You may have heard about this new nutrition plan called the “caveman” diet and wondered if it’s right for you. How do you eat like a caveman anyway and why would you want to? In this article, I’ll give you a brief overview of this health fad so you can decide if you want to take the plunge.
What is the Caveman Diet?
The “caveman” diet, also called the Paleolithic or Paleo diet, is a nutritional plan based on the diet presumably eaten by our ancestors in the Paleolithic period of human civilization. It is a hunter-gather diet which focuses on eating foods such as wild plants and animals.
Foods Allowed on the Paleo Diet
The Paleolithic diet assumes you no longer have access to processed foods such potato chips, French fries, and snack cakes. Foods allowed on this diet include:
- Nuts and Seeds (Except Peanuts)
- Olive Oil, Nut Oil, Coconut Oil
- Natural Herbs and Spices
- Water, Tea
- Almond or Coconut Milk (To Replace Diary Milk)
The idea on the Paleo diet is to eat as much raw food (or food that could be eaten raw) as possible.
Foods Prohibited on the Paleo Diet
The caveman diet completely forbids any type of processed food. Depending on the type of plan you follow, however, you may be able to indulge in “open meals” several times a week as you get used to the diet. Foods prohibited on the Paleo diet include:
- Refined Sugars
- Legumes (Peanuts, Beans, Peas)
- Cured and Processed Meats
- Certain Oils (Corn, Cottonseed, Peanut, Soybean, Rice Bran, Wheat Germ)
- Starchy Tubers (Potatoes, Yams, Cassava, Manioc, Beets)
- Dairy Products (Butter is sometimes allowed)
The Pros of the Caveman Diet
Weight Loss – One of the most attractive pros of the caveman diet is weight loss. When you cut all the junk out of your diet, you’re bound to see some serious shrinkage around your middle! When you eat the caveman diet, you’ll fill your body with pure vitamins and minerals found in meat, fruits, and vegetables. High protein also means more energy and faster muscle development!
Gluten Free – Another pro of the caveman diet is it’s completely gluten free. Gluten intolerance affects approximately 1 in every 100 people. Symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, brain fog, muscle aches, and irritability. If you suffer from chronic stomach problems, a caveman diet may be right for you.
Anti-Inflammatory – The Standard American Diet can exacerbate inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. The healthy combination of protein, vegetables, and good fats can help decrease this inflammation and get your body back in balance.
Easy – The caveman diet is also very easy to implement. Unlike other weight-loss programs, which can involve calorie-counting and food measuring, you simply eat what’s on the allowed foods list until you’re full!
The Cons of the Caveman Diet
Restrictive – One of the primary cons of the Paleolithic diet is its restrictiveness. It can be hard for some people to go from macaroni and cheese to steak and salad. This is why most books on the Paleolithic diet suggest weaning yourself off forbidden foods instead of just going “cold turkey” so to speak.
Expensive – When you’re doing the Paleo diet, you want to eat as much organic meat as possible. This can get expensive. Try thinking of it this way: Eating healthier can help save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in medical bills down the line!
There are plenty of weight-loss fad diets out there that can be really bad for your health. Pre-packed diet foods are extremely calorie-restrictive and loaded with sugar. Diet pills contain chemicals that cause harmful side effects. The Paleo diet is a much more nutritious and attractive option for weight loss and health improvement.
Still not sure if the Paleo diet is right for you? Check out this Paleo Diet Guide from Paleo expert Robb Wolf!