The Caveman Diet, also called the Paleolithic (or Paleo), Stone Age, and Warrior diet, is a plan based on eating plants and wild animals similar to what cavemen are presumed to have eaten around 10,000 years ago. Why turn back the hands of time and eat that way? The premise is that our bodies are genetically programmed to eat like our Paleolithic ancestors.
Proponents claim it’s the biologically appropriate diet that suits us best, with the proper balance of nutrients to promote health and reduce the incidence of chronic diseases.
The Paleo Diet is based upon eating wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on during the Paleolithic era, the time period from about 2.6 million years ago to the beginning of the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago. These foods include fresh meats (preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat, if you can get it), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthful oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods were not part of our ancestral menu.
The diet is based on the foods that could be hunted, fished, and gathered during the Paleolithic era — meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruits, and berries. But a true paleolithic diet is impossible to mimic because wild game is not readily available, most modern plant food is cultivated rather than wild, and meats are domesticated. At best, you can eat a modified version of the original diet that’s gluten-free and includes lean meat, organ meats, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. It’s a wide variety of foods. However you won’t find any dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, potatoes, processed oils, and any foods that were grown after agriculture started.
On this diet, you’d skip salt and any drinks other than water, coconut water, or organic green tea.
You can satisfy your sweet tooth with raw honey or coconut palm sugar, but only in limited quantities.
Dominick Walsh is a blogger for Performance Nutrition and TMRzoo.com and covers all men’s health topics and exercise issues including protein powders, diets, weight loss, weight lifting supplements, fat burners and supplement reviews. Dominick’s columns cover everything you need to know about your pre, during and post workout nutrition.