Ostensibly, Grok is "a rather typical hunter–gatherer" living before the dawn of agriculture—an "official primal prototype." He is the poster-persona for fitness author and blogger Mark Sisson's "Primal Blueprint"—a set of guidelines that "allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that's the primal part)." These guidelines incorporate many principles of what is more commonly known as the Paleolithic, or caveman, diet, which started to whet people's appetites as early as the 1960s and is available in many different flavors today.
LOREN CORDAIN, Ph.D., is one of the top global researchers in the area of evolutionary medicine. Generally acknowledged as the world's leading expert on the Paleolithic diet, he is a professor in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Colorado State University. Dr. Cordain and his research have been featured on Dateline NBC and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media. He is the author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, among other books, and makes regular media and speaking appearances worldwide.
The following links tend towards news reports of scientific studies that point out some positive aspect of the paleo diet. If you are looking for current news reports, I suggest signing up for Google Alerts for the Type: News. I have three set up, for: "caveman diet," "paleo diet," and "paleolithic diet." You can also set them up for blogs and/or websites.
But critics argue that the unlimited amount of red meat the paleo diet allows may have an adverse effect on heart health in people with diabetes, as research links eating red meat in excess to poor heart health. (11) If you have diabetes and don’t moderate your red-meat intake, this could be a big problem, as people with diabetes are 2 times as likely to die of heart disease as people who do not have diabetes. (12)
Following the paleo diet can be pricey. Inexpensive and healthy non-meat protein sources like soy and beans are off-limits, and a recent BMJ Open study shows that healthy meats like lean ground beef and boneless, skinless chicken breasts cost an average of 29 cents more per serving compared to less-healthy ones, such as high-fat ground beef and chicken drumsticks. Even switching from peanut butter to paleo-approved almond butter will cost you—it goes for up to $13 a jar.
But how can we convince folks to give it a try? “I think we have to lead with pleasure,” he says. Aside from the many health benefits, cooking is also “one of the most interesting things humans know how to do and have done for a very long time. And we get that, or we wouldn’t be watching so much cooking on TV. There is something fascinating about it. But it’s even more fascinating when you do it yourself.”
High Blood Pressure can be complex in some instances, so it is important (and we strongly advise) that you seek advice from your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current diet and lifestyle and have them carefully monitor you over the course of this program. We do not suggest that you discontinue taking any medication you might have been advised to take. Although we make no medical claims with respect to any specific condition, it is common for adherents to this dietary approach to report improvements in numerous health markers, including high blood pressure.
Similarly, any foods that were not easily available to Paleolithic humans are off-limits in this diet, Holley explains. That means processed foods — many of which contain added butter, margarine, and sugar — should not be a part of the paleo diet. The same goes for dairy, which may not have been accessible to Paleolithic humans, and legumes, which many proponents of the diet believe are not easily digestible by the body.
Richard Nikoley has the blog Free The Animal. He loves meat eating. His diet is near paleo, with the addition of some gray-area foods that he likes. These days most of his posts are on food. One recent trend in the paleo community is trying to optimize the proportions of the foods eaten. If you've read my definition you'll know that I simply define the diet as foods in and out. One of Richard's posts: Optimality: A Fool's Errand? has produced a long discussion of this trend.
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable by Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek synthesizes the science into one readable source. The book is excellent for general low-carb high-fat moderate protein diets. While they begin with the idea that we should eat like a caveman, they do not follow the conclusion to its logical end and have us avoid the classes of foods our ancestors would have found unrecognizable. They avoid the metobolic syndrome, but not the autoimmune diseases. They mention that monosaturates should be favored, though they are not emphasized in the menu example. The book's daily menu examples also all include dairy in one form or another. No tips are given tips for those who do not do dairy. Published May 19, 2011. The Amazon reviews average to 4+.
The Paleo diet, also referred to as the caveman or Stone-Age diet, includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Proponents of the diet emphasize choosing low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. There is debate about several aspects of the Paleo diet: what foods actually existed at the time, the variation in diets depending on region (e.g., tropical vs. Arctic), how modern-day fruits and vegetables bear little resemblance to prehistoric wild versions, and disagreement among Paleo diet enthusiasts on what is included/excluded from the diet. Because of these differences, there is not one “true” Paleo diet.
Paleo diets are based on a simple premise – if the cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either. So long to refined sugar, dairy, legumes and grains (this is pre-agricultural revolution), and hello to meat, fish, poultry, fruits and veggies. The idea is that by eliminating modern-era foods like highly-processed carbs and dairy, you can avoid or control “diseases of civilization” like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and likely lose weight too. What you eat and how much depend on your goals or the specific program you’re on, if you choose to follow one. The high-protein diet is ranked poorly among U.S. News experts, who consider it too restrictive to be healthy or sustainable.
Those blueberry muffins at your go-to coffee shop have nothing on this healthier version made of almond flour from Wholesome Yum. And believe it or not, they're almost as easy and convenient, too — while many paleo baking hacks require you to blend together more "alternative" flours and ingredients than you'd care to even know about, this recipe has less than 10 ingredients total. (Bonus: They're also low-carb.)
I don’t like keeping track of how much I’ve eaten or obsessing over how many grams of a particular nutrient I’ve had. Not only do I hate counting calories, but I know that calories are really only half of the battle, as they’re not all created equal – 400 calories of Doritos do NOT have the same effect on your body as 400 calories of high-quality vegetables and protein.
Grass-fed meat is recommended on the paleo diet because it is leaner than meat from grain-fed animals and has more omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats that reduce inflammation in the body and protect your heart. A typical American diet is high in saturated and trans fats and lower in healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats, hence the paleo diet's emphasis on grass-fed meats, as well as seafood.
Take 30 days and give it a shot – cut out the grains and dairy, start eating more vegetables and fruits, eat more humanely raised and non-grain fed meat, cut out the liquid calories and sugar, and see how you feel after the month is up. If you’re analytical and want numbers to use in your final verdict, get your blood work done at the beginning and end of the month.
Add in the cumin, salt, cinnamon, smoked paprika and allspice and stir until the potatoes are covered. Add in the tomato paste and stir it around. Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are mostly tender, but still a little under cooked, about 5-7 minutes.* Transfer them to the bottom of the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly in a single layer.
Once again, it is important (and we strongly advise) that you seek advice from your healthcare professional before commencing the program and we also recommend you stay under careful supervision of a qualified and knowledgeable healthcare provider during your dietary and lifestyle transition in the case of Type I and/or Type II diabetes. You may ultimately require positive adjustments in your medications following the implementation of this program; so careful monitoring of blood sugar and blood ketone levels is advised.
Sweden's Staffan Lindeberg has a home page Paleolithic Diet in Medical Nutrition [archive.org]. A recent study of Staffan's has A Paleolithic diet improving glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Also see his first web page, an overview of his Kitava study: On the Benefits of Ancient Diets. Now he has a book Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective. Here's a book review: Easy to Read, Informative, Packed with Footnotes on Studies.
The final benefit we’ll discuss is a balanced dietary alkaline load. While this concept sounds complex, it’s actually quite simple: after digestion, all foods present either a net acid or alkaline load to the kidneys. Meats, fish, grains, legumes, cheese, and salt all produce acids, while Paleo-approved fruits and vegetables yield alkalines. A lifetime of excessive dietary acid may promote bone and muscle loss, high blood pressure, an increased risk for kidney stones, and may aggravate asthma and exercise-induced asthma. The Paleo diet seeks to reduce the risk of chronic disease by emphasising a balanced alkaline load.
As you might expect from the previous paragraph, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables naturally leads to higher fiber intake. Dietary fiber is essential for good health, and despite what you’ve probably heard, whole grains aren’t the place to find it. Non-starchy vegetables contain eight times more fiber than whole grains and 31 times more fiber than refined grains. Even fruits contain twice as much fiber as whole grains and seven times more fiber than refined grains!
It’s hard to improve upon banana bread, but adding chocolate chunks does just that. This Paleo loaf stays nice and moist from plenty of mashed banana. Just mix the wet ingredients and then add in a coconut flour and cinnamon mixture. Though the recipe calls for letting this goody cool before slicing, it might be even better when those bits of chocolate are still melty.
By latest count, about 800 Hiwi live in palm thatched huts in Colombia and Venezuela. In 1990 Ana Magdalena Hurtado and Kim Hill—now both at Arizona State University in Tempe—published a thorough study (pdf) of the Hiwi diet in the neotropical savannas of the Orinoco River basin in Southwestern Venezuela. Vast grasslands with belts of forest, these savannas receive plenty of rain between May and November. From January through March, however, precipitation is rare: the grasses shrivel, while lakes and lagoons evaporate. Fish trapped in shrinking pools of water are easy targets for caiman, capybaras and turtles. In turn, the desiccating lakes become prime hunting territory for the Hiwi. During the wet season, however, the Hiwi mainly hunt for animals in the forest, using bows and arrows.
And again, there’s no concrete scientific proof that the paleo diet wards off disease, Sandon says. Any evidence of its benefits is anecdotal. Although some studies seem to support the benefits of the paleo diet, many scientists still believe we don’t yet have enough evidence to know whether the eating approach is totally healthy and without risk. “Nobody knows the long-term effects of this diet because no one has researched it to any degree,” Sandon says. It’s not really a new concept; instead it’s one that’s been recycled through the years, she adds.
One larger randomized controlled trial followed 70 post-menopausal Swedish women with obesity for two years, who were placed on either a Paleo diet or a Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) diet.  The Paleo diet provided 30% of total calories from protein, 40% fat (from mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and 30% carbohydrates. It included lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, avocado, and olive oil. The NNR diet provided less protein and fat but more carbohydrate with 15% protein, 25-30% fat, and 55-60% carbohydrates, including foods similar to the Paleo diet but also low-fat dairy products and high-fiber grains. Both groups significantly decreased fat mass and weight circumference at 6 and 24 months, with the Paleo diet producing greater fat loss at 6 months but not at 24 months. Triglyceride levels decreased more significantly with the Paleo diet at 6 and 24 months than the NNR diet.