The caveman diet, also known as the Paleolithic (Paleo) or Primal diet, reverts back to the days of the hunter / gatherer when processed foods didn’t exist. Cavemen ate only what they could catch or find. There were no stores to depend on for food, and all they had were their instincts to survive.
Many people are returning to this diet because it gets the body back into a natural state. The major benefits include increased energy, weight loss and detoxification. More importantly, eating Paleo is naturally gluten free.
The information below is organized to help you understand the fundamentals of caveman diet recipes.
Stocking your kitchen
Keep these foods on hand at all times:
- Eggs (out of the shell)
- Fresh meat (grass produced is best)
- Fresh vegetables and herbs
- Fresh fruits
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy oils such as fish, coconut, palm, avocado, macadamia, grapeseed, walnut and flaxseed
Removing other foods
Stay away from the following:
- Dairy products (Paleo only; a Primal diet allows this in moderation)
- Processed food
- Refined sugar
- Grains – this includes rice and corn
- Legumes including peanuts
- Refined vegetable oils
Five ingredients or less?
Some suggest making a Paleo meal that contains 5 ingredients or less, but this diet doesn’t need to go to such extremes. You’ll probably notice that you naturally use less ingredients anyway. If you think about how cavemen lived, this makes sense considering they only had access to certain foods during particular times of the year.
Having said that, fewer ingredients better serves this way of eating. It helps keep things simpler during the cooking process, and gives you greater control over your food.
Making the most out of the ingredients
So based on what you can eat, you’re probably wondering how to make the most of these ingredients and make delicious meals. This all depends on your personal tastes. You could embark on a simple fruit and vegetable based diet, or go the whole way and include everything you can eat that falls in to the “Stocking your kitchen” list. You might take it a step further and “cheat” a little with dairy, potatoes or another not-so-paleo ingredient if it makes the food more palatable for you.
Start thinking about different ways to work with your ingredients. For example, you can put some salad fixings on the grill (e.g., lettuce, tomatoes, squash, etc.), add your choice of protein, throw on some avocado slices and have the best warm salad ever! You can also change up your meals by scrambling up some eggs for breakfast and throwing in leftovers from dinner.
Sample caveman diet recipes
Here’s a sample meal plan to get you started:
Sample Caveman Breakfast
Quick Egg Scramble
- 4 eggs
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 red onion sliced thin
- coconut oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1-2 TBS of coconut oil in a sauté pan on medium heat.
- Add onions and bell pepper, and cook for a few minutes (or until they are as soft as you prefer). Be sure to stir every minute or so they don’t burn.
- Add the eggs to the pan and stir frequently to create a scramble.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and then add the scramble to plates.
If you prefer a carmelized version of onions and peppers, reduce the heat to low and put the lid on for a couple of minutes.
Sample Caveman Lunch
Citrusy Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 butternut squash halved lengthwise and seeded
- Juice of 2 limes
- Zest of 1 lime
- 4 TBSP almond milk, coconut oil, or coconut milk (If going Primal, you can use butter)
- 1/2 TSP salt
- Place butternut squash halves in a baking sheet and roast your squash in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Squash is done when a fork can easily pierce the flesh (approx. 25 to 30 minutes). Remove squash skin and cut flesh into cubes.
- Put butternut squash cubes into a blender or food processor.
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Blend well to get the consistency you like.
Try adding a topping to the soup such as chopped scallions or walnuts.
Sample Caveman Dinner
Spaghetti with Meaty Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 lb ground beef (preferably grass fed)
- 1 onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 10 to 12 tomatoes diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced (preferably roasted)
- 1 jalapeño pepper diced (preferably roasted)
- 1 TSP oregano
- 1 TSP thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the insides and seeds.
- Place the halves cut-side down in a Pyrex dish or other microwavable container, and add a 1/2 inch of water.
- Pierce the skin with a fork several times, and microwave for about 12 minutes. Skin should be easy to pierce when done.
- Allow the squash to cool, and then use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands.
- Add the healthy oil of your choice to a sauté pan on medium heat.
- Add onions, garlic and peppers and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add ground beef and sauté until beef is browned.
- Add remaining ingredients, stir and cover. Allow the sauce to cook for approximately 20 minutes.
Add spaghetti squash to plates and add sauce to the top. Enjoy!
You have the option to bake spaghetti squash in lieu of using the microwave method. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, place the squash halves on a baking sheet cut-side down and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Squash is ready when you can pierce the skin easily.
When you’re done reading this article, click here to get some ideas for easy paleo snacks.
We hope these caveman diet recipes and introduction to the Primal / Paleo lifestyle has you excited! As someone with gluten intolerance, I was thrilled to discover an endless supply of recipes that fit my dietary restrictions. Not only that, this way of cooking is delicious AND super healthy as well. As always, consult your doctor if you have any concerns about this diet being right for you.