Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This one's for you, Brian

And any of my other faithful readers (both of you! Thanks for reading!) who are wondering what the hell this Paleo/Primal thing I keep nattering about is.

In a nutshell, Paleo/Primal/ancestral eating means eating as closely as possible to how people likely ate before the agricultural revolution. Back in the day (Fred and Wilma's day, that is) it is believed that people ate mostly meat, bugs 'n' grubs (yum!), fish, and whatever in-season fruits and veggies they could gather. And many anthropologists argue that Paleolithic humans were likely healthier than humans since the agricultural revolution - bigger skeletons, bigger braincases (a sign of bigger brains), stronger bones, virtually no cavities.

Aaaand then the agricultural revolution came along, between 10,000 years ago (e.g. Mesopotamia) and 5,000 years ago (eastern North America). Grains, starchy veggies, and more grains. This led to civilization, and art, and culture, and all that. It also led to poorer health - weaker bones, higher infant mortality, cavities, blah blah blah.

And then along came the Great Corn Explosion of the 1970's to the present. High fructose corn syrup in eVeRyThiNg! Yay!

Soooo..... we're fat, sick, diabetic (Paula Deen, I'm looking at you here), still getting heart disease despite 50 years of being preached the low-fat gospel.

Enter ancestral eating. There's a plethora of studies suggesting that hunter-gatherer populations have lower rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease etc. than agricultural populations. I won't bore you with this, go read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.

Robb Wolf's website has a good overview of Paleo. I'll let him explain it. He's a strength coach and gym owner who used to be a biochemist, and who credits paleo eating with his return to health after several years of sickness and poor health when he was following a vegan diet.

There's a bunch of other good resources. Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson, Sarah Fragoso for starters.

Happy reading!


Anonymous said...

Cool Wendy thanks for the hook up on this. Something I may consider in the future. Actually about a million times more likely than me ever going vegan.

Ria said...

I don't know if my first comment went through -

I really can't do bugs & grubs unless shrimp count as bugs,.... and where does beer sit on this plan?

Wendy said...

Ria - seafood is perfectly legal. As for beer, technically it's not paleo as it is a grain product (and as alcohol isn't paleo) but most paleo/primal gurus will acknowledge that people are gonna want to drink.

Curiously, I find my desire for adult beverages has largely waned. I take 2 or 3 sips of wine and I'm done...