As a nutrition consultant, I've seen some far-out diets in my time, but the Paleozoic Diet posted on The Lucky Peach really takes the cake… or, more accurately, the bugs.
Similar to the trendy Paleo(lithic) diet, the Paleozoic diet restricts what you can eat to the foods available during that era, which spans roughly between 550 and 260 million years ago. Humans didn't exist at that point. Neither did most of the fruits and veggies permitted in the original Paleo plan.
Sound Ridiculous? It Is
In fact, Paleozoic dieters cannot eat most leafy greens, root vegetables, grains, nuts and beans, eggs, mammals and so on. Liquor, of course, is entirely out of the question. The list of what they can eat includes algae, cockroaches, jellyfish, frogs, frog eggs and other simple organisms. So if you'd like to add some fiddlehead ferns, reindeer lichen, beetles, and sea cucumbers to your shopping list, you may be ready to take on the new diet in town.
But before you trade in your knives and forks for sharp rocks and stones, you need to know that all of the above is a joke — at least I'm praying it's a joke.
But the fact that it's so difficult to tell at first if The Lucky Peach's Paleozoic diet is a joke really shows how ridiculous dieting has become these days. Restrictive dieting is being taken to more and more absurd levels every day. There are more bizarre diets than there are reasonable nutrition plans. Remember the Blood Type Diet, the Cookie Diet and the Baby Food Diet? No wonder we get confused about healthy eating. How's someone supposed to know what's solid science and what's a scam?
So before you clear out your fridge and pantry to make space for whichever trendy diet comes to town next, consider the importance of balance.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Diet
- Is this diet something I can live with no matter where I go?
- Is this a plan that I could live with and embellish upon after I lose weight?
- Will I be able to easily buy and prepare the foods listed on the plan?
- Will this plan be too expensive for me to follow?
- Will the diet be nutritionally adequate for me so that I can meet my needs and feel strong and energized?
- Will this plan allow me to enjoy socializing and dining with others without feeling different or strange?
The Bottom Line
The word "diet" is supposed to mean the food that you habitually eat, your way of life; it's not something you turn on and off. Instead, it's something you incorporate into your life, including while you're at home, at work and at play. You shouldn't have to change your life for your diet.
But maybe there's a winning idea hiding in this joke diet: Why not have a Paleozoic party? I can see it now. Your guests dress up in caveman and cavewoman clothing and dig in to a big platter of cockroaches, dragonflies and a few amphibian eggs from the buffet table; however, don't be surprised if you have to hunt and gather new friends afterwards!