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Posted on Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

Embrace your inner caveman with the Paleo Diet

By Jessica Webster


The Paleo Diet emphasizes foods that would have been available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Photo by Flickr user Lord Jim

When you think of a caveman, do you summon up images of Fred Flintstone chewing on a leg bone? Maybe you picture long-haired, bearded insurance pitchmen? Think again. You might just have cavemen living in your neighborhood. Or at least someone who eats like one.

Designed by Colorado State University professor Loren Cardain, and based on his book “The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat,” the so-called Caveman (or Paleo) diet has been gaining traction among people who don't consider themselves dieters. In fact, many would rather you not refer to the Paleo Diet as a diet at all - it's a lifestyle.

A recent article in Canadian news magazine MacLean’s takes at look at the phenomenon. The idea behind the Paleo Diet is that our diet has evolved faster than we have as a species. Agriculture-derived foods are eschewed in favor of meats, seafood, vegetables, nuts and fruits - foods that our ancestors could have hunted and/or gathered.

“In cities across the globe, groups of men (they are mostly men) are abandoning Stairmasters in favor of sprinting and climbing—caveman exercise. They donate blood to mimic the injury-induced blood loss our early ancestors endured. They mirror a hunter-gatherer schedule: gorging on heaps of meat (to approximate feasts that followed successful hunts) and then following up with long fasts (to mimic stretches of scarcity).”

The Village Voice reports that an entire industry has sprung up around the Paleo Diet. Despite the fact that the diet specifically excludes grains and focuses on raw foods, New York City now boasts a Caveman Bakery featuring "high quality Paleolithic baked treats."

The diet is also taking hold in the NFL, according to ESPN. NFL veteran John Welbourn has been the Paleo Diet's biggest proponent.

"Welbourn said he believes so strongly in the diet that he has founded his own company, Paleo Brands, with Cordain serving as an adviser. Welbourn says the venture grew out of his personal needs. He travels a lot for training and speaking engagements and was having a difficult time finding the necessary foods on the road."

Want to learn more? National Post food writer Adam McDowell has started a blog detailing his month-long Paleo Diet experiment. You can follow his progress on Twitter.

If you're interested in following the Paleo Diet yourself, look no further than Ann Arbor neurologist and Paleo Diet follower Orie Shafer's blog. Shafer posts recipes that loosely follow the diet with an eye toward balancing "the health benefits of the Paleo Diet with the pleasures of good cooking.”



Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 4:41 p.m.

This one's sort of a reverse April Fool's joke, because it's actually true...