Skip to comments.Living Prehistorically In A Modern Age
Posted on 05/23/2010 10:38:14 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
BOSTON The word Paleolithic might evoke images from the 1980s film Quest for Fire or, more recently, the scruffy cavemen in those Geico commercials. But Nate Rosenberg says going back in time to eat like a Neanderthal doesnt make him one.
Its obviously not a reenactment of Paleolithic life, Rosenberg says.
The 27-year-old foraged through his contemporary kitchen in the cute Somerville apartment he shares with his Paleo partner Michal Naisteter.
We eat modern foods, he says. In the Paleolithic era they did not have ground beef or, you know, dried oregano from Whole Foods and stuff life that, which we benefit from. But we try keep in mind our evolutionary history.
Added Naisteter: I eat fish, I eat eggs, I eat vegetables and I eat berries and nuts.
Naisteter and Rosenberg are part of an international fitness and nutrition movement known as ancestral health. The theory is that while the food humans eat has evolved and gone high-tech through the ages, our bodies have not. Primal eating is pre-agricultural. Going Paleo means no processed foods, no sugar, no whole grains, legumes or dairy. But they eat lots of meat. Naisteter gave me a tour of their fridge.
I would say we have about six pounds of ground beef right now, she says.
There was some buffalo, and even a vacuum-sealed boneless free-range turtle.
What is this big thing? she continues. A fresh pork ham. Dont tell my mother, were Jewish. Naisteter says her mother thinks her lifestyle is really weird, but shes also trying to convince her mother to try it. Hes already convinced his parents to do it, Naisteter says.
Because, they say, eating Paleo has drastically improved their health. No more eczema, allergies, acne or stomach issues. Even so, dietitian and Boston University Professor Joan Salge-Blake is a Paleo skeptic saying that was then, this is now.
We should all be going back, he says. I dont think we have to go all the way back. Lets go back to grandma, and how grandma cooked, and she made dinner and she had fruits and vegetables and she had more grains and there was less sweets and treats.
Salge-Blake also points out that the life expectancy for Paleolithic people was only 30-years-old. Of course Neanderthals lived in a much more threatening environment than modern-day Somerville. No sabertooth tigers here. Regardless, the life-span issue doesnt deter Rosenberg and Naisteter from embracing their diet or a clan of other like-minded eaters who showed up for a recent Paleo potluck. Theyre all members of a Paleo group Naisteter and Rosenberg formed a few months ago.
On the menu: Meatza a pizza-like pie with a ground beef crust topped with crispy bacon and veggies.
At the party, 32-year-old Evan Ferrell outfitted in curious-looking flexible shoes called Vibram Five Fingers brought coconut chard. He explained how going Paleo has changed his life.
Ive been suffering from this auto-immune disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, for almost 10 years now, he says, so to be able to go off my medication, which I did about a few months ago, has been outstanding.
The Paleo lifestyle isnt only about food; its also about fostering physical prowess. Paleolithic man had to be strong and quick to pursue his prey or run away from it. Modern hardcore Paleo athletes (and gurus of the lifestyle) scramble around on all fours and toss boulders for exercise. At CrossFit in Natick, its not quite as extreme, but there was a Paleo Challenge underway, where athletes lift and drop huge barbells.
Paleo fitness emphasizes heavy-duty strength and agility training, rather than cardio. No machines. Just leaping, crouching, sprinting and endless dead-lifts.
Vicky Hadden, a slight but taut 46-year-old mother of three, lifted a mammoth amount of weight over her head.
This is 135 pounds, which is more than you! she says.
Everyone at the gym says eating like a hunter-gatherer has increased their athletic performance. Theyre stronger, faster, fitter. And they tend to eat lean cuts of meat.
But like any diet that rejects whole food groups, its always best to proceed with caution and consult a doctor. There are a number of books and blogs on ancestral health espousing moderate-to-extreme tactics for living Paleo. Some people fast intermittently (the feast-or-famine approach) or grow facial hair. Others donate pints of blood since early man likely lost a fair bit of it on the hunt. Most Paleos sleep for extended periods of time and get as much sunlight as they can. Then theres the self-proclaimed New York caveman who likes to run barefoot across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Ping. Not sure if you’re interested.
I don’t see where any of these people are catching and killing their own meat... Or is that a little too primitive?
Oh, there are people who do that. Apparently these people just aren’t hardcore enough.
Never fear there's no procreation here!
I’ve lost count of the number of times some friend or stranger has lectured me about how my medical problems are my own fault, then proceeded with the “You Just Have To . . . “ dieting advice. “You just have to avoid gluten”, “You just have to avoid meat”, “You just have to eat organic”, “You just have to avoid processed foods”, “You just have to stop drinking cola”.
I’ve tried most of those at some point. The best ones had no effect whatsoever. At least one of them made me sicker than I’ve ever been (it seems I have trouble absorbing vegetable protein, going vegetarian was a bad idea).
For those it works for: great! Good for you! Just don’t expect it to work the same for everyone. We are as different on the inside as we are on the outside.
Michal is a she.
Lifespan of Paleolithic man?
I think they might just be roommates.
Knowing how much energy it takes to get an animal down - and how little to send women out to find berries - I suspect the "gathers" did a lot of the contributions. Dandelion greens, anyone?
You can pry my bacon from my cold greasy fingers....
Of course, because the food group they reject is bread. And neither Archer Daniels Midland nor their privately owned politicians can allow any talk to the effect that grains are actually animal food, and not conducive to good digestion in humans. They would rather invent whole new categories of disease than admit it.
I wonder if anyone has found fossilized meat grinders from the Paleolithic era?????
Makes sense, I guess, IF you believe in evolution! I don’t.
Man I know just what you mean, we gave up cake, candy, cokes, pie, nachos, brownies, cookies, ice cream, sugar, etc and I didn’t lose a darn pound. In fact when I used to eat a lot of junk, and I mean a LOT, I was skinny.
“You can pry my bacon from my cold greasy fingers....”
When you outlaw bacon, only pigs will have bacon!
Audette: “Paleo is what you can find to eat if you are naked and armed with nothing but a sharp stick.” LOL! The book is well-written and enjoyable.
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