Caveman Paleolithic Diet, abridged as the ‘Paleo Diet’ is a dietary plan designed in keeping with the eating patterns followed by our prehistoric ancestors – the Hunter- gatherers belonging to the Stone Age. With no scientific knowledge whatsoever, the diet followed by them has been studied to be one of the best diets ideally suited to mankind. It provided them with some of the best nutrients obtained unadulterated from natural organic sources which were easily available to them.
Origins of Caveman Paleolithic Diet
For the most part of the Paleolithic Era, which must have lasted for about 2.5 million years or perhaps even more, our forefathers depended upon gathering foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, roots, tubers etc and hunting down game such as boars, pigs, rabbits, cows, buffalo, fowl and others for their sustenance. This was precisely why theirs was referred to as the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Much later, no more than around 10.000 years back, was the actual cultivation of food grains and agricultural production of food commenced. Nutrition experts continue to propagate the Paleolithic type of diet and are of the opinion that the human body is genetically better adapted to the hunter-gatherer diet and way of life. The modern day diets are typically high in refined foods, polished grains and use high levels of sugar, salt, preservatives all of which increase the trauma of our delicate organs.
Features of Caveman Paleolithic Diet
Professor Loren Cordain and radiologist Dr S Boyd Eaton are the two principal proponents of the Paleo Diet and have studied and written extensively on it.
- Although the caveman diet depended heavily on complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, perhaps the fat intake was also high. In fact fat and protein intake may have been higher than carbohydrate intake until the cultivation of grains began much later.
- Lean meats, organically raised poultry and fowl, organ meats, wild-fish from varied sources, organically manufactured eggs, organically harvested fruits and vegetables (except potatoes and sweet potatoes) mushrooms and nuts can be consumed as part of this diet.
- Intake of milk and dairy products is prohibited as part of the paleo diet.
- Beans, sugar and refined, processed foods as well as potatoes are totally excluded.
- Fats used in cooking must be from plant sources such as fruit (olive oil) or nuts (sesame seed oil or ground nut oil).
Advantages of the Caveman Paleolithic Diet
- Studies have indicated how following the Paleolithic diet may decrease the risk of heart disease in normal and more so in Diabetic individuals.
- Due to the high lean protein and fibre content this diet may favor weight loss.
- The high intake of raw foods makes vitamins, minerals and antioxidant nutrients more readily available in the most natural form with greater ease of assimilation by the digestive system.
- Immune system functions may be more active.
- Lipid profile, blood glucose levels and blood pressure may be under better control by the careful adherence to such a diet.
- High levels of physical activity concurrent to the diet demonstrated more positive health outcomes.
Disadvantages of the Caveman Paleolithic Diet
- Since dairy products are omitted from the Caveman Paleolithic Diet, there may be chances of developing calcium and Vitamin D deficiency. Supplementation by sun-exposure and Vitamin D pills could evade such a situation.
- Sometimes excessive intake of meats can elevate saturated fats in the diet predisposing to cardiovascular concerns.
Sufficient exercise when combined with such a diet can promote better nutritional status, enhance strength and provide greater energy and stamina just as our forefathers exhibited.