Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Paleolithic Diet

As I explore my future food option, I remembered that my crossfit coach had mentioned this thing called a paleo diet.  As I am a hard core "eat clean" kind of girl, I asked a few questions.  Came to the conclusion that it was a little crazy for me.  Basically it's a "cave man" diet.  (oh yes we are approaching fad diet territory)  The premise is that you eat only what our ancestors would have been able to hunt/catch or forage (hunter/gatherer diet). So in a nut shell, no grains, processed foods, dairy products, salt, sugar or legumes/beans.  You eat lots of meat, fish, plant based vegetables, roots and nuts and unrefined oils.

Some of the interesting points that I remember is that, because no grains are consumed their is no issue for celiac disease, but the diet does have some nutritional drawbacks.  Here is the wiki link, the article is really interesting since I studied archeaology in university.  As I do with most things, I think information like this is really cool to store in my brain database as diet options if I can getting bored or tiered or frustrated.  It is obviously clean and so meets that criteria.

Paleolithic Diet


If you have time to read this, or you already know about this diet choice, let me know what you think.  Does it have it's merits (I think so) but what I would like to do is see how I can incorporate the best of the best into my life for optimum performance, health and lifestyle efficiency.  I have a whole lot of reason's in my life to be in peak physical health.  Some of them include, mark, annaliese, luke, patrick and me!


  1. I didn't realize cave people ate smoked and cured pork belly. :)

    I've done some very light reading on this 'lifestyle/diet' myself, and frankly, it's a little too strict for my liking. I'm sure I could peel out a few pieces from the lifestyle and apply it to my current eating habits, but I'm already positive I have a very clean diet.

    Like everything else, I would recommend researching the topic and incorporating elements you deem important to support the lifestyle and diet you want.

  2. LOL. No kidding, I love reading about this, it reminds me of when I was back at Mac learning about Early North American history. The word Pemmican was elusive for a while, but a modern version is now called the Paleokit. I wonder if dried pounded meet would be a better substitute (and cheaper) to the protein powder I'm trying to find that are GF.

  3. It makes sense. Our ancestors would have evolved to eat specific foods, just like hummingbirds are evolved to drink nector and chickens evolved to eat...um chicken feed! Of course cave people didn't live all that long. 16-35 years, depending on what source you look at. I think I'll make it to 35 even if I eat nothing but white floor and bacon grease. Also, I wonder if our stomachs have done some evolving since the invention of agriculture. Does this diet take into account the fact that the cows, pigs, and chickens of today are nothing like the animals our ancestors would have hunted? I would think sabor-toothed tigers would be more gamey. Let me know what your research turns up.

    Oh, and I was just kidding about chickens evolving to eat chicken feed. It's my understanding that those things are actually miniature T-rexs.

  4. "Paleolithic nutrition is based on the premise that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors and that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture, and therefore that an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet.[4][10] Proponents of this diet argue that modern human populations subsisting on traditional diets allegedly similar to those of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers are largely free of diseases of affluence,[11][12] and that two small prospective studies of the Paleolithic diet in humans have shown some positive health outcomes.[13][14] Supporters point to several potentially therapeutic nutritional characteristics of allegedly preagricultural diets."

    "Also, I wonder if our stomachs have done some evolving since the invention of agriculture."

    -According to S. Boyd Eaton, "we are the heirs of inherited characteristics accrued over millions of years; the vast majority of our biochemistry and physiology are tuned to life conditions that existed before the advent of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. Genetically our bodies are virtually the same as they were at the end of the Paleolithic era some 20,000 years ago."[68]

    Paleolithic nutrition has its roots in evolutionary biology and is a common theme in evolutionary medicine.[8][9][69] The reasoning underlying this nutritional approach is that natural selection had sufficient time to genetically adapt the metabolism and physiology of Paleolithic humans to the varying dietary conditions of that era. But in the 10,000 years since the invention of agriculture and its consequent major change in the human diet, natural selection has had too little time to make the optimal genetic adaptations to the new diet.[1] Physiological and metabolic maladaptations result from the suboptimal genetic adaptations to the contemporary human diet, which in turn contribute to many of the so-called diseases of civilization.[4]

    More than 70% of the total daily energy consumed by all people in the United States comes from foods such as dairy products, cereals, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils and alcohol, that advocates of the Paleolithic diet assert contributed little or none of the energy in the typical preagricultural hominin diet.[10] Proponents of this diet argue that excessive consumption of these novel Neolithic and Industrial era foods is responsible for the current epidemic levels of obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer in the US and other contemporary Western populations.[10] There are suggestions that Paleolithic societies were processing cereals for food use at least as early as 23,000 years ago,[70][71] more than 100,000 years ago,[72] and perhaps as early as 200,000 years ago.[73] However, Loren Cordain has stated that the new evidence shows only sporadic consumption of grains, and he has also pointed out that that consumption of wild grass seeds of any kind requires extensive technology and processing to yield a digestible and edible food that likely did not exist 105,000+ years ago.[74]

  5. above comment are exerts from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet#Observational_studies

    Of course you can always find the other side to the coin further on in the article!

  6. Interesting! Some of the advice is good, but I sorta agree with Jen about how animals then would have been different. It is funny you mention meat powder. While travelling through Asia, I could really see the difference in food and how modernization is not the best thing. In places like Thailand and Vietnam, they will leave fish and chillies out in the sun to dry them, and they grind up the fish to make a powder used in pastes, etc. Markets are a lot more common, VS the Superstores of NA. Dairy is also not as common, but they eat a hell of a lot of white carbs, like rice and noodles. Nonetheless, I felt a lot better there, not as many headaches, and barely any weight gain (it was from the beeeeeer!). I like some of the recipes on the paleo site. :)

  7. Hey Max, I love your "worldly wisdom" I would have had no clue about the market dried ground fish idea. I thought of this because I remembered thinking when I was taking my aercheo classes in university, that Pemmican was the worlds first protein/energy bar...But look at this recipe:

    Modern Pemmican Recipe
    1 lb dried Elk
    1 cup dried blueberries
    1 cup peanuts chopped
    1/4 cup Maple Syrup
    peanut butter to bind!
    1 1/2 cups dried ground beef
    1 cup dried fruit chopped (cherries, cranberries and blueberries)
    1 cup chopped cashews (use any nuts that you like, cashews for me)
    1/4 cup honey

    Peanut Butter to bind it all together
     In a blender, grind the dried beef till you get it almost to a powdery consistency.
    Now toss together beef powder, coarse chopped berries and coarse chopped nuts.
     Now its time to get messy....pour in 1/4 cup of honey and mix well with dry ingredients. Once mixed add peanut butter by the spoonful and start to mix all ingredients together with your hands. Keep adding peanut butter till all ingredients stick well together and you can form a tight ball.
    Now, on a sheet of waxed paper form the ball into a long bar and cut the log into individual size bars....
    I cut into bars that are roughly 2"x2"x1"....doesn't sound like a lot but this is a very dense, high calorie, high energy food!

    Then I seal each bar into its own bag, you can use small ziplock bags or saran wrap to do the same. The longest I have managed to keep these is just three weeks in the refrigerator, not because they have gone bad but because we eat them before I can get an idea of just how long they will last. On the water I have had them for as high as 5 days in 25c heat without any cooling and they have been absolutely tasty!

  8. Very cool! Where do you get the dried ground beef?

  9. I would make it myself in the oven. (I think I would brown it first though and remove as much fat as possible) then basically the same way I would make fruit leather. Just leave it in for oven on lowest heat all night! I think fish would be the same? I'm also seriously thinking about this as an affordable sub, but I still need to price it out per gram of protein. (we use gas so it's a bit cheaper than electric to dehydrate)