Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just read an article on the Paleolithic diet, which managed to make it sound a LOT more appealing that the guy on who first introduced us (non-Paleo aspies) to the concept. I haven't done further research as yet this morning, because I want a chance to consider the initial impressions and questions that the article brought to mind before I delve into details.

First of all, I want to know how accurate it is to think that this diet resembles that of Paleolithic times. I am immediately skeptical on this point and demand further proof, preferably based on anthropological research and archeological findings.

Secondly...why Paleolithic? There are so-called primitive tribes today who eat a simple, straightforward diet with minimal processing. Isn't it a little insulting to overlook them?

I am concerned by the emphasis on bacon and lard in the article. Uh, folks.....sorry to break this to you, but Paleolithic hogs resembled nothing like the ones we have now. They probably carried very little fat. We're talking javelinas...not the slow, obese eating machines fattened on GMO grains, raised on CAFO farms that get little to no exercise. For a snapshot of what I am talking about:

Here is a picture of a wild turkey. These birds can fly. Notice the lean, athletic body shape. This is undeniably a bird.

Now, a picture of the Broad Breasted White Turkey, which cannot fly and whose breast muscles are so large that it cannot reproduce without the use of artificial insemination.

All of the turkey breeds of today descend from the wild turkey, and were not developed until white men landed in the Americas. In a span of a few hundred years, we've managed to ruin the turkey to the point where it cannot mate, fly, etc. One cannot eat storebought turkey and say that this is what our ancestors were eating 300 years ago. It is not the same bird or the same meat.

Generally speaking, this is the way I try to look at food as well. The corn eaten by the Native Americans 400 years ago (and currently in the Southwest)is not at all comparable to the high sugar GMO stuff we have today. If an animal or plant variety cannot survive, mate and reproduce itself successfully, something is wrong and that species has been overbred. In both the plant and the animal world, breeders have unfortunately done a lot of well meaning (and not well meaning at all) damage.

Proportions: it is not enough to know exactly what people ate in the times when we imagine they were healthier....we also need to know something about proportion. In my opinion, fats and sugars were probably used sparingly (but not as sparingly as salt!). Meat consumption.....probably varied depending on where one lived, but for climates in which other foods grow, meat was probably not eaten in the quantities in which our culture consumes it (also see above for my rant on modern breeding and feeding of meat).

In my mind, fat, sweeteners, and even fruit should be used in the proportions in which they occur in nature....incidentally, in other words.

I am totally on board with tossing refined carbohydrates, liquid cooking oils, etc out the window. Whole grains only.....and legumes and nuts and seeds and vegetables.

I don't know why diet fascinates me as much as it does. Probably I would have liked anthropology.... I am forever interested in what people eat and why and particularly in diet restrictions. :-P

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