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Let’s Get Neanderthal!

NeanderthalStones.jpgThe Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver’s at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters — using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands … but that’s what makes this diet so fun: you gotta go the whole way and hunt your own food. Running and chasing and throwing and grabbing and stuff like that. Going to the grocery store for the Paleo diet creates ambivalence for me.

What are your suggestions for Paleo dieters?
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.

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….

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.

“If you can’t eat it raw, then you shouldn’t consume it,” Larson said. (Although, since our Paleolithic ancestors did have fire, cooking food is permissible.)

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posted August 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Neanderthals only lived to 30 years or so.

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Chris Smith

posted August 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Interesting idea, but I doubt that many folks would be up for the work required (over the long haul anyway)…
The idea reminds me of the new book PANDORA’S SEED in which the author tracks the ills (“unintended consequences”) that were set in motion when humanity made the shift from hunting/gathering to agriculture… One of the best books I’ve read this summer!
My review, “A History of Our Brokenness” is online here:

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posted August 30, 2010 at 2:48 pm


posted August 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I suppose there would be no catsup or A1 sauce either.
sounds pretty goofy to me.

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posted August 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm

or . . .
living here in Puget Sound one could exist on clams and blackberries. but the toxic tide might kill you.

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Allan R. Bevere

posted August 30, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I’m a football fan… that automatically makes me a Neanderthal!

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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Ohio is for Neanderthals, Allan.

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Allan R. Bevere

posted August 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Ha! Scot… I won’t debate you on that one.

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Allan R. Bevere

posted August 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm

In all seriousness. About six years ago, Carol and I got serious about losing weight and we went on a diet similar to the paleo diet. Not only did we lose weight, but my borderline cholesterol and blood sugar dropped well within their normal ranges.
Perhaps Neanderthal is not all that bad.

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Wade Hodges

posted August 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I’m around crossfitters all the time who get excellent results with paleo. I’ve tried it and it is hard to stick to 100%. I’m happy with 80% adherence. Dairy and honey are my downfall!
But it works and it supports elite athletic peformance.

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posted August 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I recently read a fairly reasonable (and amusing) take on why one person chose to eat “paleo.” The author begins:
“One of life’s singular pleasures is dining out with friends, which is why we try to do it as often as possible. But these days, there are a lot of raised eyebrows around the table when my wife and I order food sans bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, polenta or beans. I don’t want to call attention to my food choices, but I always feel obliged to explain, albeit reluctantly: “I?m eating paleo.” I say this with some degree of embarrassment. I know this will forever brand me as a weirdo.”
If you’re interested, the rest is here:

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posted August 30, 2010 at 5:59 pm

In all seriousness, the Atkins diet is basically this diet. I did it for about 2 years (or was it 3?). loved it.
I think I might go there again….we now have chickens in the yard so fresh eggs are on the menu….

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posted August 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm

…oh, and I saved all my allowance of carbs for the beer….:)

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Joe Branca

posted August 30, 2010 at 7:22 pm

DRT – this is not essentially the Atkins diet, since the primary goal is not weight loss (via counting carbs) but sticking to the kinds of whole foods that our bodies do better with. Carbs are fine, the question is where are they coming from? Also, my impression is Atkins doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with all kinds of low carb processed foods, whereas from the Paleo diet perspective once you start processing food the end result tends more towards something your body won’t recognize or know how to derive its nutrients.
Total exclusion of dairy is not a settled issue for paleo diet adherents. The effects of dairy on people does vary; a lot of people may be allergic to dairy without even knowing it. For myself I’ve cut out all dairy except for relatively unprocessed (raw milk) or fermented milk (plain greek yogurt), I seem to do fine with. Whereas before I had problems with standard pastuerized milk, etc.
just some thoughts

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posted August 30, 2010 at 7:46 pm

The pedant in me has to point out that the Neanderthals were not really “our Stone Age ancestors”. They were mostly a dead-end branch of the evolutionary tree, although apparently there was a little interbreeding as they were displaced by homo sapiens so we may carry a little Neanderthal DNA.
The scientist in me prefers the foolproof “First Law of Thermodynamics” weight-loss program. Expend more calories than you consume.
But I’m glad we haven’t had anybody (so far) accuse you of heresy for this post, on the grounds that mentioning our “Stone Age ancestors” is equivalent to denying the Resurrection 😉

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posted August 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Actually all non-africans have 1-4% of DNA derived from neanderthals. I think it’s the equivalent of your great, great, great grandfather being a full blooded neanderthal.. that’s quite a bit of DNA. Either way I’ve been eating paleo for a couple months and this is the real deal folks. I’m convinced this is the best diet in the world.

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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 30, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Ben #1
Don’t know about Neanderthals (and I think AHH is right that they are dead branch from the evolutionary tree) but global human life expectancy at birth was about thirty years up to the Industrial Revolution (now in the upper 60s.) A few lived to be very old but 1 in 4 children died before age 1.

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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 30, 2010 at 10:15 pm

My physician has a cartoon in his examining room that has two cavemen crouching at a fire. One says to the other, “I don’t get it. We get plenty of exercise, we have no pollution, we eat only free range animals, and yet know one around here lives past thirty.”

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posted August 31, 2010 at 7:30 am

I ate this way for a couple of months when I was ill. I lost 15 lbs. i ate only vegetables, meant.

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posted August 31, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Most Neanderthals didn’t reach to the age of 30 not only due to dangerous animals and injury but mostly likely due to food items that were not cooked properly which would result various kinds of worm infestations ranging from Tapeworms, flukes, rounds and hook worms along with other parasites.
Suggestion, good diet but proceed with caution.

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posted August 31, 2010 at 10:45 pm

“”no dairy, beans, grains or starches””?
I find that hard to believe.
They were almost starving and would eat what ever they could find!
The Paleo diet isn’t something new, Google “Paleo Diet” there are references that go back a lot further. People just caught-on and decided to make an issue of it.

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posted February 21, 2012 at 2:27 am

I love reading your blog first of all,secondly I come to you to ask for help,whether in prayer,financially,or in asking others to paste this link on their page.
I am also, a Christian. I have been praying to God to ask for help in however, God sees fit to help our family through this crisis. My husband was laid off from work Oct.28,2011. He does Electrical Design. I have been a homemaker for almost 21 years.
I have some disabilities which prevent me from working. We have 3 children. When he got laid off,he did not receive severance pay, but only his last check. Our bills started piling up,and we applied for any programs that were available to our family. However,due to our situation,our mortgage company said,that we did not qualify for any homeowner assistance programs. They are demanding that we pay the total past due amout of nearly $3,500.00 . If we do not come up with this amount,then they will start foreclosure preceedings to take our home.We have lived here for 13years.
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God bless,

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posted March 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Your site contain a many useful information. Thanks for sharing.

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posted April 17, 2012 at 5:50 am

Hey guys,

Check out this new passover video on youtube.
Its filmed in Israel and very inspirational music!

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