Eat Like a Cavewoman: Pros and Cons of The Paleo Diet

With perhaps one of the biggest meat-eating days of the year on tap for tomorrow, we wanted to share this guest post by James Kim on the Paleo Diet. Read on for the pros and cons of this so-called caveman way of eating!


The “Paleo Diet” is also known as the “Caveman Diet,” which is named so because it mimics the eating habits of Paleolithic humans. Unlike most diets, the Paleo Diet is composed mostly of healthy fats, more protein and fewer carbohydrates—no grains, dairy, soy or refined sugar. If you are thinking about going Paleo for your meal planning, read on for a few things to consider…

Benefits of the Paleo Diet

• Clearer skin
• Improved sleeping habits, good for those with insomnia
• Decreased sickness
• Greater weight loss
• Stable energy—no ups and downs
• Helps to build lean muscle and, in combination with exercise, can reduce the percentage of body fat

Cons of the Paleo Diet

• If you don’t watch your portion sizes, the Paleo Diet is not low in calories. Therefore portion control is necessary, as is exercise.
• The food (organic, grass-fed, free-range) can be pricey.
• It can be challenging (although not impossible) to go out to eat and still eat Paleo.

The Paleo Diet and the Environment

• We all know that soy is a staple food among vegetarians. Its increasing popularity has been responsible for intense deforestation in some countries like Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. A lot of soy products are also very processed.
• Dairy products like cheese, as compared against pork and chicken, may possibly be worse for the environment.
• Farm animals that thrive on grass are a significant part of sustainable agriculture because grazing promotes plant growth.
• Paleo-based foods are healthier compared to non-Paleo-based food like cereals because processed foods produce more greenhouse gas emissions.

How to Go Paleo

A typical American eats too many grains, dairy products, and refined sugar, according to the book Paleo Diet for Athletes, which is written by Joel Friel and Loren Cordain. The authors also say that people do not have enough fresh fruits, raw vegetables, meats and seafood included in their diet. Eating Paleo is a relatively simple eating lifestyle, and with so many online resources available, it really makes sense for your body, so go out and give it a try at your next meal!

Thanks to Jim for the post! I eat Paleo about 50 percent of the time, and do feel better when my food is focused on fruits, veggies and lean protein—not processed foods. What about you? Have you tried following a Paleo Diet? Did you like it? Hate it? —Jenn

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  1. MJ says:

    I have been paleo for almost a month. Before going paleo, I suffered from horrid migraines, at least weekly. I was on migrain medication, depression medication and bloodpressure medication.

    I am completely pill free. I have not had a migrain since about 3 days of going strict paleo. I actually enjoy life for the first time in years. I can even talk to my son who is a drug addict and totally breaking my heart, and my blood pressure does not sky rocket.

    I support this lifestyle (not DIET) 100%

  2. Ivori says:

    I guess I eat like a cave-woman, but I didn’t know it !

    I eat White Mountain Food brand tofu items, lentils, veggies and coffee….mmmhhh, coffee 🙂

  3. Tora says:

    I think it’s a little ‘funny’ that Paleo followers allow use of honey and chocolate, not all advocate organic meats and there are also a range of Paleo bars and shakes…so is it just another money making marketing exercise?

  4. Hudson says:

    I was trying to find a solution to some skin and scalp problems when I discovered Paleo. I’ve been at it for a couple months. One of the best features is that I’m never hungry. One of the lesser is that I’m losing more weight than I want to. To Tora I’d say that paleo adheres to the 80/20 principle. That is, 80 per cent of our shape derives from diet, and 80 per cent adherence is sufficient. That leaves room for things like a piece of healthy chocolate on occasion. And surely a caveman ate honey when possible. As far as marketing, nobody has tried to sell me anything. Other than a book, I haven’t bought anything that would suggest this is a marketing exercise.

    By the way, my scalp problems and eczema are completely gone.

  5. CC says:

    Paleo is the way at our CrossFit gym … it’s been fairly easy to follow since I don’t do processed food before and have been purchasing organic fruits & veggies for over five years … it was the gluten/grains that was hard but after 30 days, I found that the small aches & pains (knees in the am, back & hips in the evenings) totally went away – a side effect of the gluten intolerance that I didn’t know I had until I tried it! I even put grains back in, thinking that couldn’t be it and within 5 days the pains were back — it amazed me! I love not being hungry (and even forgetting to eat sometimes, totally not my style before!) – which I think is typical when you go lower carb as paleo is and there has been a wonderful improvement in my endurance & strength — to me it’s just another sign that I’m giving my body what it wants. No shakes or pills for me, just real food.

  6. Vicci says:

    to Ivori. Just to let you know you are not eating Paleo. tofu is not Paleo

  7. Diet Food says:

    “I eat Paleo about 50 percent of the time, and do feel better when my food is focused on fruits, veggies and lean protein.”

    I’m the same way. I’ve never strictly followed a Paleo diet, but considering all the different ways of eating I’ve tried, one of them had to be pretty close. In the end, I’ve settled on moderation on all fronts. I guess you could say I follow a “Paleo with Healthy Grains” type of lifestyle.

  8. I tried Paleo and I agree that I do feel best when my diet is focused on proteins (mainly lean but also red meat) and also, lots of greens and 1 to 2 servings of fruit a day. I think Paleo is hard to maintain, without some slight modifications, as it can also be expensive if you are buying organic and grass fed, etc… But, I believe that a modified Paleo diet is really great- it is kind of similar to how Blood Type O’s are recommended to eat. All very fascinating!

  9. Jane says:

    While I like most of your article even though I’m not a huge fan of the Paleo Diet. I have to point out that while deforestation of the Amazon for crops is growing the vast majority has been and continues to be for Cattle production. In Brazil from 2000-2005 it was 65-70% cattle driven compared to the 25-35% large and small scale agriculture combined. (source http://www.mongabay.com/brazil.html)

  10. BhambrBarry says:

    Ok, this article didn’t say it outright, but it certainly implied that one would be doing the environment a favor by going paleo. I’m not saying there are no great ideas within the Paleo diet, but you would have to be naive, at best, to believe that increasing meat production would be anything but bad for the environment.

    A report by the UN estimates that 30% of livable land on earth is already dedicated to livestock production–and most of that livestock doesn’t “move around” much.


  11. Roy says:

    It works for me 75ys old prediabetic 2 to 4 oz animal protein a plate full of veges and a piece of fruit for dessert each meal.. A hand full of nuts and apiece of 90% dark chocolate each day. breakdown 20% protein 30% carbs 50% fats. lost 35 lbs in a year and have maintained high school weight for 4 ys
    sprints for 30 min 3X a week and weights 30 min 3X a week

  12. Natalie says:

    I find the premise of Paleo to be conflicted. The idea that there is a single traditional diet that people followed is inherently flawed and if you’re going to stay away from grains because they’re a product of domestic agriculture, how do you justify eating domesticated livestock? The eating plan itself may have some benefits but that its pretty much from eating more veggies and cutting out processed food- not to mention that you tend to eat less in general when you cut the grains. If having a set of arbitrary rules to follow makes it easier for you to reach your goals, then go with it. Personally, though, I prefer a more flexible way of eating.