Steph Gaudreau thinks the “caveman diet” analogy is the worst thing to happen to Paleo dieters.
“It’s a trope that has not done us any favors, but it’s an association that sticks,” she says. Even though it’s ridiculous to think that we can or should eat like a prehistoric human with a 30-year lifespan, we can eat simpler food, she says. As famed food writer Michael Pollan would say, “Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.”
Among other innovations, our crop-growing skills and cooking technology allow for a more appetizing and nutritionally balanced year-round diet. We can do better than caveman meals.
“I’ve tried every diet under the sun and I always fell back into old habits,” Gaudreau explains. Starting the Paleo diet was incidental. In 2009, she was active in the mountain biking and racing community. She needed a way to fuel her body and she stumbled upon a way of eating that provided the fuel that increased her performance and satisfied her cravings.
“For years, I had digestive problems and weird menstrual cycles. I was hangry and had sleep issues, and I thought, I guess that’s just how I am,” Gaudreau says. “But so much of that was governed by my diet and how I was eating.”
When she started the Paleo diet, it was the first time she started a diet that wasn’t about losing weight. It made all the difference, she says.
“People saw that I was changing, and I don’t just mean losing inches. I was different and thinking differently, and that’s what got me into starting the blog,” she says. At first, it was just recipes, but soon she was explaining what she could about her journey and how others might experiment with the diet for their own health.
Gaudreau went from teaching high school chemistry and biology to blogging full-time in 2012. The blog was how she met her husband, who was living in Scotland at the time. They bonded over Paleo and racing, dated long distance for a couple years, then married in 2014.
“It’s great to have a partner who was already committed to Paleo,” Gaudreau says, but she’s really referring to conscientious eating.
She says she understands that some people are really adamant about not eating meat and she assures them that she doesn’t want animals to suffer either. Ethical eating is a lot more difficult than eat this or don’t eat that.
“I don’t think anyone has a simple answer, but I know that if we eat less meat, and better meat, we could support a more sustainable, ethical, and environmental process,” Gaudreau says. “There will always be death associated with the way we grow our food unless we start growing it in a lab, and that has its own ethical problems.”
Go-To Favorites: Batch-cooked sweet potatoes, safe-catch tuna, homemade hummus
Go-To Meal: InstaPot beef stew