food but they simply aren’t right for our biochemistry.
When you look at the list of foods you can eat on the paleo diet it really is no wonder that you’ll see results if you stick with it. The challenge is sticking with it. The diet allows you to eat meats, fruits and veggies. It doesn’t allow you to eat most of the foods that people crave like candy, sugar, grains, dairy, etc. Gee, I guess I can’t justify a banana split here…
A few of the ideals surrounding paleos foods include:
- High Protein
- Low Carb
- High Fat (good fats)
- Low acidity/more alkalinity
- More vitamins and minerals
- Higher fiber
Who came up with all of this?
Several minds have been involved with shaping the Paleo Diet we know today. The concept has been around for decades. Weston Price was a dentist and examined the dental health of people with natural diets in the early 20th century. In 1952 Arnold DeVries published Primitive Man and His Food. Later on in 1975 we saw Walter Voegtlin’s Stone Age Diet. A decade late Boyd Eaton published a paper outlining a diet based on the paleolithic era(stone age). Today the paleo community recognizes Loren Cordain. He has popularized this concept and founded “The Paleo Movement.”
What Can I Eat and What Can’t I Eat?
- Meats (Beef, Chicken, Pork, Bison, Bacon)
- Seafood (Shrimp, Salmon, Crab, Clams)
- Vegetables (carrots, celery, asparagus, broccoli)
- Fruit (Apple, Watermelon, Strawberries, Blueberries)
- Nuts (Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews (NOT peanuts)
- Oils (olive, coconut, macadamia, avocado)
All of the above are natural products and allowed on the diet. Do you see refined sugars, soft drinks, dairy, grains, or legumes on this list? I don’t think so. The list of what not to eat is pretty extensive and even includes some natural items like potatoes (they don’t quite fit the bill but sweet potatoes do). A brief list includes:
- Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, cream cheese)
- Grains (Cereal, bread, pasta, beer)
- Legumes and Peas (peanuts, black beans, kidney beans, etc)
For a more detailed review of what you can and cannot eat, please visit thepaleodiet.com.
What are some controversies around the paleo diet?
The real diet of cavemen years ago would have been highly dependent on their geographic location. They did not have some vegetables or nuts in their region and that’s that way it was. Our modern society allows us to always have fresh fruits and vegetables. We also have seafood and meats readily available to us. In addition, there is little evidence that cavemen were healthier than us.
I have never been an extremist so I like to examine both sides of things. If you take the idea of eating like a true caveman would have too seriously, you’re foolish. Just take a look at the balanced and natural diet suggested in this “modernized” form and you’ll understand why the changes were made. The fact is, we DO have the fruits and veggies available and we DO have meats available. The balance of nutrients is the key to success.
What celebrities eat Paleo?
- Jessica Biel
- Jack Osbourne
- Tom Jones
- Miley Cyrus
- Matthew McConaughey
What diets have you tried?
If you are paleo, share a few of your favorite recipes! I travel frequently for work so it’s a challenge on the road (more to come on that later). I’m always looking for suggestions for tasty meals.