The Cro-Magnon Diet – How the Cavemen Survived

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! There seem to be as many diet plans as there are obese people, myself included. No, I am not what I consider to be obese. I weigh 185 pounds and am 6 feet tall. But I have a big belly. Many doctors agree that people come in three forms:

* slim and fit

* pear shaped

* apple shaped

Of course, we all want to be slim and trim, don’t we! But recent government figures suggest that two-thirds of the population are 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 casing puts me in the apple-shaped category. Apple body shape (body fat is stored around the middle – i.e. the abdomen, chest and surrounding internal organs, like the heart) is linked to health issues like coronary heart disease , diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and gallbladder disease.

Doctors say the pear shape (fat is stored around the hips – away from vital organs) is much safer – although it is an undesirable state. To lead a healthy life, we must be aware of two factors: diet and exercise. There’s that word again–diet. I’ve never officially dieted – until recently (more on that in a minute). I try to eat healthy foods, but like most people, I often turn to junk food and sometimes fast food. I bet you thought junk food is FAST FOOD, or vice versa. Not so, say many nutritionists. Some fast foods may be healthier than what we prepare in the kitchen at home. But that’s also another story.

The caveman diet

So what does all this have to do with cro-magnons – cavemen. Just this – I came across one of these pay-per-click ads on a TV channel’s website. It featured a drawing of a fat woman touting a way to get rid of belly fat. So I clicked and watched a very interesting video. The narrator said we should eat like cavemen (and cavewomen) ate. Paleontologists (bone collectors) say that cro-magnons were mostly muscular, slender beings, and had very little body fat. The involuntary diet they followed was one of necessity. Yes, the market is littered with all kinds of diets – some involve supplements (diet pills that ultimately don’t work), fad diets, low carb, high fat diets, etc.

Try to imagine what our ancestors ate. During the warmer months, they found large amounts of fresh plant material – fruits (mostly berries) and a crazy assortment of wild vegetables. In winter, they ate meat, and they could easily choose lean meat because they had all the animal to choose from. Many believe that the Cro-Magnons varied their diet and calorie intake from day to day. They rarely ate the same meals two days in a row.

So did they discover, 30,000 years ago, a “Fat Burner” plant honestly? Of course not. The body is the oven, it burns (converts) food into useful nutrients. Food, by itself, doesn’t burn anything – so beware of these “fat burner plans”. They probably won’t hurt you (at least I don’t think they will), but they will drain your wallet and leave you still fat.

The human body is not a machine

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

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

Be flexible in calorie intake

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

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