October 11, 2010: A Hunter-Gatherer Diet

October 11, 2010


Image courtesy of Method Fitness Blog


Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of making dinner for my friend Dan and his charming tenants, Craig and Emily. Dan has just started a diet called the “Paleolithic Diet” which has its own inherent restrictions. I was up for the challenge and the menu Dan and I came up with was:

  • Beet Soup (I had whole grain croutons and sour cream for everyone but Dan)
  • Salmon and Scallop Duo (Dan provided the “wild” fish)
  • Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms with butter, garlic and lemon juice
  • Lemon-Leek Risotto (Dan didn’t have this either)
  • Asparagus in butter and lemon

The Paleo Diet attempts to reproduce what our Paleolithic (2 million-10, 000 years ago) ancestors ate, with the idea that the modern human genetic profile remains 99.9% the same from the Paleolithic period, yet after agriculture we introduced (variety to be sure) but also harmful things to our diet. The Paleo Diet has no grains, no dairy, no sugar, no legumes, no fermented beverages and no preservatives. The emphasis of the diet is “wild” protein like game, grass-fed beef, free range poultry, wild-caught fish, and vegetables.

Dan (in addition to being a great guy and a good friend) is about as far from a cave man as possible! He is a Harvard grad, a computer whiz, and just about the smartest man I know, so when he say a diet like this “just makes sense” to him, I’m inclined to listen up. Dan has effectively eliminated processed foods, “bad” carbs, sweets, meat with hormones and toxins, alcohol…essentially ALL the things that plague a modern diet, that cause heart disease, many cancers, food intolerances, diabetes, and tooth decay! In one fell swoop, Dan has eliminated ALL junk food from his diet!

Dan cautions me that he has only been on the diet for a little while, and when I asked him if he had any cravings his answer was “Not so far” but admits that many of things he has eliminated from his diet he could live without. Personally, I think diets tend to work because you are paying more attention to what you eat and moderating it, something that is wise, anyway. The danger of a diet is that when you eliminate something in your diet and you miss it, as soon as you go off the diet, you gorge on those things, negating the purpose of the diet. A diet should be something that is achievable, if it’s going to succeed. You make the diet a life-time experience, something that will last.

I think Dan has made a wise choice in his diet. I feel impelled to point on that our hunter-gatherers ancestors burned tons of calories in their quest to survive, so as a dog owner (Dan now owns three dogs, and he is such a kind master that he puts a new emphasis on the phrase “lucky dog”) I recommend that Dan take his beasts out for frequent walks. You’ll benefit, and they’ll love it, keeping you (and them) happy, hearty, and healthy for some time to come!


One comment

  1. Hi Steven,

    hmmm the paleo-diet. it does resound with the “Fit For Life” diet .. the exception being loss of pasta/potatoes/rice. I’ve tried the fit for life diet ..and it works wonders…I just have to keep “moving’. A life style or career that involves lots of sitting in a chair (e.g. computer work as a job) cannot ever garner great results in losing weight. Our metabolism changes..yes, even for men..and that can be a huge determinant in weight loss or gain.

    Vegetables contain natural sugar…so a diet of lean beef, or chicken, and/or fresh fish is great, as long as it is balanced with the correct vegetables.

    Have any of you recently read about the constant consensus of well documented scientists , that tomato puree..sauce..is a key ingredient in the blocking of cancer cells from growing and spreading. As a devoted tomato and or basil pesto sauce ingestor..I hail this new and reaffirming report. In one 28 oz. can of puree..as many as 30 tomatoes are contained in that one can. “twould be difficult to consume that many individual tomatoes in a single day.

    I love this blog..it is one of 3 ( only) that I avidly read…and actually respond to asap.

    yours truly,

    Kathy Avery…an Italian by “taste”

    Yeah Batali, Lagasse, Bastianich, and The New Store “Eataly” NYC 5th Ave. @ 15th street.

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