• author
    • Jesse Loren

    • October 18, 2014 in Columnists

    So you want to go Paleo?

    Once upon a time, 10,000 years ago or so, homo sapiens roamed the planet and it’s assumed, they were often in calorie deficit or hungry. These roaming, moving bands of humans were likely agile, fit , athletic and versatile. Never mind that moving and hunting were stressful. For the Paleo-types, it was a golden age of fitness and beauty, suntans and designer furs…

    If you read about the origins of Paleo, the Palievers diet is based on one main rule, that agriculture led humans to their demise.

    “So what the hell happened? Agriculture! A few thousand years ago humans discovered farming, the agricultural revolution took off, and we advanced from hunter-gatherers to farmers. We settled down, formed societies and the human race progressed to what we are today.” Paleo – The beginner’s guide

    I beg to differ.

    First, all agriculture is not created equal. And much is left to be discovered about the social habits of early humans.

    As a non-anthropologist, it makes sense that traveling homo sapiens would have a variety of caloric needs satisfied by an unspoiled landscape. Humans could forage for plants filled with micronutrients and drink fresh, unspoiled water. They could eventually catch animals that also grazed the wild grasses and also benefited from the abundance of micronutrients across the land. Child-bearing women were surrounded by children, men , women and elders. Close bonds were formed. Belonging happened. Women reaching menopause automatically needed less calories as their bodies reduced estrogen. Some would help the new families, others would join the men with fighting and hunting. I intuitively understand menopause more when I think how it slows some women down and creates fighters out of others, all while needing fewer calories! I also understand that individuals need others in order to live balanced, healthy, loving lives.

    Getting back to agriculture: It’s hard to find the pastoral scene of farms-past where cattle grazed the rolling pastures followed by pigs and chickens, which spread the benefits of manure and improved the top soil. You practically have to see Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms to find that! Actually, it’s available all around us, you just have to look for organic, grass-fed and finished beef.

    Today most animal meat comes from factory farms with animals caged in excrement, fed antibiotics to overcome the grotesque conditions, pumped up with growth hormones to fatten fast and force fed corn, soy and dead fellow cows. News bulletin…cows are grass eaters, not carnivores. They are not meant to eat soy, grain or fellow cows. The meat produced by giant factory farms is approved by the FDA, but it isn’t natural, nor is it anything like a wild ruminator from the Paleolithic era. Nothing. We need to stop pretending it’s food.

    If you are going “paleo,” but you’re eating the crap from factory farms, you’re doing it wrong. If you think ground beef in ammonia slurry is something even close to natural, you’re doing it wrong.

    Milk. The Paleo diet proposes the idea that drinking milk is not part of the human diet. The idea is that no other animal drinks milk beyond its infancy. No other animal does a lot of things humans do. This comparison is not scientific or applicable.

    Milk from cows was part of the homo sapiens diet long before the pasteurization process of Louis Pasteur. Around 8000 B.C.E., aurochs were domesticated and traveled along side humans from the Fertile Crescent and throughout Eurasia. Neolithic Britain holds prehistoric evidence of milking cows for human consumption as early as 4000-5000 B.C.E. Ancient Sumarians made art reliefs of domesticated cattle being milked. If you think milk isn’t part of the human diet based on the weaning of non-humans, you’re doing it wrong.

    Part of the Paleo diet makes sense. We are eating too much grain. That’s a no-brainer. The government continues to encourage people to eat 6-11 servings of grain a day. The government also suggests a daily amount of milk drinking. It would be too obvious to point out that grain and milk producers have always influenced our recommended daily requirements. The self-serving industries peddling requirements shows they are doing it wrong.

    So you’re going to eat more vegetables… I’d like to point out that how vegetables are grown is as important as eating them. If you want to be a healthy, but you are sucking on pesticides, herbicides, neonicotinoids and genetically “Frankensteined” vegetables defvoid of nutrients, you’re doing it wrong!

    The Paleo diet is an attempt to return to eating “how we were biologically designed to eat,” but it means no more than a fart in a plastic cup if we aren’t eating what we were biologically meant to take into our bodies.

    Do you want to eat like your ancestors? Support local farmers by buying produce at local farmer’s markets. Buy organic, buy seasonal, can and pickle what you can and save it in your own larder. Grow whatever you can in your growing zone. Buy meat direct from ranchers. Don’t over buy and have to throw out food. Your ancestors roll in their graves when you throw out food.

    Eat locally. Your Paleo ancestors didn’t get fruit shipped here from China. If it isn’t in season, don’t buy it. If you are following Paleo recipes that call for things out of season, substitute for something that is in season. If you think you are tuning-in to the Paleo vibe of your ancestors, but you’re driving far and wide to locate an obscure, non locally grown item and industrially farmed meat, you’re doing it wrong.

      • Kat

      • October 18, 2014 at 8:06 am
      • Reply

      I applaud this column and this is exactly what I am presently doing. Local grown, organic..simplistic I call it CLEAN versus DIRTY eating. No take out, No processed. Simplistic, staple, healthy.

    • You GO Kat!

      • Brian Bellamy

      • October 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm
      • Reply

      Nicely done!

      • Maya North

      • October 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm
      • Reply

      I’m with you on this — although I’ve given up meat. Just can’t do it anymore. But as for milk — now that I’ve had a gastric bypass, I pretty much live on dairy. My body doesn’t recognize most vegan protein as protein and soy has phytoestrogens that raise my blood sugar. One of my major issues with the current notions about nutrition is this bizarre conviction that fat makes you fat. Not in my experience and I went on an extreme low-carb regimen in order to regulate my blood sugar. I ate enough fat to fry up a good-sized moose, lost 30 lbs and my cholesterol and triglycerides were spot-on perfect. Fat doesn’t make us fat, carbs do — sugar, refined grains, even whole grains in excess. Frying carbs is another way to make us into expandomatic people — french fries for weight gain! Oh boy! It has to do with insulin, the fat-storing hormone. The higher the carbs, the more insulin your body needs to push your blood sugar back down and the more your body will store. Add fat to the equation and it slows the metabolism of the carbs, requiring less insulin. It’s simple and scientific, but the ADA has convinced itself that lowfat is the only way to go, which is actively harmful to diabetics. Sigh…

    • You ARE SINGING MY SONG! My husband is vegetarian. I cook a vegetarian, high carb diet for him. He just gets smaller, thinner, and burns up those suckers. I’ve gained 50 pounds with the veggie diet. I’ve returned to meat, mainly beef, and I feel better. Tonight I ate a high calorie meal, but lately, all good quality carbs and not high grain. I feel better.


    • I think some people do great with higher fat, low carb eating, and some people do great with lower fat, high carb eating. The flaw is operating on the premise that there is one right way to eat. There may only be one right way to eat for any given individual, but it’s up to that individual to figure out what that right way is for him or her. Different people have different genes, body chemistries, metabolisms, etc., so it makes sense that what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another person. Where I agree with you 100% is that no matter what you eat, it should be as organic and local as possible. If you’re eating meat, it should be free range, and in the case of beef, exclusively grass fed and finished. In a truly civilized society, CAFO farming would be illegal, as would farming with toxic chemicals. Both are pure evil.

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