Earlier this month, the NY Times ran an article entitled The New Age Cavemen and the City.

And it sent the Paleo/Primal/Caveman online community into a frenzy.

Never before had this niche community received such mainstream attention.

It’s too bad that the Paleos interviewed for the story came off as a bunch of New York hipster douchebags.

Now, instead of not knowing what Paleo is, people are going reference this article and assume that Paleo means:

  • Eating raw meat
  • Or running barefoot on New York streets
  • Except when we’re running around Central Park on all fours
  • Or throwing rocks at each other
  • Or eating with our hands
  • And my personal favorite – bloodletting

Bloodletting….seriously?

From now on, Paleo = Crazy-Ass New York Hipster Douchebag.

And that’s too bad.

Because if more people jumped on the Paleo bandwagon, we would see a drastic reduction in:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Love Handles
  • Muffin Tops
  • Fat Kids
  • Fat Parents
  • Diet Menus at Taco Bell
  • you get the idea.

So, Now That I Have Convinced You To Reconsider Going Paleo

What kind of Paleo are you going to be?

Because, going paleo doesn’t mean you have to eat raw meat. Most of us don’t. Heck, if you sat next to us at a restaurant, you would never even know we were Paleo.

In fact, odds are that you have already eaten Paleo…and you didn’t even know it.

So, without any further ado, I give you…

The Health Habits List of Paleo Sub-Groups

Paleo Basic

Eat This

  • Foods that are as close to nature as possible. If our Paleo ancestors couldn’t make it, you can’t eat it.
  • Meat -i.e  beef, pork, chicken, fish, seafood, etc…
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Seed Oils
  • Water

Don’t Eat This

  • Grains
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • or any other Processed crap. If it comes in a box or has multi-syllabic ingredients, it ain’t Paleo.

If you’re still confused, watch this…

Less Restrictive Options

1.    Say Yes to Dairy

The Paleolithic era ended about 10,000 years ago. There is evidence that humans domesticated cattle around 8500 years ago. Therefore, it is unlikely that our Paleo ancestors consumed dairy – milk, cream, yogurt, butter, cheese.

But, 8500 years is a long, long time.

Is it possible that during the past 400 generations some of our familial digestive systems have evolved in order to effectively digest dairy?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

For that reason, some Paleos eat and/or drink dairy

2.    Say Yes to Legumes

Like dairy, humans have been eating legumes for about 8000 years.

Some of us do fine with beans and some of us….don’t

For that reason, some Paleos eat legumes.

3.     Say Yes to Fruit & Vegetable Juices

Our Paleo ancestors never had access to the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. So, it’s highly unlikely that they were able to enjoy a nice big glass of carrot-apple juice (yum).

But, for us modern Paleos, when time is short and our stomachs are grumbling, a bottle of V8 from the nearest convenience store can make the difference between going hungry and inhaling a bag of Doritos.

4.     Say Yes to Lightly Processed Foods

Along the same lines as the convenience store V8, some modern Paleos don’t want to make every meal from scratch. They take advantage of the growing organic food movement to buy lightly processed, Paleo-friendly meals. In fact, there are even a few fledgling Paleo-food manufacturers out there.

Paleo Treats, Caveman Cookies, Paleo Brands, PaleoKits

5.     Say Yes to Supplements

Multi-Vitamins, green food powders, fish oils, protein powders, creatine, leucine, Zyflamend, Curcumin, etc…

None of these products were available to our Paleo ancestors. But, then again, our Paleo ancestors entire food supply was organic, free range and free of pollution.

More Restrictive Options

1.    Say No to Cooked Food

Some Paleos eat their food raw…fruit, veg, even meat.

The theory is that cooking food decreases the quantity & quality of the nutrients.

And they may be right.

On the other hand, humans have been cooking with fire for about 1.8 million years. This means that our Paleo ancestors probably enjoyed a good barbecue as much as you do.

2.    Intermittant Fasting

This is a unique offshoot of mainstream Paleo. The idea here is that back in the olden days, our ancestors couldn’t count on a constant supply of food. If they wanted meat, they had to go out and kill the meat. If they were unsuccessful, they went to bed hungry.

The modern version of intermittant fasting differs from the original in that IFers choose to go 24 hrs+ without eating in the belief that it will cause a release of beneficial hormones and help them lose weight/get fit.

There are a number of IF gurus online marketing their particular brand of IF. A quick google search will bring them up.

Personally, I don’t see any harm in performing the occasional fast. You’re not going to pass out or anything.

But, the whole IF thing seems a little bit cult-y if you catch my drift.

In fact, all of these ultra-restrictive versions of Paleo seem to thrive on their “us v.s. the world” kind of mentality.

It’s kind of like the kids back in high school who thought they were unique and different and no one was like them…except for all of their friends who listened to the same music, wore the same clothes, hated the same mainstream kids…..aaaahhh, high school – what memories.

3.     Bloodletting

The idea here is that our ancestors were more likely than us  to get into a physical confrontation with a Woolly Mammoth or something. And therefore, more likely to lose the occasional pint of blood.

So, to mimic this occasional blood loss, this Paleo sub-set heads down to the Red Cross and makes a donation every now and then.

And, you know what, that’s pretty cool (still kinda weird, but cool)

Did you know that only 3 in 100 Americans gives blood?

4.     No Nightshades

This restriction has nothing to do with what our Paleo ancestors ate. It’s all about the potential negative health effects associated with nightshade vegetables.

Potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, and Tabasco sauce are classified as nightshade foods. A particular group of substances in these foods, called alkaloids, can impact nerve-muscle function and digestive function in animals and humans, and may also be able to compromise joint function.

For this reason, some Paleos don’t eat nightshades.

5.     No “Starchy” Vegetables

From a strictly Paleo point of view, there isn’t a problem. While I don’t see our Paleo ancestors chowing down on raw potatoes or corn, I bet the woman who baked the first spud by tossing it on the fire was a big hit around the campfire.

mmmmmmmmmmmmm grilled woolly mammoth and a loaded baked potato. Yum

This is another nutritional complaint.

In particular, this Paleo restriction is all about Fat Paleos trying to become lean Paleos by reducing their Glycemic Load / Insulin secretion and stored body-fat.

Ergo, no potatoes, carrots, parshnips, beets, corn, sweet potatoes, peas and squashes

Kind of a low-carb Paleo Diet.

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Alright, that’s it for now.

I have probably missed a few niche Paleo groups, so if you think I have, shoot me a comment/email and I will add them to the list.

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And because I love my readers so much, the Healthy Irishman and I have decided to make his Saturday recipes all Paleo all the time.

Once again, feel free to shoot me or him suggestions for future meals.