Plan's name: Neanderthin
Book(s): Neanderthin by Ray Audette with Troy Gilchrist St. Martin’s paperback edition, 2000. 233 pages. $8.99 CDN St. Martin’s paperback Hardcover Edition, 1999.
About the author:
Basic Philosophy: Low-Carb or “Could I eat this if I were naked with a sharp stick on the savanna?”
In Ray Audette's world, there are two theories that take you down the path to health. The first is the thermodynamic view that strives to create fitness by balancing caloric intake with output, limiting dietary fats and cholesterol and incorporating synthetic foods and supplements. This system is good for regulating simple systems, such as a steam engine. The second—the chaos theory—posits that you can never know or account for or know all the variables in a system as complicated as the human body. The chaotic approach removes the variables—a sedentary life style and agricultural diet that aren’t part of the body’s natural conditions. What’s left is the question that is the basis for Neanderthin: Could I eat this if I were naked with a sharp stick on the savanna?
Ray Audette was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis over twenty years ago. Twelve years after the bad news, another piece of bad news came his way: diabetes. Disappointed with health care, he studied the physiology of his ailments and the history of the diseases and their treatments. He discovered that rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes were both auto immune system diseases and only prevalent in agricultural societies. Defining natural as the absence of technology, he decided to modify his diet along the lines of hunter-gatherers, or Paleolithic man.
His view of obesity as an immune system response to foods introduced by technology is remarkable.
By the numbers: N/A
Method: There is no induction or phases in the Neanderthin plan. Simply eliminate all foods that are products of technology. The list of “forbidden fruits” includes all grains, all beans (including snap beans) and bean products, including coffee and peanuts, starchy tubers, dairy products and sugars. That means: no vinegar, soy sauce and for maximum weight loss, very little fruit.
There is a chapter for getting started on the Neanderthin plan, a chapter on tips for turning Neanderthin into a way of life and a five-week fitness program and Frequently Asked Questions are addressed.
Several past low-carb visionaries are cited—William Banting with his Letter on Corpulence and James Salisbury who ground cheap cuts of beef with fat and invented the “Salisbury Steak”.
Vilhjalmur Stefanson an Arctic explorer, lived among the Inuit and adopted their diet in 1906. Seeing no reason to give it up, he continued with it. At age 60, he married a woman half his age. Eleven years into his marriage and eating technologically based foods, he suffered a minor stroke. Resuming his former diet, he wrote the book Cancer: Disease of Civilization. The book described the lack of what we now know as auto-immune diseases among hunter-gatherer societies.
Buckminister Fuller too, became a low-carber at age 60. One of the basic tenets of his low-carb philosophy was that nature is always most efficient at using energy so he theorized that humans should seek the most concentrated energy sources for food. The most concentrated are in the form of vegetables and animal protein. He dropped 60 pounds and continued to eat in this way until his death at 80.
Typical menu: There are a few recipes and suggested daily menus. Ray recommends drinking green tea in addition to lots of water. A suggested menu, based on the author’s food journal:
- Breakfast 12 oz. steak with 2 eggs. Small glass orange juice. Hot tea with lemon
- Lunch Double meat hamburger with lettuce, onion and tomato Medium iced tea
- Snack 1 bottle mineral water 1 apple 1 small bag of almonds
- Dinner 6 medium poached shrimp 6 raw oysters with lemon 12 oz. grilled tuna steak
- Snack 1 cup Brazil nuts 1/2 cup Pemmican
Ray recommends Pemmican as a snack or meal; a combination of fat and ground jerky that is easily portable and keeps well without refrigeration.
Unique Fatures: Neanderthin is low-carbing in its purest form. The book is easy to read, but for people who are unwilling to “go the distance”, it would be a difficult plan to follow. I recommend it for anyone who is on a low-carb plan who has reached a plateau. Minus the nuts of course!
Summarized by: Karen