Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
8 Oct

Did Grok Really Eat That Much Meat?

2113354124 189b1ab4beWe get this question from time to time, and perhaps many of you, Primal Blueprint fans, do as well. Sometimes it comes as earnest curiosity, other times as a skeptic’s challenge. Either way, we think it’s an inquiry worth delving into. Care to join us?

First off, one note of reality/clarification. Sometimes we hear the criticism that the Primal Blueprint means eating obnoxious amounts of protein. This really isn’t so. In fact, in the scheme of diets out there, the Primal Blueprint doesn’t really qualify as a high protein diet. We usually recommend between 0.7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean mass. For the average person (i.e. not competing in the body building realm), this really isn’t that much. Check out Mark’s daily diet breakdown and our “How to Eat Enough Protein” posts for a brush up with more info and cool graphs.

But back to the common criticism… Paleo critics often argue that Grok and his clan would’ve never eaten as much meat as the paleo diet recommends – usually, they add, because they never could have caught that much. (Grok takes offense at their low estimation of his hunting talents, by the way.) We’ll give the critics this: it’s true that the evidence suggests variation among the eating habits of both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers. Some groups, typically those closer to the equator, consume more plants and less protein. Others, typically those at higher latitudes, consume fewer plants and more animals. The reason behind this divergence is, of course, the availability of year-round plant sources for foraging (or lack thereof). The savannahs of Africa offer more consistent plant abundance than, say, the tundra of North America where you only get limited seasonal offerings. It’s little surprise that the diets of their respective hunter-gatherer peoples show it. Furthermore, estimating the protein intake of ancient groups is hardly an easy or exact endeavor. Nonetheless, here’s why we think Grok was a meat lover.

First, we can examine the evidence surrounding the growing importance of meat during and for human evolution. Plant-based foods were, as we said, only seasonally available in many regions. Some scientists speculate that developed reliance on animal-based energy sources allowed humans to migrate into these areas that offered only limited and seasonal plant food sources. These migrations, particularly those far northward, would have meant significant reliance on animal fat and protein in dietary breakdown.

Likewise, researchers have the ability to compare what is known about human evolution and dietary shifts with physiological patterns seen in other primates today. From this kind of analysis, researchers have determined early humans’ development of “meat-adaptive” genes that helped humans uniquely process the natural fat and (in those days) inevitable parasites in meat, an ability that isn’t found to the same degree in other related primates. Once humans began consuming meat as a central diet staple some 2 ½ million years ago, the species experienced a surge in life span and competitive benefits in the fight for survival.

2909732320 2796604837

But as for the amount of meat, what is the significance of animal sources in Grok’s diet? Research of ancient and existing hunter-gatherer societies offers some expansive and telling contexts. Analysis suggests (PDF) that prehistoric hunter-gatherer groups, allowing for regional variation, generally received around 50% of their nutrition from animal sources (both protein and fat from land game and fish). Modern hunter-gatherer societies obtain 56-65% of their nutritional intake from fish and hunted game.

Other analyses reveal similar results. An often referenced study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition estimates hunter-gatherer animal food sources constituting between 45-65% of their total energy intake. The researchers point out that previous research had only taken into account the muscle tissue of game animals as nutrition source, whereas most hunting societies typically used the full potential of the “edible carcass,” which included organ meats, fat, and even bone marrow. (No use wastin’ good eatin’!) Their efficiency meant a higher nutritional gain per hunt than researchers estimated in the past. The researchers also believe that tribal societies likely relied more on large game hunt than others have previously suggested. The added fat in larger animals, they say, would have offered a better energy gain (eating) versus energy expender (hunting) opportunity. All that sprinting about had to be worth it, and a mammoth just offered more bang for the buck than a jack rabbit. Grok was no simpleton, mind you.

Finally, what’s pretty certain is the inherent variability of Grok’s daily diet. When it came to meat in those good old, primal days, it was likely feast or famine when it came to game flesh. Without the benefits of a deep freezer or even simple ice house, meat could go bad quickly. (Of course, this presents one of the benefits of living in the brutal tundra.) Grok and his entourage chowed down the day of the hunt, likely gorging themselves because they knew it behooved them to do so. (A large hunt wasn’t the stuff of every day.) In more recent pre-agricultural times (and in many remaining hunter-gatherer groups) the following days would involve the laborious work of drying meat for longer term use. In between larger hunts, it’s likely that the group used the dried meat as well as smaller game for daily subsistence.

2474383500 f232dafee7

Because Grok’s daily diet was varied, so too is the PB plan. Enter the concept of Intermittent Fasting. Though fasting may conjure associations of new age, the PB includes it (intermittent style) precisely because it’s reflective of the primal age. Likewise, we put less emphasis on day to day caloric breakdowns – and schedules – than we do on long term dietary patterns (i.e. how much protein you tend to eat in a given week or two week period). Check out our Context of Calories post for more on the concept.

What’s clear from the research is this: protein (along with animal fat) was a much more significant part of hunter-gatherer diets than it is in today’s dietary recommendations. The human body evolved to allow for and strategically use (and release when necessary) additional protein intake. Sure, our dear Grok may not have had the benefits of readily available, packaged meats at all hours of every day like we do; however, is it unreasonable to consider the possibility that modern day availability of meat offers us the most ideal (physiologically speaking) opportunity? With some key gestures toward ancient eating patterns (e.g. IF), perhaps we have the chance to eat enough quality meat consistently enough to achieve truly optimal functioning, a state Grok would’ve tipped his hat to. (Well, if he’d had one, we suppose.) Hmmm. Interesting idea. (Sometimes we tend to get so down on modern living and all….)

So, heard or considered this question before? What are your thoughts on how Grok had it and what we can glean from his Primal model?

Luna Park, oudodou, Alaina B. Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Would Grok Chow the Cheese Plate?

Didn’t Grok Eat Raw Meat?

The Primal Eating Plan for Dogs

High Fat and Healthy: The Maasai Keep on Walking

Cranky Fitness: Calorie Restriction, Protein and Longevity

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. One thing that I have often thought of when I have pondered this question is that Groks that lived coastally probably had no problem eating a lot of meat a lot of the time. Fishing isn’t exactly difficult to learn and once proficient, caching fish daily isnt out of the question at all. They also had the opportunity to catch lobster and crab and dig oysters. I know that when we took our last vacation, one of the local hotel staff swam out every day with just a spear and came back with a fish or lobster. This was in a busy, touristy, high boat traffic area with probably far fewer fish than would have been there for Grok.

    Son of Grok wrote on October 8th, 2008
  2. First off, great article! Another argument to the “meat non-believers” comes from a book called ‘Meat Eating and Human Evolution’ by Craig B. Stanford and Henry T Bunn. In their conclusions, the authors, “…suggest that increased access to animal protein and fat enabled early hominids to break free from the constraints that limit the prenatal brain growth of other haplorhines [other primates].”
    Therefore, in order to produce babies with larger brains than other primates (which our ancestors clearly accomplished), early humans would have had to incorporate much more meat into their diets than previously estimated.

    Andrew wrote on October 8th, 2008
  3. I know almost nothing about the primal diet, as I’ve only recently stumbled across this site (via MizFit). I wonder, however, if one’s ethnic background might inform the amount of & types of meat that can be eaten/tolerated – or if we’re all so mixed & modernized that it wouldn’t/shouldn’t matter.

    My primary genetic make-up is Norwegian – but very northern Norwegian (Lappland area), so perhaps that’s why I enjoy my venison steaks so much :)

    Amy wrote on October 8th, 2008
  4. I read that AJCN Cordain study a while back. Great paper. He does indeed say that HGs got 54-65% of their calories from animal sources, but that’s a bit misleading. If you crunch the numbers yourself, the average percentage is over 66%. The median category is 66-75%!

    I think he’s actually underestimating the numbers, because his analysis has a tendency to underestimate the fat content of animal foods. This is because he uses “representative” values for fat content that are from lean animals, whereas HGs went for the fattest animals they could get.

    Another interesting thing about HGs from that paper: they weren’t too fond of vegetables!

    Sasquatch wrote on October 8th, 2008
  5. Oops, I meant 45-65%.

    Sasquatch wrote on October 8th, 2008
  6. Just look at eskimos, they eat nothing but meat and don’t consider plants to be food. The only time they eat anything other than meat is when they’re starving, during which time there is one root they’ll add to their diet. I got this from Good Calories, Bad Calories.

    Ryan wrote on October 8th, 2008
  7. I think you are spot on with the idea that just because Grok didn’t get meat every day it doesn’t mean getting meat every day is not optimal. I have thought about this myself in the context of other things like hydration – see this article if you are interested – this article.

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on October 8th, 2008
  8. And how about those grubs, bugs, and creepy crawlies? I suppose it is insect meat, but not meat as we conventionally think of it. Even Grok’s kids could have helped to procure those nutritious foods. Insects provide lots of great protein and fatty acids and generally easy to find under logs, etc. Certain preparation techniques make insects a perfect on-the-go food, too.

    That source of nutrition isn’t common in western diets today, but it’s still eaten in many parts of the world today. yes, aardvarks still have some competition.

    When I was in Japan about 8 years ago, we loaded up on fried & seasoned cricket packets at the 100 yen store (similar to a 99-cent store, but far better) for fun, lightweight and packable souvenirs for the folks back home. I’m willing to bet very few westerners would be able to identify crispy Japanese cricket snacks if eaten blind-folded.

    Anna wrote on October 8th, 2008
  9. Anna, did you really give them to your friends and relatives without their knowledge?? Did you get any feedback??

    Hey lucky you werent stopped in customs!!

    sarena wrote on October 8th, 2008
  10. I think your website is great!!! Thanks

    Dr Dan wrote on October 8th, 2008
  11. Rest assured, Sarena, all the recipients of the fried crickets & such could easily see the contents through the clear plastic bags, even if they couldn’t read Kanji.

    And regarding Customs, I’ve found that non-perishable packaged foods like this usually get through without issue, though I always declare I have nonperishable packaged snacks – I think they assume crackers & cookies, & such (and I occasionally have to go to one more station to show the items). Fresh and potentially spoiled food items (like meat, cheese), not to mention dutiable (?) or restricted items (like caviar) are the things that have trouble getting through Customs. Also, anything that might harbor stowaway pests, like fresh fruits. I’ve never had a problem with chocolate, packages of cookies, etc.

    But I never try to sneak anything through Customs; I always truthfully declare anything questionable (though I don’t go into more detail than asked or necessary) and I am prepared to let it go if they insist on confiscating. I’ve brought through unwashed sheep and goat fleece (for spinning) without problems, even an oily, but quite dry roasted quail head leftover from my appetizer at St. John Restaurant (of Nose-to-Tail, Whole Beast fame). The head generated a circle of agents discussing whether to let it pass through or be confiscated). We were able to take it home and let the ants clean it off so we could see the bones, before they devoured the bones, too – that head and the challenge presented by our waiter features at the very end of this home movie :-)
    http://homepage.mac.com/gandasalvesen/Movies/iMovieTheater45.html

    But the last trip, Customs wouldn’t allow the unopened boxed lunch (containing all crappy packaged items) that was served on the flight while my son was sleeping. There’s often no rhyme nor reason to how they decide what gets through and what doesn’t.

    Anna wrote on October 8th, 2008
  12. Mark or Aaron, what are your thoughts on krill oil? Do you think it is better than fish oil as far as bioavailability of Omega-3s?

    Sally wrote on October 8th, 2008
  13. Hello, Sally,

    Thanks for the question. I’ve touched on this in the past. Check it out:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/index.php?s=krill+oil

    Also, Tim Ferris of the 4 Hour Work Week wrote about Krill Oil awhile back. I chimed in.

    Here’s his post:

    http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2008/07/23/krill-oil-48x-better-than-fish-oil/

    Here’s my comment:

    Interesting choice of headline. It’s a bit sensationalist to suggest that krill is “48x” as potent as fish oil. The line you derive that headline from simply suggests that the natural ORAC (antioxidant) capacity of krill is 48x higher than that of fish oil. But no one in their right mind takes either for its antioxidant capacity. For example, when you look at ORAC, the amount of krill Tim takes offers less than 5% of what might be considered the “DV” (or RDA) of antioxidants. We get orders of magnitude more antioxidants from fruits and vegetables (or other supplements). We take krill or fish oil supplements because they are great sources of DHA and EPA. And it that regard, they are virtually identical (subjective reports of diminished PMS symptoms in one study notwithstanding). Furthermore, most fish oil refiners add vitamin E to the oil as an antioxidant to give stability and add shelf-life, so the comparative shelf lives are also similar. I really don’t see one as being “better” than the other…intead, I see two alternative choices, either of which might represent the single best supplement choice you could make if you were only to take one supplement.

    Please let me know if you have additional questions.

    Cheers!

    Mark Sisson wrote on October 8th, 2008
    • Hi Mark,

      I know this is an old post, but I’ve only recently started reading your blog so have a lot of catching up to do :)

      Personally I find it a little worrying that if we continue to fish further down our oceans food chain as we discover the nutritional benefits these little critters offer and/or we fish the larger creatures to/close to extinction, we are competing with other animals higher up that chain.

      Example: There have been increasing numbers of whales washing up on the coasts of New Zealand (around 10,000 in the past 30 years!), which are apparently showing signs of severe malnutrition / starvation. One (pretty convincing) theory of why this has been happening is because the primary source of food for the whales is squid, which has been heavily fished since the Orange Roughy fishies were fished out in the 70’s. These were incidentally the pilot whales previous preferred diet, forcing them to switch to squid in the first place.

      The news article and tv interview with the scientist with this theory can be found at the following link, well worth a watch:

      http://www.3news.co.nz/Fishing-industry-starving-whales-of-food/tabid/1160/articleID/161792/Default.aspx

      Joe wrote on October 4th, 2010
  14. You mention that people around the equator would have been eating more vegetable/plant matter than those at higher latitudes. Because homo sapiens sapiens arose in basically equatorial Africa, aren’t they the Grok you want to emulate? Understanding that you are using evolutionary arguments, shouldn’t you focus exclusively on the evolutionary lineage, and not on offshoots?

    Kurt wrote on October 8th, 2008
  15. Kurt, good point. When I say the equatorial ancestors ate more plants, it doesn’t mean they ate little meat – just maybe a little less. It also means they might have had access to more plant matter – all the time. But even when you consider seasonal variations when migrating, you do get copious amounts of plants well into the 60 north and 45 south latitudes, so all ancestors except maybe Inuit and the like had access to both. But meat was the driver of our evolution. All homo sapiens ancestors ate animals and insects (which is how we got the chance to separate from our simian cousins). Ironically, then, when people ask about my food pyramid I tell them: I don’t think pure vegetarianism works by itself, and yet I say it’s perhaps wisest to think of vegetables (and some fruits) as the base of your food pyramid (not in terms of calories, but in terms of focus, bulk, quantity, variety, etc.). Meat, fish, fowl, eggs, etc are the next level in term of quantity (but then they certainly represent the bulk of calories).

    Mark Sisson wrote on October 8th, 2008
    • Hi,

      I stumbled unto this site just recently. I just want to comment about people in the equator dietary habits. I’m from Sabah, Malaysia which used to be known as North Borneo. My mom used to tell me that back in the days, people rarely eat vegetables that much. Probably because the main method of cooking was boiling and they did not have access to simple seasoning like salt. Boiled vegetables without seasoning wasn’t exactly delicious. They ate lots of meat and fruits. When they picked up more complex cooking style, eating vegetables became more popular. Today, everyone in Sabah eats a lot of rice and so little meat. My mom was born in 1942 by the way.

      Majorie wrote on June 22nd, 2011
  16. The main problem with adding a lot of meat to your diet is that the commonly available feedlot beef and pork you buy at the supermarket or eat at a restaurant is pretty nasty stuff. The animals are kept in horrid conditions, heavily drugged and fed really wretched stuff like cheap flaked corn mixed with rendered animal fat.

    My experience is that very few people who embrace the primal concept are willing to go to the great trouble of obtaining and eating only top quality grass fed and grass finished meat. Instead they simply eat more of the health damaging mass-produced meat that is available everywhere.

    Binko wrote on October 8th, 2008
  17. Binko,

    I think you will find that many people here go that extra mile. I know that many of us focus on grass-fed hormone free meats. We are also picky about the fish we eat. Check out Mark’s posts on Wild Vs. Farmed fished. Mark also has posts on eggs and what are truly quality eggs. Many of us also go for handpicked local hormone free healthy fed and excersiced chicken eggs.

    Son of Grok wrote on October 8th, 2008
  18. Binko, you are right, most don’t. But more and more do.

    I’m one of those. I have half a range fed-bison in my freezer, as well as pork, beef, lamb, goat, and chicken I buy from a couple in my county who raise a few animals in a clean humane way on their rural lot, then have them processed at a local place.

    More than a few people I know are coming back to meats other than fish after many years of abstinence (I consider fish meat, BTW), now that grass-fed and “clean” sources are more available.

    I find the hardest thing is to convince people to get a good sized, efficient freezer and buy meat in bulk. It’s much cheaper in the long run, and is very convenient.

    Anna wrote on October 8th, 2008
  19. IIRC Cordain, Eades and Devany all note that the bones of Grok in 15000 BC show a powerfully built 6ft predator – at least as big if not bigger than today’s 6ft athletes (think of Linford Christie’s awesome physique circa 1992).

    Archeological evidence shows that settled agriculture began 10000-15000 years ago in the Middle East/Mediterranean region – and anyone who has visited the Mediterranean will be aware of what I think Devany calls the ‘Mediterranean Physique’. Basically, small.

    In contrast, North Europeans took to settled agriculture (and so a plant based diet), much later, and are by comparison ‘generally’ much larger – as a visit to Norway or the Netherlands will prove.

    I’d go for a large and athletic physique any day!

    Asclepius wrote on October 9th, 2008
    • Yep, they were large, dumb, slow Neanderthals that quickly got overpowered and out-competed by tuber-eating, grain-powered glucose-fuelled Homo sapiens as they moved north for the second time.

      More meat equals big, slow, dumb.

      Lars wrote on October 19th, 2009
      • Nope. The Neanderthals were beaten by equally carnivorous (but much better equipped, and more physically well suited***)Homo Sapiens. The Neanderthals just couldn’t compete with their more advanced cousins.

        ***Neanderthal’s bone structure (hips and such) were not as suited for running.

        Jim wrote on February 7th, 2011
        • You can’t just say “no” to people fgt.

          DUde wrote on November 2nd, 2012
  20. Here’s an interesting history of height. Nutrition and diet are definitely involved, perhaps more than we commonly think.

    http://www.macleans.ca/science/technology/article.jsp?content=20050404_103140_103140

    http://dutch-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/why_are_the_dutch_so_tall

    Anna wrote on October 9th, 2008
  21. Here’s another interesting article on the history of height data and the connection to nutrition, from the New Yorker. It’s long, but very informative.

    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/04/05/040405fa_fact?currentPage=all

    Anna wrote on October 9th, 2008
    • I’m touched!Well did you acatluly eat them?A pastry chef-instructor changed my life when he told me that I should hold the pastry bag with my left hand instead of my right hand (I’m right-handed): Hold the bag at the top with your left hand, and use your right hand to hold a smaller section, nearer the tip, for better control. I’ve never looked back.Yours look beautiful, though. And nicely crusty.

      Reina wrote on December 8th, 2012
  22. If Grok ate Elk, he had a great tasting meal! It’s definitely my favorite in taste. Also, Elk is a very lean meat and much higher in protein than cow meat and chicken. The taste of Elk is out of this world!

    Donna wrote on October 10th, 2008
  23. My sister and her husband hunt; they would definitely agree on the taste of elk and caribou. But I think modern humans have the fat/protein thing backwards. The best nutrition in game isn’t necessarily the muscle meat.

    Consider that in late autumn, when the animals are at the peak of their nutritional density (they’re fat! in preparation for winter), and human-edible plant matter would have been dwindling (or unavailable if covered with snow already on buried in frozen ground) humans would have been after that elk fat much more than the meat. The temps would stay cold enough for lengthy preservation, too.

    The data suggests that Grok went for the fat deposits and ate their fill of bone marrow (piles of smashed bones) and the fat that accumulates around the kidneys (in pork, this is the prized leaf lard). Eating lean muscle meat without adequate fat isn’t enough to get a hunter-gatherer like Grok through winter; if he ate primarily lean meat Grok could experience rabbit sickness or rabbit starvation, the result of eating primarily protein without fat. Rabbit starvation isn’t fun – it’s still a possibility today for Grok’s progeny if they trim too much fat and load up on lean protein.

    Anna wrote on October 10th, 2008
  24. Good point Anna,

    Rabbit starvation or Protien Poisoning is common knowledge for survivalists. You can’t eat only lean meat… or you die. You need those fats!

    Son of Grok wrote on October 10th, 2008
  25. Mark,
    As a strapping young college student I do not have the option of buying organic grass-fed free-range meat YET. However, I still follow paleo in all other respects. Needless to say I am eating a lot of meat, but not the best quality. I am most likely ingesting large amounts of nitrites and other junk because of this. Is this still better than eating a traditional low fat, grain based diet? I certainly feel better than I used to.

    Marissa wrote on March 30th, 2009
  26. Marissa,

    Don’t get down because you can’t afford to go 100% Primal. If you can’t get your hands on the best quality meats make sure you trim the fat off and choose the least processed versions of meat you can afford. A lean steak, chicken breast or pork chop instead of slim jims, fried fish and who-knows-what’s-in-it sausage. If you feel better keep doing what you are doing and refine your eating plan over time and as your circumstances change. Also, remember that you don’t have to eat loads of meat. Though meat is featured predominantly in the Primal Blueprint there is protein in eggs, nuts and veggies and, depending on your lean body mass you probably would do just fine with less than 100 grams of protein each day. Good luck and stay in touch!

    Mark

    Mark Sisson wrote on March 30th, 2009
  27. Should those of us eating grass-fed beef on a daily basis (as well as ostrich on occasion) be concerned about having too much iron in our diet? I’ve read that males that eat a lot of iron-rich foods could have potential problems.

    Justin wrote on April 1st, 2009
  28. Justin, it’s true that men tend to aggregate (store) iron over time, so I’d try to vary my protein intake to include fish, fowl, eggs, etc in addition to good ol’ red meat. If you are working out adequately and otherwise eating well, iron shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, you could always get it tested to be sure…

    Mark Sisson wrote on April 1st, 2009
  29. I just wanted to chime in on the issue of alternative or what might be called “Tiny Game” hunting. I read a recent reference (don’t ask me where) to such food as if it were part of the “gathering” part of Hunter/Gathering. This was used to imply that primal society was more vegetarian than carnivore. But as concerns our diet, it’s meat.

    I try to replace the insects, worms and other invertebrates with shrimp and shellfish, because my persnickity-ness ain’t all that Primal 8-D

    Baerdric wrote on February 1st, 2010
  30. I started eating paleo two months ago and and have seen and felt great results. I eat a 4 oz piece of meat at every meal three times a day (fish, chicken, turkey, or beef). Is this too much meat in the long run? I am pretty lean and am lifting to gain lean muscle.

    Ben wrote on February 15th, 2010
  31. As I’m still trying to wrap my head around eating meat any day I want, I’ve always been taught to eat meat sparingly. Recently, I read “The Food Revolution” by John Robbins and there was some very convincing data on the downside of eating meat versus plant proteins. Also, what about the empiricial studies such as the Oxford-Cornell China Project or Dr Fuhrman author of “Eat to Live” and many others showing evidence that meat and dairy lead to high rates of cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disorders. I love the information and principles taught in Primal Nutrition and am following them but still trying to find comfort with the meat concept. I’m happy to hear the Blueprint includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc but eating meat any day is still not 100% in my mind. Does it just come down to “everything in moderation?”

    Brett wrote on April 13th, 2010
    • Brett, the problem with having a blog that’s four years old and has thousands of posts is that much of what I’ve already written and explained in excruciating detail has been relegated to the archives. China Study is a joke, Robbins has always had a veg*n agenda (and no good science) and I just plain don’t agree with Fuhrman, Esselstyn, McDougall, Pritikin or Ornish. In fact, I don’t understand how they haven’t recanted everything they’ve ever said as the research continues to show that fat is king, meat is good and grains are terrible. Many PBers eat meat several times a day and thrive.

      Mark Sisson wrote on April 13th, 2010
      • Thanks Mark! I appreciate the comments and reply. Just needed that additional confirmation and clarification. Grok on!

        Brett wrote on April 13th, 2010
      • Mark

        I’m slightly with Brett here until I research it myself in more detail, however I am leaning towards this way of life as it just makes more sense. There was always something not quite right with the Raw Food lifestyle and vegetarianism

        I just stumbled across MDA a couple of days ago and thrown myself into PB (wonderful site by the way).

        Fortunately I have seen the science behind the grains issue, having been to a seminar by a chiropractor Dr. James Chestnut http://www.thewellnesspractice.com/, and it really shifted the paradigm that I held about what was healthy and what wasn’t.

        Jeremy McMinn wrote on April 13th, 2010
      • Research is nothing until it is proven long term. Japanese eat tons of rice and have done for thousands of years yet have the highest life expectancy. Explanation?

        Alms wrote on April 29th, 2011
        • They don’t eat sugar. Show me one Japanese, who has eaten a ton of rice. Their servings are like 1/2 cup per meal. They eat a lot of vegetables and some meat. Asians are not eating huge meals like Europeans and Americans.

          Michael wrote on May 15th, 2011
      • A friend once told me, that “the human being only needs a serving of meat the size of a golf ball per day.” That is probably true. Grok might have had to eat 100 golf balls per monthly serving. Who knows? Reminds me of bears, wolves and lions. They eat until they can’t hold anymore and they desert the kill. The jackles and vultures get the rest. So, if you kill a mammoth you eat until the remainder is rotten or you just cannot eat anymore.

        Michael wrote on May 15th, 2011
  32. I have nothing intellectual to add so here’s an ode to meat to the tune of “Beans, beans…”

    Meat meat nutritional food
    If you avoid it, you are screwed
    To get a good steak, Grok would kill
    So cook up some meat and eat your fill!

    Tim wrote on February 2nd, 2011
  33. Meat is not easy to come by, traditional hunters today can go weeks without kill, it’s really strange but antelopes don’t just stand there and wait to be killed. The run! Obviously their families at home have to eat something in the meantime, plants. I don’t think meat was the main part of Groks diet at all and if we are in fact descended from apes then shouldn’t we be eating an all plant diet like they are? Our brains grew larger and we evolved differently from apes as a result of getting the ability to digest starch, something the apes don’t do very well. Suddenly we didn’t need to spend 16 hours a day grazing on grass and leaves, we had a dense form of calories that we could carry around with us. Meat is a very poor calorie source for the nomadic man, it goes bad in a day or two, unlike starchy tubers etc.

    Alms wrote on April 29th, 2011
    • I once saw a gorilla eating bananas. Then it pooped and ate that, too. Is that what you want for your life?

      Michael wrote on May 15th, 2011
  34. I really agree with your plan for healthy eating and exercise. However, I cannot agree on the evolution thing. Regardless of how mankind came to be, the theory of evolution is preposterous. During the time of recorded history (5,000 years?) nothing has evolved. Humans have bred mutant plants and animals for their own uses. These mutants of food are for the good of humanity. Grok never ate most of the vegetables and fruits, that we eat today. If Grok ever had a “day”, I am sure he had a very hard time finding anything to eat. Think about the Bushmen of the Kalahari. How many of you want to chase off lions to get a hindquarter of wildebeast? Anyway, back to what I was saying. I agree with the plan of vegetables, fruits, and meat as the best way to feed the human body. Exercise is good in moderation. When you get old like me, you really wish that you could get more aeorobic exercise. I really recommend, that you stay away from marathons, triathlons, bicycle marathons and the like. You only have one body. Why ruin it with excessive exercise?

    Michael wrote on May 15th, 2011
    • Why do you say that in ~5,000 years of recorded history, nothing has evolved? I think you might need to back that up…in the past 5 or so years alone I’ve seen at least a dozen studies that have witnessed evolution, particularly in bacteria and fish (because they go through several generations within a short span of time). Humans too undergo evolution, which we can clearly see when analyzing the skeletal remains of paleolithic humans. But 5,000 years is not a lot of time. It is a flash, a passing snapshot on the scale of human history. You simply don’t see significant changes on this scale – humans, unlike bacteria, don’t go through many generations in that time period. Random genetic changes are ever-present in response to changing environments, but it takes time for nature to take its course and sort out what works and what doesn’t when survival is the end goal. Evolution is a theory like gravity is a theory. There’s enormous supporting evidence and direct observation.

      Michelle wrote on May 30th, 2012
      • How about evolution of lactose tolerance from the time Homo started drinking animal milk — about 5-10000 years?

        Lars wrote on May 30th, 2012
  35. Awesome article mark, I wouldn’t have known that during the paleo times, having a diet is being practice by then although its not yet a proper one. But they did survive on it.

    antarctic krill oil wrote on May 22nd, 2011
  36. You said it yourself. Paleoman ate diverse amount of proteins carbs and fats depending on their environment. So if your contention is that man adapts and I agree with that, every animal adapts under the rules of natural selection, therefore your self contracting. There is nor was there since humans migrated to different environments, such thing as a one size fits all nutritional approach to nutrition, and that includes the Paleo Diet.

    Daniel Rold wrote on September 25th, 2011
  37. But great article you just need to take the next “Evolution”

    Daniel Rold wrote on September 25th, 2011
  38. wow that’s wired

    bob wrote on December 1st, 2011
  39. This sentence got me thinking:

    “Sure, our dear Grok may not have had the benefits of readily available, packaged meats at all hours of every day like we do; however, is it unreasonable to consider the possibility that modern day availability of meat offers us the most ideal (physiologically speaking) opportunity?”

    I’ve been living Primal for about 2 weeks now; it wasn’t too hard of a switch since I barely consumed any grains or processed foods to begin with. And I’m sold. It’s fixed a number of digestive issues, given me more energy, better mental functioning – in all I’ve just felt incredible. Now, I have one vegan and one vegetarian roommate, and after having been vegetarian myself for about 4 years and watching my functioning and energy slowly decline, I am diametrically opposed to it.

    However, I pose a hypothetical situation. Suppose the Primal movement really gains traction and a good fraction of the population sees the light and starts eating this way. Back in the days of Grok, the world’s population was small, and they didn’t have to worry about sustainability issues. I worry, however, that eating large quantities of meat today would have a significant environmental impact and wouldn’t be sustainable with the world’s current population. Of course, this might be mitigated somewhat by cutting out the masses of processed garbage in the middle isles of grocery stores…but still, there are limited numbers of game and I wonder if we would end up eating certain species to the point of extinction or running into resource issues when we consider what goes into raising animals. All in all it would require a radical redesign of our food production industries.

    Care to comment?

    Michelle wrote on May 30th, 2012
  40. I think I’m going to just stay vegetarian. Regardless of what some people in a cave were eating thousands of years ago, I think humans are intelligent and our destiny was freedom of choice. We don’t have to do anything some dude in a cave did thousands of years ago. The meat today isn’t anything like it was back then, even if it is grass fed. Dioxins, PCB’s Fire retardants and most volatile organic compounds are fat soluble and you will be contaminating yourself with these cancer causing hormone disruptors if you eat alot of meat, particularly fish. Things are never going to be the same, So i’m not going to mimic what some dude in a cave did thousands of years ago.

    Michelle wrote on January 17th, 2013

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple