Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hunter-Gatherer Diet

I really liked this video as it echoes what I have thought many times while hearing what a "ancestral", "paleo", "natural" or "primal" diet should and should not include.

Back in the day I studied a bit about some of the native peoples of California, where I grew up. As far as I understood, they ate a huge variety of foods including some grains like wild rice and seeds of wild grasses. Also acorns (fat and carbs) formed a substantial portion of the diet, especially when there wasn't anything else to eat. It wasn't all meat meat meat, but they definitely ate all kinds of animals.

It annoys me when "paleo experts" say that grains are not part of a natural or ancestral diet, because it just doesn't match up with what I have learned. It makes me wonder whether these "paleo experts" are just making up facts as they go along.

I think the main thing we need to understand when thinking about a healthy, natural diet is to avoid processed foods and to eat whole foods. And to consider scarcity and seasonality.

Maybe hunter-gatherers do eat grains, but definitely NOT at the level we eat them in a standard diet. So for the most part we should surely avoid stuff like baked goods and pasta made from refined wheat. At the same time, are paleo waffles made of coconut flour really much better for you than a regular old Leggo my Eggo waffle? Seems like both are pretty unlikely in a hunter-gatherer diet.

Of course, allergies and food sensitivities are a whole different topic. If it makes you sick, don't eat it.

While I really agree with a lot of the principles of the paleo diet, I don't like stuff that is just made up based on what some self-made "expert" thinks hunter-gatherers eat. Let's stick with the facts, or as much as we know of them at least. I always advocate using your own brain instead of just following someone. Maybe they'll end up to be right, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't question or think for yourself.

What do you think? Do you avoid grains or gluten? All grains or just some?

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