The Cro-Magnon Diet – How the Cavemen Survived

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The Cro-Magnon man, through no fault of his own, adopted a healthy diet that kept him and his entire Cro-Magnon family healthy.

Another fad diet?

Lord no – not another fad diet! It seems like there are as many diet plans as there are fat people – myself included. No, I am not what I consider obese. I weigh 185 pounds and am 6 feet tall. But I have a big belly. Many doctors agree that there are three types of people:

* slim and trim

* pear shaped

* apple shaped

Of course we all want to be slim and well-groomed – right! However, recent government figures suggest that two-thirds of the population is overweight. According to the US Air Force height-weight chart, I could weigh up to 205 pounds at my height. But the large intestine is a problem.

The dangers of the “apple-shaped” figure

The gut puts me in the apple-shaped category. The apple’s body shape (body fat is stored around the middle – i.e. abdomen, chest and surrounding internal organs like the heart) has been linked to health problems such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and gallbladder disease.

Doctors say a pear-shaped shape (fat is stored around the hips — away from vital organs) is much safer — although this is an undesirable condition. In order to live a healthy life, we need to be aware of two factors – diet and exercise. There’s that word again – diet. I’ve never been officially on a diet—until recently (more on that in a moment). I try to eat healthily, but like most of the population, I often turn to junk food and the occasional fast food. I bet you thought junk food was FAST FOOD or vice versa. Not true, say many nutritionists. Certain fast foods may be healthier than what we prepare in the kitchen at home. But that’s another story too.

The Caveman Diet

So what does all this have to do with Cro-Magnons – cavemen? Just this – I came across one of those pay per click ads on a TV station’s website. It featured a drawing of a fat woman offering a way to get rid of belly fat. So I clicked and watched a very interesting video. The narrator said we should eat like the cavemen (and cavewomen). Paleontologists (bone collectors) say that the Cro-Magnons were mostly muscular, lean creatures and had very little body fat. The unintended diet they followed was a necessity. Yes, the market is littered with all types of diets – some include supplements (diet pills that ultimately don’t work), fad diets, low-carb, high-fat diets, and so on

Try to imagine what our ancestors ate. During the warmer months, they found plenty of fresh plant material – fruits (mainly berries) and a crazy array of wild vegetables. In winter they ate meat, and they could easily choose lean meat because they had the whole animal to choose from. Many believe Cro-Magnons varied their diet and calorie intake from day to day. Rarely would they eat the same meals two days in a row.

So did they discover an honest “fat burner” plant 30,000 years ago? Of course not. The body is the furnace, it burns (converts) food into useful nutrients. Eating in and of itself doesn’t burn anything – so beware of those “fat burner plans.” They probably won’t hurt you (at least I don’t think so), but they will drain your wallet – and still make you fat.

The human body is not a machine

Your body isn’t a machine… but it easily adapts to what you put into it. If you feed it the same thing every day, your body will say, “Hey… there’s no need to burn that food. I think I’m going to store it as fat!” Oops! Therein lies the problem. This is exactly what happens when you eat the “typical” western diet. You end up with too much sugar and starchy carbs and unhealthy fats… and not the healthy fats we need for good health.

The ancients had lots of healthy fats! Worst of all, we eat basically the same calories every day. Many of the current fad diets require that your calorie intake be calculated based on your height, weight, and age. I found a nifty calorie counter on about.com that says that at my age I should be eating foods that provide 2146 calories a day. But if you believe this caveman diet is real, and you go by the calorie count from the calculator, your body will say, “I’m used to this… No thanks…”

Be flexible with your calorie intake

OK, so I have to be flexible day-to-day about calorie intake and the specific foods I should be eating… but I should vary those foods and not eat the same thing day-to-day. That doesn’t seem too difficult. In fact, it sounds so easy a caveman could do it!

Thanks to Don Penven

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