What Is the Caveman Diet?
Someone on the caveman diet could not eat
Although the caveman diet, also known as the Paleolithic diet or Stone Age diet, may sound prehistoric, it does not involve hunting, gathering, or clubbing your food. What it does intend to do is to take your eating habits back to a simpler time and remove many of the foods that are compromising a healthy lifestyle.The caveman diet's philosophy is that if the food wasn't around during the Stone Age, then it shouldn't be on the menu today. That means no flour, grains, bread products, refined sugar, dairy, processed oils or legumes. Juices, coffee, and alcohol are also restricted. Essentially, off the list is anything that developed from the formation of agriculture onward. The belief is that these foods, laden with high levels of carbohydrates, are to blame for today's obesity and health problems.The pros for removing these items from the diet and focusing on unprocessed foods are that it is gluten-free and casein-free as well as low in sodium. The caveman diet has led to weight loss in many people who have tried it.Now that the no-no's have been covered, it's time to talk about what can be included on the menu. You can eat meats and organ meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts and roots. All products should be ideally organic. Just another exclusion to note here in terms of root vegetables -- you'll have to free yourself from any starchy tubers like the wildly favored potato and the lesser known cassava.There are certain words of caution here. Those who want to lose weight may want to limit high-sugar fruits. Peanuts count as legumes so that's a no on the PB&J. On substitutes for certain items, you can replace dairy with unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk. In terms of oils, olive, canola, flax seed and fish oils can be used.Beyond what can and cannot be eaten, the real question is whether the caveman diet is really realistic in the modern age. After all, society operates at such a fast pace that the way food is accessed and consumed has changed. The other issue is that proponents of this type of diet often disagree about what foods and beverages are allowed and in what quantities. Lastly, there is controversy about the high fat content of a diet focused on red meat and pork as well as the impact of eliminating entire food groups like dairy.That's not to say the caveman diet can't be done. A typical day illustrates that it is not as bad or unhealthful and could even be delicious. Breakfast might be eggs and bacon. Lunch could consist of a salad with grilled chicken. The dinner menu could feature lamb chops and asparagus. In between, snacks could include fruits and nuts (hold the twigs) or hard-boiled eggs. That doesn't sound too bad, right?It's important to remember that this diet is not just about the menu. There's also your level of activity. Cavemen didn't have sofas and television, and their commute was typically on foot. Since they did have to hunt and gather their food, they were most likely on the go. Same goes for you -- try walking and moving as much as possible as part of your caveman diet's exercise regimen. Just leave the club at home.Some may call it a fad diet, including the American Dietetic Association. But, others find the gluten-free menu of nutrient-rich foods and the focus on energetic exercise something that suits their weight-loss goals and inner caveman. I'm Jonathon Stewart with About.com.