Diet Trend: Going Caveman

Posted on January 10, 2010

Joseph Goldstein of The New York Times examines a new trend in New York City: going caveman. The concept is based on The Paleo Diet, the book which theorizes that humans would be healthier if they ate like cavemen: lots of protein, the occasional fruit or vegetable, lots of exercise and no cooked or processed agricultural products such as bread or sweets. Most of the devotees are men, but in the group the reporter visited, there was one woman. They all work normal jobs and enjoy high-tech items such as computers: they don't want to live completely like cavemen. They just want to eat like them, and be healthier. With big muscles and lots of endurance.
Loren Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University and the author of “The Paleo Diet,” links the movement to a 1985 New England Journal of Medicine article, which proclaimed that the "diet of our remote ancestors may be a reference standard for modern human nutrition."

Another source of paleo converts is CrossFit, a fitness program known for grueling workouts combining weightlifting and gymnastics. CrossFit trainers, who teach at more than 1,200 gyms and other affiliates across the country, generally encourage clients to follow either a caveman diet or the Zone diet, which requires tracking calories. "Some of the gyms have hardcore paleo folks, and if you're a member of that gym then you're paleo, while other gyms are hardcore Zone," said Anthony Budding, who manages the content on

Experts in early humans dispute some of the tenets of latter-day paleos, including the belief that fasting is beneficial and that the body is unequipped to handle an agriculture-based diet.
The paleos consider the vegans a "a misguided, rival tribe," which we found kind of hilarious. Mr. Goldstein didn't interview the rival vegan tribe, but we already know what they think about the paleos: that they're a bunch of raw meat-eating barbarians. In point of fact only one guy in the group eats his grass-fed beef raw. He does use a fork, though.