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Caveman cuisine costs more but Paleo diet benefits worth price, say fans

Belly up to the burger, minus the bun.
Belly up to the burger, minus the bun.
Photo by Ethan Miller

Wilma and Fred Flintstone had their share of worries (just why did their daughter Pebbles have hair that looked like a water fountain?), but they didn't seem to stress about the price of steak. For modern-day cavemen dieters, however, the rising price of meat has caused protests for those trying to follow the Paleo plan, reported Newsmax on Friday.

Tracked by the Bloomberg Protein Index, bacon and beef are causing caveman diet observers to have a beef with the expense. More than 10 protein sources have skyrocketed in price, with a 28 percent increase during the past five years.

"For people who wanted to add protein just because it’s healthy, if they start to get sticker shock, they might pull back a little bit," predicted Darren Seifer, an analyst at NPD Group Inc. His prediction: Start clucking for chicken rather than steak.

And for food companies trying to appeal to dieters on high protein weight loss plans, it's tough to compete. It's "a challenge to do more with protein today," said Panera Bread Co. Chief Concept Officer Scott Davis in a Friday interview with the St. Louis Post Dispatch News.

Trying to get creative with the caveman approach, he designed a high protein egg-and-ham breakfast sandwich. The potential for sales of such high protein products is growing.

According to the latest surveys, more than 50 percent of consumers want to add more protein to their diets. A new online study shows one to three million Americans have chosen the Paleo low carb diet plan, according to an online study conducted by Hamilton Stapell, a professor at State University of New York at New Paltz. These caveman diet fans feel the weight loss and health benefits outweigh the cost.

In an exclusive interview, Robb Wolff, author of "The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet," told me he traces the "exponential growth" of the Paleo diet back to 2009. He takes pride in the way its message of unprocessed, sugar-free, grain-free diet has spread.

"No other eating/lifestyle template in history has logged that type of growth or success," notes Robb. Moreover, he feels the movement has only begun.

Robb feels that the plan appeals to consumers because they recognize the traditional food pyramid, which emphasizes grains, has failed. "It represents nearly 200 years of failure on the part of medicine and dietetics. The Paleo template is just Evolutionary Biology applied to food and medicine," he said.

For those who want to go Paleo but worry about the cost, George Bryant and Juli Bauer suggest spending more time in your kitchen concocting your own cuisine. They co-authored "The Paleo Kitchen: Finding Primal Joy in Modern Cooking."

Juli Bauer is the creator of the popular Paleo OMG blog and author of the "OMG. That's Paleo?" cookbook. She and George emphasize the use of inexpensive ingredients such as ground beef and bananas to make magnificent meals. Try their version of what they call the "Perfect Burger" below, which includes fries made with inexpensive parsnips.


  • 1 pound (455 grams) ground beef
  • ¼ medium red onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the shoestring parsnip fries:

  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled
  • ½ cup (100 grams) coconut oil, melted

Directions: In a medium mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the burgers without overworking the meat. Divide meat into 3 equal portions and form into ½-inch (12-mm)-thick patties. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each burger. Set aside.

Using a spiral slicer or julienne slicer, cut the parsnips into strings. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat, and preheat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once grill is hot, place the burgers on the grill and close the lid. Cook 6 minutes.

While the burgers are cooking, add the coconut oil to the saucepan. Test the oil by placing one parsnip shoestring in the oil to ensure the oil bubbles. Add the parsnips to the oil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown. When the parsnips finish cooking, place them on a paper towel−lined plate to drain.

Flip the burgers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes for medium-rare, or until desired doneness. Remove the burgers from grill and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes before consuming.

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