The Caveman Diet
So what exactly is in the Caveman Diet or other similar diets?
Rather than list every food you can eat, I'll go over some of the general principles to follow in crafting a stone age diet. If you "think like a caveman" you'll be on the right track. In general, think about what types of foods you might eat if you were living off the land, no farms, no supermarkets, no 7-Elevens on every corner. What types of food might you catch and gather? This line of thinking will get you a long way toward figuring out the caveman diet.
Avoid Anything "Unnatural"!
Obviously, thousands of years ago there were no processed foods. No refined sugars or grains. No food additives or preservatives. No pesticides. No pre-packaged foods. No foods that required a huge farm or factory to harvest and/or process. If you keep these things in mind, you basically have the essence of the paleo diet and its derivatives. Whole, natural foods, preferably organic (so that they do not contain pesticides and other additives) are some of the best things for you. Raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Minimize or Eliminate Processed Grains and Sugars
Even though grains may seem "natural" and healthy, many have noticed that humans do have trouble digesting some grain products, hence the whole "gluten free" movement. Think about it. Most grains like rice and wheat have tiny little grains, and just a few per plant. To get enough to clean, grind up and process and then use to make breads, pastas and such takes a lot of effort! Until big farms and farm equipment evolved, it wasn't practical or even something that early man probably considered. Therefore, these types of grains were probably a very small part of the human diet. Our bodies are not built to handle large amounts of them. If you do eat sugars and grains, try to limit them and restrict them to the most "natural" form, whole grains and natural sugar sources, not highly refined sugars.
Animal Meat and Fats Are OK
We were gatherers, but we were also hunters of course. Animal meat was most certainly a proportion of the caveman diet. Everything in moderation of course, the stone age diet is not an "all protein" diet. Balance is key. Natural animal fats and oils are probably the best for us and much better for our systems than many refined or artificial fats and oils (see what happened with trans fats?). Other refined oils were probably much less of a component of our ancient diets. Things like olives and olive oil are quite healthy and natural. But beyond eating the olives themselves, the oils were probably not much of a component of these diets. Dairy was probably not a significant proportion of the human diet until much later when animals were domesticated.
A Well Balanced Diet
You've been hearing it since you were a kid, a well balanced diet is important. Well whether the cavemen knew this or not is not known. But it is likely that their diets did not consist of a majority of any one type of foodstuffs. Balance is key. Animal meats and fats are ok but not exclusively. Vegetables and fruits alone would likewise be unbalanced, hard to get enough protein and iron. Try to combine as many different things as possible.
Done with the Caveman Diet page?
Return to the Paleo Diet section.