Cave Painting Paleolithic Diet
The Paleolithic Diet isn't a new idea, having cropped up now and then for more than a century, always contrasted to the high carb and reportedly highly toxic "Neolithic Diet" which followed the invention of agriculture. There is no question people living on this "hunter gatherer" style diet can maintain excellent health, but today it is often considered an elitist diet available only to a small segment of the world's population.


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Variously called "Hunter-Gatherer Diet", "Caveman Diet", "Stone Age Diet" and similar, the Paleolithic Diet is a modern interpretation of the human diet as it was between 1.5 million and 10,000 years ago. Proponents of this diet feel the human body is best able to handle the ingredients it evolved on and least able to handle those of the Neolithic or agricultural era that began about 10,000 years ago.

A recent upsurge of the Paleolithic Diet is the Atkins low carbohydrate weight loss diet. "Low Carb" has always been a major feature of this diet but is actually somewhat controversial. Paleontologists who study early man think carbohydrates may have been much more consumed than tradition holds, particularly in some regions. There is evidence of significant consumption of large beans and wild grains previous to the rise of agriculture.

Exact definition of the diet varies depending on the practitioner, but generally follows the table below. All permitted foods should come from as natural as possible a source and factory beef and chicken should be replaced with wild game or at least "free range" critters. "Organic" fruits and vegetables, of course.

Permitted Foods
  • Meat, including the various innards.
  • Eggs.
  • Fish and Shellfish.
  • Fruits, nuts (but not cashews) and some seeds.
  • Leafy Vegetables, mushrooms, herbs.
  • Some roots - beets, rutabagas, carrots, celeriac and turnips but not potatoes or other starchy roots.
  • Insects and larva.
  • Honey only - but sometimes dates and other natural sources depending on practitioner.
  • Water - and sometimes tea, coffee, juices, diet sodas, alcohol (depending on practitioner).
Forbidden Foods
  • Vegetable Oils - but sometimes Olive and Coconut oils are allowed.
  • Dairy Products - any
  • Grains, whole or refined, including wheat, rice and corn.
  • Beans and bean products, including peanuts, peas, soybeans and tofu.
  • Roots of the starchy sort including potatoes, cassava, manioc, taro, parsnips, sweet potatoes and yams.
  • Refined Sugars, including table sugar, corn syrup and molasses.
  • Salt, sea or table.
  • Sausages, Bacon and other processed meats.
  • Yeasts, including those in baked goods, pickled foods, vinegar, fermented foods, wine and beer.
  • Seaweed and seaweed products.
  • Juices, soft drinks, coffee and alcohol (depending on practitioner).

The Paleolithic Diet is not a raw food diet. Most foods are cooked, including vegetables because even some on the "permitted" list contain toxins which are largely destroyed by cooking. Meats, of course, are cooked for safety and digestibility.

The Paleolithic Diet has been recommended by some dietitians as a good diet for Celiacs (gluten intolerant) and for persons with Type-2 Diabetes. Some characteristics of the diet are said to increase insulin sensitivity.


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