Cro-Magnon man, through no fault of his own, adopted a healthy diet that kept him and all of his Cro-Magnon family healthy.
Another Fad Diet?
Lord no–not another fad diet! It seems like there are as many diet plans as there are fat people–myself included. No, I am not what I consider to be obese. I weigh 185 pounds and am 6 feet tall. But I have a big gut. Many doctors agree that people come in three shapes:
* slim and trim
* pear shaped
* apple shaped
Of course we all want to be slim and trim–right! But recent government figures suggest that two thirds of the population is overweight. According to the US Air Force height-weight chart, I could weigh up to 205 pounds at my height. But the big gut is a problem.
The Dangers of The “Apple-Shaped” Figure
The gut puts me in the apple-shaped category. The apple body shape (body fat is stored around the middle – i.e. abdomen, chest and surrounding internal organs, such as the heart) is linked with health problems like coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and gall bladder disease.
Doctors say pear shaped (fat is stored around the hips–away from vital organs) is much safer–although it is an undesirable state. To live a healthy life we need to be cognisent of two factors–diet and exercise. There's that word again–diet. I have never officially been on a diet–until recently (more about that in a minute). I do try to eat healthy foods but like most of the population, I often turn to junk food and occasionally fast food. I'll bet you thought junk food is FAST FOOD, or vice versa. Not so, say many nutritionists. Certain fast foods may be healthier than what we whip up in the kitchen at home. But that's another story too.
The Caveman Diet
So what does all of this have to do with cro-magnons–cavemen. Just this–I came across one of those pay-per-click ads on a TV station website. It featured a drawing of a fat woman touting a way to get rid of belly fat. So I clicked and watched a very interesting video. The narrator said we should eat like the cavemen (and cave women) ate. Paleontologists (bone collectors) say that the cro-magnons were mostly muscular, trim beings, and they had very little body fat. The unintentional diet they followed was one of necessity. Yes, the marketplace is littered with all sorts of diets–some involve supplements (diet pills that ultimately don't work), fad diets, low carb, high fat diets, and so on
Try to imagine what those ancestors of ours ate. During the warmer months they found ample supplies of fresh plant material–fruits (mostly berries) and a crazy assortment of wild veggies. In winter they ate meat, and they could easily chose lean meat because they had the whole animal to pick from. It is believed by many that Cro-Magnons varied their diet and calorie intake from day to day. Rarely would they eat the same meals two days in a row.
So did they discover, 30,000 years ago, an honest to goodness “Fat Burner” plant? Of course not. The body is the furnace, it burns (converts) food into useful nutrients. Food, in and of itself doesn't burn anything–so beware of these “Fat Burner Plans.” They probably won't hurt you (at least I don't think they will) but they will drain your wallet–and still leave you fat.
The Human Body is Not a Machine
Your body isn't a machine… but it easily adapts to what you feed it. If you feed it the same thing every day your body says, “Hey… there's no need to burn off this food. I think I'll store it as fat!” OOPS! Therein lies the problem. This is exactly what happens when you eat the ‘typical” western diet. You end up with too much sugar and starchy carbs as well as unhealthy fats… and not the healthy fats we need for good health.
The ancients got plenty of healthy fats! Worst of all we get basically the same calories every day. Many of the current, fad diets call for your caloric intake to be calculated based on your height, weight and age. I found a nifty calorie counter on about.com that says for me, at my age, I should take in foods that provide 2146 calories per day. But if you are coming to believe that this caveman diet is for real, and you stick to the calorie number from the calculator, your body will say, “I'm used to this… No thank you… “
Be Flexible In Caloric Intake
OK, so I need to be flexible day to day in caloric intake and the specific foods I should eat… but I should vary these foods and not eat the same stuff day after day. That doesn't seem too difficult. In fact, it sounds so easy that a caveman could do it!