hungry, like the wolf

i’ve been waging a personal war against corn for some time [sorry laurie, no offense].  when the omnivore’s dilemma came out a while back, it validated a lot of what i believe about corn in the american diet, and fueled some thought about how distant we are from the origin of our meals.  those thoughts percolated and began to bubble forth in the form of a desire to cut back on the volume of baked goods and processed carbs in my normal diet.  now, don’t get me wrong.  i eat well.  massive dark green salads with every dinner, my breads are whole grain, my pasta is that high fiber stuff, etc etc, but i eat A.LOT.OF.IT.

fast forward to this past week and the nyt did a fashion and lifestyle article about a group of modern cavemen in nyc.  the article resonated with me on a couple of levels and the thought of being a modern caveman just seemed kooky enough that it grabbed my interest.  basically, the two things i took away from the article were first, that diet consists of mostly fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional large protein [read RAW MEAT.  RAAAWWRRR!!] meal every couple of days and second, that exercise is long endurance workouts coupled with intense lifting workouts marked by rapid, gross body movement with lots of weight.  so, essentially, the lifestyle simulates foraging food while tracking and chasing prey, attacking and killing prey and feasting on said prey.

i googled around a bit more, read some blogs, some other stupid stuff and then some reviews of a couple other books and it turns out there’s a whole paleo movement, loosely associated with the crossfit community.  there is also a community that encourages the paleo diet in conjunction with ironman training.  interesting.  i took a little from here, a little from there, a little creative license and a little amazing hip-esque goofiness and began modeling a change in my diet and exercise philosophy.

so, with little guidance and even barer reason, i now ask myself, wwcmd?  things like wrestling a pastrami sandwich after a lunch run, eating pig and chicken embryo following a long run and celebrating a tribe member’s annual remembrance by feasting on a roast beast become common statements in my day to day life.  i utter things like, “cavemen don’t eat bread” or “cavemen like potatos!”  honestly, if you know me, the change is as much about having fun as it is about exploring a new fitness philosophy.

here’s the thing, though.  i’m liberal with my interpretation of caveman food.  fruit and nuts loosely translate into peanut butter and jelly [not really, just an example].  but even being liberal with what a caveman would eat, i’m finding that filling the void in my stomach [trust me, i eat a lot] is challenging.  i can’t just throw together a sandwich anymore or toss a pizza in the oven.  no, i’ve decimated our store of tangerines, apples and bananas.  i’ve mowed through all the bags of carrots [carefully, mind you] and celery.  i’ve even been eyeing those whole, raw onions in the crisper.  and still, the void rumbles.

i think i’d be wise to hit up some of the books, websites and blogs to get a good repertoire of caveman recipes, lest the neighbors pets start to look appetizing.  coyotes on the trail in the pre-dawn hours?  that growling my belly is a harbinger you should heed.  seriously, no wonder primal man was so…primal.  he was driven by hunger.  i can only imagine his joy when he first figured out how to make a corn cake. 

*note, i WAS going to use “dawn lamb” by the seal cub clubbing club as the soundtrack for this post, but when i went to load it up, this song came up in the rotation on it’s own.  kismet, i tell ya!

soundtrack for this post
Beyond & Back: The X Anthology lick:
Hungry Wolf
Beyond & Back: The X Anthology

20 thoughts on “hungry, like the wolf

  1. No offense taken; I completely agree that corn is much too prevalent in the American diet and a leading contributor to the obesity epidemic in our country. It has become a moral dilemma for me, making me not want to ever work in the industry again.

    As far as feeling hungry, I can only suggest that you try to eat more satiating food. How to Feel Less Hungry on Fewer Calories

  2. duh! i didn’t even think about beans. of COURSE cavemen would eat beans! i mean c’mon. blue flammin’ around the campfire was a favorite paleo past-time!

    come! woman! dutch oven under mammoth rug!

    thanks for the link, laurie!

  3. “Eat food, not so much”

    Although I’m more or less successful at sticking to it, I try to eat like early ancestor probably did – lots of leafy greens, roots, tuber, berries, nuts and a little flesh when they could get it. All our meat is from local farmers we know personally. Interesting tidbit I heard on NPR the other day. Researcher was saying that with the shortest digestive track of any of the primates, we are not well adapted to eat raw, low calorie fair primarily. We need the high quality foodstuffs you can only get by settling down and growing stuff.

  4. one of the comments from the nyt article was that some of these paleo guys eat more veggies than any vegetarian they know. makes sense and is kind of the mindset that i have too.

  5. Jeff – I am trying to do the paleo diet thing, too, and it is very difficult, esp. for us runners! I’m not being hardcore about it, but I HAVE taken to eating way more veggies and fruit than I used to. I’ve also drastically cut down on rice and pasta (I still eat some bread) … to the point where some friends now say, when I don’t finish a huge plate of stir-fry: “You’re not living up to your reputation for having a huge appetite!” The takeaway: I am almost always just a teensy bit hungry. And sometimes, I fall off the wagon and eat an English muffin.

  6. I think you hit it on the head, jeff, when you found you were hungry. “Cavemen” spent just about all their time looking for food, and they didn’t have hours and hours to go running in the woods for fun. They wouldn’t waste such precious energy on a mindless task. Technically, they didn’t need to.

    I have to wonder though if such a diet is really better for you than modern “healthy” diets. Cavemen ate what they could find, and they didn’t live to be 80. If they could have eaten more food, would they have lived longer and been more healthy?

    I’m not saying doughnuts and french fries are good for you. Man-made food is probably the worst kind of poison. But I think foods like corn and beans are probably one of the biggest breakthroughs in agriculture ever developed. The 100 varieties of corn and the 50 varieties of beans developed by Native Americans, are what fed a huge nation and kept them from going the way of the do-do.

    Just my two cents. :)

  7. @jon – oh, don’t get me wrong. i love me some corn and beans. i just don’t like corn in its highly-processed-lacking-nutrient-and-fiber state. my diet really isn’t changing much, with the exception of a high volume of baked goods. that and me talking about cavemen all the time. ALL.THE.TIME.

    thunderclap actually called me “cave daddy” at dinner tonight.

  8. I’ve read about this caveman stuff in all the fitness journals lately. It’s interesting to see that a real person is trying it. Anything that cuts down the refined sugars and HFCS has got to be a good thing. Keep the cryptic meat heavy tweets comin’, they’re a hightlight of my day.

  9. Weren’t the cavemen always a little hungry too? I did a detox diet last year and had new respect for vegans who can’t just eat what they see and need to do a lot of prep. I was as exhausted mentally as physically from the severe change in diet. Maybe your body’s still adjusting?

  10. when the omnivore’s dilemma came …, it validated a lot of what i believe about corn in the american diet, and fueled some thought about [... O, who cares?]

    Hey, know what else is good fuel for thought?

    High fructose corn syrup!

    Kinda ironic, dontcha think, jiif? Or should I call you by your new moniker: “og”?

    One thing’s for sure – I am not calling you “cave daddy”! You can sit there all day and say, “Who’s yer cave daddy?” and MY answer will NEVER be, “YOU are, jiif-og!” (Or “j’og” for short.)

    You will never get propz from me for your caveman experiment until you start living in an actual cave.

    And I don’t mean a nicely appointed one with caveman drawings of woolly mammoths getting speared already on the walls. I mean a crappy cave, like the ones you see on the Cave and Garden channel on cable – the kind of cave that is thisclose to being condemned for not being up to cave code.

    Remember – Fred Flintstone ate brontosaurus burgers all the time, so it’s okay if you have one once in a while.

    Good luck, caveman jiif.

  11. Grrrr. Meat.

    This is pretty much the diet that Missy’s been following for the last couple of years, and it’s worked well for her. If I had any sense, it’s what I’d be doing too.

  12. Not sure I’m down with food fads. What I have a problem with is the time tradeoff when it comes to food. Faster/ready NOW! is always out there and available, but some of the drawbacks to the tradeoff between “something quick” and “take the time to make something good from scratch” aren’t always obvious/well understood.


  13. just to clarify, i’m not taking it on as a fad, but more as a result of wanting to cut down baked goods and processed carbs. that said, i’m not being all atkins-anal and eschewing bread on a sandwich or a tortilla on a burrito. i am trying to make those choices fewer, though.

    and what could be more faster/ready NOW! than fruit?

    i am finding that i need a good repertoire of go-to recipes if i’m going to make this work long term, though. and, like repete pointed out, i’m going to have to sort out the whole training fuel thing. good bye, gu.

    honestly, though, the best part is just ‘caveman-ing’ everything. we’re getting lots of laughs and mileage out of it:

  14. i’m not being all atkins-anal and eschewing bread on a sandwich or a tortilla on a burrito

    ZOMG, jiif! You stopped eschewing bread and burritos?!


  15. @sd nope. no vitamins or supplements. at one point, years ago, i did, but i haven’t for close to a decade now. i read through the article you linked and am happy to say that over the course of a week, my typical daily meals meet or exceed what he laid out in an attempt to cover all his nutritional needs. the one thing he points out as a typical deficiency is vitamin d. we eat salmon once a week and i run outdoors [sans sun-screen] for several hours a week. i think i’m getting more than my dose of vitamin d.

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