Why the paleo diet isn’t really paleo : TreeHugger

By Katherine Martinko (@feistyredhair) – Living / Green Food, February 23, 2015

Forget bison steaks, almond butter, and coconut oil. Our ancestors were probably foraging vegetarians who didn’t turn down the occasional lizard or wildebeest carcass when it was available.

I have a beef with the Paleo diet. Not only is it unsustainable from an environmental perspective (for being so meat-centric and reliant on imported tropical ingredients), but I also dislike how inaccurate the modern interpretation of what our Paleolithic ancestors ate actually is.

I’ve heard the counterarguments: “This is a Paleo-inspired diet! It’s more about eliminating processed foods from the diet than eating like an actual caveman.” Call it semantics if you will, but maybe the diet needs a new name. The real thing was nothing like the modern interpretations, particularly when it comes to the quantity of meat consumed.

First of all, our Paleolithic ancestors were very flexible.

This is a funny one, because there’s nothing quite so inflexible as a dedicated Paleo eater! My dinner party club pretty much died when several members became Paleo, others went vegan. “But that’s not Paleo!!” you’ll hear people shriek.

And yet, researchers Ken Sayers and C. Owen Lovejoy, who study primate and human evolution and anthropology respectively, point out that humans’ evolutionary success is due in large part to their dietary flexibility, even if it means eating insects, half-decomposed wildebeest carcasses, possibly human flesh (according to John Durant, author of The Paleo Manifesto), and – gasp – white rice! Sayers writes:

“Hominids didn’t spread first across Africa, and then the entire globe, by utilizing just one foraging strategy or sticking to a precise mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We did it by being ever so flexible, both socially and ecologically, and always searching for the greener grass (metaphorically) or riper fruit (literally).”

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