Is the 'caveman' lifestyle a healthy choice?

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Niccolo and Donkey
Is the 'caveman' lifestyle a healthy choice?

The Globe and Mail

Alex Hutchinson

November 20, 2011

We used to think of caveman life as nasty, brutish and short. But we spent millions of years adapting to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle; in contrast, we’ve only had agriculture for about 11,000 years. That means our genes are still optimized for life on the savannah, according to advocates of the “paleo” diet. So what exactly did this lifestyle entail?

The paleo diet depends on the assumption that our genes haven’t had time to adapt to the “modern” diet. Since evolution depends on random mutations, larger populations evolve more quickly because there’s a greater chance that a particularly favourable mutation will occur. As a result, our genome is now changing roughly 100 times faster than it was during the Paleolithic era, meaning that we have had time to at least partly adapt to an agricultural diet.

The classic example: the ability to digest milk, which developed only in populations that domesticated dairy animals. More than 90 per cent of Swedes, for example, carry this mutation. Finnish reindeer herders, in contrast, acquired genes that allow them to digest meat more efficiently, while other populations can better digest alcohol or grains. The “ideal” ancestral diet is most likely different for everyone.

Here are six key elements of the Paleolithic lifestyle, according to Pedro Carrera-Bastos, a Swedish health researcher specializing in the effects of “ancestral” diets, and his colleagues.

Getting enough vitamin D is crucial to bone health, and may also play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The simplest way to meet your needs: sunlight. But modern office-bound humans rarely spend enough time outside to get enough. Some hunter-gatherer cultures at high latitudes have found other ways – the Inuit, for example, rely on fatty fish for vitamin D.

Go to sleep when it’s dark, get up when it’s light. Our bodies have powerful internal clocks that try to enforce this simple rule. Even a night or two of disrupted sleep has immediate effects on your appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin. That’s why sleep patterns are closely related to obesity and metabolic syndrome: Too little sleep is most common these days, but too much isn’t good either.

An obvious one – but easier said than done in the modern world.

The typical hunter-gatherer life punctuated long periods of low stress with short bouts of acute stress that triggered the fight-or-flight response. In contrast, modern office workers often show signs of chronically elevated stress, which can have consequences such as elevated blood pressure and a weakened immune system.

Sure, paleo folks got more exercise than we do. But what kind?

-Large amounts of light-to-moderate activity, such as walking or jogging, while hunting and foraging. Estimates place the typical distance covered at five to 16 kilometres per day.
-Hard days were usually followed by easy days – though not totally sedentary.
-Short bursts of very high-intensity activity. This can be mimicked with interval training once or twice per week.
-Wide variety of daily activities that strengthen the whole body, ranging from carrying children and digging tubers to dancing.

The paleo diet is often hyped as a meat lover’s fantasy. While it varies from culture to culture, modern hunter-gatherers typically get only 35 per cent of their calories from meat, with the rest derived from plants. Even if we assume a 50-50 split, the greater caloric density of meat means that, by volume, the paleo “plate” would have had significantly more vegetables and fruit than meat on it.

BOTTOM LINE: So will going paleo really pay off with better health? As a big-picture guide to how to organize your life, definitely. But don't get carried away with trying to recreate the exact details of a long-lost diet. Humans have changed and diversified even over the past few thousand years, so the only way to know what works best for your genes is to experiment. Go wild.
Niccolo and Donkey
el greco

another shit tier fad from the proles. next up, fasting


Yes, it is healthier. I have given up on health though.

I live near an airport and next to the national highway. I spend many hours a day absorbing radiations from my computer's screen. I have mercury contaminated light-bulbs in my house. Both I and several neighbours use wi-fi internet, with the consequent electromagnetic fields charging us with positive ions (this is bad). On the street: dust, filth, smog, dog shit, pollution. The water is filled with estrogens. The plastic is filled with estrogens. The food has estrogens. Alcohol has an estrogenic effect as well.

Being truly healthy would imply a very radical change in my life, and I am too weak to do it. I choose being unhealthy and laugh as my body, and the bodies of the people around me, rot. We become feminized, the women get breast cancer, everybody has migraines and bad digestion, bad skin, bad teeth, depression, IT IS FUCKING AWESOME.

One thing I tend to do, however, it to eat following more or less the paleo guidelines. I do this because I like the food you eat with paleo diet, and because I hate fat people and I hate being fat.


To illustrate my view I have created this fascinating piece:

Electrosmog Survivor
(Nov 2011)



I definitely think there could be some truth in this diet. A friend of mine has spoken enthusiastically about it, though I know he doesn't follow all the guidelines and has even added a few of his own. One thing he added was to bathe but not use soap or shampoo. He claims that this is better for one's skin and hair. I can't speak to this but I do agree with # 5. I've always found long walks, hiking and swimming to be a far more enjoyable and healthier form of exercise than jogging or the regular gym workout rigmarole.

Can't make a claim about shampoo as I still use it, but I quit soap nearly 2 years ago. No stink, no rashes, no dry skin and no problems.

I followed the diet very strictly as per Kurt Harris' guidelines, other than eating grassfed and getting exercise. The worst things about it were 1) people kept pressuring me into eating things I shouldn't/didn't want to eat 2) surfaces got harder to sit on. There were a whole slew of small things that were better about my health as a result of following the regimen. I'm always trying to get back into it and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Mark Sission goes further into this. He believes that instead of performing medium-intensity exercise (jogging, for instance), we should work on the extremes. Either a brisk walk or hike for the light stuff, and HIIT for the other stuff.

I don't have to diet or exercise to keep my fat low. I have a small appetite, one or two small meals per day, I never stuff myself. I used to spend every other night in the gym doing moderate bench pressing, pull ups, sit ups, arm curls, lateral arm raises, etc and it shows (in college, students and professors assumed I was on one of the sports teams). I haven't worked out since arriving in Korea, however, so I'm going to buy some dumbbells and a pull up bar the first week of December.

I don't use soap, but shampoo is a must. I drink milk almost everyday. I sleep 6-9 hours a night.
Aside from fucking up my spine between the shoulders a few years ago, and a popping in my left knee... I have no health issues or pains.

The only thing I make sure to leave out of my diet is aspartame, and pig unless someone is buying me a meal (my boss took me to lunch and it was a big bowl of fried pork, I did not reject because I'm not a dick). I drink maybe once a month, never drunk. No tobacco or marijuana, no pills. Being healthy isn't complicated and shouldn't occupy any large part of your mind or time, or money... unless you have a disease.

This makes me so angry I want to kill anyone that suggests I should eat grains "because they have fiber" or anything similar. It makes me so fucking mad I am getting liver cancer on purpose and then shouting at those idiots: "SEE? I FUCKING TOLD YOU I SHOULDN'T HAVE EATEN THAT GARBAGE". I am seriously destroying my health out of spite.
Bohdan Khmelnytsky

The caveman style is great. I used it for about three months and I noticed huge differencesm the only problem was cooking eating out and drinking. I followed the diet and exercise to a die and it was easy and rewarding. However the stressess of everday life caught up and I stopped. It was certainly a lot easier to eat this way then other diets I have been on. The results in the gym were good, not much better when I approach diet and exercise with the right diet, sleep and supplements.

Getting results has never been the problem, its living a life where you can continually do this.for that reason the caveman approach fails. While the other low glycemic diets I hsve been are easier to prepare they are harder to enjoy. You get fucking tired of tuna and raw vegetables afetr awhile but at least its easy to maintain.