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Thread: Books on hunter/gathers page

  1. #1
    kilton's Avatar
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    Primal Fuel


    I just finished reading The Old Way, and it's amazing. The auther spent years living with the Bushmen in the 1950s -- the book is an excellent first-hand account of their ways.


    I'm looking for similar books, so I figured I'd check here for recommendations. I'm particularly interested in first-hand accounts. Thanks!


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    This guy did a brilliant series on the BBC called "Tribe" where he stayed with various indigenous people and really got stuck in - trying the drugs, rituals, hunts, and so on.


    Looks like he's got a book or two


    http://www.bruceparry.com/Bruce_Parry/Bruce_Parry.html


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    The review of The Old Way says that they ate a very low fat diet. Can you elaborate on their diet?


    The book they always make you read in freshman anthropology is Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman. http://www.amazon.com/Nisa-Life-Word...6255750&sr=8-1


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    Oh, I'm reading the Old Way right now, and it IS amazing. I just started, and I've just finished the author's observations about the reaction that many of us have to seeing deer at the side of a roadway: we catch our breath, our bodies tense, and our pupils dilate. She says it is the hunt instinct. Her descriptions of the !Kungs' lust for meat and obsessions with hunting are illuminating to me, to say the least.


    She mentions her mother, Lorna Marshall, wrote many pieces and a couple of books so you might want to search abebooks.com or ex libris to see if they have any copies.


    Sooze


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    kilton's Avatar
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    Thanks folks!


    Regarding the Bushmen diet: The author makes no attempt to guess fat/protein/carb quantities. However, there is some useful info on diet. Meat is by far the favorite food. Successful hunts are very much celebrated by the whole camp. The writer states that "Meat unites people", and "People crave meat".


    A successful hunt, however, normally takes days. The Bushman use poisen darts to bring down large game, but the poisen takes 2-3 days to work. (During this time the hunter tracks the animal via footprints, waiting for it to no longer be able to walk. Then the hunter uses a spear to kill the animal.)


    So, it doesn't sounds like meat was daily fare. Rather, the staple foods were roots, berries, & nuts. Roots were the daily food. The Bushmen ate 25 different varieties of them. This supports the idea I've read elsewhere that variety is a central theme when it comes to gathered foods. It makes sense nutritionally.


    It's hard to say whether the diet was "low-fat", but it certainly wasn't high-fat. Perhaps it would have been high-fat had hunting been easier, but who knows. Much like the Kitavans, the Bushmen appeared to do quite well on a high-carb, unprocessed, low-sugar diet.


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    This is interesting. Here's what Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has to say about the Ju/wasi (Bushmen) diet (from THE OLD WAY, copyright Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006, p. 106):


    "The Ju/wasi ate about eighty kinds of plants, including twenty-five kinds of roots, seven or ieght kinds of berries, five kinds of nuts, sixteen or seventeen kinds of fruits, three or four kinds of melons, four kinds of leaves of which two resembled spinach,eleven kinds of tree gum, and two kinds of beans from pods. They also ate palm hearts."


    She describes a typical hunt. A party of 3 or 4 men would go out, preparing by drinking as much water as his belly can hold. He goes out with his hunting bag, made of skin, his bow and poison-treated arrows, and perhaps a sharpened stick, and that's all. The men eat little to nothing during a hunt that can last for up to 8 days, but more typically, 4 or 5. First, the herd (of antelope or several species of antelope-like beasts) is stalked. Then, if lucky, one animal is hit with an arrow. That animal will take a day or two to die, weakening all the time. The hunters will track the particular animal, knowing her tracks from all the others. Finally, she is found either dead or dying, and is finished with a spear if necessary. The men cook and eat the liver at the site to strengthen themselves, then cut the meat---which can be around 1000 lbs.---and carry it, divided, amongst themselves in slings of leather hung from carrying sticks across their shoulders. The people at the camp, upon hearing them approach, dance and sing and shout as this most prized of their diet is shared amongst all.


    As a city girl, I find this fascinating. As a wannabe Primal girl, I find it instructive!


    Sooze


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