August 2010 Update: Haven't added anything new to this site since first putting it up in March. Since then, I've been interviewed by at least a dozen more news outlets, mostly foreign. I've now given up doing any more media stuff as these interviews have gotten to the point of ad nauseum for me. Other than that, nothing new to report in this regard, still living Paleo!

Vlad Averbukh  (Vladimir Averbukh)

About that whole Caveman thing

I was recently featured in an AFP story on Paleolithic diets. They followed me around for an hour as I was doing some outdoor calisthenics and shopping at Whole Foods. Earlier this year I was also featured in a New York Times article that talked about Paleo/Cavemen types in NYC. In both cases, I agreed to speak to reporters because I wanted to spread the message about Paleo. While I have no regrets about doing so, there were a few things that I thought could’ve been explained better. I wanted to briefly address some of the misconceptions that may arise as a result.

Why Raw?

I started eating Paleo in early 2006, Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet was one of the first books I read on the subject. As I learned more about our ancestors, I adjusted my diet to include less carbohydrates and more fat. I also came across some information that led me to believe it is not necessary to always cook animal products. I began cooking at low temperatures, hoping to avoid the loss of nutrients and taste that I believe occurs when meat is overcooked. While I don’t think that gently cooking meat is harmful, on days when I don’t have time to devote to cooking, I find it easier to just eat my meat raw.

While I subscribe to the belief that raw or lightly cooked meat is optimal, even a fully cooked Paleo diet is still a huge improvement over the so called Standard American Diet. One doesn’t need to eat raw to get most of the health benefits of Paleo. Eliminating grains, refined sugar and other processed foods is the most important piece of Paleo.

So how much will this cost me?

The AFP article mentioned that I spend $70 a day on my food. This is not entirely accurate as I spend far less in the warmer months eating locally grown produce. I almost never spend more than $30 a day on food in the summer. While I try to eat seasonally as much as I can, I still buy imported organic fruit in the winter. I would typically go for less sweet fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries. This stuff gets very pricey and accounts for most of my daily food expenses. Since I prefer my meat very rare or raw, I get softer cuts of meat such as ribeye, these are obviously more expensive as well. While I realize I could spend a lot less by buying organ meats and frozen beef, I would rather spend more and get fresher and higher quality food.

What about exercise?

For me, going Paleo has coincided with wanting to learn about movement and anatomy. My interest led me to get certified as a personal trainer/fitness instructor, which I put to use on weekends when I'm not working in the IT field. I believe learning about exercise is as important as diet. Just as conventional wisdom on nutrition is often wrong, the same can be said for exercise. If more folks used evolution as a guide for movement, we would not see as many machines and ellipticals in our gyms, which I suspect may do more harm than good. I find bodyweight exercises convenient and time efficient, it can be done home or outdoors without any weights whatsoever. I also walk around the city a lot, it's not as sexy as going barefoot in the wild, but a lot more practical.

While I see the benefits in simulating our ancestral exercise, it may not be the best option for those whose posture and movement patterns are flawed. For someone who spends most of their day sitting and slouching in front of a computer, the best exercise might be isolation movements to activate dormant muscles. And while early humans would not have practiced Yoga or Pilates, it may indeed be beneficial if one has limited flexibility and range of motion. So while I like the idea of Crossfit and MovNat, as these would appear to be more paleo-friendly, one must be careful to get proper instruction to avoid injuries.

Where to find grass-fed beef in New York City

In recent years, word has spread about both the environmental and nutritional advantages to pastured animal products. However I still found it difficult to track down genuine grass-fed beef. There is an increasing number of stores and butchers in New York carrying organic, hormone free and antibiotic free meats. While this is superior to most commercial meats, you must look for labels that say "100% Grass Fed" or "Grass Finished". Below I've made a list of places where I've bought grass-fed beef:

Farmers' Markets

- Union Square in Manhattan (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday)
- Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn (Saturday)
- Museum of Natural History in Manhattan (Sunday)
- Cortelyou Ave between Argyle & Rugby in Brooklyn (Sunday)
- Carroll St between Smith and Court in Brooklyn (Sunday, April-Dec)

Whole Foods Markets (Manhattan)

- 270 Greenwich St
- 95 East Houston St
- 4 Union Square South
- 250 7th Ave
- 10 Columbus Circle
- 808 Columbus Avenue

Trader Joe's

- 138 E 14th St in Manhattan
- 130 Court St in Brooklyn
- 90-30 Metropolitan Ave in Queens

Other Stores

- Flatbush Coop, 1415 Cortelyou Rd in Brooklyn
- Natural Frontier Market, 1104 Cortelyou Rd in Brooklyn
- Westerly Natural Market, 913 8th Ave in Manhattan
- Urban Rustic, 236 N. 12th St in Brooklyn

New York Cavemen

If you're in NYC area and looking to meet up with other Caveman/Paleo/Primal enthusiasts in New York City, head over to NYC Paleo Meetup group. We got some awesome people if you wish to join us.

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Vlad Averbukh 2010