The Cave Man followed a natural diet of fresh, frozen, or dried meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, eggs, and nuts.
Obviously, the Cave Man ate only organically grown food. You can, too, if it is available. See some notes below.
Milk is not included in the Cave Man's Diet, as no other species derives its nutrients from the milk of another animal - or even from the milk of its own species after weaning. Grains are not included in the Cave Man's Diet either. (This means no wheat, oats, barley, etc.) White or brown rice is OK. The official Cave Man's Diet does not include beans or dried beans, either, but we have had no reported problems with them, and none of them are eliminated on the Feingold Program. We would consider them an acceptable vegetable.
No artificial colorings, flavorings, or preservatives were used by any of the Cave Men, Cave Women or Cave Kids.
The Cave Man was able to eat all sorts of fruits and vegetables, and if his children were hyperactive, it probably was not a problem. Many people today, however, do have a problem with a group of natural chemicals called salicylates (Suh-LIH-Suh-Lates), which are related to aspirin (originally from willow bark, which the Cave Man probably knew about). There are several kinds of salicylate, which plants make as a natural pesticide to protect themselves. Those that are eliminated from the Cave Man's Feingold Diet are listed below. Most people can eventually tolerate at least some of these salicylates.
Fragrances and non-food items which contain these chemicals are also eliminated. (Cave people did not have synthetic fragrances although they probably used natural ones.)
After you have had a good response to the Cave Man's Feingold Diet, add whole milk (milk without vitamin A palmitate, which can have hidden preservatives) and see if it is tolerated.
Also, once you have had a good response to the diet, feel free to add the grains, one at a time, and to begin to eat (home made) bread.
Once you are comfortable using the Cave Man's Feingold Diet, and have determined whether (or not) you tolerate milk and grains, begin to experiment with the salicylates, in small amounts. You will need to determine which ones, and how much of them, you can tolerate.
To make sure you and your children get adequate calcium, eat sardines, mackerel, broccoli, cabbage, and other leafy green vegetables.
To make sure you and your children get adequate Vitamin D, eat fatty fish and/or organ meats, or stay in the sun at least 15 minutes a day.
If you feel you must use a vitamin preparation, check your local health food store, and be sure to avoid those with salicylate flavorings or ingredients, including rose hips and acerola.
If you must use medication while trying the Cave Man's Feingold Diet, ask for a brand without artificial coloring and flavoring. You may want to use a compounding pharmacist. The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists should be able to recommend one for you. Ron Keech of Pathways Apothecary Pharmacy at 1-800-869-9160 has had many years experience working with Feingold members, and we have found him knowledgeable and his prices reasonable.
At any point during this process, if you want to have a less limited diet, please contact the Feingold Association to become a full member and receive the Program materials including the Stage One and Stage Two Foodlist & Shopping Guide with thousands of brand name products, the Fast Food List, and all the other materials we provide to make your diet less an "adventure" and more "American-style normal."
An interesting collection of Cave Man Diet recipes is located at The Paleolithic Eating Support List's Recipe Collection.
Warning: Many of these recipes do include salicylate-containing fruits and vegetables, so use your list of salicylates and check the recipes carefully. You may be able to make substitutions - pears instead of apples, for example.
A section of these recipes gives instruction on smoking meats and fish. Save this for later, as some people are sensitive to smoke ingredients, and the salicylate content of trees of salicylate-containing fruits (i.e., apple wood) is unknown. Wood of birch or willow are known to contain a lot of salicylate - even birch pollen in the spring can be a problem for sensitive people.
To be eliminated now and forever:
See more about artificial colorings.
- Artificial (synthetic) coloring
- Artificial (synthetic) flavoring
- Artificial (synthetic) preservatives BHA, BHT, TBHQ
- Artificial sweeteners (some are acceptable on the Feingold Program, but not for this adventure)
See more about BHT, BHA, and TBHQ .
List of Most Commonly Troublesome Salicylates
To print the salicylate list
The following "salicylates" have been shown by the best available research, clinical trials and experience, to be the most common problems for people using the Feingold diet. If you are known or suspected to be extremely salicylate-sensitive, you will find a more complete listing with the breakdown of low-salicylate items too, in the Program materials Special Needs Section.
Avoid anything -- food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, art supplies -- that has any of the following ingredients.
- Aspirin and products containing aspirin or salicylic acid or any chemical with "salicyl" in it, such as Octyl Salicylate.
- Berries (all)
- Chili powder
- Cider & cider vinegar (apples)
- Cucumbers & pickles
- Grapes & raisins
- Peppers (bell & chili)
- Plums, prunes
- Rose Hips
- Wine & wine vinegar (grapes)
- Oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) and teaberry oil
- Rose hips or acerola (often found in vitamins)
Avoid anything -- food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, art supplies -- that has perfume or fragrance, or (of course) artificial colors, flavors, or BHA, BHT, or TBHQ. Use only unscented products at first. Use baking soda or plain water instead of toothpaste. Avoid water, toothpaste, or any products with added fluoride.
MSG, hydrolized vegetable protein, yeast extract, nitrites/nitrates, sulfites/sulfates, and aspartame are not spices, were not used by the Cave Man, and should be avoided at this time. Raw honey was the sweetener of choice for the Cave Man, but plain cane sugar is generally well tolerated. (Warning: Do NOT use honey for babies or anyone for immune dysfunction since small amounts of botulism spores may be present. Also, honey can be a salicylate, depending on where the bee has been.) Avoid corn syrup now, and try it later as you would a salicylate. Salt, black pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and all other fresh or dried spices not listed as salicylate can be used.
To help you, we recommend you read the book, "Why Can't My Child Behave?" This book may be available in your local library. If not, ask them to order it for you, or order it through our website book store. As we said earlier, you can become a member of the Feingold Association of the United States and receive the Program materials which will make it much easier for you. Besides directions and recipes and helpful ideas, the kit provides a Foodlist & Shopping Guide, a Mail Order Guide and a Fast Food List. The Shopping Guide contains thousands of brand-name products that are free of the additives. Each has been individually researched with the manufacturer.
Notes on Organic Foods
A few Feingold Association members report that eating organic foods was required for their children to have a good response to dietary intervention. Most members do not require organic foods.
It has been noticed that organic chicken has much less fat than "regular" supermarket chicken which swims in fat after baking. It was explained to us that the "regular" supermarket chicken is given growth hormones to make it grow much faster than a normal chicken. In growing so fast, the chicken becomes adult size when it is still a baby, and the muscle meat is laid down with much more fat than a normal adult chicken has. Of course, your own children will be eating the same hormones and antibiotics the chicken or beef cow ate. The Cave Man would probably not approve.
Avoid any brand of chicken with a yellow skin. While this may "look" healthy, it is produced by feeding the chicken large amounts of marigold meal. The lutein from the marigold collects in the meat and skin, turning it yellow. Marigolds are a salicylate, and we have had numerous reports of salicylate-type reactions to yellow chicken.
Organic vegetables are not genetically modified by inserting genes from other species. They are grown with natural fertilizers, and without toxic pesticides. They are not waxed or treated with fungicides while waiting to be sold to you. For some people (but not most) such chemicals are a problem. Certainly, the Cave People would have been shocked.