The Cave Woman Diet
In spite of it's name, this diet does not include being dragged by the hair,
hunting with clubs or skinning big game. Though you might feel good enough to do
all of those things. What it does include is a return to our evolutionary roots.
As a student of anthropology, I read every book I can find on ancient homonids and
their culture. In January of 2002, while cruising Amazon.com for something new about
our primitive cousins, I came across two books on ancient hominid diets. Out of
curiosity, I ordered them.
In a nutshell, about 12,000 years ago the last Ice Age ended. Within 2,000 years
of the ice sheet receding, agriculture began and new foods became the staple they
are in today's diet. This new diet, called Neolithic, had an immediate effect
on human health. Skeletons of Neolithic farmers show poor nutrition compared to
the previous generations of hunter-gatherers. They died younger, were shorter, had
more cavities in their fewer teeth and showed the first evidence of obesity.
The problem with the new diet of the Neolithic period was that we didn't evolve
to eat those new foods. The small human digestive tract is unique among primates.
We have only one stomach and a relatively short large intestine. We are more suited
to digesting and extracting nutrients from meat, fruit, nuts, and some vegetables.
This was of particular interest to me since I knew I was allergic to wheat and was
also lactose intolerant. If I couldn't digest those items, maybe there were
other items I couldn't digest and just didn't know it.
After reading both books, doing some research on the Internet and at my local library,
I fashioned a diet for myself. And the Cave Woman Diet was born.
On January 16, 2002, when the last kid returned to college, I began my diet. Since
the previous January, I had been exercising, lifting weights and generally killing
myself to lose a grand total of ten pounds. And it took a year! Not a very satisfying
result from so much effort.
I began by purging the kitchen of every slide of bread, every cracker, every package
of pasta, and every cream-filled pastry. I was ruthless.
Next, I went to the store and bought meat. Beef, pork, chicken, fish and shrimp.
Then I hit the produce section. Fresh vegetables and fruits nestled in the shopping
cart next to nuts and dried fruit (without sugar added) and eggs. The rules for
eating were simple. Eat nothing that couldn't be found in nature. Eat only when
I was hungry, even if it was every two hours. And eat only enough to satisfy my
hunger. No gorging.
I began my eating day at 9 am. I scrambled an egg in a small amount of butter and
topped it with a dash of cheese. At 11 am, I was back in the kitchen eating pastrami
or corned beef (not processed but from the deli). Just a couple of slices rolled
inside a thin slice of cheese.
At one, I had lunch. Usually a left over item from dinner the night before. Pork
chops, a stuffed pepper, a ground beef patty. Whatever. I made a small salad to
accompany this with a teaspoon of salad dressing. Between three and four in the
afternoon, I was hungry again. This is when I got out the fresh fruit and nuts.
usually apples and walnuts. I munched them while I fixed a dinner of steak, chicken,
pork or fish. I also prepared the fresh vegetables for the meal. I'm partial
to broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, but I also ate snow peas, mushrooms and other
vegetables, though no corn or beans.
By eight or nine that night it was time to drag out the fruit again for something
to snack on.
At the end of five days, I had lost three pounds and my chronic indigestion. Goodbye
Tums! And I was never hungry since I ate all the time. Previous dietary study indicated
that to change our metabolism it is necessary to eat often. This reprograms the
body to stop storing fat.
The second week I droppef four pounds and my energy level skyrocketed. I was not
just cleaning house, I was cleaning closets and kitchen cabinets and organizing
items for a yard sale. Interestingly, I had no more sinus headaches or joint pain
and had eliminated the use of over the counter decongestants and arthritis pain
At the end of six weeks, I had lost twenty pounds, my clothes no longer fit and
I had energy to spare. I was sleeping soundly and my anxiety level was greatly reduced.
I felt better than I had in years.
I had continued a modified version of my daily workout during this diet period.
Chronic back pain had plagued me since my twenties and I used exercise to keep my
muscles from seizing up. I had to wonder if my diet would have been as successful
without the twenty minute a day workout. So, at the end of my third week, I put
my wheelchair confined husband on the diet. He lost twelve pounds! A man who cannot
move lost weight. I knew then I was definitely onto something.
I thought at the end of six weeks, it was safe to add a few goodies back into my
diet. I missed a few things like a slice of bread with my meat and cheese and an
occasional sip from a root beer float. Only in moderation, of course.
Those small indulgences made me sick. Tummy ache, diarrhea, headache. It didn't
take a rocket scientist to figure out that modern foods were making me sick and
probably had been all my life. That was pretty strong motivation to continue the
Cave Woman Diet.
I am now at my ideal weight. I no longer suffer with indigestion and allergies.
And I am more energetic and productive than ever. My coaching business is taking
off, my writing business is flourishing and I feel and look better than I have in
So, get out your loincloth, sharpen your stone tools and become a Cave Woman! Eat
the way Mother Nature designed us to eat. Once you brake the addiction to grains
and sugars, you will never want to touch them again.
For Further Reading