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Day 216: How frugal is the paleo lifestyle?


Could I leave behind the comforts of modern life and embrace a caveman lifestyle?

So, yesterday I was thinking about medieval bartering systems and today it's another history lesson a la Shopping Detox!

Have you guys heard about the paleo diet? It's the latest fad diet, which has a really interesting selling point: eat what the human body was designed to eat. When people first started hanging out on planet earth, they ate the meat that they hunted, and berries and fruits, didn't really cook anything, and had nothing to do with grains or agriculture. So, in one sense, it's yet another reinvention of the Atkins/South Beach/Mediterranean diet that's like "eat lots of vegetables and no bread!"

Camilla Belle in 10,000 B.C. makes the paleo lifestyle look kind of boho fabulous.

But it's more than that, I think. The Paleo Diet was first advocated in the 1970s, but it's become popular recently because of other back-to-basics, minimalist things like not wearing shoes and integrating exercise into daily life instead of the gym, and that sort of thing. Mark's Daily Apple seems to be a good place to learn about this sort of stuff, and a much better place to learn about it than my brief, Wikipedia-informed thoughts here.

So, anyway, the question of the day is:

How frugal is the paleo lifestyle?

Hmm... the paleo lifestyle looks kind of glamorous, frankly.
There are a gazillion blogs out there of people who are doing the paleo diet and feel fabulous and well-fed and whatnot. I'm going to be upfront: carbs are almost the only thing I eat, so I'm not going to even think about attempting this diet. So, I'm impressed with anyone who's able to do this.

I'm not entirely sure how accurate this diet really is to what the cavepeople ate. For instance, one of the diets lists having filet mignon one day, and then lobster the next day. I think cavepeople life was more like... starve for a few days/weeks, then gorge on mastodon meat, then have some berries, then go and make some cave paintings.

Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. proves that the paleo diet gets you bikini-ready!

Meat is expensive; it just is. Vegetarianism is often recommended as a frugal thing (*see above note for why I am not going to attempt this) so, buying meat could be costly. However, this diet is big on veggies and lentils and those can be bought locally for decent prices. And cutting out manufactured food with additives is always cheaper.

However, this diet also recommends an awful lot of supplements and vitamins, which can also get costly.

Although, this probably makes you healthier, which cuts down on the costs associated with getting sick (i.e. buying tissues and cough drops and things).


Yet more proof that the paleo diet makes you even better-looking.
The paleo lifestyle advocates not wearing shoes, which is obviously cost-effective because you don't need to buy shoes! Although, it can get pricey because sometimes you need shoes - i.e. in winter. So then you need to buy no-shoe shoes, which are comparably priced to normal shoes. But it costs money because we all have normal shoes; but you'd have to buy no shoe shoes.

Once you're full-on with the no-shoes lifestyle, your feet are so callused and sturdy that you won't mind going around barefoot. Most peoples' instinctive reaction to shoelessness is "But what if you step on something sharp!" which all of the paleo blogs dismiss as a silly concern. Because, just because you don't have shoes on, doesn't mean you don't stop looking for broken syringes or rusty nails on the ground in front of you.


Honestly? I like shoes way too much to embrace this barefoot lifestyle.
Though, it is a good way to show off a good pedicure.

That being said, it is possible that you may step on something either sharp or gross. Plus, there are places where you have to wear shoes (i.e. restaurants) so you need some sort of foot covering such as huaraches. Which again, cost money to buy. But so do normal shoes.

So I'm going to call this one even. Although, I like to think that paleo enthusiasts should wear a lot of fur. I mean, embrace your caveman styles! But fur is expensive, so that would be pricey.

The paleo lifestyle also advocates living in a similar manner to our cavepeople forebears, which means not getting stressed very often, relaxing, playing, and having a strong sense of community. None of these really have much to do with frugality, but I wanted to mention this aspect. 


Yes, this ad is ridiculous, sexist, etc. But also kind of hilarious.
I'll leave it to copyranter to address the sexism part.

Cavepeople's average life expectancy was like 30. Do paleo enthusiasts also advocate dying young? I assume not. And I also assume that paleo enthusiasts don't mind medication such as penicillin - because there have been a number of medical advances that mean we can all live much longer than 30. Was the human body not meant to live to old age?

Also: because people died so young, female bodies were designed to have children starting at around age 12 or 13. There are studies that show that women who have given birth have certain health benefits - and babies born to younger women have less risk of birth defects. So, is having children extremely young part of a paleo lifestyle? Should it be?

Perhaps I will find the answers to these questions in the classic smutty novel, Clan of the Cave Bear.


Like anything else, you can do the paleo lifestyle in a frugal way or not. You can run out and buy sixteen different guide books to paleo lifestyle, and buy lobster everyday, and buy five pairs of no-shoes-shoes and twenty-five different nutritional supplements; or you can integrate these ideas into your life in a more low-key manner.

Something about the fact that it's being described as the natural human state makes it seem somehow more convincing than other diet and lifestyle plans. But really, this is a trend and a fad like any other. So everybody can think about whether they want to do it or not. Personally? I'm not. But I can see why a lot of people are into it.


~Carla~ said...

I eat Primally, (no dairy, NOTHING processed) for the last 1 1/2 years, (I have Marks book) and personally don't think it's a fad diet, anymore than vegetarianism is. It is the ONLY way of eating that has taken care of all my food allergy issues & is healing my digestive system. Many people just don't do well with grains. I'm in the best shape of my life. The only "supplements" I take are Vitamin D, Probiotics, Digestive enzymes to heal my stomach, and I use Chia seeds & Flax for the health benefits. If you've read some of my blog posts you'll see that I only eat grass fed, local & organic meat/eggs. Yes, it can be expensive, it's best to find a local farmer. My inner food snob is coming out here.. but there is so much shit in factory farmed meat, (ever see Fast Food Nation or Food Inc?), I won't eat it. Oh, I still wear shoes. ;)

Super Frugalette said...

I couldn't do this. Heck...I have am making bread in my bread machine as I type this post. That being said, I know I should incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet.

Andrew @ 101 Centavos said...

Giving up bread and pasta is tough, but better for many people. All in moderation, I say....

Good post and love the context pictures. Well done!

Annabelle said...

@Carla - wow, I so totally could never do this. Carbs and dairy are waaaaay too important to me, even though I truly believe that this sort of diet would be super healthy. I'm so glad it works for you -- and how awesome you were doing it before it became trendy.

@SuperFrug - you and me both. I eat carbs, cheese, occasional meat and fruit and that's it. Need to sneak veg into my diet, Jessica Seinfeld style maybe.

@Andrew - thanks!

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