The Paleolithic diet, also known as The Caveman Diet, The Stone Age Diet or the Hunter-Gatherer diet sustained the human race for 2.5 million years by providing a healthy diet of fish, wild game, nuts, seeds, insects, vegetables and eggs. Just 10,000 years ago with the implementation of agriculture, this way of life changed and we started to incorporate maize, wheat and dairy into our diet.
Fast-forward to 1975 and Gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin, wrote a book arguing that we humans would greatly benefit from a Paleolithic era diet. Since then, many journalists and authors have backed up this claim and mainstream media has pushed it as popular. But you can’t assume that just because cavemen ate a certain type of food, that it is the same today! For example, Paleo fishermen caught fish without mercury and dioxin, while it’s very hard to find clean fish these days. There was no industrialized pollution and therefor the waters were much cleaner.
This article takes a look at the Caveman Diet and explains how you can embrace it in your own lifestyle. Most Paleo people go to great lengths to get grass-fed ruminants, wild-caught fish or hunted meat rather than eat inhumanely raised factory-farmed meat. This is all well and good if you have lots of money and time, but your average joe will be buying 25 packs of chicken breast down in Walmart that comes from ‘questionable’ sources!
The Caveman Diet
Building an energetic, fat burning, lean body sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? The Caveman Diet, is a diet and lifestyle that will get you exactly that if you stick to it. The main cut outs are dairy, grains, processed foods and sugars.
This is considered a simple to follow, non-regimental, do-it-yourself power diet that will elevate your energy levels back to what they should be. The reality is that it requires discipline, planning and a bit of creativity not to end up eating chicken and veg, fish and veg everyday! Pasture raised animals have the best, healthiest ratio of omega 3′s & 6′s which is very heart healthy. One month on a paleo detox (only veggies, 4oz meat per meal, limited fruit, healthy oils, sweet potatoes & water or herbal teas) will have you feeling great!
What is it?
Progressing through several stages, your lifestyle and food consumption will change and with that will come huge shifts in how you feel physically. You will become more aware of the food you eat, more accustomed to cooking like a man in the kitchen and appreciate food for what it truly is – a fuel for the body that is to be enjoyed. The Palo diet focuses highly on intake of vegetables, nuts and lean animal protein.
Why do it?
1 – Fat Burning
Key figures show that an alarming number of US adults are overweight, many of those are classed as obese. So there is a good chance that many who read this will in fact be carrying a little more weight than we should. Sticking to the paleo diet strips fat and in conjunction witha decent exercise regime, you can see massive results.
2 – Increase in Energy
Getting rid of extra weight and burning fat is just one of the plus points of The Caveman Diet. You will get a massive surge of energy once you really get into this diet and you will feel the food fuelling your body whilst you eat.
A sharper mind and heightened senses brings with it a multitude of benefits, from the office, where concentration and attention to detail is key, to home and family life. Even when out partying or playing sport, it all counts.
3 – Well Toned Body
Core strength is at the heart of any workout program or diet regime. However the caveman lifestyle goes way beyond just toning abs and dropping body fat (so you can actually see them). It is truly amazing what the right diet and lifestyle can do for your body.
4 – Detox
This might sound strange but many people claim that they feel lighter and detoxed a few weeks into their paleo diet. By consuming the right food you will inevitably clear your insides of all the harmful chemicals and toxins that have built up over a lifetime of eating non primal foods. Once again be looking for clean healthy fats from grass-fed or wild animals — not industrial, factory-farmed animals. Organic fruits and vegetables as well as oily seeds and nuts. Industrially farmed meats are considered toxic to the body.
What you can NOT expect from the Diet
- A regimented approach to eating and calorie counting
- A ‘low fat’ only girly diet
- Going to the gym 5 times a week (although you can if you wish)
- An easy start as you wean yourself off sugar
Stage One – Preparation (2-4 weeks)
1) Help you understand and to feel the effects that ‘good’ and’ bad’ foods have on you.
2) Begin the fat burning process, you can expect weight loss in week 1.
3) Start to increase your energy levels.
4) If you have a normal exercise routine or class or sport you take part in, continue to do this – it will only benefit and speed up your progression through the stages.
Drink a pint of water as soon as you wake up. Even better with a squeeze of lemon juice.
This will kick start your metabolism and as a result you will awaken quicker and feel more alert.
During the Day
Snacking is the aim of the game.
- Oily nuts (unsalted, so no KP peanuts ofrdry roasted I’m afraid).
- Fruits (not dried fruit as they contain large amounts of concentrated sugar)
You will inevitably feel hungry throughout the day, that’s fine, just keep snacking constantly. Remember we are trying to burn fat here and believe it or not the right way to do this is to constantly feed your body fuel so that it will get used to this constant supply and will no longer need to store energy (fat) for those times when you starve it.
Now comes the caveman part of this power diet.
Eat, Eat and by merry. On anything and as much as you wish, but do this only once. No stopping and eating again an hour later. Just once. Regardless of time, whenever you normally have your evening meal that’s when you will eat your feast.
What will this achieve?
- Gorging on your ‘favourite’ foods for your evening meal will quickly make you realize how little you actually enjoy these foods.
- You will start to crave the healthy foods that will ultimately get you to that caveman body, both inside and out.
- If you have a normal exercise routine then you will now be burning FAT not SUGAR. Congratulations, you are on your way to losing weight and toning up!
It will take most of us between 2 and 4 weeks to reach a stage where we no longer crave food throughout the day. We look forward to the evening feast and have started to feel more energetic, more alive and in tune with what’s going on around us.
If this is you, you are ready for stage 2.
Stage 2 – Caveman in Training (4-8 weeks)
1) The obsession/addiction with carbohydrates will be broken.
2) Fat burning process becomes more efficient even at sedentary exercise level.
3) System is contently detoxed.
4) Health foods and manly cooking starts.
5) Develop the understanding of foods and what benefits they will give to your body and palate.
Continue to drink an ice cold pint of water as soon as you wake up with lemon juice.
You body will start to become used to this wakeup call and you will actually look forward to this refreshing drink each morning as part of your ritual.
During the Day
Eat Nothing. Drink plenty.
Eating nothing throughout the day would have been hard in stage 1, now you are in stage 2 however you should find this relatively easy. You can starve off any hunger pangs you do get, by drinking lots of water. Drink as much as you wish, this helps you body to detox all day long.
(p.s don’t worryabout not eating throughout the day. Your body can survive for over 30 weeks without food before suffering any detrimental effects!)
Let the ‘one meal‘ feast begin, and your stomach decide when to stop.
Eat foods such as;
- Red meat (beef, lamb), poultry (chicken, turkey) and fish
- Eggs (free range where possible)
- Small portions of fruit (berries, apple, banana, pineapple, mango)
- Nuts (eat lots of these, they have good fats, almonds, walnuts, non salted peanuts)
- Root Vegetables (carrots, swede, parsnips, and turnips. Avoid potato and sweet potato)
You should feel your body gravitating towards these natural and healthy foods more and more as you progress through stage 2.
What will this achieve?
- Constant daily body detox
- An understanding and a feeling of the effects of food on your body
- Unhealthy food will start to look, smell and taste off-putting. Not all will however, you have to keep going to let the psychological effects take over.
- You start to gain back your animal instincts of the hunter gatherer. The daily starvation you go through heightens the senses and makes things clearer.
Most will be ready for the next stage within this 8 week period. Unhealthy, deep fried or sugary and starchy snacks turn you off and you have begun to lose body fat and feel more energetic with less food.
If this is you, you are ready for stage 3.
Stage 3 – A (CAVE) MAN is born
That’s up to you, but it’s harder to start again if you stop!
1) You will no longer crave unhealthy foods
2) The correct times to eat will become known
3) You will be cooking and eating like a real man
4) You will have shed excess weight and begin to look how a man should truly look
Continue to drink a cold pint of water as soon as you wake up.
You body now craves this ritual and the coffee you once drank to kick start your system if long gone. The idea of that caffeine filled junk repulses you.
During the Day
We go back to our snacking from stage 1
Only natural, unprocessed foods are allowed. See below for the ‘good’ foods list. Examples are nuts, vegetables, fish and plenty of water.
Food enjoyment and getting back to your roots is the aim here. Touching, tasting and experimenting is what it’s all about, the hunter gather in you knows that.
You should not be accustomed to eating the right foods. Now the timing is more important. For a normal 9-5 office worker you should aim to eat as early as possible when you get home. The later you eat the more your body will store as fat as you sleep, as you will not have time to burn off the excess.
For shift workers and those who are just awake when the world is asleep, the same goes for you. Just adjust times accordingly.
What will this achieve?
- Your diet has changed dramatically; you are now eating closer to the earth.
- You body is completely detoxed and remains that way as you eat only healthy foods and make them taste great. Sure your friends may thing you’re weird for turning down that crispy crème doughnut, but hey they don’t look and feel like you do, both inside and out.
- You will feel more alive than ever before. You are now living the caveman diet.
Caveman Diet Food List
To give you a better understanding of the nutritional value of food we have created included the info below for you information.
3 Main Nutrient Classes
Carbohydrates or carbs constitute a large portion of a grain based products such as rice, pasta, noodles, bread and Potatoes. They provide 4 calories per gram and most are refined and processed.
We are able to gather all of our energy from protein, vegetables and fats, therefor do not really ‘need’ these carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes or brown rice are the main carbohydrates used in the paleo diet as they are nutritious and leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Proteins are the building blocks of the body. Hair, muscle and skin all rely on protein for growth and strength. Proteins come from a variety of sources such as meat, fish, eggs, legumes, tofu and dairy products like milk and cheese (but a good Paleo caveman won’t be eating these)
They provide around 4 calories per gram.
Fat’s are classified in two ways; saturated and un-saturated.
Saturated Fats – are considered to be the unhealthy type of fat and as a cause of diseases. They come from things such as meat aft, milk, butter, lard, coconut oil and palm oil. But theses are good in the right forms.
Un-Saturated Fats– are considered to be the healthy type of fat. They come from things such as olive oil, peanuts, canola oil, avocados, corn, sunflower and soy.
They provide 9 calories per gram.
It is important to understand that whilst we are trying to replicate the diet of a Paleolithic man, we should not decline a food type on the basis that it didn’t exist in that era. Certain dairy products and starchy vegetables such as potatoes for example do have a place in any diet and fitness regime.
- Nuts & Berries
- Nuts & Fruit
- Beef Jerky
- Tuna and Salad
- Red Meat and Vegetables
- White meat and Salad
- White meat and Fruit
- Fish and Vegetables
- Water with a splash or slice of Citrus (lemon or lime)
Carbohydrates are addictive. Ever feel like a zombie around mid afternoon or on the drive home from work? Chances are your diet is the cause of this drop in energy levels and addiction to carbs doesn’t help one bit!
The foods below are outside of the Caveman Diet Plan and should be avoided where possible. However, as stated above you cannot and should not avoid them all together, a balanced diet is key and will help you stay on track.
- Grains such as bread, pasta, rice and noodles.
- Beans including string beans, kidney beans, lentils and peas.
- Potatoes, White Rice, Pasta
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
- Salt – your food will already provide the adequate amounts for the body.
So there you have it. The Caveman diet that is said to reduce fat and increase both energy levels and alertness. If you decide to get in touch with your natural instincts and give the caveman diet a try, let us know how you are getting on in the comments section.