Caveman Me, The 90 Day Paleo Diet Challenge: Week 1, "Hunting and Gathering at the Grocery Store"

 The first question I asked myself was, "What would human eat?"  And I don't mean circa 2011.

These days, our diets are crammed full of chemicals (plastics, waxes, artificial colors, "flavors", industrial residues, hormones, etc.), processed and refined sugars, hydrogenated and esterfied oils, and animal products from animals who eat worse than we do.  According to the Food Pyramid, an "ideal" diet is one that strikes a balance between grains, beans and meats, vegetables, dairy products, fats (oils, nuts, butter), and "discretionary calories" (i.e. junkfoods like candy, chips, crackers, cakes, etc.).

However, if you peek behind the curtain of time, just a tic on the evolutionary clock, humans would have been hard pressed to find supposedly "healthy" foods such as whole grains, dairy products, and legumes in their diets.  The birth of modern agriculture, around 7500 B.C. in the "Fertile Crescent" occured relatively late in human evolution with the archeological records showing that modern man, Homo Erectus, has been around for 1.8 million years.  So how would a prehistoric guy get his grub on?  Hunting and gathering of course!

The edible options would have been limited to whatever grew or ran/flew around in the general vicinity of early communities.  Much effort would be expended searching and hunting for greens, edible roots (potatoes are not edible raw, so they are excluded from this category), shoots, fruits, nuts and seeds, honey, flowers, fish, wild game, and eggs.  Everything would have been seasonal, local, fresh, and, for the most part, raw.

The next question I asked was, "Could I eat like a human?"

Well, the fact that you're reading this means that I answered "Yes," but with the qualifier, "for 30 days."*  If  Morgan Spurlock could eat nothing but McDonald's for 30 days, I think that I will be O.K.

I plan on maintaining my current exercise regiment (a mix of boxing, yoga, tai chi, weight training, biking, and running, 6x a week, 1-2 hrs a day) in order to isolate the effects of my dietary modifications.  The diet itself is pretty restrictive, so I'll be sticking to fruits, vegetables (excluding potatoes), meat, nuts/seeds, eggs, and fish.  Anything from a box is out and all dairy is verboten.  I'm also eliminating coffee, alcohol (except for red wine on Valentine's day), and chocolate. 

To establish an objective starting point, I had my wife take a "before pic" and I ran some numbers on my weight and bodyfat%...

Weel 1 Statistics:

Weight - 191 lbs (with clothes on)

Bodyfat % (B.E.I. method) - 13.3%

Last night I did my "hunting and gathering" at Whole Foods, Publix, and Walgreens, packing my fridge to the brim with cabbage, sprouts, tuna, chicken breast, canned salmon, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, lemons, oranges, blue berries, black berries, bananas, avocados, raisins, kale, green leaf lettuce, frozen spinach, radishes, roast beef, lemons, yellow squash, zuchinni, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, tomatos, apples, onions, pistachios, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and bacon. 

In addition to what I already had available, I came up with some meal options...

Meal Ideas:

Breakfast 1: Green smoothie with kale, spinach, or chard, beets, carrots, 1 scoop egg white protein, frozen blue berries, or blackberries, banana or apple, ginger root, walnuts, almonds, or pecans, chia seeds, ice, and water.  3 fish oil capsules.

Breakfast 2: An orange or banana plus 2 eggs, 2 slices bacon or 2 sausage links, and sauteed greens, onions, peppers, and mushrooms.  3 fish oil capsules.

Breakfast 3: An orange or banana plus 3 eggs mixed with spinach, artichokes, and fresh herbs.  3 fish oil capsules.

Lunch: Lettuce wraps with roast beef, ham, or turkey, sprouts, mustard, shredded broccoli, and carrots.

Snack 1: Celery sticks, banana or apple with almond, sunflower seed, or cashew butter, raisins or dried cherries, and almond milk blended with 1 scoop egg white protein. 

Snack 2: Banana or apple with pecans or walnuts.

Snack 3: Boiled eggs and an orange, grapes, or other piece of fruit.

Snack 4: Turkey jerky and an apple or celery and carrot sticks.

Dinner: Grilled chicken breast and salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, celery, red onions, chopped eggs, cauliflower, broccoli, and lemon juice/olive oil/black pepper dressing.  Steamed vegetables.

Dessert 1: 2 Medjool dates and walnuts.

Dessert 2: Homemade coconut milk ice cream sweetened with honey.

Beverages: Filtered water, green or black tea, diluted 100% fruit juice (1 part juice to 5 parts H2O).


The plan is to blog weekly and to document the experience of "Going Paleo" for 30 days.  Day one is already underway, so only 29 1/2 days to go!


*The  original 30 day plan was extended once I actually reached 30 days and realized that I wanted to take it to the next level.

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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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