Caveman Cooking; A Paleo Diet?

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What is up with this new Paleo diet?  Have you heard about it yet?  It seems our ancestors the “cavemen” were eating better  back then than we are today.  That’s interesting.   They spent 90% of their time looking for food and the other 10% planning how to hunt for it.  With a life expectancy of 30 years, we are now being told that they were somehow in better physical condition because of their diets.  Seems like kind of an uphill argument to me.

So what did the paleolithic people eat?  Well, for starters, when they were not gnawing on dried jerky, their diet consisted of berries and nuts that they gathered along the trail.  Their daily meals would have consisted of the items they gathered on that particular day.  Fresh foods picked or gathered the same day;  now that makes sense.  Few people in the western world can actually do that, most of us depend on the “supermarket” and the freshness of your food is anybodies guess.

Without refrigeration the meats that they were able to hunt and gather would have to be eaten quickly or spoil.  Again the emphasis is on fresh and in our western pesticide happy society,  this would mean go organic as much as you can.  Also, you want to go wild.   Contact your hunting buddies and ask them for any extra elk or venison that they have to spare.

Now the diet takes a different turn.  Carbohydrates from grains are out, you see they are a product of those more civilized types .  Our “paleolithic bodies” are not capable of digesting the rice and the beans and the grains.   Seems they cause too many lower GI problems.  So throw out your bread and morning oats.  “Eliminating gluten, by far, delivers the best results I have ever seen. Pasteurized milk, artificial sweetener, soy, coffee and grains are the biggest ones.”  Oh No! Not my morning coffee!

In the evolutionary scheme of things it seems that as man became more domesticated he stopped wandering and settled down to farm.  According to these folks that is when our problems began.  Some how after several hundred years of domestic farming life, the foods we now produce are not as good for us as the foods that our paleolithic ancestors ate.  This of course accounts for the fact that there are several people in our midst who are “gluten” intolerant.   It seems that gluten is one of the major drawbacks to civilized society food.  I am sorry that some people have that intolerance, but I truly enjoy and am nourished by my daily slices of whole wheat bread.

After all the life expectancy of the average person in the western cultures is in the 70’s now as opposed to the 30’s for the paleolithic peoples.  Please let me know what you think about this, I would love to hear your comments, is this a good idea?

(Editors Note)

(If you have read many of the articles on this blog you know that I work in a catering environment.  That means that I show up at the customer’s venue (Home, Convention Hall, Office Complex, Castle or wherever) with the food that the customer has ordered and I cook and serve it on site.  We bring only the food that is on the menu the customer has ordered.  Increasingly, these days we are getting requests for “gluten free” meals.  When we know in advance, we do indeed honor that request and include a “GF” offering.  However, if we don’t know before the party it is impossible to take the “starch/wheat/gluten” out of the menu.  This is especially true of sauces which have been thickened with roux (which is the most common thickening method in modern kitchens), it is also found in soy sauce and in trace amounts elsewhere.  Here is the caveat:  If you adopt a gluten free diet for what ever reason, please don’t get hysterical on the chef at a restaurant or party that you attend.  They are glad to prepare your meal any way you want it, but not during the process of serving it, it is too late by then.)

I believe that Nicki has a good idea for a diet for an extreme work-out schedule where the demands on our physical performance are critical.  Eliminating starches,  and simple sugars will certainly help you to push your metabolism to its maximum capabilities.  You will however, also discover that  you can’t have it both ways, chocolate chip “gluten free” cookies are not the same as you are used to eating.  Breads made without gluten have no substance, and sauces that are not thickened with flour usually get cornstarch or arrow root which also have questionable food value.  When you eliminate dairy products, it gets really interesting as the substitutes for butter and cream and cheese are totally different in properties and taste.  YMMV!

Here are some pictures of Nicki’s recipes.  I have no doubt that they are healthy and good for you, it is just my long term love affair with starch that makes me want to question it.  These look really appetizing and I am sure that for an active work-out lifestyle this type of diet will not slow you down.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Sweet Potato Bacon and Egg Salad

Salad Satay

Salad Satay

Broccoli Bacon and Cashew Salad

For more information visit The Paleo Website

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