Our Stone Age ancestors lived in an uncomfortable world, spending their 30-year life spans hunting and gathering without air conditioning or heat. But some say the cave men ate better than we do, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.
That’s the premise behind the Paleo diet, a health and weight-loss trend that encourages people to eat modern-day versions of Paleolithic food.
Several weeks ago, one group of health-conscious Californians took on the Paleo diet and planned to spend nine weeks eating like cave men. That means consuming only animals, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and mushrooms, said Rick Larson, co-owner of CrossFit West Sacramento, the gym running the challenge.
“A lot of people at our gym were getting good workout results, but I knew they weren’t supporting it with their diets,” Larson said.
Like any diet, the hardest thing about the Paleo diet is what you can’t eat. Out is anything that humans began eating after the agriculture and animal husbandry revolutions, meaning no dairy, beans, grains or starches and absolutely nothing processed.
The idea of the Paleo diet has been around since the 1980s, but it was popularized in the 2002 book “The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat” by Loren Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University.
Twenty years ago, Cordain read about the diet in a scientific journal and decided to try it.
Following the diet is tough. Larson holds weekly social support sessions with participants. On a recent Tuesday, Larson told the group they are allowed to have two vices: tea and coffee.
“But not sweetened, and with no dairy,” he said.
He points to himself. He’s been doing the Paleo/Zone diet for 11 weeks, and his body fat percentage is 2.7, he said.
Santinia Pasquini, 33, said she has tried everything from Weight Watchers to diet pills, and in the week she’s been doing the Paleo/ Zone diet, she has lost 8 pounds. There was no mentioned whether that loss was typical of other group members.