You question. Me answer.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my first day of cavemanhood, it’s that people have a lot of questions about my attempt to chronicle living the paleo lifestyle for a month. And when they don’t like my answers, they react with surprising indignation.

Here are some  things I’ve been asked so far:

What are your food rules?

I made an attempt to answer here, but it’s still incomplete. I am eating lean animal protein except dairy but including eggs; vegetables; nuts; fruits; seeds. I am not eating dairy, cereals, legumes, grainlike seeds such as quinoa and buckwheat, excessively salty, fatty or processed meats (such as hot dogs). I will eat honey sparingly, and while I have no plans to include maple or agave syrup in my diet, I wouldn’t consider either off limits.

I’m only on Day Two, so many choices are yet to be made. Who knows what I’ll do when someone offers me a Jerusalem artichoke? Vinegar, olive oil and (importantly) salt remain somewhat ambiguous territory for me.

Are you allowed to eat cooked food, or is it all raw?

Cooked is fine. Cavemen had fire. For the sake of good stunt journalism I might experiment later with raw meat, however, since other people are doing it. I’m not ready for that quite yet.

How have you made your decisions? What is your justification for your rules?

I am attempting the paleo diet as a journalist, and I’m taking these steps using the approach I would personally use if I were doing it just for my own good.

In general my approach is to include foods that I know paleolithic humans definitely ate, exclude most foods I know are the products of agriculture, and use my best judgment in cases where I just don’t know (just when were olive oil and tea incorporated into our diets? Does anyone know?).

My choices may not be the same ones other paleo people have made or would make. What I’m documenting here is my personal experience.

You’re eating too much fruit! (You won’t lose weight that way.) You’re still running on a treadmill! That’s not paleo.

Well, it’s my paleo month. People do the paleo diet/lifestyle for different reasons and mine is to see how the lifestyle would fit into my life in particular. I enjoy fruit so I’m going to eat lots of it, and I have a membership at a traditional gym, so I’m going to go sometimes so as not to have my membership go to waste.

Do you welcome advice from experienced cave-people?

Yes, absolutely. I am very grateful for the comments I’ve received so far, and as time goes on I may ask for your help in deciding what I can and can’t eat or do.

Hey, aren’t you also the drinks columnist for the National Post? Are you going to keep drinking alcohol?

Why, yes I am. Originally it was my plan to drink only things I intended to write about in my booze column, in order that I might continue to do my job! However, I had a beer on Cave Day One and several people — all fellow journalists, of course, the most judgmental people of all — declared bullshit on that.

So, an amendment: I will not drink alcohol. I am trying to turn my Happy Hour column over to volunteers in the newsroom for the remainder of Caveman Month.

Why are you calling this the caveman diet? That’s just a moniker invented by lifestyle journalists to sell newspapers. We prefer “paleo.”

Because “caveman diet” is hilarious. And I know so-called cavemen probably didn’t spend much of their time in caves. On the second point, I am a journalist and it is my job to (indirectly) sell newspapers. So don’t bash me in the head with a club or anything: The caveman talk is getting attention for your movement.

Are you going to try starving yourself, like some paleos do?


How much does food cost in Toronto?

At a guess, it’s probably fourth most expensive place in North America to eat after New York, any city in California, and Vancouver. If you’re from most places in North America you’d find it expensive ($4 pizza slices? Wha?) — but hey, it’s still North America, a rare place on Earth where wealth and cheap food overlap. I expect my plan to spend $350 in a month to prove challenging but feasible.

Are you going to post things like your weight, blood sugar and other medical metrics along the way?

That’s a terrific idea. As for my weight, certainly; next time I work out I’ll use the gym’s scale (I don’t have one at home). As for the other things I’ll look into how I can do that and let you know.


7 Responses to “You question. Me answer.”

  1. Adam – get after that olive oil! Saute your veggies in it as well as marinade your meats in it. That is one great oil your body will appreciate you taking in.

    Have you weighed yourself or taken any Before pics? Have plans to do bloodwork so that you can show others how this plan had a positive impact on your blood sugar and not the opposite as Conventional Wisdom would tell you?

    Keep this going – it’s a great case study.

  2. Hi Adam,

    Saw your article on NP — let me know if you have any Paleo questions, I am a Paleo enthusiast (have been eating Paleo for sometime) and also maintain — a Q and A site about Paleolithic Diet.

  3. Hey jpickett, great question. I’m going to add it and answer it now.

  4. Re: Olive oil. They no doubt have eaten olives forever. Olive oil is real low-tech. It is simply squeezed fruit with the seed then thrown away.

    Re: Tea. Its origin is China. I have no doubt that the Chinese learned early on that eating the leaves had a stimulant effect. Technically, as I believe you are of European descent, that makes it New World. But if you knocked out everything that wasn’t African or European in origin you’d have nothing left to eat. Green or white tea is the least processed.

    Re: Raw Meat. Make that raw red meat. Raw poultry is yucky. If the meat was entirely grass-fed I would simply get out my knife cut and eat. But grain-fed meat could have bacteria on the surface. So for that you should very quickly sear the exterior without sticking a fork in. You could sear the outsides with a blow torch. If I had one I would try it.

  5. Hi there! I’m from PEI and also starting a 30 day Primal/Paleo diet lifestyle. I look forward to following your blog and your progress 🙂 I will also be keeping a blog on my site Please feel free to check it out if you ever have the time.

    • Hello Kimmy!

      Good luck on your own paleo/primal month. I’ve bookmarked your site and will give my readers here a heads-up.

      I have a soft spot for island girls myself — my fiancée’s from the Rock. 🙂

  6. Hey Adam,

    Way to go! Nice to see a reporter give paleo a shot before coming to conclusions. Lots of folks will say paleo is trendy/faddy; they’ll point to guys who eat their meat raw, run around on all fours, or other examples of people who, IMO, have taken this thing too far. At the end of the day, we take out processed food and replace it with real food. We’ve gone out of our minds!!!

    I’ll be very interested in following along on your journey. Can’t wait to see all the changes you’ll notice.

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