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The Paleo Diet: Lose weight and eat like a caveman?

caveman071911_optBY PAM LOBLEY

The Paleo diet, a diet based on the food and habits of Paleolithic man, promises to give you great health and a perfect physique. Can you improve yourself by copying a caveman? Or will you just end up in a Geico commercial?

The Paleo diet claims that the cavemen — hunter/gatherers that they were — had it all going on when it comes to diet and exercise. They ate lots of wild game, lots of vegetables, and no dairy or grains. They also exercised in short, intense bursts, which Paleo diet creator Dr. Loren Cordain claims is the best way to give us humans a terrific body. Forget long, sustained exercise like running several miles. Just pretend you’re chasing a mammoth, you shoot him with your arrow, and then you and your friends have to drag him back to the cave. Actually, that sounds kind of sustained to me.

It’s true that you never see a cave painting of a fat person. All the prehistoric humans were pretty lean. That could also be because there was no reading and writing, so no one had an excuse to sit still.

In any case, if a New Jersey gal like myself were to try to emulate a cavewoman, what would that mean? I’ll admit, Bergen County does have wild game. The geese are everywhere. There are coyote and the occasional bear. Chipmunks could be a quick snack. Would it be cheating to microwave them or do I have to build a fire?

The Paleo diet asserts that the best diet for humans is the one to which we are genetically adapted. So, does that mean I have not changed genetically from my ancestors 12,000 years ago? I have a lot less hair than some of the cave ladies, and frankly, I’m taller. I’m pretty sure there’s been some evolution. I wasn’t aware that DNA stopped changing when the Bronze Age began.

It seems to me that we in New Jersey are still hunter/gatherers. We’re not farmers, unless you count my little herb garden next to the garage. I go gather my food … at Costco, at Trader Joe’s, at Shoprite. I certainly hunt for the best bargains. I do exactly what cave people did – I take advantage of what’s available and easiest. Future researchers will find that Panera Bread is crucial to the evolutionary diet changes in New Jersey’s residents.

Listen people, you know what you’re supposed to do. Eat smaller portions of a balanced diet, get some exercise, stop going to fast food joints. It’s not hard to lose weight. In fact, it’s so easy, a caveman could do it.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at


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Comments (2)
2 Sunday, 26 April 2015 05:35
Lyn Pattenson
nice article... I really appreciate... I am actually doing paleo just recently..
1 Thursday, 21 July 2011 09:26
Dr. Doug Willen
Pam, nice article. I live in Hunterdon County, NJ and practice in NYC. I write two blogs, and
I'm smiling as I read your article. I often think its funny/ironic when we call this the caveman diet, or the Paleo diet. As we get more modern and scientifically sophisticated, we are looking at pre-historic eating lifestyles to improve our health, bodies, and lives. I have been putting patients on a grain-free diet for 15 years and only recently I discovered that it was called, "Paleo" or "Caveman". To me it was simply the best way to get a patient to get healthy. I would tell my patients to try going off the 3 whites for 90 days. All Grains (flour), Sugar, and Dairy. It worked too. People would drop weight and get healthy.Then I would encourage them to eat this way ongoing if possible. It literally reduces inflammation in the body, because the sugar and grains are acid forming. Now I call it Quantum Paleo, but its the same diet.

I think some people get too caught up in the "Caveman" paradigm. It is not a question of re-enactment. But rather getting closer and closer to the foods we are most genetically suited to absorb and assimilate.

Thanks for melding the science with the humor. You had me LOL!

Dr. Doug

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