Paleolithic diet AKA the “caveman diet”

Katherine Baird


Katherine Baird | The Advance-Titan

Take a moment to think about what you eat from day to day. How many of those foods contain refined sugars (aka standard table sugars)? Salsa, bread, smoothies, barbecue sauce, pizza and even salads. Didn’t imagine that sugars could find their way into your savory choices? Well think again.
What we eat, though it may be disregarded sometimes, plays a large role in our lives. We are a generation that grew up with fast food and microwavable dinners, but if you knew a way to eat cleaner, that could even improve your emotional health and personal image, would you stray from the junk and give it a try?
Many have heard people spouting comments like, “using the paleo diet is extremely restrictive,” or, “taking the time to figure out what to eat and how to eat it is already too much effort.”
Those comments, though negative, aren’t necessarily wrong. For many it isn’t always easy to transition into such an extreme diet. However, not all comments are negative.
The now retired NBA player, Grant Hill, stated in an LA Weekly article, “I think I’ll wear out mentally before I will physically… I know that sounds crazy because I’ve had a lot of injuries, but I feel now at 40 that I’m in better shape than when I was 32 or 33, and I know a lot of that has to do with eating.”
He is not the only star to have said such things. Kobe Bryant, Miley Cyrus and Aaron Rodgers are just a few of the other well-known names that have followed the paleo diet and praised the benefits they felt as a result.
What many people have stressed when trying the paleo diet is that they felt healthier and that they possessed more energy.
By eating according to the paleo diet, the body has more nutrients than ever and can operate more efficiently due to the lack of sugars and processed fats that normally stand in the way, slowing you down.
Some people who follow the paleo diet also factor in aspects of other diets to fit their preference. A few options being Vegetarian Paleo, Pescetarian Paleo, or even Vegan Paleo (though paleo is mostly vegan except for the consumption of meat).
The most challenging of all of these would be the Vegan Paleo.
For this variation of the diet you would cut out all animal by -products, such as meat, eggs and dairy, all processed foods and all foods that contain refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Now looking at that rather extensive list of “no’s,” you may be thinking, “ok, so my options to eat are basically pineapple and grass… wonderful”, but you’d be mistaken.
There are in fact hundreds of websites solely dedicated to paleo recipes, grocery lists, simple meal prep options and blog sections about incorporating the diet seamlessly into your lifestyle. There are always resources and people who are more than happy to receive questions from readers of their blogs or articles.
The foundation and concepts are there, now it is about execution, and being on a college campus can make this a challenge.
Blackhawk Commons hasn’t always been the kindest to those who relish variety in terms of the day-to-day options, but it has changed for the better in recent years. An example of a day in the life of a Paleolithic dietitian, who relies on that of Blackhawk, could follow the model below:
Breakfast: An omelet with veggies (i.e. green pepper, mushroom, onion and tomato) accompanied by a banana or a different fruit piece.
Lunch: You could go to the The Slice in Blackhawk, where deli wraps and sandwiches are made to order. Put together a wrap with hummus, vegetables and lettuce. The downfall, however, of eating out or somewhere where the dressing or sauce is premade is that you can usually assume that there are hidden sugars, and in that case you would need to avoid that based on the constraints of the diet. An apple on the side would complete the meal.
Dinner: The @HomeCooking often has good options, as well as vegetarian options. That paired with a side salad would be perfect. When it comes to choosing a dressing you need to keep in mind that many dressings have refined sugars in them. It’s safest to stick with an oil-based dressing. Oil-based dressings also tend to have more healthy fats in them that can keep you fuller longer.
Options at Reeve are still fairly limited, but a few favorites include as follows: A vegetable or grilled chicken burrito bowl from Wholly Habaneros with veggies, salsa, rice and beans. A veggie or meat wrap from Sub Connection without sauce. Or even a vegetable loaded salad at Garden Toss, with olive oil and vinegar on the salad.
So though you may be under the impression that this would be an impossible feat to achieve while living in the dorms, if there’s a will, there’s a way.
In fact, a student on campus gave her opinion on the diet.
“It seems like a great idea, but I honestly can’t imagine having to monitor what I eat that closely when I was living in the dorms,” UWO junior Kjersten Pederson said.
When asked if that would change because she now resides off-campus, Penderson let out a laugh and continued, “maybe for a week to try and see how it felt… but giving up processed foods entirely sounds like a lot of cooking and time to me.”
This is how many people view the diet; though it sounds like a great way to eat, it also requires work and a place to make meals.
I myself have done the diet, along with being Pescartarian, for more than 4 months now, and would recommend it to anyone because of the way I have felt since starting it and the beneficial impact it has had on my life. If you have an interest in trying the Paleolithic diet, have any questions or want recommendations for websites or blogs, I can be contacted via campus email.