Diet and Nutrition,  Health and Fitness

Paleo Diet Misconceptions by Sara Dawson

Paleo Diet misconceptions seem to be everywhere. Eat like a caveman and exercise like a caveman has so many people not understanding the basics of the plan. ‘We can’t eat like a caveman,’ they say. Cavemen died off a long time ago. ‘Exercise like a caveman? How ridiculous,’ they insist. Cavemen didn’t have all the equipment we have today. They didn’t even have gyms.

This is not what the paleo diet suggests at all. In fact, the creator of the diet, Loren Cordain, could not have chosen a more misleading term for the paleo diet. Of course, we can’t eat like cavemen and cavewomen and their children ate. We do not hunt for our protein. We do not go out in the fields to gather nuts and berries and grains to supplement our proteins. But that is not the point of the diet at all.

Eating Like A Caveman: Paleo Diet Misconceptions

Eating like a caveman, simply stated, means eating natural foods and not manufactured foods. The stuff that comes in boxes stacked high on supermarket shelves is not ‘food.’ Some have called this processed food, food-like substances. I think that is a rather good name to give processed foods. The paleo diet suggests that eating food like substances robs you of nutrition, destroys your guts, and promotes fat growth.

I have a rather simple basic rule. I never, and I do mean NEVER, eat foods with ingredients on the label that I cannot easily pronounce. They are mostly there to kill off bacteria that would otherwise cause the food to go bad. If they do that to the food, just think about what it does in your guts to the good bacteria living there.

We evolved to eat from the land. We did not evolve to eat genetically modified organisms (GMO). No matter how many times food biologists claim that gene splicing is nothing more than hybridization, it is not a natural process. Surely, when farmers cross-breed plants, the result is a new, man-made variety. But that is quite different than placing a gene in the plant to make it immune to Roundup weed killer.

Eating Like a caveman means that one should avoid foods that have been tampered with for the sake of profit margins. Organic foods make sense because it is the naturally raised or gathered foods that sustained our ancestors for millennia.

Exercise Like A Caveman: Paleo Diet Misconceptions

When one hears the term exercise like a caveman, it congers up thoughts of heavy duty exercise routines. That just isn’t the case. In fact, our paleolithic ancestors, much like all of our ancestors before the invention of the automobile, mostly walked everywhere. You had to be rich to own horses and buggies. Getting from here to there was mostly done by foot.

Today, human beings spend more time in their cars than they do walking. But if your paleo ancestors wanted to eat, they picked up their hunting weapons and walked, sometimes for days, to hunt for food. Then they had to walk back, this time carrying their prey. The hunt itself was a cooperative venture with a great deal of running combined with the release of adrenalin. In short, these were normal, day to day occurrences that were not thought of as exercise. They were just what one did.

That is what it means to exercise like a caveman. Learn to park your car at the far end of the parking lot and walk…yes, even in the rain or snow or the heat of a summer day. Take the stairs and not the elevator. Apply the half-mile rule. If something is a half-mile or less from where you are, walk. Leave the car behind. This rule should be expanded to up to two-miles over time. The truth is, walking is a great exercise, the same kind of exercise as your paleo ancestors did.

Paleo Diet Misconceptions are Just That…Misconceptions

There is no reason to shy away from a paleo diet just because some people think that the diet is unnatural. They are the ones who are mistaken. They are caught up in the idea that a caveman lived a hard life, had a short lifespan, and sometimes lived through periods of famine.

Don’t be fooled by such claims. They are not, in the least, accurate conceptions of what it means to eat in a paleo style.


Sara Dawson is the managing partner at Proven Rapid Weight Loss, a Fischel Group Company. Her personal journey going from ‘chubby’ and unhealthy to thin and healthy is one that anyone who suffers from being overweight or in poor health, or both should know.

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