‘My favorite animal is steak’

—— Fran Lebowitz

So I’m out in the garden, hunting for something to eat. This will take a minute to explain. I have always fancied myself as a major OP (opinion maker), that’s why I want to be the first on my block, perhaps in the entire city, to become a paleo-ist.

Those of you who are obnoxiously hip about nutrition are probably way ahead of me, but for my football jock couch potato friends, I’ll explain.

The hottest new West Coast trend in nutrition has found its way to the other coast, settled on Fire Island in New York, and has crept into our autumnal haven.

It is the Paleo Diet, because it’s what our ancient ancestors ate. No, not your French meme who lives up in Caratunk and has potatoes for breakfast, or even your Irish ancestors in the pubs of County Clare who subsisted on cabbage and beer. The Irish cavemen actually invented beer and cabbage. You can Google that.


This is all about the cousins who lived 60 million, 2.6 million and up to 10,000 years ago. You know, the ones that resemble some members of your family, the ones you try to keep out of the Christmas and wedding selfies?

So searching for a faster way to the perfect body, I stumbled onto an article by John Bernardi Ph.D, on the Huffington Post, and here’s what I learned:

Paleo is the basic concept of eating primal. I learned that 60 million years ago, our oldest family members lived on fruit, leaves and insects. I thought I would start with them, that’s why I’m out here in the garden munching on nasturtium blossoms. Maybe not. These leaves, the ones we rake up in November, are way too chewy. The only fruit out here are the concord grapes and they’re still green. I guess I could mash them up with some yogurt, but I don’t think my cave man cousins were into Yoplait. It would be cheating. Insects? Sorry. I’m not that Paleo. Okay, I tried but it’s getting dark and chilly.

I thought maybe I would skip to the hunter-gatherer cousins who learned to develop a taste for rabbit, squirrel and frogs’ legs, and discovered how to make a decent barbecue fire.

But the smartest crowd used stuff I can buy at Hannaford market. This would be the agriculture group of 10,000 years ago. They had the fire thing going, hunted up meat, but also knew how to grow lima beans, broccoli and avocados. Well, maybe not avocados. That’s a bit early for guacamole and margaritas to have appeared.

So I’m going with that crowd and here’s why. We learned from the pictures in National Geographic that these were lean, mean folks, because, according to Bernardi, they ate three times more produce than the typical American, more fiber, protein, more omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fat, more vitamins and minerals and way less saturated fat and salt. How about that?


I’ve begun my Paleo diet, excluding the part that says “eat the whole animal, organs, bone marrow, cartilage.” I’m not big on organs.

But eggs and honey, vegetables and fruits, raw nuts and seeds and avocados? I’m really down with guacamole and the occasional margarita.

Certain items now excluded from the Paleo diet will have to be discussed with my fellow Paleo-ists. I’m sure that pinot noir and Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra will eventually be added as the diet evolves.

Watch that belly fat go.

J.P Devine is a Waterville writer.

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