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.