First, it helps to understand what our predecessors actually did with their lives. To find out how a cavewoman’s lifestyle compares to that of today's woman, we spoke with paleoanthropologist Sandi Copeland, a professor at the University of Colorado, Denver who studies everyday lives of our extinct ancestors. One big difference, she says, is that being a locavore entailed a heck of a lot more exercise then than it does today. According to Copeland, before agricultural times, people lived nomadic lives. Small clans of people would settle in an area, hunt and forage the land for meat and edible plants for a few days to a few weeks, then move on to a more fertile and food-promising area.
“It’s hard for us today to grasp the concept that when you’re not practicing agriculture, you have to spend time every single day just to find something to eat — otherwise you’ll starve to death,” Copeland says. “There was no refrigeration. There was no stored food, except food you could keep a couple of days. That made a big difference in the pre-agricultural lifestyle.”
As part of these clans, women are typically believed to have been foragers. A woman would walk at least three to six miles a day just to source edibles, digging with wooden sticks to unearth tubers to take back to the clan And, as if that weren’t grueling enough, she would often make these journeys while carrying a baby. In short, she burned an estimated 800 calories or more to get a bite, which pales in comparison to the energy we expend when building a salad at the deli. Fetching meat was an even more exhausting affair, as cave dwellers would typically hunt for days for the opportunity to take down an antelope with stone tools, then carry it back to the dwelling.
Bottom line: The stone-age lifestyle demanded much more exercise for survival than the modern lifestyle does, which is something to consider when following a directive that boasts high volumes of protein and healthy fats. Now, about the Paleo diet of today....
Photo: Maria Valentino/MCV Photo
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