Revisiting NeanderThin

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About five years ago I read an interesting book on what was basically a modern caveman diet. When I finished I came to the conclusion the diet was way too difficult to follow in the modern world. Recently I started reading Art De Vany’s site and his Evolutionary Fitness posts, so I thought I’d go back and read NeaderThin with fresh eyes.

NeanderThin: Eat Like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body
NeanderThin: Eat Like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body by Ray Audette starts off with an excellent history of how primitive man ate. It convincingly builds its case against the modern agriculture diet. And for the most part I agree with the author’s findings. However, the diet is still looks near impossible to follow in modern society.

Here are the Ten Commandments of the NeaderThin Plan as posted on the back cover of the book.

Do eat:

  1. Meats and Fish
  2. Fruits
  3. Vegetables
  4. Nuts
  5. Berries

Don’t Eat:

  1. Grains
  2. Beans
  3. Potatoes
  4. Dairy
  5. Sugar

Also on the NO list is coffee, which the author insultingly refers to as a burnt berry.

Now I’m in full agreement with his DO list. It’s the NO list that seems too restrictive. He made a solid case for surrendering grains and sugar, but other books clearly demonstrate that beans and potatoes (red or yams) are nutritional powerhouses. This leaves dairy.

Yogurt is a superfood, but Arnold taught us that milk is for babies. Seriously, if the dairy comes from grain-fed animals then sure it’ll be problematic, because grains are problematic. Too many omega-6s, too few omega-3s. I get it. However, my take is that different people can handle dairy to differing degrees.

Can this diet work? Sure. It worked for thousands of years. Can it work in modern society? Not without a lot of work and discipline. The diet requires 0% cheating.

Although I praise the author’s research into primitive man and his diet, the exercise section in the book is ridiculously bad. Exercises like leg curls and tricep extensions are hardly primitive movements. And I laughed when the 2 authors bragged they were both 6 feet tall, weighed 145 pounds and had a combined body-fat of 12%. Sounds a bit scrawny to me.

I recommend reading just the first 60 pages of this book and then perhaps figuring out how to eat a cleaner and less modern diet.

4 thoughts on “Revisiting NeanderThin

  1. dhammy

    My first thought on the premise of this book is this: Why would we want to ignore tens of thousands of years of evolution? Modern humans are not cavemen. Modern humans didn’t survive and thrive, multiply, and evolve because we could hunt meat and berries. We thrived because we learned to grow grain, digest dairy, etc.

    We clearly have gone astray with our modern diets in many ways. But this luddite approach to diet doesn’t look like a realistic or desirable solution. Plus, no coffee?!? Get real!

    Disclosure: I’ve not read this book.

  2. There are valuable lessons in this book, but they get lost in the extreme.

    A person that swaps a portion of their “new” food (sugars, grain, dairy) for more “old” food (meat, veggies) will most likely see an increase in health. What percent is the question. The author believes 100%. I’m thinking a lower number is more realistic. Perhaps an initial goal of 25%, then review later.

  3. Nick

    LOL. The link you give for Arnold’s comment goes on to explain how milk is actually bad for babies. Sadly it does nothing to explain why milk is bad (if it even actually is bad) for adults.

  4. The Arnold line is a joke from the movie Pumping Iron. I couldn’t resist.

    Do I believe milk does the body good? Nope. Do I believe if it steamed and poured over espresso it can result in a tasty macchiato or cappuccino? Yes.

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