the caveman diet 'The meat we have nowadays isn’t actually even the meat of cavemen' - Media Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission.

The Caveman Diet: We Used To Eat Meat, But Should We Now?

The Caveman Diet ebb and flows into mainstream popularity. But, just because we used to eat meat, should we now?

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4 Minutes Read

The Caveman Diet ebb and flows into mainstream popularity. But, just because we used to eat meat, should we now?

Paleo, caveman, ancestral – you hear lots of descriptions of the diets we should supposedly be eating based on our genetic code. 

And invariably some of them involve eating lots of meat. The logic goes that because it’s the way we used to eat, then it’s also the way we should carry on eating.

The Caveman Diet

Actually, yes. Cavemen used to eat meat whenever they could get it, but this wasn’t often. In fact, almost never. You try hunting animals that are bigger and/or faster than you with the most rudimentary of tools, and you’ll quickly see how hard it is to snare your supper.

So, we actually ate very little meat and, thanks to recent improvements in DNA analysis of ancient teeth fragments, we know that we survived mainly on foraging for plants, nuts, and berries. Foraging is great because it keeps you in tune with nature: in season, eating locally and physically nimble and fit.

‘Not what nature intended’

The meat we have nowadays isn’t actually even the meat of cavemen. It is mass-produced. It’s stressed. It’s bloated. It’s beaten and pumped full of chemicals. 

I discuss the implications of animal agriculture with the Ecotricity’s Founder Dale Vince:

Roann green podcast
Roann green Ghosh’s interview with Ecotricity founder Dale Vince.

All said, industrialized meat has broken the food chain and severely compromised nature’s laws. Should relatively small, middle of the food chain primates like us be eating meat every day (or multiple times daily for that matter)? Our waistlines, chronic diseases, and pandemics suggest that we are paying a heavy price for this breach.

And thanks to the mass production of industrialized meat, we don’t actually work off all the calories that cavemen expended to get it in the first place. Jumping into a car to pop to a supermarket for a £4 fillet doesn’t generate the need to devour the saturated fat that meat provides, leaving the modern man with a cholesterol problem and heart disease. 

So, if you really want to eat meat like a caveman…well, actually you can’t. Unless you chase down that bison yourself. Oh and make sure you can somehow replicate the clean unpolluted air the bison had to breathe back then, land to roam freely, and clean water it had to drink before the invention of chemicals for just about everything.

How to eat in line with your DNA

If you really want to eat in line with your DNA (remember we were uniquely hunter-gatherers for over 95 percent of human history) then do the following:

– Eat plant-based foods (as before, that accounted for the vast majority of their diets, and thanks to chemicals and pollution, you can’t actually get the meat they had anyway)

– Eat in season 

– Grow your own vegetables. The work involved will at least mimic some of the calorie crushing of our very active ancestors.

– Eat communally and frequently with your families (desk lunches are OUT)

– Make eating a single activity, with no other distractions (screens are OUT)

– Eat slowly and with gratitude in every chew. Again, popping to the supermarket doesn’t quite make us as grateful as if we’d spent the whole day foraging for it.

– Don’t jump up after every meal. Our bodies are designed to digest slowly, so honor that. 

‘Time to step up’

Among other things, the global zoonotic pandemic is being cited as a wake-up call for us as a species. A chance to challenge the accepted norms that don’t serve us.

The industrialized way we eat, move, think and behave has taken us to a place that is against nature’s laws. We can see it all around us in how we all suffer, how our fellow animals die and how our planet is reeling in discomfort.

We are the only species that is actively destroying its habitat. And everybody else’s. The systems we have created for feeding ourselves are about as far away as possible from how our bodies have evolved to move, nourish, and ultimately thrive. 

‘Going plant-based’

Going plant-based isn’t just a dietary choice. It’s a huge part of a larger human awakening. 

We fill our bodies with this new, stressed, artificial low-cost meat because our man-made system of GDP only values the production of ‘stuff’. There is no consideration for health, community, family, nature, love, compassion – or any of the other things that make us truly prosper as human beings.

Eating consciously, along with minimalism (rethinking consumption) mindfulness (rethinking our urges) environmentalism (rethinking our relationship with nature), is vital as we look to come back from Covid better and more harmonious than before. 

Everything is up for grabs when you consider how unhelpful much of our perceived wisdom is.

So eat like a caveman and cut the meat. You’d never have kept up with that bison anyway.

You can follow Roann Ghosh on Instagram here. Or, listen to his podcast here.

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The Author

Roann Ghosh

Roann Ghosh is a former BBC/ITN journalist turned successful entrepreneur working with Innovate UK and Fortune 500 companies to create social good. He is the founder of Epiphany and the host of Self Centred with Roann podcast which sets out new ways of thinking, living, and working with purpose.

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rodentx2
rodentx2
1 year ago

I follow the cave-ox diet.

Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
1 year ago

Another load of simplistic twaddle written by someone that doesn’t understand the subject.
( 1 The correct term is “pre agricultural humans” not cavemen ( most were nomadic and didn’t live in caves)
( 2 Diet would have been determined by geography, latitude, and food availability.
( 3 He says (quite rightly )that modern meats are nothing like those eaten by our ancestors, but then advocates a diet based on plants that bear no resemblance to their wild ancestors and are grown in depleted soils using chemical fertilisers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides and has the audacity to talk about “natures laws”
( 4 He seems obsessed with “ Bison”. The Hominin species evolved in Africa not in the Mid-West of America ( although Donald Trump probably thinks they did ) and seems blissfully unaware that animal foods come in a vast range ie. Insects, molluscs, reptiles, small mammals, large mammals, birds, and marine foods, the list goes on!
( 5 Under the heading “ How to eat in line with your DNA” he suggests growing your own vegetables, excellent idea, but our ancestors didn’t, they foraged, ( dependence on local flora and season ).
Above are a few criticisms of what seems to me to be a crude attempt at discrediting the concept of Evolution and Diet ( a hugely complex subject ) based on the author’s preconceived beliefs

Rob Penfold
Rob Penfold
1 year ago

Scavenging is another alternative to hunting that was probably used. A summary from Nature (below) says: “Some unresolved questions in this area of research are: 1. How important were animal resources to hominins (versus plants and other non-animal resources), and how did this importance vary by hominin species, time period, habitat, or other variables?”

https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/evidence-for-meat-eating-by-early-humans-103874273/

It seems however that humans are at their healthiest when predominantly plant based (e.g Blue Zones communities, Bama in China, vegetarians having the lowest rates of heart disease, a number of cancers, diabetes) which might point to the ancesteral animal component being relatively small on average (of course would vary widely based on habitat etc)

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

Good article that puts things in perspective. There was always something suspicious about those cavemen hunting with spears, and prior to this our diet was largely fruit.

Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter

“There was always something suspicious about cavemen hunting with spears” Perhaps you would like to offer yourself as target practice for some Bushmen or free living Aborigines, I doubt you’ll be writing many more replies to PBN. “and prior to this our diet was largely fruit” So YOU WERE THERE, WOW! Please write a paper on the subject, This would finalise all the academic research thats been going on for 50 yrs or more.

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