2011-07-07 / Sam Bari

Eat like a caveman

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

About this time of year, many of us are spending an inordinate amount of time looking in our mirrors to check out the condition of our physiques. We find this to be a necessary annual ritual before we do something foolish like go to the beach and join the scantily clad.

The idea is to convince ourselves that the countless hours working out at the gym all winter long paid off. We are now ready to don that size zero swimsuit and display our sixpack abs to the world.

Now let’s be realistic. We know that ain’t gonna happen.

The countless hours we “intended” to work out at the gym always seemed to be preempted by other things that were more important. You know those things. Those unavoidable events and social obligations that required going out to dinner/drinks/lunch/Sunday brunch/ parties/barbecues, etc., ad nauseam.

The bottom line is, shall we say, reflected in our bottom lines. The lines of our bottoms are a bit longer, curvier, rounder and plumper than we would like.

I readily admit that I am one of those people who have these concerns. I drove by the beach over the holiday weekend to check out the scenery, and the scenery was frightening. When I looked at some of those young guys and gals in the skimpy swimsuits, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Their abs looked as if they were Photoshopped.

What do they do, live at the gym? Don’t they have jobs, school, or something that keeps them from making the rest of us look like quivering globs of gelatinous flab?

It’s very depressing, all those beautiful people gathered on “Muscle Beach.” I think it would only be fair to provide a place for the rest of us, where we could enjoy time in the sun without worrying about being subjected to ridicule. However, I’m not certain that “Fat Beach” would draw the people for whom it was intended.

Anyway, I came across an interesting article not long ago that was written by a paleontologist. After digging up the remains of ancient mankind that lived before agriculture as we know it, they discovered that these people were fairly healthy. They found none that were overweight. So, they checked out their diets.

Sure enough, the secret to their healthy physiques was in their lifestyle. Their diets were simple: meat, fish, fowl, and vegetables that grew wild. There were no farms or produce departments in grocery stores in those days.

They ate vegetables, roots, nuts and berries that they gathered by foraging. No legumes or grains were included. In other words — rice, pasta, cakes and pies were not part of the menu.

Well — if it worked for the caveman, that diet could certainly work for us. Why didn’t somebody mention this a long time ago? We’ve been spending our money on diet plans that we cannot afford, adhere to, or like, and the best solution has been around for millennia — eat like a caveman.

Before you get too excited, the word “lifestyle” was mentioned in this article. That means it took more than a diet to make these people healthy. I read further and learned why this diet worked so well. Obtaining the food was a major undertaking.

The cavemen didn’t go to a butcher shop. They had to go out with several friends and find an auroch.

What, pray tell, is an auroch? You ask.

An auroch is an ancestor of today’s cattle. The auroch has been extinct for over 400 years. The difference between an auroch and a modern, garden-variety cow is about 1,400 pounds.

Mature aurochs had a shoulder height of 6-and-a-half feet and weighed more than a ton. The ancient hunters first had to find one, and then kill it with a flint ax. That’s something like attacking a rhinoceros with a hammer. If the auroch didn’t kill you, the chase alone could give you a heart attack.

Then they had to clean it, cook it, and divide it amongst their tribes because there was no refrigeration. Consequently, they had to consume the beast in a couple of days before going out to find another one.

While the hunters were chasing aurochs, the rest of the tribe was looking for vegetables. That was their lifestyle. They hunted, gathered and ate.

If the aurach ever returns, I’ll try the diet. Until then, I’ll just stay fat and live in a system I can’t understand.

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