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Thread: Why "primal" and not 19th century?

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  1. #1
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    Why "primal" and not 19th century?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm sorry if this is a silly question but everything I read states that the obesity epedemic in the US is a product of the late 20th century. If so, then why do we have to go all the way back to cave man days? Why not model a diet on what our great grandparents would have eaten? I assume that data would be more available? I'm really curious about why there is so little discussion about recreating a 19th century or turn of the century diet?

    Thanks all. This is a great site!

    -Jodie
    Last edited by Traderjodie; 03-09-2013 at 11:54 AM.

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    The Paleo hypothesis is that all foods introduced or consumed in greater quantity at the dawn of agriculture are what contribute to chronic disease and food allergies/intolerances. Neolithic foods in general are what Paleo believes to be incompatible with the human body. But it is just a theory. There are many conflicting theories, this thread being one of them. I think your question makes a lot of sense, and it's basically in line with WAPF protocol, which works great for many who follow it.
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    I actually pretty much agree with the OP and pretty much ask myself, "How did Grandma do this?" rather than, "How did Grok do this?"

    Factory chickens pretty much became common in the 1950s.
    Factory pork and beef in the 1970s.
    1955, Ray Kroc buys McD and in 1958 McD sold its 100 millionth burger (per the McD website).
    GMO rice, corn, and wheat - the 1980s was the beginning.

    Some people posit that farming was the beginning of the end of robust health, and that's fine also for them.

    Why I tend to agree with the OP's idea is that in my family (nut) tree, my grandparents' and great grandparents' generations typically lived to their late 80s and a few to their early to mid 90s, where my parents' generation have more been living to their late 70s - some will obviously live longer because some of them are still alive nearing 80. The single biggest change in those generations is the food supply available to the average supermarket shopper.

    Anyway, that's my take. So, I'm happy to aim at a 1940s and 50s diet.
    Last edited by JoanieL; 03-09-2013 at 11:52 AM. Reason: to correct a decade
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoanieL View Post
    I actually pretty much agree with the OP and pretty much ask myself, "How did Grandma do this?" rather than, "How did Grok do this?"

    Factory chickens pretty much became common in the 1950s.
    Factory pork and beef in the 1970s.
    1955, Ray Kroc buys McD and in 1958 McD sold its 100 millionth burger (per the McD website).
    GMO rice, corn, and wheat - the 1980s was the beginning.

    Anyway, that's my take. So, I'm happy to aim at a 1940s and 50s diet.
    I agree with Joanie's take. I grew up in Jamaica in the 70s/80s. I remember every now and again, the schools would hand out bulgur, milk powder and other staples. They never actually sent us instructions for the bulgur. I didn't even know it was wheat until recently, so my family never ate that.

    We ate some organic, pastured meat because that's how a lot of people raised animals then. At different times, we had goats, chickens and a pig. When we bought meat, we couldn't always afford the best part of the animal. So those times when we didn't have our own chickens, we might eat curried chicken backs, or the soup might have chicken feet and a lot of pumpkin to stretch it. It was pretty common to have greens with salted codfish for breakfast. Grains were just an option among many. So a breakfast porridge might be oats or cornmeal, but could also be green bananas. Dinner starches might be rice or wheat flour dumplings. Or they could be breadfruit, potatoes, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams (Jamaican), green bananas again, plantains, dasheens, or coco.

    I drank my fair share of kool aid. But also carrot or soursop juice. And hot chocolate? Talk about unprocessed. Chances were my parents knew who had dried, roasted, pounded and formed cacao beans into little cylinders that would be grated into the hot water/milk to make a cocoa with particles on the bottom and oil floating on the top.

    A lot of sweet treats were either seasonal - think Christmas cakes and Easter buns- or minimally processed like coconut drops and tamarind balls; or naturally gluten free or easy to make gf, like sweet potato or cassava pone.

    Those, not burgers, pizza or mac and cheese, are my comfort foods. So when I struggle with primal, I try to ensure that I do two things: 1) gravitate towards my culture's traditional way of eating and 2) avoid poisonous things.

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    Thanks for the quick replies! I have never heard of WAPF. I'm going to go look it up.

    -Jodie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traderjodie View Post
    Thanks for the quick replies! I have never heard of WAPF. I'm going to go look it up.

    -Jodie
    Google nourishing traditions. It's a great book that might interest you on this topic!
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    The problem with any diet is people spend so much time trying to figure the perfect diet to live the longest, and somewhere along the way they forget to actually live the life they're trying to preserve. Most older generations didn't have to worry about this, so you can chalk up yet more stress to our growing health problems.

    Paleo is most guilty of this, as they are by far the most OCD group I've encountered yet.
    Last edited by Derpamix; 03-09-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derpamix View Post
    The problem with any diet is people spend so much time trying to figure the perfect diet to live the longest, and somewhere along the way they forget to actually live the life they're trying to preserve. Most older generations didn't have to worry about this, so you can chalk up yet more stress to our growing health problems.

    Paleo is most guilty of this, as they are by far the most OCD group I've encountered yet.
    Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Stress is probably worse than grains.
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    Quote Originally Posted by j3nn View Post
    Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Stress is probably worse than grains.
    Yeah, and it goes for things beyond diet too. In order to live "true paleo", and aspire to achieve the same health, you have to extend it far beyond just food.

    I actually agree with some principals of paleo, such as spending more time in nature(ever gone hiking in the woods, mountains, etc and felt stressed or pissed off?) which is just basically getting back to our roots. Self-domestication is the worst thing that's ever happened to humans, and we're reaping it now.

    The blank soulless stare on most people you see is not just the product of food, but of the group that puts this junk out there for us to eat in the first place.
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    I completely disagree. As someone who is Celiac, I don't find food stressful at all. It's an absolute. I can have this, not that, period. A lot of people who are Paleo for the health benefits have the same attitude. It's what you make it.

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