With all the hype and sensation surrounding the Caveman diet, the one thing that stands out in clarity is the saying “Old is Gold”. How so? Well, The fact that the Caveman Diet takes us back in time and tells us to establish eating habits as close as possible to our ancestors is one. It advocates the idea of eating like a caveman and that whatever foods were available to those Paleolithic people are the ideal food choices for us today.
Not to be deterred, my question still stands- How so? This time the diet gives valid reasoning by establishing the fact that we are biologically not very different from our ancestors. Our bodily mechanisms still work around the way we have been structured genetically. That genetic component has stood the test of time and so the best diet for us is the one that the Paleolithic population practiced.
Hmm… keep going because now you have my attention. Alright then, let’s take a look at the basic principles of the diet. Based on Paleolithic food choices the diet advises us to make the most of our nutritional requirements from the lean meat food group. The main component of all meals should come from lean proteins. Food choices given include lean cuts of meat and seafood. Following closely are the fruits and vegetables that will provide all the needed vitamins and minerals. Not to mention that all your carbohydrate needs will also be taken care of. Finally, the diet makes room for sources of healthy fats like nuts and seeds. So, how does it sound so far?
Well, let’s see. There’s the protein component to build lean muscle, the carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables and the healthy fats to provide energy. Honestly enough, it sounds good so far. Protein, carbs and good fats- nothing wrong with that formula! Perhaps those Paleolithics were not as primal as we credit them to be.
Great, let’s move on. Now that we know what foods are allowed on the diet, take a quick peek at what’s on the forbidden list. Mind you, this might shock you a bit as not only is this list longer than the first one, many of your current food favorites are going to be on this list.
Avoid processed foods!
Here we go… absolutely no refined or processed foods. That means to say no cakes or bakes, no pasta or rice nor anything that comes in a can. You must avoid refined sugars, processed grains, saturated and trans fats like the plague. Anything that was not available to the Paleolithic caveman is not supposed to get the go ahead.
Hey, now wait a minute. That sounds awfully harsh, doesn’t it? Sure it does, but then look at the bright side. By eliminating all processed foods, you are ensuring that you do not consume any artificial additives, no adverse sources of cholesterol and definitely no chemicals. Take a minute and think about it. Aren’t many of these so called flavor enhancers responsible for our multiple modern day ailments? Health issues like heart disease, diabetes, unstable blood pressure and obesity all have their roots ingrained in the foods that we eat.
Alright, so what’s the deal with no grains? The complete exclusion of grains and legumes from the diet is given to their inability to be completely broken down by the body. If anything grains have toxic anti nutrients that can cause inflammatory responses in the digestive tract.
And what about dairy? Surely you can’t expect to go without that! Agreed that based on scientific finding dairy is a must have for calcium and vitamin D needs. Some versions of the diet allow low fat dietary intake. The Caveman diet’s take on dairy is that since cows mostly consume grains, their irritants can be transferred to the body through dairy products.
So what does the diet tell us to do? Simply put the Caveman, also known as Paleo, diet tells us to step out of our comfort zone. It instructs us to practice our good judgment in making beneficial food choices. True that starting the diet will present challenges but that is only because our bodies are so used to eating comfort foods. To step out of that comfort food mode will require braving the odds.
And if anything, the Paleolithics were brave. 🙂