Okay, this Paleo diet thing has become quite the fad, but I want people to stop raving and start thinking… use the brains that evolution gave you during the paleozoic era.
Some of the advice from this book is actually quite good, even though the basic premise is flawed. The substantial message is to have a diet heavy in red meat, fish, fowl, seeds (except roots), nuts, and fruits. avoid almost everything else like the plague, especially roots, tubers, and grains. The premise is that this is how our far distant ancestors ate, and apparently they are a lot smarter than us… or maybe we evolved to eat like that and haven’t evolved since, or something.
Now, I am not neccessarily straight-up attacking the diet plan. Atkins showed that high-fiber, high-protein, and low-carb diets can help sedentary persons lose weight like crazy, and even keep it off. It’s not healthy for the long term, but for short-term and emergency weight loss it is outstanding and far easier to stick to than most diet plans.
1) Our remote paleozoic ancestors did not LIVE very long. While it has been certainly proven repeatedly that eating lots of protein in childhood greatly encourages later health and intelligence, it is NOT what you want to consume for long-term health. The paleozoic diet only makes real sense if you plan to get struck down by disease, famine, or a sabertooth tiger before you turn 40.
2) Tubers were actually a HUGE part of the paleozoic diet. cat tail roots (a staple for humans all the way back to the neanderthal) are extremely starchy and chock full of good old carbohydrates, and cattails have never been hard to find. small digging implements have been found in japan and australia that date over 30,000 years… and such digging toools strongly imply either agriculture or at LEAST the wherewithal to dig roots out of the ground.
3) Why are we assuming that humans haven’t evolved to at least be able to effectively metabolise agricultural foods? they have been around an extremely long time, and wolves have been evolved into various and maimed dogs easily within that time frame.
4) paleozoic humans exercised CONSTANTLY. modern humans, even professional athletes and weightlifters, still tend to spend at least 16 hours a day doing NOTHING. paleo humans would have long periods of intense activity followed by extremely long periods of enforced idleness… to live out their short lifespanthey were adapted to eat just about anything that would not kill them… from bugs to fish to tubers to the inner flesh of certain types of bark… evolving to take advantage of just about any source of food available would have been MUCH higher on the evolutionary ladder than evolving to take advantage of a certain diet… Our very lack of ability to adapt to our environment was one of the reasons we developed sentience in the first place.
5) carbohydrates are required for both short term and long term high-energy expenditures… as any modern athletes can tell you, lack of carbs can retard energy levels and muscular growth which, for a primitve human, means you either starve when you cannot catch a deer or you run slower than the leopard that is chasing you. NOT an evolutionarily sound mutation.
6) a high-energy diet likely required absorbing enormous amounts of calories per day due to the energy used..if modern humans attempted to TRULY simulate paleozoic era humans, under today’s realities, they will wind up as enormously fat as jabba the hut.
7) Organ Meat. ancient humans ate organ meat (innards) in vast preference to the ‘good cuts’ because organ meat contained many of the deitary vitamins and minerals we need to thrive. modern day ‘beef’ is entirely unlike the low-fat, high-density musculature of the animals we used to eat, like rats, rabbits, quail, freshwater and saltwater shallows fish, and once again, bugs. Trying to say that modern beef is even remotely close to eating rabbit livers is a lot like saying that eating grass is just like eating broccoli. Beef in it’s modern form has nothing whatsoever to do with a healthy diet, and most ‘paleo’ experts reccomend ingesting massive quantities of the stuff in preference for the healthy alternatives is almost criminally stupid.
Now that I have gotten that part out of the way, I want to mention some of the stuff that they got right.
1) Highly processed foods and food additives: most of this stuff is sheer poison. Grains are good for you as long as you don’t shuck off most of the best parts, beat it to death, run it through chemical washes, mix it with aluminum sulfate, and then serve it hot and steaming with a side of artifically flavored hydrogenated vegetable oil mixed with ‘stabilizers’ and fd&c yellow number 5.
2) As above, a low-carb diet with today’s sedentary lifestyle is more likely to keep you alive and healthy than a classical ‘low fat’ diet consisting primarily of wood chipper leavings and whatever the food companies scrape out of the south end of a northbound mule. Actually, I take that back… intestinal contents are actually surprisingly healthy for humans to eat, and once was a regular part of our ‘paleolithic’ diet. It just tastes an awful lot like shit.
3) Eating REAL food…food that you know where it comes from, is far superior than genetically engineered super-speed growing cows full of steroids and other crap that gets into your system, or genetically engineered corn that enhances it’s fructose levels with only the ‘small price to pay’ of destroying human arteries with the crystalline structure of artificially boosted fructose. learn to fucking cook, buy meat from butchers instead of wal-mart, and eat stuff as it comes into season. a seasonally varied diet is a healthy diet, and make sure your kids get plenty of non-hormonal meat so that their brains and bodies get big and healthy and they DON’T start having their periods at age 7. Try to eat vegetables that are actually vegetables instead of stored in an aluminum can that slowly leaches the nutrients out and replaces them with heavy metal poisons.
3) Exercise occasionally. ancient man and modern man both are designed to spend a good 12 hours a day moving, working, and using their muscles. Get off your fat ass for at LEAST a couple of hours a day, and you can eat like a king. Obesity is the strongest contributer to early death since the 1960’s
4) Ignore the vegans whiny sob stories about how horrible it is to hurt animals just to feed ourselves… those people literally cannot live without artifically created nutrient supplements, and how healthy can a lifestyle be when it will be useless and impossible to maintain the moment the technological life support system that supports it stops working? if god hadn’t wanted us to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made ’em out of meat.
So, basically, if you REALLY want to follow the ‘dietary wisdom of ancient man’ you need to get used to eating bugs and snakes, digging raw roots out of the ground, starving most of the winter, looking like you are 60 at age 35, and dying prematurely and violently. Such are the sacrifices we make for wisdom.
Or, you can eat a healthy diet with all sorts of nutrients, proteins, and fiber, avoid artifical crap, learn to cook, eat food as it comes into season, stop throwing away the healthiest part of everything you eat, and get off your ass occasionally. You might live to see 90.