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How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer: Why the Paleo Diet Is Half-Baked

How to Really Eat Like a Hunter Gatherer Why the Paleo Diet Is Half Baked Interactive & Infographic Scientific American


We are not biologically identical to our Paleolithic predecessors, nor do we have access to the foods they ate. And deducing dietary guidelines from modern foraging societies is difficult because they vary so much by geography, season and opportunity

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All I have to say is this: paleo man did not drink microbrews or take ecstasy.

I have read the theory that humans abandoned hunting-gathering not because they wanted to eat bread but because they wanted to drink beer!!!

Beer and wine are good reasons to give up hunting.

i can tell you why the paleo diet is half-baked: it's booooooooooooooooring!!!

Boring to think about AND boring to actually eat.

You don't have to eat like a caveman. Just cut down processed foods. 

Most nutritionists consent that the Paleo diet gets at least one thing right—cutting down on processed foods that have been highly modified from their raw state through various methods of preservation. Examples include white bread and other refined flour products, artificial cheese, certain cold cuts and packaged meats, potato chips, and sugary cereals. Such processed foods often offer less protein, fiber and iron than their unprocessed equivalents, and some are packed with sodium and preservativesthat may increase the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

But the Paleo diet bans more than just highly processed junk foods—in its most traditional form, it prohibits any kind of food unavailable to stone age hunter–gatherers, including dairy rich in calcium, grains replete with fiber, and vitamins and legumes packed with protein. The rationale for such constraint—in fact the entire premise of the Paleo diet—is, at best, only half correct. Because the human body adapted to life in the stone age, Paleo dieters argue—and because our genetics and anatomy have changed very little since then, they say—we should emulate the diets of our Paleo predecessors as closely as possible in order to be healthy. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other "modern" diseases, the reasoning goes, result primarily from the incompatibility of our stone age anatomy with our contemporary way of eating.

Diet has been an important part of our evolution—as it is for every species—and we have inherited many adaptations from our Paleo predecessors. Understanding how we evolved could, in principle, help us make smarter dietary choices today. But the logic behind the Paleo diet fails in several ways: by making apotheosis of one particular slice of our evolutionary history; by insisting that we are biologically identical to stone age humans; and by denying the benefits of some of our more modern methods of eating.

I think any extremism calls certain things into question. Most of the paleos I know do not drink beer, and do have occasional wine. They're feeling good because of clean eating. I'm a vegetarian. Paleo diet--if I really went with limited grains and none of certain beans--would leave me lettuce. It'd cure every ailment I have or might have, because I'd be dead. Certain of my friends swear by the health benefits for them and they look good, so I think it's a "to each his own." To be a true paleo, though, you'd have to go out and kill a wooly mammoth or something, so you might end up hungry. I wonder if road kill (recent, of course) would be okay... I'll stick to my kale, thank you:) 

Yeah, it would be interesting if Paleos only ate the food they caught and killed themselves. :)

You're vegetarian so you could still eat eggs, right?

I eat eggs. I get them from a couple doors down. It's nice when I know the chickens. 

Ha, perhaps those chickens are making eggs specifically for you.

I wonder if Paleos eat crickets. 

Crickets are permissible. I am told much of the world's protein will come from bugs. I'll still eat lettuce. 

So bugs do not count as vegetarian?

You know what is kind of naturally Paleo? Korean food! Koreans are notorious for eating leaves, shoots and roots, stems, bark, insects, ferns, sea animals too tiny and stinky for other people, fungus, and random possibly-psychotropic weeds. Preserving is largely by means of drying, or pickling and fermenting. And you know what? Korean food is INCREDIBLY labor-intensive!

What weeds would those be?


Oh, absinthe...

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