The Paleo Food Pyramid

Pull up a rock and join us for a look at five caveman diet staples

October 26, 2012
Paleo diet food list
1/6 Craig Cutler

Paleolithic men didn't live by woolly mammoth alone, says John Williams, PhD, an archaeologist trained in prehistoric cultures and a lecturer at the University of Colorado at Denver. Food remnants discovered at Ohalo II, a 23,000-year-old archeological site on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, show how our ancestors really filled their plates. The good news: you can do the same. Just ditch the drive-thru and club some whole foods instead.

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2/6 Thinkstock
Paleo Staple #1: Fish

The bones of freshwater fish--primarily tilapia and carp--were abundant at the site, and a portion of a fishnet was even preserved.

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Paleo Staple #2: Fruits

Paleo people gathered wild figs, wild grapes, and a variety of date called Christ's-thorn fruit from surrounding hills, and ate them at this site. These paleo snacks provided sugars for quick energy and a host of beneficial antioxidants.

4/6 Mitch Mandel
Paleo Staple #3: Grains

Wild strains of grains like barley and emmer wheat were staple foods. The grains were ground into a meal for gruel or used to thicken stews. They were the hearty and healthy distant relatives of today's refined grains, but they were only minimally processed.

5/6 Mitch Mandel
Paleo Staple #4: Olives

Wild olives were also picked from the trees on local hillsides and carried to the camp at Ohalo II. Together with wild nuts, they provided healthy monounsaturated fats.

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Paleo Staple #5: Venison

Animal meat was a large component of the diet for these hunter-gatherers. Remains of deer and gazelle were most abundant. They ate a lot of water birds as well. Probably tasted like chicken.