How to Make Stone Soup: Is the “Paleo Diet” a Missed Opportunity for Anthropologists?

Published In

Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews

Document Type


Publication Date



For the past few years, people everywhere have been “going Paleo.” Websites and social media touting the benefits of eating a “Paleo diet” and following a “Paleolithic life style” serve as calls to arms for health-conscious individuals seeking information about the latest health and fitness trends. Many of these people participate in programs such as Crossfit, which involve major social and life-style modification components and therefore facilitate the dissemination of dietary fads. The PALEOf(x)TM conference, which bills itself as “the world's premier holistic wellness event,” has attracted sellout crowds of thousands of attendees for the last four years. Consumers can wear Paleo clothing, download Paleo shopping and exercise apps to their smartphones, order prepackaged Paleo food, prepare it using Paleo cooking implements, or expediently buy Paleo convenience foods from Paleodiet™ vending machines and “Cultured Caveman” food trucks. The Paleo diet is touted by movie stars, reality TV personalities, and professional athletes, including LeBron James and the entire Miami Dolphins NFL team. Books with titles such as The Primal Blueprint, Cavewomen Don't Get Fat, and Paleo Perfected (the latter by the stodgy America's Test Kitchen) are legion, and many are bestsellers.



Persistent Identifier