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Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians

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  • Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians

    Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

    I came across this interesting blog from Scientific American. The author clearly has a chip on his shoulder, and he makes a terrible argument in the opening paragraph about taking paleo/primal diets too literally to the point of starvation. But he also makes a lot of great points about the arbitrariness of the starting point, and the variations of what works for individuals. It makes me think that focusing on an ancestral basis for determining lifestyle choices is not very efficient. Maybe we should instead stick to the science. Understanding our evolutionary path is important too, but what works now as determined by science and reason aught to take precedence. I think it's very difficult to make broad claims about specific food choices based on evolutionary arguments.

  • #2
    of course, the "Starve to death diet", why didn't I try that one out. It makes so much sense.

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    • #3
      First they suggest we ignore our most recent ancestors and pretend we are a different lineage of ape than we are.

      Then they want to pretend we can digest cellulose.
      Crohn's, doing SCD

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by gizzard View Post
        t makes me think that focusing on an ancestral basis for determining lifestyle choices is not very efficient. Maybe we should instead stick to the science.
        Absofuckinglutely this. "Grok didn't so I shouldn't" is the single stupidest thing I hear related to Paleo/Primal.
        carl's cave

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        • #5
          Interesting article. And I agree that science is important.

          That said, behavioral science is soft. You can observe a group for as long as you want, but when drawing conclusions on behavior, and then extrapolating it into the future, an educated guess is the best you can hope for. It's different from stating (for eg.) that: a group of 100 men ages 30-55 ate 2 pounds of food X for 10 years while excluding food Y, and the following levels of A were noted in their blood, and then comparing that to the general population of men ages 30-55.

          To my way of thinking, a "primal" diet isn't extreme. Nor is a lifestyle.

          -Eat lots of animals, plants, and insects. In addition, we look for grass fed animals and organic plants.
          -Avoid poisonous things. Pesticides, cigarettes, etc.
          -Move frequently and at a slow pace.
          -Lift heavy things.
          -Run really fast once in awhile.
          -Get adequate sleep.
          -Play.
          -Get plenty of sunlight. (I've read that as many as 40% of the U.S. is vitamin D deficient.)
          -Avoid stupid mistakes.
          -Use your brain.

          None of that is radical. And it could have easily come from good old common sense.

          So while the labels, "Paleo," and "Primal," obviously have some folks'/scientists' panties in a bunch, I see nothing crazy in the above list.

          Remember, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day?" That research was done on children, by a cereal company. And they did show that children who ate breakfast did better in school. But that catch phrase was sold to the entire population.

          Anyway, I think it's interesting that some scientists need to attack a way of eating, exercising, and living that at the very least, surely can't hurt.
          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

          B*tch-lite

          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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          • #6
            I have to laugh when someone cries foul at the concept of eating like a homo sapien and retorts that we should eat like australopithecines, or just any monkey, instead - while, of course, pointing out at the same time that we're well adapted to eating dairy and grains.

            W.T.F.

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            • #7
              Actually- in some circles using your brain is rather radical
              http://cattaillady.com/ My blog exploring the beginning stages of learning how to homestead. With the occasional rant.

              Originally Posted by TheFastCat: Less is more more or less

              And now I have an Etsy store: CattailsandCalendula

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by drssgchic View Post
                Actually- in some circles using your brain is rather radical
                You're reading my mind.
                "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                B*tch-lite

                Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by gizzard View Post
                  Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians
                  Well, no.

                  Unless, perhaps you go so far into the ancestry that they're not human. Then what's the point of the comparison?

                  You go back far enough and we'd converge with small furry animals from which rodents also descend. Surely no one's going to be ridiculous enough to suggest we should eat like a rodent just because those sort of creatures are in our (remote) ancestry!!

                  We need to eat what's appropriate for a human being.

                  And it might, of course, be of interest to see what early humans were eating. What they were chompiong on some 2.5 million years will be what we are, perforce, adapted to.

                  Static isotope analysis of bone material of early man, and of his immediate precursors, indicate that he was eating well up the food chain, in fact, probably even eating other predators. Then you can look at the remains of his foods -- i.e., animal bone.

                  Take, for example, Aveline Holes in Somerset where the bones found included red deer, wild boar, wolf, lynx, and bear. Isotope analysis on the bones and teeth of the Aveline people show them to have been eating a high-meat diet.

                  http://www.amazon.com/Homo-Britannic...dp/0141018135/

                  Nothing there for vegetarians.

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                  • #10
                    I would agree with you, except that most nutritional science has its head firmly jammed up its ass. I'll stick with what works for me, thanks.
                    Out of context quote for the day:

                    Clearly Gorbag is so awesome he should be cloned, reproducing in the normal manner would only dilute his awesomeness. - Urban Forager

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                    • #11
                      JMO~ but *cave men* left their own evidence on what they considered food~ and it wasn't vegetation.

                      prehistoric cave paintings - Google Search

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                      • #12
                        I want to eat like Homo erectus or a Neanderthal or a stone age human, my neighbors testify. But why do we choose these particular ancestors as starting points? They do seem tough and admirable in a really strong five o clock shadow sort of way. But if we want to return to the diet our guts and bodies evolved to deal with, we should not be looking at our most recent ancestors. Instead, we need to understand the diet of our ancestors during the time when the main features of our guts, and their magical abilities to turn food into life, evolved. We need, in other words, to look at apes, monkeys and other non-human primates.
                        Jesus, what a tool. Why not just take it to the Precambrian as well?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by carlh View Post
                          Absofuckinglutely this. "Grok didn't so I shouldn't" is the single stupidest thing I hear related to Paleo/Primal.
                          Since the vast majority of science on nutrition completely sucks, I find the grok analogy has been far more helpful in improving my health then all the scientific literature out there combined.
                          Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                          http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Legbiter View Post
                            Jesus, what a tool. Why not just take it to the Precambrian as well?
                            I hadn't read the article, but I loved that he specifically stated "non-human primates." Because we aren't feeding humans, apparently?
                            http://cattaillady.com/ My blog exploring the beginning stages of learning how to homestead. With the occasional rant.

                            Originally Posted by TheFastCat: Less is more more or less

                            And now I have an Etsy store: CattailsandCalendula

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, while we're at it, we should probably look into eating like worms - because at some point all living things were invertebrates. Therefore, we can safely recommend a diet comprised mostly of dirt for modern man.
                              Crohn's, doing SCD

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