The stone age diet: Why I eat like a caveman

Afew years ago, as I approached 40, I found I couldn't do up the top button of my jeans. Through my twenties and most of my thirties, I'd taken size 32; now, I needed a 36. I was in denial for months.

What stopped this was an unforgiving changing-room mirror. As I stood there without my T-shirt, I was confronted with the harsh reality that I had a spare tyre. There it was; like it or not, I was facing the onset of middle-age spread.

I decided to do something about it. First, I cranked up a serious exercise regime. I jogged every other day and did weights on the days in between, taking Sundays off. Diet-wise, I ate the universally recommended high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods: lots of rice, lentils, pasta, oats, fish, chicken and fruit and veg, but little red meat.

It didn't work. Yes, I felt fitter and was more muscular – but my waistline wasn't going down.
As I was about to give up in despair, I stumbled across the website of Art De Vany, an economics professor from California. I was dumbfounded. The guy was in his sixties and he looked spectacular. His muscles rippled, but not in the muscle-bound bodybuilder way. What's more, his stomach was flat and he had a genuine six-pack. He put people of 30 and younger to shame.

What was De Vany's secret? For nearly two decades, he'd been eating and exercising as humans did in Paleolithic times – the early Stone Age. He'd come across research suggesting that we should be eating like our hunter-gatherer forebears – lean meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, but no grains, beans or dairy. It had made sense, so he took it up.

As De Vany points out, the fossil record reveals that our cave ancestors were not only slim, lean, fit and healthy, but that they did not generally suffer from many of the diseases that plague us today, such as cancer, allergies and heart disease. What's more, as long as they weren't gored by a wild beast or struck down by infection, they lived as long as we do today. They stayed agile and vigorous until they dropped (no wheelchairs and care homes for them).

I decided to give the idea a month's trial. That way I could assess initial results and check that the diet wasn't hazardous to long-term health. My first port of call was Archers, a good-quality butchers near my home in Norwich, to pick up five pounds of mince to make up bolognese and chilli sauces (without pasta, beans or rice), along with six pork chops, big joints of beef, kidneys and a slice or two of liver. "Dinner-party?" Jamie behind the counter asked. "No," I said, "it's all for me."

Next, I hit the supermarket to pick up 20 cans of tuna in spring water, five cans of corned beef (not ideal due to the salt, but good for emergencies) and olive oil. Other than that, the shelves were off limits; they were lined with cereals, dairy, baked goods or sugary foods – all of which would have been alien to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. In a health-food store, I picked up a selection of nuts – brazils, pecans, hazels, almonds and walnuts – and a tub or two of raisins; all staple snack foods for the Stone Age eater.

For me, giving up things like toast, breakfast cereals, dairy products, potatoes, pasta and sugary desserts was easy. After a few weeks, I lost the taste for anything sweet. The only thing I did miss, and still do sometimes, is cheese.

Source - Independent

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