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Paleo Diet: Were Cavemen the Picture of Health?

So, you’re looking to start a diet, or just a lifestyle change, and you really think it’s time to get back to basics. Well, you can’t get much more basic than the increasingly popular Paleo Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet.

Let’s take a trip back in time, to 10,000 years ago when cavemen had to fight for dinner, and what they ate was all natural; none of that processed man-made stuff that we call food today.

The Paleo, Paleolithic, or Caveman Diet may be known by different names, but they all share the same philosophy: our ancestors’ eating habits are worth mimicking. That is because, proponents will say, our bodies are designed for the foods that were available to our early Paleolithic ancestors.

The current Paleolithic Diet consists mostly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts. It excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

Surprisingly, the Caveman Diet has caught on with some people in New York City. According to a New York Times piece from the beginning of this year, there is a small New York subculture of Paleo Diet followers. What the Times referred to as “urban cavemen,” young people like John Durant, an online advertising professional, have large freezers in their modest city apartments filled with organ meat and sides of beef.

Among other converts are the trainers associated with CrossFit who either encourage their clients to follow the Paleo Diet or the Zone diet.

“The male or female of 12,000 to 15,000 years ago will be considerably stronger and in better shape,” said Clark Larsen, a physical anthropologist at Ohio State University.

The negative? You were lucky to live to see 30.

Do you want to see more on what proponents of the Paleo Diet recommend? Check out: Top Five Cave-Person Checklist Starting a Paleo Diet.

Stay tuned for my second installment on some of the more extreme interpretations of the Paleo Diet, and what the critics of the diet have to say.

June 24th, 2010