People who have been within a close proximity of me in the past couple of days are well aware that I’m made some major changes to my diet. No, not because of any explosive aberrations in my physiology, but simply because I won’t shut up about it. And since they all seem riveted, I thought I’d share with the rest of the world.
(Personally, I am fascinated to read other people’s dietary regimes, but if I’m in a conversation with someone and they start to describe their favorite bistro fare or what they had for breakfast, I start to envision frolicky kittens and dancing tulips).
Let me start by saying that the change was precipitated by a major health revelation, which had I been paying attention to my body for the last 20 years or so should not have been a revelation, but alas, I needed a doctor to tell me: I’m insulin resistant.
Lest you think this diagnosis upset me, I feel… enlightened. Reading the list of symptoms was like reading a litany of all the physical problems I’ve had since I hit puberty. The acne. The oily skin. The dizziness. The extra 20 pounds that I gain when I don’t exercise nonstop. The moodiness. The menstr-hell. The high cholesterol. The insatiable bread lust. I always knew that my physical make-up was not normal, but until last week, no doctor had ever diagnosed the underlying cause.
So, I have a choice: Either starting taking metformin and become just another American trying to medicate my lifestyle, or dramatically change my diet by eating like a caveman.
What did cavemen eat? Meat. Poultry. Seafood. Vegetables. Some eggs. A little bit of nuts, seeds, and fruit. And for dessert? More meat.
What did cavemen not eat? Anything that required processing or farming. Bread, pasta, rice, cereal, oats, or any type of refined or whole grain. Cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, or any other dairy product. Beans, legumes, tofu or any processed soy-based product. Potatoes, yams, tapioca, or any other starchy vegetable. Chocolate, honey, pizza, hummus, cake, fondue, or any other culinary non-meat triumph of modern life. And no, cavemen did not eat Altoids.
As I roamed the grocery store looking for acceptable caveman food, I realized that there are entire aisles that I will no longer be able to shop from. Shelf after shelf of foodstuffs encased in colorful packaging that would have not only been unrecognizable to a caveman, but deeply terrifying. I mean, there’s nothing natural-looking about an oreo, or a potato chip, or dried pasta, or a bottle of ketchup. If you didn’t grow up surrounded by advertising to normalize the experience of eating a bowl of ground processed oats, coated in sugar and shaped into tiny hollow circles and then drowned in cow secretions, well, it might seem like a pretty fucked up thing to eat.
But (and I can’t emphasize this enough) I’m not advocating that everyone should eat like a caveman. My genetics evidently demand that I do, but if you can eat sugar and flour without feeling woozy or getting shoulder pimples, then go for it. In fact, I’m well aware that if the rest of the world decided to give up grains and dairy and stick to meat and veggies, there would be wide-spread food shortages and starvation, as well as a precipitous drop in my stock portfolio because Kraft foods would only have one remaining viable product line. So please, carry on with your yummy, delicious macaroni and cheese, your DiGiorno pizza crusts, your Capri Sun juices, your Nilla wafers, your Post cereals, and your Ritz crackers. I’ll stick to Planters.
The first days on the caveman diet have been interesting. Because there is a limit to how much meat and how many vegetables I can eat in one sitting, I anticipated being constantly hungry. But while I’m never quite full, I don’t get the same stark-raving hunger before meals that used to get. I’ve had some rotten headaches, which all of the low-carb Internet forums assure me are the affects of my body being weaned off of carbohydrates, “like a junkie going through heroin withdrawal.” Maybe that’s why I loved bread so much. It was my drug.