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Thread: "We evolved mostly from vegis" - Doing the Math

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  1. #1
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    "We evolved mostly from vegis" - Doing the Math

    There's one thing I wonder about when people say "Paleolithic people were mostly plant eaters with only very small amounts of meat"; have these people ever done the math? It just doesn't seem mathematically possible. What am I missing?

    Have any of you ever eaten all the green/red vegetables you are able in a day and logged exactly how many grams of carbs you are getting? I have, and never made it much past 100g without cheating and incorporating a sweet potato or fruit. I suppose on a bet I could maybe hit 150g, but frankly at that point one's jaw gives out. It's truly exhausting.

    And after consuming those 150g of carbs from lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, carrots and celery you only get 600 calories (minus all that energy you spent eating and digesting them!). It's enough to sustain yourself, until the next kill. But to thrive on vegi alone you would need to eat way more.

    Some anthropologists say paleo man may have eaten 3000+ calories. Yet there are people who keep saying it was plant based? You would have to eat 750g of vegetable based carbs in order to sustain yourself!!! Have any of you ever actually achieved that? I would like to know.

    My question is simple; do these numbers make sense? Is it even humanly possible?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    What am I missing?
    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    I have, and never made it much past 100g without cheating and incorporating a sweet potato or fruit.
    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    My question is simple; do these numbers make sense? Is it even humanly possible?
    Blimey, 'tis a mystery.

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    Green and red vegetables? Sweet potato cheating?

    They ate anything edible they could find. That probably included lots of roots and tubers. Green vegetables would have been available mostly in the spring and they probably ate lots during that period. Don't most of us hunger for salads in the spring? Fruit would have been seasonal. But, anyway, they didn't eat very small amounts of meat. However, lots of the "meat" they ate may have been stuff like bugs.
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    You're assuming the small selection of modern plant foods we have avaible to us in the supermarket today resemeble the plant foods available over 10000 years ago. Native Australians used to eat well over 500 different plant foods, many which are extremely differnet macro and vitamin/mineral content of anything you'll find in stores.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forgotmylastusername View Post
    You're assuming the small selection of modern plant foods we have avaible to us in the supermarket today resemeble the plant foods available over 10000 years ago.
    No, I'm not assuming that.

    I'm just wondering what people who say "we were plant eaters" think it was we ate, that could support the calorie needs of big strong paleolithic-sized bodies. I wouldn't assume vegis were the same as today, in fact I would assume they were smaller and less calorically dense than what we have today...which makes me wonder all the more how it would be calorically possible to survive on such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    And after consuming those 150g of carbs from lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, carrots and celery you only get 600 calories (minus all that energy you spent eating and digesting them!). It's enough to sustain yourself, until the next kill. But to thrive on vegi alone you would need to eat way more.
    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    I wouldn't assume vegis were the same as today, in fact I would assume they were smaller and less calorically dense than what we have today...which makes me wonder all the more how it would be calorically possible to survive on such.
    This is why I eat a primarily animal based diet. I (and my digestive system) have never felt better. I have a working theory that eating a lot of veggies sends the wrong chemical signals to your body, one that say hold on to every last gram of nutrition possible and store it because the hunting is not good. Eating animal protein along with ample amounts of animal fat lets the body know that the hunting is good and there is no need to hoard the resources.

    Not only were Paleolithic veggies smaller and less calorically and nutritionally dense, they also had more defenses up in terms of anti-nutrients, and sharp spiky bits. They would not have been worth a self respecting Grok's time to collect unless the tribe was seriously hungry.

    I agree with what was said about seafood above and would add that sea veggies might also have played a major role in coastal dwelling Groks' diets. Sea veggies such as kelp are not technically plants but rather algae that don't have such anti-nutrient defenses.

    Also our bodies' non-negotiable need for iodine would support the idea that we spent a good bit of our evolutionary path in a coastal environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    Not only were Paleolithic veggies smaller and less calorically and nutritionally dense, they also had more defenses up in terms of anti-nutrients, and sharp spiky bits. They would not have been worth a self respecting Grok's time to collect unless the tribe was seriously hungry.
    Exactly.

    Just too much work for way too little calories. I know because I started out on paleo eating masses of vegi and quickly learned that it's simply exhausting...even with our monster-sized modern vegis and stocked supermarkets!

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    I watched a presentation about how paleo man may have gotten up to 35% of their cals from fished foods, that makes more sense to me than anything else. 35% fished,35% gathered, 30% hunted. I know for a fact that's how most of my native American ancestors lived and thrived.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeldingHank View Post
    I watched a presentation about how paleo man may have gotten up to 35% of their cals from fished foods, that makes more sense to me than anything else. 35% fished,35% gathered, 30% hunted. I know for a fact that's how most of my native American ancestors lived and thrived.
    This sounds about right. I'm no archeologist, and the methods to analyze paleolithic environment and probable diets is continually being updated. The anthropological data on modern day hunter gatherers tends to shed the most light for me. And in this group vegetables make up a vary small portion of the diet. They rely on meat, tubers, and fruit.... with just a bit of veggies.

    "Vegetables" are notably underrepresented. The most commonly eaten plant foods are fruit, underground storage organs (tubers, roots, corms, bulbs), nuts and other seeds. Leaves and other low-calorie plant parts were used much less frequently."

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    The last three hit it on the head. Paleo man was not eating big ass salads filled with arugala and bell peppers. Most likely their diets mainly consisted of fruit, shell fish and other sea food, insects and tubers/roots. And in some small game and larger prey once in awhile.

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