Is the Warrior Diet
A TRUE Paleo Diet?
My short answer is that we don't really know what a Paleo Diet looked like.
They didn't keep diet logs back then (250,000 BC to 10,000
BC). Or if they did, they lost their writings, and the ability to
write altogether, since writing was invented about four or five
thousand years ago.
I suppose some of the cave drawings we've found might have been
diet logs. If so, those were some hungry people, because the
pictures were usually of whole animals like a buffalo, an eagle, and a deer.
Did they eat these all in one day?
Nah, those pictures were probably there for some other reason.
And even if we did run across a Paleo diet log, we would have to
suspect that the entries were just as inaccurate as the diet log
entries people record today. "Oh sure Wug, you just had a few
crickets and a piece of lettuce today . . ."
O.K., so . . .
we probably can't nail down exactly what the paleoliths ate,
but maybe we can get a rough idea by studying modern day hunter-gatherers and doing some guesswork.
And maybe we can EXPERIMENT.
I'm doing a paleo experiment this month, and want to tell you about
it. But first, I want to give a quick survey of the wider ongoing
paleo diet project, so all my readers are on the same page.
Let's get started by asking . . .
What is a paleo diet?
Basically, a paleo diet is a diet that's set up to imitate the diet
eaten by our ancestors from about 250,000 years ago (this is
somewhat arbitrary) to about 10,000 years ago (this is not
arbitrary and marks the beginning of agriculture).
But that might lead you to ask . . .
Why do we care?
Some people have given some pretty good reasons to care what our
ancestors from the Paleolithic era ate. They believe that evolution crafted our food-processing organs during this time.
They claim that in the short amount of time since then, in the era
of agriculture, there hasn't been enough time for our bodies to
adapt significantly to the new foods. And this is the reason we
suffer from so many diseases -- from diabetes to heart disease.
We're not built to handle the new foods, but rather the foods our ancestors ate.
Well, if they're right, that seems like a pretty good reason to
care about Paleolithic diets.
But that raises another question . . .
Which Foods Were a Part of the Paleolithic diet?
It would be nice to know what the Paleoliths ate, and what they
didn't eat. Perhaps, if we can eat the foods they ate, and avoid
the foods they didn't eat, we will be eating the way our bodies
were designed to eat. And that's got to be good, doesn't it?
Were the Paleoliths low carb? Well, the truth is, they ate all
kinds of things--probably pretty much anything edible that they
could find. The paleoliths might have been low carb and they might
not have been.
If they were, it probably wasn't by choice.
I don't believe for a minute that Wug would have held back when he
ran across a fruit tree, watermelon patch, or Hostess snack section
in a supermarket. You can bet that he would have pigged out like a
lumberjack at a pancake feed.
But many carbs might have been in
short supply in some areas (it took a while for Hostess to build up
their distribution channels), so there is reason to believe that
many Paleoliths ate a fairly low carb diet -- even if not by choice.
It's difficult to determine exactly what they ate, and it probably
varied from tribe to tribe.
Which Foods Were NOT Part of the Paleolithic diet?
Probably the better question is to ask what they didn't eat, and
look to avoid those things. This list is fairly long, but the
biggest differences between modern diets and ancient ones is that
we have been eating a lot more dairy, grains, refined sugar, and
refined vegetable oils than Paleolithic people did.
Personally, I think that if people cut out refined sugar and
heavily processed vegetable oils (but surely olive oil is just fine
and was eaten in Paleolithic times), and cut back on their dairy
and grain consumption, they would stave off many diet-related
problems -- even if they didn't go completely low carb.
Much of this ground is covered quite well in Loren Cordain's book
"The Paleo Diet".
But there's something about the Paleo Diet, that isn't covered
much, and it's got me wondering.
Though it took me a while to get here, my big question for this article is . . .
"WHEN" did the Paleoliths eat?
Did our ancestors eat six evenly-spaced meals?
Or did they eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with exactly two
I doubt very much that they followed either of these patterns.
Let's face it. There were times some of them went without very
much food for days at a time. And I have trouble believing they
were any better at voluntarily moderating their portions than we
are when they had food in abundance.
Well, I just ran across a book that many of you might have seen
already. It's called The Warrior Diet, by Ori Hofmekler. And he
really got me thinking.
Ori's diet is not low carb. Though it's
not exactly anti-low carb either. Ori recommends eating one big
meal each day -- in the evening. Other than that, he allows some
light grazing in the morning and afternoon.
And that's it.
Is this how the Paleoliths ate?
they wake up, nibble on grass, a piece of fruit, a nut or two, and
insect or two, and then go hunt for the main course, bring it back
around dusk, and then prepare for the feast, where they would pig
out and then fall asleep with full bellies and big smiles on their
Well, I don't know. I already indicated some skepticism about
finding a "typical" paleo pattern. But you know what? The
experimenter in me is aroused. I am going to follow a -- now get
this name -- "Calorie-conscious low-carb warrior diet" this month.
Yesterday I ate four egg whites, a pear, some half and half in my
coffee, and a cucumber before 5:30 PM. That's a total of about 300
calories before dinner. And it really wasn't that difficult.
That left me with room for two 1000 calorie meals the rest of the
evening (I just can't get it all in in one meal!).
I had one at 5:30, but honestly could only eat about 900
calories worth. I had 10 ounces of turkey burger, a cup of
unsweetened tomato sauce, two eggs worth of egg salad, and a cup of
mashed pumpkin (with some splenda and vanilla, if you must know).
900 calories, and I felt pleasantly stuffed.
At 8:30 I tried to get another 1000 calories in me, and managed
only 800. Two hours later I went to sleep with a big grin on my
face. It's nice to be stuffed. It was worth the slight hungry
edge I had during the day.
Well, anyway, I'll let you know how it goes. And let me make it
clear that I am not advocating this diet for anyone. Please, check
with your doctor first, as always.
The Next Day . . . How's It Going?
I do feel kind of like a hungry warrior today. As I write this
it's about 3:15 PM, and I've had a cucumber, a pear, some half and
half, and four egg whites so far today. I'm about ready to head to
the supermarket to "hunt" for dinner, bring it home, and start the
low carb feast around 5 or 5:30 again.
A Few Months Later . . . My Conclusions
Well, let's just say I'm not doing the Warrior Diet on a regular basis.
The truth is, there are some pros and cons.
The Pros: You get a serotonin boost every evening when you eat until you're full. Even while watching calories -- which I advocate even for low carbers -- you get that stuffed feeling, because you lump most of your calories toward the end of the day. It's nice to feel stuffed once in a while.
Also, the hungry edge isn't that bad, and gives you kind of an alert feeling.
The Cons: I find that after a couple days of doing the Warrior diet the mid day hunger gets more intense. It was difficult for me to maintain.
In conclusion, I think the best plan is to have a Warrior weekend every couple weeks. That way you can get that psychological boost from feeling stuffed without deviating from your calorie target or getting off your lower carb lifestyle.
In the months since I first wrote this article, I have done some Warrior days, and have found them a refreshing change of pace. But every time I try to go more than a couple days, I regret it.
Well, that's it for this issue. If you want to try this, or any other eating plan, it is a good idea to check with your doctor first.
Best of health to you and your family!
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