The Cattail?s Outta the Bag

It?s official: we?re closing up shop. They found The Bread. They still haven?t found the flying saucer from Area 51, or the second shooter on the grassy knoll, but they found The Bread.

A crack team of European archaeologists has finally uncovered the evidence that Eades, Cordain, DeVany, Nikoley, I, and a ton of other bloggers have been pooling our incomes together to suppress for years. That supplement and book stuff I sell? It?s actually a (undeclared) non-profit operation devoted to buttressing the final meager thread supporting this whole Primal/paleo thing. And it was working, too, despite our recent setbacks. See, we?ve been taking a lot of hits as of late:

The flurry surrounding the China Study. Boy, we really lost that round, huh?

The emergence of a hyper intelligent, intellectually rigorous, banana-obsessed, fruitarian hominid splinter species with a powerful online presence, before which I find myself cowering.

The piddling sales of both my books and Robb Wolf?s book.

The complete and utter failure of numerous community efforts, like the Ancestral Health Symposium, Paleohacks, or the inaugural NYC Barefoot Run. Not to mention the poor showing of the MDA community during this year’s 30-Day Challenge. Talk about ghost towns!

Vegetarians winning the heart disease wars, yet again. (I didn?t say what they won, did I?)

But through all this and all that, we could still rely on that single thread to support and maintain the veil of delusion surrounding our movement. Just as long as they didn?t find out that our ancestors were using stone grinders 30,000 years ago to process wild roots, rhizomes, corms, and the occasional seed into Bisquik, we could go on in blissful ignorance. Well, they did find the evidence. Our best efforts were for naught. And now we ?fans of the so-called Paleolithic diet?, who, I?m told, ?[frown] on carbohydrate-laden foods like bread and cereal, and? eat only lean meat, vegetables, and fruit,? must grapple with our world crashing down around us. I don?t know about you, but I?m headed down to the local IHOP for endless pancakes. I don?t have to hide anymore. I?m free.

Seriously, though: are people really surprised by this finding? Think about what you know about humans for a second. Humans will sample, experiment with, and nibble on just about anything remotely palatable or edible in their environment. Little kids put all sorts of stuff in their mouths. Adults go crazy for the latest ethnic food fad. We are curious, orally-fixated creatures, especially when it comes to new types of food. How do you think we got here? You think those early Fertile Crescent farmers woke up on January 1st, 10,000 BC, dropped the spear, and picked up the shovel, ushering in the perfectly organized amber waves of grain?


Up close, history is messy and random. The further you are from it, the neater it looks. When most people think of the World Wars, it?s all big events. Momentous, sweeping occasions. Great men. Countries falling, balances shifting. Stuff you can put on a syllabus and teach in half a semester. The big picture. But there are millions upon millions of individual lives and experiences for which we must also account. A father?s only son going off to war, lovers parting ways, an orphaned child trying to make it in a Jewish ghetto ? these are the nitty gritty details that accompany the sweeping narratives, and indeed make them real. We just don?t hear about them all that often.

This Paleolithic “bread” business is the same to me. (By the way, I love how the popular news headlines reference bread when the word “bread” isn’t used a single time in the actual study.) It?s the nitty gritty. It doesn?t shake the core of my beliefs, or whatever nonsense your vegan friend who sent you the link is probably anticipating (hoping); it merely paints a stronger, more vivid, more complete picture of our ancestors? meandering, exploratory journey toward where we find ourselves today. I love that it came out. It?s fascinating to get an intimate vision of Grok?s daily life.

As for the ?vegetal matter? in question, there?s nothing really surprising or groundbreaking to discuss. Of the nine varieties of ?starch grain? (the term “grain” having as much to do with grass feed here as it does in the word migraine) discovered on the grinding equipment, seven were roots or rhizomes. If you?re anything like me, you already eat a fair amount of root material: carrots, radishes, cassava, turmeric, turnips, parsnips, to name a few. Rhizomes aren?t quite as common in the modern diet, but they include things like groundnut and cattail (which was the most prevalent starch residue found on the sites in question, actually). And, since both roots and rhizomes, by definition, ?self-defend? by embedding themselves in the ground, chemical antinutrients really aren?t necessary. There were remains of a seed, too, and that of a ?caryopsis,? which is another word for a grain. The grain hailed from Brachypodium ramosum, a fairly common grass variety that doesn?t seem to have any nutritional data available online. I?ll keep looking, though. So, while I suppose we can?t rule out that our ancestors were playing with small amounts of grain that may have harbored lectins or gluten-ish compounds, we do know that they were a minor player in our overall dietary regimen. Remember: this cereal agriculture stuff had to get started somewhere, sometime.

Of course, as Melissa points out, the evidence, based on bone isotope data, points pretty clearly to animal protein taking precedent in early man?s diet.

What are your thoughts? Does this ?discovery? dissuade you from avoiding grains? Or, more likely, have friends and family been eagerly forwarding you various permutations of the paper with ?Aha!? in the subject line?

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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

182 thoughts on “The Cattail?s Outta the Bag”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Woohoo! I knew it! Now I can go back to eating bagels and Froot Loops every day, and still be adhering to my “paleo” diet!

    1. Mark, how do you explain the proven health-success of Roman Meal foods and similar foods?

      1. What do you mean health success? From comparative studies? What did they compare it with?

    2. I’m guessing the bread they made didn’t taste so great given how much they left to fossilize. I have no doubt they TRIED to make bread, but they probably ate one bite and realized meat was tastier. Just sayin’

      1. haha! nice one.

        the bottom line for me is that it doesn’t matter if they ate it or not. if it makes me unhealthy and causes me problems then I’m not gonna eat it!

        If the grain lovers can eat grains and still be healthy then lucky them.

        I know bread is bad for me and no amount of convincing is going to make me think otherwise. Sometimes you know the answer even if you don’t know the “why”. The paleo diet for me just helps explain the why.

        This finding means nothing to me. I still think the paleo diet is the healthiest diet for me. Or the “primal diet” to keep Mark happy. I’m sure every other primal/paleo diet follower out there would agree.

        1. This one surely agrees! My and my hubby have leaner bodies, leaner kids, happier guts, better bowels, better health and better SEX to prove it!!

          Bread? Great from teff and almond meal which we’ve done successfully. But from GLUTEN LADEN grains? Hell no.

        2. Hi Malika, or anyone else who knows. Pardon my ignorance but what is teff? This teff and almond meal bread sounds interesting.
          Thanks 🙂

        3. Ahh… I found it on Wikipedia. It says that Teff has gluten though, and its some form of grass. So I think I’ll pass on that one. My husband is allergic to most of that stuff. But at least I learnt something new today 🙂

        4. I agree with this and the whole article.

          I was actually amused when I read that ‘finding’ about the bread being eaten some 30K years ago. Doesn’t amaze me in any way and certainly doesn’t deter me from the Primal Way.

          Like Mark said, it had to start somewhere. Everything has a beginning – most ideas are built upon previous ideas so it would make sense that the ‘example bread’ found was a tryout of sorts and from similar tryouts the snowball effect began. If they only knew where it would lead… 🙂

          The funny thing about grains is, they don’t give the immediate markers that other poisonous foods give. It actually might of taken generations to notice that our gene pool had weakened due to grain consumption. And probably it will take generations to repair it too – provided that people start shunning the grains.

          Awesome ‘comeback’ Mark!

  2. And yes, Mark, to answer your question, a skeptical friend of mine did send me this article yesterday. 🙂

    1. I agree completely with this statement about addicts. We as a society are so addicted to grains and sugars.

  3. I’m the Jesster. 🙂

    This study isn’t ground breaking to me. I find it natural that our early ancestors would explore various plants, starch and all, in their diets. It’s not like they could go to Fitday and plug it in like we can. And even if they did eat some grain, so what? It wouldn’t fundamentally change what we think because it would have been such a minimal amount. Added to that, it wasn’t no where nearly as processed.

  4. Grok would have also had to harvest the grain, beat the seeds out of it, grind it, fetch wood, build a stove out of something, before he could eat it. I am sure the calorie expenditure made up for the benefit of a high calorie food. For me, I could go to the supermarket and fill my cart with thousands of calories without batting and eyelash?

  5. (read whilst gnawing on porkchop & brussel sprouts)
    bread – schmead, whatever…
    Thanks for yet *another* fun article!

  6. Whether our cave friends ate grains or not, this lifestyle works for me, so I plan to continue. 🙂

  7. I have been interested in wild foraging since high school, and used to go on foraging walks with some local and very knowledgeable mycologists/foragers. One of the first foods I was taught to gather and process was arrowhead tubers – the tuberous roots at the base of arrowhead plants that grow in shallow waters. Native Americans used to wade through the mud barefoot, using their toes to dig out the tubers, which would float to the top of the water for easier gathering. They are fantastic once peeled, boiled, and served up with some butter and parsley.

    I also learned how to gather cattail roots and cattail pollen to use in making biscuit-like patties and pancakes. When I read the Yahoo! article, I was neither shocked nor surprised – this kind of stuff is also basic Anthropology 101, but considering that course is used by most people as a blow-off class to satisfy a humanities requirement, anyone who took it but didn’t take is seriously would have either forgotten or never known about the diet/lifestyle of early man (not to mention the erroneous info and the “short, nasty, brutal life” hypothesis many people still hold about Neandertal/Cro-Magnon man).

    1. I am with that, You have to be almost completely ignorant not to know about foraging for tubers. There was a great book I read in High School (’78) called Parapsychology or some such that detailed a study proving that plants had measurable responses to painful stimuli, and even had responses to pain inflicted on nearby plants and animals.

      Wish I could find that again and use it to hand out to ALF types when they are handing out their literature 🙂

  8. I don’t think you have to go back 10,000 years for the PB argument. my fathers family were/are farmers and they were all in terrific shape. they ate mostly meat and potatoes, vegetables etc. He hates pasta and rice because that’s what they ate when they were “poor”. even 100 years ago, people knew what to eat. common sense, the more processing the bigger your gut.

  9. I’m generally in agreement with the Paleolithic/Primal formula to follow when it comes to understanding diet. But what I never see anybody on this website discuss the traditional ways of preparing grains and legumes that do not result in metabolic syndrome. Many primitive cultures did have grains in their diet but they prepared them in such a way as to remove the ant-nutrient phytic acid so that it could be beneficial to consume in moderation or during a famine. Should grains be avoided? Generally, yes, especially if we’re talking about anything you can buy at the grocery store. Are their traditional ways of preparing them that make them much less harmful and possibly even beneficial? Yes.

    It’s the same story with fat. Are there in existence fats which can be detrimental to your health? Yeah, lots of them, like trans fats and hydrogenated fats. Does that mean that all fat is bad? No! It means that we should eat fats that our ancestors would have eaten: mostly animal fats and a few vegetable fats.

    The Weston A. Price foundation has contributed greatly to the understanding of primitive diets, and yes, many of them included grains, prepared in traditional ways that are perfectly normal for our bodies to consume, e.g. sprouting or soaking.

    I love the website. I love the Primal Blueprint. But I really would like to see more balance applied to grains.

    On the other hand, I follow exactly what I prescribe of others with respect to grains: if you’re not doing all the milling/sprouting/soaking/preparing yourself in your own kitchen, DITCH THE GRAINS.

    1. I think it’s mostly a matter of convenience. Preparing grains properly takes a ton of time and effort, too much for most (like me). I’d rather just skip them and make things even easier. I think that’s how most folks who read this blog feel. If you’ve got kids to take care of and a job to keep up with, soaking and fermenting every day isn’t really in the cards, especially when you can serve up a sweet potato and a slab of meat and call it a day (and not miss out on any nutrition).

      1. I will admit, I have it quite good. I have a job and six children, but my dear wife is the chief soaker/sprouter and she is the one that keeps our grains so nicely prepared for the family. You are 100% right though – if you’re not willing or don’t have the time, just avoid them altogether.

    2. Even freshly ground, sourdough spelt bread is addictive to me. I think that for a lot of us, we’ve been eating so much, so highly hybridized, so improperly prepared, grain for so long, that we just can’t tolerate grains of any kind in moderation. I have great hopes that when we finish GAPS, we’ll be able to tolerate properly bred, properly ground, properly prepared, properly risen grains occasionally, w/o addiction, bloating, and all the rest. Very occasionally.

    3. I have been reading the Weston Price Foundation website (and Sally Fallon/Mary Enig) for many years, and they hardly argue for a lot of wheat in the diet – if anything quite the opposite. Indeed, there is no need to “balance” any diet with something so (human) metabolically unnecessary as wheat. The WPF generally advocate a VERY high fat (of the right fats, mostly animal) and adequate protein diet, along with a lot of fermentation, of vegetables mostly. This is where they also discuss the ancient methods of soaking, sprouting, and fermenting wheat, soy, and other otherwise toxic grains and legumes. Their focus is elsewhere however, as is Mark’s. The place they really differ is: Mark advocates raw veggies, they advocate mostly traditional indigenous societies’ use of fermentation.
      Their reasons for doing so are good, and backed up by research and science. Unfortunately people still blindly cling to their drilled-in beliefs about “the goodness of whole wheat” and that horrific “food pyramid” foisted upon us all as children.

  10. It’s enough to make me want to put on those 15 pounds I just lost and cover up those newly defined abs!

  11. Hilarious how they make the leap from ‘small amounts of plant roots ground up to form a ‘flour” to ‘Caveman ate Bread’!

    You’ve got to love it, obviously the week for everyone’s world to come crashing down around them.

    Cavegirl – the non-bread-eating variety!

  12. This small amount of “grain” intake will never lead up to the 300 grams of carbs that a “normal” human consumes today due to the high grain recommendation.

    Back in the day, we had to work hard for our food. If we found something that was food and was edible then we ate it. Animals were not always abundant. It’s a little different in todays world…

  13. Saw the headlines and half expected fossilized remains of a half finished baguette. Read the story and shrugged.

    What I don’t understand is the animus toward Paleo/Primal. I suppose “movement” is the right term. I stumbled upon it and it simply works for me. I’ll have to get used to the fact that many ingrained (rimshot) interests from farms to pharma have much to lose and will seek to discredit it whenever possible.

  14. you know what, It really doen’t matter to much to me at the moment. I stopped eating grain (all processed and whole), processed sugar and lots of starchy vegatables and lost over 40 pounds in about 4 months and feel and look great. To me that is all that matters.

    My world won’t end just because some ancient man eat ground cattail root and grass seed.

  15. You…mean…it’s all …a shame? Who would have thunk us poor idiots could have picked up a tool and ground some seeds? Might have to stop on the way home from work. I saw our cattails on the side of the high way have opened. Might have some garlic cattail bread with dinner tonight?

  16. I had a friend send me that article. I just asked how many 30,000 year old spearheads have they found?

  17. Aren’t we talking evolution here? 10,000 years or 30,000 years – – – they are effectively the same thing on the evolutionary scale. Both are about 1% of the 2 million years we evolved.

  18. roots – tubers – a grass seed or two. . Doesn’t make it “bread” – or pizza – or hobnob biscuits. I’m sure quite a lot of carbs were eaten, in various guises and ways. But I’m sure most food was meat or veg based.

    Also – how else would they get the roots etc for dyes – without they first ground them down to extract the colours more easily?

    We process bauxite to make aluminium – doesn’t automatically mean we eat it.

  19. I’ve been waiting to hear your take on this mark. Personally doesn’t effect me at all. Even if grok ate grains. They were minimally processed compared to today’s breads and pastas. It still doesn’t rule out the fact that people feel, look and perform better without today’s processed junk. I still indulge in quinoa every now and again. But lean meats, veggies fruits and healthy fats is the way to go

  20. Where’s the bread?! And since when are cattails and various plant matter and one type of seed grains?! Even if the researchers found a loaf of petrified Wonder Bread, it wouldn’t change anything for me. I am soaring on Primal and don’t plan on changing a thing.

    1. but we all know Wonder Bread would never petrify. That crap stays “fresh” forever.

  21. Maybe they’re talking about the tails of actual cats, rather than the cattail plant!

    Mmmmmm… Cats….

    1. That? Was so funny I just spit out my lunch because I was laughing so hard. Oh, btw..I do love cats and own two of them…but still! 🙂

    2. There we go! You might be Primal if you named your cat Sparemeal…

  22. ho-hum. I’m reasonably certain than human beings will do whatever necessary not to starve – including grain consumption. High starch foods are simply portable sustainance and you’d have to be a complete moron to abstain from it when starving is the alternative – and we know from written history that it’s been used as a “staple” throughout times of famine. why would we think the these events would be limited to written history? seems fairly straight forward to me that evidence of even much-earlier grain consumption will be found and it will indicate this exact same thing.

  23. Humans try stuff. A peek at the old Japanese version of Iron Chef should be ample evidence that we haven’t stopped eating weird stuff to see what it’s like.

    I think this is just another symptom of the ever-growing antipathy toward personal responsibility. Paleo/Primal points out that there are consequences for eating grains and dairy, eat them at your own risk. Trying to justify a crappy lifestyle choice by implying that cavemen ate “bread” is still just justification.

  24. Because whenever I hear “BREAD” I think of ground root matter. Did they find any evidence that this stuff was cooked? How do we know it wasn’t used in soup?

    I thought this study and accompanying articles were really cool! Finding tools from ancient people is fascinating.

  25. Muahaha. Love this post. Go have fun with the pancakes.

    Whatever they say, my body tells me the truth. It doesn’t like bread or potatoes or rice. I don’t want to sink down on my bed to sleep just because I ate. And don’t get me started on my skin….

  26. Thank you! It sounds like my inbox wasn’t the only one receiving this from a dear ole’ relative, excited to prove to us we were all wrong and a heart attack was only moments away.

  27. Sounds like you are a bit over-defensive on this one. Nervous about something?

  28. I think they used the tools to crack open the seeds after toasting so they could ferment the mash.

    Beer before Bread I say.

    Which reminds me there is a hockey game on tonight Go! 20% Go!

  29. I will echo what everybody else has cited: friends, acquaintances, relatives, etc. were eager to send this to me ASAP due to my “diet”. Is it just me, or do people make a lot more effort to try and disprove the PB every chance they get than actually making the same effort to investigate it?

    1. My thoughts exactly! I mean we don’t email them EVERY single antigrain article that comes out, right?

      We’re all just here getting lean, having 6 packs year round… Eating practically gourmet everyday, having fun cooking and eating bacon. Getting of BP and cholesterol meds…Why don’t they just leave us alone and go eat some mulit-grain bark, I mean bread?

  30. “The emergence of a hyper intelligent, intellectually rigorous, banana-obsessed, fruitarian hominid splinter species with a powerful online presence, before which I find myself cowering.”


    1. +1
      it’s that kind of writing that caught me hook, line & sinker! almost made coffee & heavy cream come out my nose when I read it :p

  31. It seems that these “breads” are made of seasonal foods. While CW wants us to eat 5 servings everyday all year around.

    1. Very true. I used to spend a lot of time with friends hiking and “subsistence camping” — i.e., going out with just a small pack and a wool blanket. We came back when we couldn’t feed ourselves anymore, sometimes after two or even three weeks.

      The point: do you know how long that cattail pollen is on the plants, ready for harvesting and making into “bread?” Maybe a week, tops. And you’ve also got to remember that whenever you eat the ROOT of something…it doesn’t grow back. So eating tons of roots would ruin Grok’s food supply real fast. It couldn’t be a dietary staple.

  32. I went hard core primal on July 9th of this year and completely ditched the grains. I’ve lost 32 pounds now that I just could not lose with a regimented workout program that included a diet rich in whole grains. I feel better, sleep better, move better and have gained control of my blood pressure.

    No research citing grain usage in ancient cultures is going to convince me that if they had the choice, they would choose a grain diet over a meat and vegetable diet. I’ve switched and can’t imagine going back.

    If starving, you eat what you can put together.

  33. You know with 8 hormones controlling our blood sugar levels there is only one that lowers blood sugar. The other seven raise it. I don’t think any carbohydrate was meant to be a staple food in our diet.

  34. There are stone age cultures today that grind up roots and tubers and make cakes out of the “grain”…. that doesnt make them any less hunter gatherers.

  35. I honestly don’t care what our ancestors ate! Seriously, if they found a petrified loaf of Rainbow Bread burried in a crack somewhere I would still be eating paleo. Why? Because I don’t eat to be a caveman, I eat to be healthy and the science stands behind avoiding grains, legumes, and sugar!

    1. Mike, Mike, using sensible logic like this just reveals your selfish focus on your own personal health.

      Where’s your sense of civic loyalty to all those grain farmers out there, I ask you? And how can you expect the mortuary industry to maintain profit levels if you insist on _living_ year after year? Tsk tsk.

  36. We always knew your nefarious house-of-cards conspiracy to suppress the truth with all these implausible success stories would unravel some day, Mark. 😀

  37. in regard to humans wanting to try to eat almost everything: a Chinese friend said to my partner once, “When you see a new animal or insect, don’t you wonder how it would taste?”

    Tom said, “Uh, no.”

  38. The research isn’t all that exciting to me – but I love the mis-information that the reporter spouts about Paleolithic Diets. Lean meats, anyone? BAH!!!

  39. I have to say I’ve been amused by the back and forth on this finding, like it’s some kind of checkmate. We still know that the vast majority of man’s diet was meats and vegetables.

    This is the bottom line for me: I am down 40 pounds eating this way, and I love the food that I eat. I am happy, fit, strong, and healthy.

    You can point to a million studies that say 10 million things, but results are what I look at.

    I look great! I feel great! I eat real food, and it tastes amazing! I get excited to try new recipes! (Hat tip to you for the garlic pulled pork!)

    If there was no science and no history, wouldn’t one just simply look to what tasted good, what felt good, and what gave the best results?

    That’s what a caveman would do!

    1. Same here and SO true… why do they keep digging? I think they are literally possessed with the evil spirit of grains that drives them!

  40. The wording of the Reuters article is curious. Half of the text was dedicated to crazy caveman dieters, rather than the science.

    Also I found it funny that the researchers attempted to make the same bread and disliked it, showing to me clearly this would not be a preferred food.

  41. I dont know if you notice how they define the Paleo diet in the link you posted as eating only “LEAN meat, vegetables and fruits” hahaha, I love the word “LEAN”.

  42. My friends who followed my advice aboutg dropping bread and cereal think it’s one of the best advice I ever gave.

    I just wish that I had follow my own advice.

  43. Bread eaters can say all they want, but they will still have a “bread-body”. Like wise, pasta eaters will still have a “pasta-body”.

  44. @McGrok said it perfectly.

    Besides, the ‘grains’ that our ancestors ate, was treated/processed completely different than how it is now.

    so nope, this is not even a bump in the road for me.

  45. I read the article when it came out. To me it was funny to see the slant “they” gave to it. What is the difference in percentage between 10,000 years or 30,000, even 100,000, compared with millions years of evolution?

  46. All I know is at 47 I feel better and have more energy than I did when I was 30 by eating and living this way. So I really don’t care if they found cat poop. This works for me.

  47. People need to understand that early diets weren’t “grain free by design”; they were “low grain by technology”. Had our early ancestors been able to readily find and digest grain, I am sure they would have eaten it, and we would have thus evolved with the ability to do the same. But they didn’t and we didn’t.

  48. That is a big leap from finding grains were ground to making bread. They even specify what kind of bread was made and how it was cooked – how do they know that? For all we know, they ground the grains and threw them away because they did not taste good.

    I am not changing the way I eat. Paleo/primal keeps my weight stable with no effort, lowered my blood glucose and lowered my triglycerides. I am gluten intolerant too so I feel much better off grains.

  49. “Does this “discovery” dissuade you from avoiding grains?”

    Lord, no! I’ve been grain-free for months and I feel soooooo much better — I have no desire whatsoever to give that up!

    No closing up shop! Keep up the great work, Mark!

  50. I was so looking forward to your comment on this study. All I know is that since I have removed grains, processed food and all other crap I look amazing, feel amazing, and I’m doing awesome during my crossfit workouts. The grocery store can keep their bread.

  51. This article reminds me a lot of the noise we heard about how persistence hunting supposedly proved that humans are natural marathoners when “Born to Run” was first published.

    Sure, paleo-folk had the ability and know-how to do some things that might not be “Paleo” (whether it’s grinding roots or persistence hunting, or cannibalism, doesn’t make a difference). They might even have actually done those things on occasion if they needed do or just felt like it. But that doesn’t mean that any of those things are things we should do all the time.

  52. The point is not whether humans ate bread even 100,000 years ago. The point is whether it is fats and cholesterols that are responsible for atherosclerotic plaques and arterial injury and inflammation, or high blood sugar and free radicals. Isn’t it about what’s healthy, wholesome, and contributory to quality of life?

  53. Food source: Broadleaf cattail is entirely edible, and Native Americans utilized broadleaf cattail year-round. Newly emerged sprouts were eaten as a green vegetable in the spring. Flower stalks were boiled and eaten like corn on the cob. Broadleaf cattail pollen, which has a nutty flavor and is high in protein, was added to other flours. Rhizomes were dug and eaten in the fall and winter. They were cooked or dried, pounded, and used in flour [1,10,133]. Comparisons of the nutrient values of broadleaf cattail, rice, and potatoes revealed that broadleaf cattail shoots and rhizomes contained much more calcium, iron, and potassium than potatoes or rice [133]. Broadleaf cattail was utilized as a food source by the Kawaiisu of south-central California [239], the Cahuilla of southern California [13], the Apache and other southwestern Natives [26], Native people along the Atlantic Coast [51], the Menominee of northern Wisconsin, the Ojibwe in Michigan [185], and likely many others.

    1. So the next time you get that rice or potato craving? Go dig up some muddy rhizomes and indulge. I’ll stick to the steak in the fridge =)

  54. And furthermore, what’s to defend? I’m not Ophelia sitting beneath the window. Niether my profession ,nor my diet is my religion. I recommend what I have found to promote health, for the good of my patients. Who can rationally knock that?

  55. I wonder if Reuters can fully appreciate the storm of feces headed their way for twisting that article to attack paleo. Perhaps that’s why no specific author is cited?

  56. Flatbread? Give me break.

    How do they know what shape it was made into.

    As someone who once played with Playdoe , I can assure you flat was boring. There is every reason to think that they made other shapes.

    The obvious choice is rolling them between your palms into little bite size balls Or you can make them resemble quail or goose eggs. or go nuts and do reptilian eggs – although I could never get that leathery shell thing right.

    It also depends on how many fingers you use. With three fingers and a thumb you can make little kiss-like pyramidy things. You can roll it into a cocktail wiener-like shape and press it into your knuckles and get a knuckle crunchy stick.

    If your not even talented enough to make a ball, you might end up with other shapes like Patrick on that episode of Spongebob where he tries to make a snowball (Go here ), turn off the sound and jump to 2:51 in the video, You’ll know when to stop.)

    And lets face it. Some primal joker probably made it look like primal poop.

    But flatbread – no way.

    More than likely what happened was that this site was a day care center or kindergarten for little groklings. They weren’t making bread. They were making paste for a crafty project.

    Everyone knows that kids eat paste. I even had to go to the nurses office once.

    But what were they making? I think that they probably had a bunch of little animal skulls, a dried assortment of animal ears, lips. tongues, hair, snouts, beaks and the usual parts you would find in a young grokling fun kit.

    Then they would take the paste that wasn’t eaten and make funny animals by pasting the various parts onto the skulls. It was sort of like Mister Tuber-Head only more primitive.

    One day a neighboring tribe came along and found one of the strange skulls.

    Soon stories about strange creatures began to spread from camp to camp.

    Mythology was born, But that is a story for another day.

    OK, maybe my brain had too much time on its hands today.

    Better to listen to the experts – Archaeology Today:

  57. But Markkkk…. I heard they found a twinkie (not that it’s comparable to bread) from 20 years ago, doesn’t that mean it’s healthy?

  58. Oh, can’t wait to eat “bread” again and go back to having migraines several times a month, restless legs every evening, bad skin, and a lovely bloated stomach. Oh, happy day!

  59. The LIES!! Damn thee for making a mockery of my ancestral intelligence, haha. These findings proves little, really. I concur with many of the relevant comments stating what is all in our heads; and that’s the probable fact that our Grokonian brothers and sisters didn’t sit around eating the kinds of breads and carbs we eat today. IN.COM.PAR.ABLE.

    1. Regardless, yeah, what you all said. It makes complete sense that HGs had to get from HG-ing to agriculture through experimentation (the nitty-gritty).

    2. Maybe they set the “grains” down and perched over them with a rock to catch some sabertooth rats. Kind of a precursor to the deadfall trap. After lots of failures and crushed “grains” I’d like to think Grok got it right.

      Then again it could be they were grinding poison for their pointy sticks to give their prey bloated stomachs, arthritis and obesity. Thus making their prey easier to catch.

      Perhaps a base for camo/war paint.

      This is fun. Maybe I should be a Reuters writer.

    3. I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps they weren’t starving. If you’re desparate enough to eat some of the stuff they found it would imply that normal food sources may have been depleted. I also like the other reader’s comments. “It couldn’t be that good if they found so much of it”.

  60. Looks like we’ve got the Neoliths on the run!

    The movement’s growing so of course The-Powers-That-Be start knocking us. Power cedes nothing without a struggle–or was it a smear campaign?

    Whatever, I don’t care. They’ll pry my sugar-free cold smoked salmon from my almost-as-cold, dead hands.

    Another way to look at it is how they see it in show-business. “There’s no such thing as bad press.”

  61. I’ve found the need to reintroduce some starch into my diet recently, mainly because I thought I was getting too thin. I didn’t go for wheat, however, and I’m not going crazy with it either.

    I’m sure paleolithic man probably wanted some starch at times too, but I seriously doubt that he was ever on the government food pyramid. It takes too much effort to keep your hunger at by on that, for one thing.

  62. This news doesn’t sway me at all. For those of us who gave up grains a while back. And I mean REALLY gave up grains, the health benefits are measurable. My weight is ideal, my cholesterol went from 265 to 180, I have more energy, I’m hardly ever sick, and my skin looks better than most my age (45). Those guys might have been experimenting with grains 30,000 years ago (if that’s even an accurate date stamp), but I’ll bet their health suffered.
    Here’s something to contemplate. What if those 30,000 year old tools were found by people 10,000 or less years ago and it was THEM who were using the tools to eat grains? Sketchy science at best.

    1. I eat grains probably more than any other person on here and I am perfectly healthy. And I know many others too. You are healthier now because you probably had a real poor diet before and were lazy. Everyone always compliments me on my hair and skin too. So I dont believe grains cannot be part of a balanced diet.

  63. I was happy to hear that I can eat Wheaties again! I’m excited, because they’re the official cereal of IRONMAN now.

  64. It is really funny how biased the original article was. They get bread from tubers? So these cavemen made a cave stove and cooked up some bread? The author watched to many Flintstones cartoons!

  65. Some perspective on this.

    The issue is, to our puny human lives that last one average about 70-80 years the time frames of 10,000 years eating grains or even if we take the 30,000 years suggested here seem like eons of time – surely enough to “evolve”.

    Issue is evolutionary time is at a different scale.

    The genus “homo” of which modern humans are the most recent “Homo sapiens” first “appeared” around 2 MILLION years ago as “Homo habilis” (the “Handy Man”).

    “Homo erectus” (the beginning of walking upright) first appeared about “1.5 million years ago.

    And modern humans (yes MODERN HUMANS as they exist now in terms of physicality) cropped up about 200,000 years ago (with FULL behavioural modernity around 50,000 years ago).

    So in terms of our fundamental biology (genetic, and therefor hormonal etc) we have been pretty much the same for at an absolute MINIMUM 200,000 years, and that is stretching it.

    We know from comparisons with even modern apes,which we spilt from 5 MILLION years ago, that most of our biology in terms of digestion etc is so similar, that it is highly likely that even 1.5 million years ago we had pretty much the digestive system we have today and the some hormonal and endocrine system we have today. These are BASIC functions of ANY organism, and so are highly “conserved” as they say in that they don’t change much.

    So this 30,000 years or 10,000 years for grain eating is NOTHING on that scale.

    To put it in perspective look at these comparisons using a 24 hour clock analogy:

    If we assume that this discovery of 30,000 years is more than an initial isolated incident, and actually attribute it as COMMON practice 30,000 years ago for humans to eat grains (it wasn’t – but lets just SAY for the example).

    Then IF we also take the 200,000 time frame for Homo sapiens (modern humans JUST LIKE US in terms of biology and digestion and hormonal systems), then on a 24 hour clock (with 24 hours = 200,000 years, then we have been eating grains for 3.6 hours (216 out of 1440 minutes).

    LOOK at those number for evolution, 2 million Homo habilis appears, 1.5 million Homo erectus appears (0.5 M yrs later), 200,000 Homo sapiens appears (1.2 million years later). That is saying if on a clock Homo erectus appeared 24 hours after Homo habilis (24hr=0.5 million years), then Homo sapiens (modern humans) turned up, not 3 hours later, not six hours later, not even a day later on the SAME time scale, we turned up almost 2 and a half DAYS later!!! And these people say 3.6 hours is enough to evolve to a new hormonal system?! PLEASE

    Again, if we take the more commonly accepted timeframe that COMMON consumption of grains occurred around 10,000 years ago, then using the 24 hour clock and 200,000 years for modern humans (again 200,000 yrs = 24 hours), then we have been regularly eating grains for 1.2 hours of the last 24 hours (72 minutes out of last 1440 minutes!) THIS IS not enough time from an evolutionary timeframe for such radical changes.

    NOW lets take the most commonly accepted figures.

    Humans in terms of biochemistry and hormone systems and digestion etc have been pretty much the same for around 1.5 MILLION years (likely longer, but lets say walking upright was when we pick a cut off). Again if 1,500,000 yrs = 24 hrs, then:

    30,000 yrs eating grains = 0.48 of an hour or 28 minutes and 48 seconds from the last 24 hours (1440 minutes)

    10,000 years eating grains = 0.16 of an hour or 9 minutes and 36 seconds!!!

    I’m sorry, the can discover humans starting eating grains (most likely out of PURE desperation during a time of drought/famine etc) 50,000 years ago, and the numbers (no matter at 200,000 or 1,500,000 million for 24 hours) still demonstrate clearly that we have been eating meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds for the VAST majority of human history.

    Want to be even MORE scared?

    Modern industrialised food production is no more than 100 years old.

    Some foods we eat today didn’t even exist 50 years ago!!

    Put these numbers on this scale:

    for 200,000 yrs = 24 hours.

    100 yrs = 0.012 hours or 43 SECONDS!!!
    50 years = 0.006 hours or 22 SECONDS (rounding cause the difference)

    For 1,500,000 = 24 hours

    100 yrs = 0.0016 hours or less than 6 seconds!!!
    50 years = 0.0008 hours or less than 3 SECONDS!!!

    So yeah it is INTERESTING to know that if we take human history to be 24 hours, they have now discovered that somewhere between 28 minutes, 48 seconds ago AND 3 hours 36 minutes ago we started EXPERIMENTING with eating grains and exposing our body to their effects more regularly.

    Taking these evolutionary timelines into account (100’s of thousands to millions of years between major changes), if we did eat grains consistently, then we MAY expect that even being generous and saying that evolution has somehow accelerated (just cause we’d like it to, not because it has), it may take AT A MINIMUM ANOTHER 10,000 years of regularly eating grains for a Homo “wheatus” to evolve that THRIVES eating this type of food source.

    Evolution has’t sped up that much (if it HAD then there wouldn’t be so many animals and plants going extinct because they can’t keep up with the changes we are forcing on their environment). So I’m happy to GUESSTIMATE that a Homo “wheatus” wouldn’t be thriving on grains for at least another 200,000 years.

    Sorry I only have one life and I don’t have anywhere near that much time!!!! 😉

    Sorry for the diatribe and length – but this whole 10,000 year/30,000 years just shows how feeble the human mind is dealing with “big numbers”… in terms of human history and more so our biology these are TINY lengths of time!!!



    I’m sorry, I just don’t have that much TIME!!!

    1. I really liked my line about not having that much time! 😉 haha editing long posts – always prone to error!

    2. You did a lot of math in there, Luke. But the thing is, evolutionary sciences (especially regarding human evolution) are not 100% clear on how fast evolution occurs. Much of the science, including the genomic work being done, indicates that major changes (such as evolving the ability to eat grain) happen often over the course of very few generations — a tic of the second hand, by your analogy. So 30,000 years is tiny in terms of the age of the universe, or the 2 million year course of “human” evolution; but it’s a very, very long time in terms of propagating a set of beneficial genes through a given community.

      I pretty much agree with your concept, but in actual practice I don’t think the science backs you up.

      1. I wonder how many generations have passed in 30,000 years. It might be hard to estimate, since generational periods change.

        Mark’s post on lactose tolerance spreading ~5000 bc relatively quickly in northern europe is a possible refutation to your post: but then again, all we had to do was learn to digest something we already do as infants, not digest a substance that throws in toxins to avoid being eaten.

  66. In my cave I use my grinding tools to process tough varieties of wild game, nuts, and vegetables. I also feel that the garden requires more labor per calorie produced than hunting & fishing, but hunting & fishing satisfies a primal urge that I can’t seem to suppress.

  67. Oh boy! Back to donuts.

    Rule #3: Never believe anything in the press, especially if it appears in The New York Times. (Originating from Reuters for crying out loud.)

    The first paragraph of the study, the abstract, says “vegetal food processing, and possibly the production of flour, was a common practice…” and “It is likely that high energy content plant foods were available and were used as components of the food economy of these mobile hunter-gatherers.” The Reuters reporter read those sentences and stopped his/her research at that point and I’d bet my next paycheck the NYT reporter didn’t even read the abstract.

  68. Actually, Mark recently wrote that potatoes can be good for you as long as you don’t already have a compromised metabolism. I love taters and eat them a lot. I will be 40 in two months. My BMI is 23. I can still wear my high school varsity track (1-mile and 3-mile) jacket.

  69. Wow! Such a huge pile of information to consume and digest!! I may not have the need for grains and starches after trying to make some rational sense of all of this! I am new to the “cave man” clique and was introduced to this website by my physician who advocates a natural healthful living and lifestyle and I agree with his recommendations mostly. And I have read some really thought provoking posts on this blog this morning. But I have also seen some posts that make light of those who don’t believe or see things just the way y’all do too and that is simply a result of an ignorant attitude and an insecure feeling about what you (the critical posters) really feel about yourself. I am not a person to hold back on my opinions either so feel free to bash away if you think I am coming down on anyone or don’t know beans from grains! (Little primal humor tossed in there.)

    My question is how is someone who is on a very limited income supposed to find the fruits and veggies that are recommended and the meats that everyone uses without paying 5 chickens to barter for one duck?? In other words, the only places I have found trustworthy produce down here in FL, aka, Paradise, is a healthfood store. And they are higher than the kahunas on a giraffe for my wallet!! I took advantage of the few small farmer’s markets found in the area this summer and early fall but, although we have much milder winters than most of the country, the sources for natural produce will dry up as it does most everywhere else in winter.

    So, I am a newbie to the “Barney Rubble” society and have 40 pounds minimum of unwanted accumulated insulation to lose and I made a cannonball wave on my first jump in the pond, so what are y’all’s feedback or am I destined for the tarpot and feather pile before I start?? Thanks for an interesting website in either case and I will continue to glean what I can from the articles, book offerings, and blogs available here.


    1. I’m with you on some of this penguin.

      Mark, I’m sure you meant much of the beginning of this as tongue in cheek, sarcasm, etc. But I honestly find it insulting and elitist. Especially to those of us who may not agree with all of your beliefs 100%. If this was the first article I had read on your blog, I likely would never have kept reading.

      And I’m sorry, but sales or yours and Robb Wolf’s books do not *prove* anything. Nor do flourishing communities surrounding these movements. Following that logic, we need only look at the various other books and communities that have started up about dietary choices to get “proof” that other ideas “work” too. (or rather not, as many of us here know) I do think the *science* behind the diet you espouse is correct, which is why this works for so many of us. Not because you wrote a book about it. Or because I can find online communities that support the idea. I feel better. That is my proof.

      I also wish you’d do a better job to be more inclusive. I’d love to eat pounds of fresh salmon and grass fed beef every week. But on my graduate student stipend, that just isn’t feasible. And it makes me feel not welcome in this community.

      1. Hey Alissa,

        Can I say that sometimes Mark posts things that annoy us. It challenges us to think.

        For example, Mark recently posted ANOTHER article suggesting that BIG Pharma is running the world and by inference everyone that works in that industry is evil.

        I used to work in that industry.

        I used to get very upset reading those posts. I STILL dislike the inference that those that work in that industry have no soul and are evil and driven only y profits. Even if I were to accept that is true of myself, I know it isn’t of my father who was a local pharmacist/chemist, my brother who works for a pharma company and also my friends that work in those companies – they are NOT evil, and not driven by money over patient well being.

        HOWEVER, after reflecting on what Mark was saying, I had a realisation. That MANY of the drugs pharma now produces are NOT that beneficial.

        That whilst the PEOPLE in pharma are not evil, the SYSTEM is WRONG. COmpanies owned by shareholders ARE driven by ever increasing sales and profits. There is NOTHING wrong with capitalism, but when it comes to the ownership of pharma companies, I now realise this IS an ISSUE, as the shareholders DEMAND increase sales, increased profits, resulting in increased dividends and increasing share price, that is the SYSTEM of shareholding, and so it is driving a bad outcome.

        Pharma companies USED to be owned by families. Usually started and run by people that we scientists, chemists, doctors etc. Once your family is worth a few hundred million dollars, you don’t have the same DRIVE as a faceless market to increase sales and profits. Additionally as one of the GOOD people that sees it as a mission to deliver better health, you always put the patient BEFORE the profits.

        As an example George Merck (whose family started and owned Merck once said:

        “We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered it, the larger they have been.”

        Unfortunately the “families” that owned these companies no longer own and run them.

        Accountants, lawyers, Marketers run them, and they are owned by financial institutions and big banks etc.

        So what you may ask?

        Well from anger and frustration at Mark’s posts (extreme anger, I felt I was PERSONALLY being attacked as an evil person), his posts made me think.

        And I realised and recognised this issue with the industry I worked in.

        I have left BIG Pharma. I took my skills to a medical devices company. You can’t tell someone that doesn’t need a hip replacement to go get one, you can’t convince doctors to implant more pacemakers for the hell of it (I HOPE the medical devices industry doesn’t head down the Pharma road of “selling disease”). So I changed my career as a result.

        As to your point about eating wild salmon and grass fed beef only or NOT being welcomed, I have to ask – PLEASE show me ONE post where Mark has indicated that people that don’t eat ONLY the best quality produce are not welcome?!

        As I mentioned to Penguin, from my OWN experience with Marks’ books, this blog and even Mark’s Primal Leap 30-day program in every one Mark has made an EFFORT to point out that whilst that is obviously the BEST and most nutritious sources of food, IF YOU CANNOT obtain it where you live or even just cannot afford it, it is better to eat primally with conventional foods than continue on with regular foods.

        Mark even goes to the trouble of ranking the food sources, and even saying if you affordability is an issue try to prioritise the meats over the fruits and vegetables as conventional fruits and vegetables are less of an issue than conventional meats and fish etc.

        EVEN then he states if you have to eat conventional meats, to trim the fats to avoid the toxins and try an supplement if you can.

        Finally, seeing you have suggested Mark and the community is unwelcoming. You state that your student stipend means you cannot afford these types of foods?

        I just wonder, do you have any of the following? The latest iPod/iPad, iPhone, Macbook, fashion trend, gossip magazines, cable TV, etc.

        I’m ALL for these things, but after realising myself I was putting STUFF above my health, I often find that MANY people that claim “they JUST can’t afford” better food, seem to still buy a lot of consumer driven STUFF FIRST.

        I’m ALL for the STUFF (I have an iPhone, iPod, iMac, Cable TV etc), but they now come AFTER my health and hence my food.

        As I posted in my reply to Penguin – this all came from this statistic:

        In 1949, Americans spent 22% of their income on food, whereas in 2009 they spent a meager 10%..

        I know people are going to SCREAM blue murder about students having rights to own stuff and have fun… I KNOW THIS, but being an adult involves being able to prioritize effectively (or at least trying to), and the FUN and STUFF should come AFTER the necessities.

        If you don’t have ANY unnecessary STUFF and still can’t afford even OCCASIONALLY buying non-conventional foods, then that is FINE, as Marks says, just do the best you can based on what you can afford… what could be MORE accommodating and welcoming than that?!



      2. Hi Alissa, I am also a student, and with 3 children, and less income than those on government handouts, but I feel welcome in this community. Like Luke says, I do the best I can on what I can afford. Even that much has helped my whole family to find better health.

    2. Hey Penguin,

      Your pos is interesting. You state that those that “make light of those who don’t believe or see things just the way y’all do too and that is simply a result of an ignorant attitude and an insecure feeling about what you (the critical posters) really feel about yourself.”

      I guess you count yourself as one of those insecure people?!

      We ARE ALL insecure, and you are right, often people use humour and make fun of others attitudes… some people even make fun of themselves in self deprecating ways.

      But that doesn’t mean ignorance. It CAN mean ignorance, but doesn’t have to be.

      Additionally, may we say, if your views are like the majority, just don’t visit this site. The views of those on this site are very much in the minority, and the majority, including conventional medicine etc makes fun of our views all the time – as they all die from ever increasing rates of disease!

      Also this isn’t a “Cave Man” clique or “Barney Rubble” society. Most, if not all, including Mark himself enjoy the benefits of modern society. Most do not want the world to return to fire and stones and sticks.

      However, we do generally agree that the way of eating developed prior to eating grains was the way we evolved to achieve optimum health.

      Even if you don’t accept evolution, there are many that equate “The Fall” in the Bible to be an analogy for the start of civilisation (“knowledge”) and we were banished from the Garden of Eden (that being living off the fruits, and plants and animals of an unspoilt planet.

      Anyway, don’t feel threatened by this group, and like all groups there are assholes – every group has them, so I can’t promise that someone wont be nasty, but most are not.

      Now to your questions about how to afford all of this:

      1) Mark does say we should strive for organic produce if we can afford it, and grass fed meats and wild fish (rather than farmed), however he also states very clearly that if you can’t afford organic, grass fed etc, then you can eat conventional meats, fruits, vegetables etc, but you should trim meats of fats (as the fats store the toxic chemicals from conventional farming), and take fish oil supplementation to counter act the imbalance in omega 3s/6 ratio in conventionally farmed food.

      Additionally, like you I struggled with the prices at first (we all have limited incomes to a certain extent – no one has unlimited money).

      However the following fact is what changed my life:

      In 1949, Americans spent 22% of their income on food, whereas in 2009 they spent a meager 10%..

      While it seems like saving money is always a good thing, this isn’t anything to cheer about. Cheap food is often the product of factory farming and industrial agriculture. With jumbo size products being sold for cheaper, Americans may be gaining more for their dollar, but they’re also gaining more weight, losing their health, spending more on their healthcare and supporting environmentally unsustainable practices.

      I realised I was spending my money on cheap food, and then having to spend money on doctors visits, blood pressure drugs, anti-depressants, gym memberships etc etc.

      ALSO, I realised I spent so much money on entertainment, and alcohol and STUFF like big screen TV’s and magazines etc. Luckily for me I never smoked, so didn’t have that expense.

      I realised by PRIORITISING my health over STUFF was more important.

      This may seem condescending, this is not my intention, I am stating what was a truth for me.

      Since doing this, it is VERY true I spend more of my income on food. I spend less on STUFF (for me, my cravings to consume and buy stuff reduced along with getting off the SUGAR ROLLER COASTER).

      I also spend less on doctors visits, I no longer spend anything on BP medication and anti-depressants (I wasn’t depressed, I was just constantly “crashing” from sugar highs – my moods are ridiculously stable without sugar in my diet).

      I can follow the exercise recommendations from Marks Primal Blueprint without a gym membership.

      And yes, I have had to put off buying the LATEST big screen TV. But my current big screen TV is fine, and I actually watch less of it now, as I am not as lethargic as I used to be, stuck on the couch with no energy.

      I also know that by losing weight (I had to lose 44 pounds – I’m on my way to that goal) I will avoid diabetes in my mid 40’s or 50’s (I may get it in my 70’s or 80’s, but that is 30-40 years without paying all the medical bills for that (and TRUST ME – healthcare is NOT going to get cheaper!!!).

      So I have to ask you, do you want to avoid all those medical costs, which not only will drain your limited income faster than ANY food source will, but the associated diseases MAY also even LIMIT you ability to EARN an income!?

      Do you have ANY expenditure on STUFF that isn’t as important as your body, health and hence mind and soul too (as these things “reside” in your body)? You may not, I am not saying you do, I am asking if you can find that STUFF to eliminate?

      And finally, as Mark says (and I did this myself until I re prioritised my expenditure), eating primally with conventional produce (that means CUTTING OUT GRAINS and refined sugars) is WAY better than staying on a CONVENTIONAL Standard American Diet (SAD as Mark calls it).

      Mark also suggests that grass fed meats are more important to prioritise than fruits and vegetables (because of the toxins stored in animal fats and omega 3/omega 6 imbalance).

      So there are some suggestions.

      If you can’t afford the best quality meats, fruits and vegetables, that is a better place to START than to remain on a grain based, sugar & salt laden SAD.

      It isn’t easy to do – many of us are ADDICTED to grains and the refined carbs in what food companies promoted a s “food” these days. But if you can make your health a priority, and start a Primal approach to eating, exercising and living (it is more than just a DIET) you will see the benefits in terms of weight loss, energy gains and the health and vitality that comes with all of that.


      Enjoy the journey.

      And as a suggestion, you may find that honey attracts more bees than vinegar, so you may want to lay off calling the entire group, insecure, ignorant and suggest they will want to and tar and feather you for asking a few questions.

      Good luck – I look forward to hearing how you go (and I am sure many other will as well).



    3. Hey Penguin,
      Are you in Central FL? I have some good sources in this area.

      1. Vicky,I live in Orlando and would love to know your sources. Do you know where to get eggs from free range chickens? I used to have chickens, but don’t live out in the boonies anymore.

    4. Hi Penguin, I agree that it is not easy on a very small budget but every little bit helps. I have found that after a while on the primal diet I do not need to eat anywhere near as much as I used to. When I was eating grain I was always hungry and always needed more food (I think your body does this when it is not getting the nutrition it needs). Now I only need small portions. This does make it a lot easier on the wallet than when I first started. There has also been times when I have had to skip the occasional meal due to not having enough money to buy more food (or so that my children still have plenty to eat), but I think this makes it even more primal. I think it has been 6 months now and I definitely feel as though my whole system has changed. And I feel great. My whole family are benefiting from the primal lifestyle (even though my children still eat rice).
      I am lucky in that I have a small patch of dirt where I am now experimenting with trying to grow my own vegetables. I am still waiting for my first crop. Not sure on how successful I will be. Especially when I am growing organic style and there seems to be too many bugs and pests where I live. But I am hopeful that it will help 🙂

  70. I’ll continue to avoid grains. I also find it unsurprising that Grok and company would have experimented with grinding some seeds. It’s not earth shattering news. Our species will sample anything that isn’t immediately poisonous; it’s part of our tenacious drive and experimental nature. The NY Times article that reported this is “science” writing at its worst.

  71. In “The Old Way” by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas about the Bushmen, in one scene the hunters kill a nursing antelope and the first thing they do is milk it dry right straight into their mouths. So the same could be said for diary consumption, the practice came from roots in our hunter/gatherer past, but really, how much would you get in a year? Hardly any.

    1. I have read accounts that during bison hunts, American Indians would eat ‘curdled’ milk from bison cows.

  72. I agree, Mark, that obviously agriculture didn’t just suddenly become the hunter/gatherers’ preferred food source, so it makes sense that a lot of experimenting must have been going on for millennia before they got it right and finally started doing it.

    The results of this study don’t change the effects of grains on us TODAY, so for that reason, I’m still a grain-abstainer. Once I stopped eating them I noticed several positive results – disappearance of heartburn, ease of maintaining weight while eating normally, disappearance of mid-afternoon slump and constant sense of mild lethargy and foggy head, the end of cravings for sweets. My diet will remain primal, because it works for me.

  73. Oh! By the way, did you folks know that 98%…let me repeat that…98%!!!!!..of people who have osteopenia and osteoporosis are gluten-intolerant? And their doctors never tell them that….they just throw Rx’s at them…Rx’s that cause one’s jawbone to crumble…go figure….Wow…Some people will do anything to justify eating stuff that is not really life-giving…all it took for me to give up grains was not being able to get in my car and drive ten minutes before trying to find a gas station with a restroom because I ate something with gluten in it…could not make it to work several times, at a $1200 loss as a result each time because of hidden gluten in some food. When I went gluten(grain)-free, lost twenty pounds without even trying. Same with dairy…the awful pain in the lower intestines is just not worth it..nor is the embarassment of having to turn around and go home and change my clothes. Or the inability to do my favorite thing…get out there and do a 50-mile bicycle ride, uninterrupted, out in the middle of nowhere. No grains for me, nosiree. Just gimme that protein and veggies! And nuts. And dark chocolate once in awhile. Uh-huh! This is serious stuff, folks, not some game.

    1. I’d love to hear a source for the 98% figure — can you point me to it?

  74. Bread IS the most additive substance in the universe. When I tell people I do NOT eat bread, after a moment of shock, they ask, “Then what do you eat?”

  75. I’ve always just told people that I don’t eat grains because of the insulin spikes so… SCREW EM, lol.

  76. I have to say that I’mn living proof that this lifestyle works. I’m a 50 year old male, 6’3″ tall. In April this year, after much research, I went paleo and I haven’t looked back. When I began, I weighed 269lbs. Without doing anything else but change my diet, I’m now at 233lbs and feeling healthier than I have in many years. Still a way to go, but thanks to Mark’s informative pages and other information on nutrition and vitamins (Dr. Joseph Mercola for example), I’m now an avid disciple of the low carb religion and I’ll never go back.

  77. I had to agree w/ Luke in Oz.

    There is a great movie by the BBC, called “Walking With Prehistoric Creatures”.

    Early man, dated 5 million years ago, was able to differentiate from his ape siblings b/c he: 1) came out of the forest/jungle and hunted, and 2) he ate MEAT.

    Indeed, it was precisely the fact that he ate meat that resulted in his larger (and more evolved) brain. They say that in the movie.

    Mark has made this point before: there are some things we have evolved to do, and there are some things we ADAPT to (e.g., chronic cardio). Eating bread is an adaptation in my view (sometimes not a pretty one for some folks).

    Dr Mercola’s site has an excellent “7 reasons to eat saturated fat” (from beef). The benefits to the nervous system should not be ignored.

    Meat & raw vegetables (including roots called carrots).

  78. I don’t think you have to go any farther than that it is one (1) data point. That’s as opposed to what — tens or hundreds of thousands of data points for meat eating? Arguing from one data point against thousands is a waste of air.

  79. Now it will just be easier to tell whose after me for my “crazy diet” and whose not!

  80. Just want to re-iterate what others have said here. This is a fantastic post! I enjoyed the part about “history”- which in schools is often taught in a way that you really have no idea what went on in various time periods. We all know about kings and queens and politicians, but never do we get the full story about actually people and daily lives, and what types of things they were dealing with.

    I agree the discovery is great, and tells a lot of things, including the fact that not EVERYTHING paleolithic man ate and did was optimal for health!

  81. Yep, I’m just going to go back to my old ways now. I can’t stand being thin, toned, stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been before. This paleo diet is really bad for me 🙂

  82. Yep, someone sent that article to me yesterday. But it wasn’t bread! It was more like a potato/root veggie pancake.

    (Plus I’m willing to bet it was not cooked in trans fat, dyed and covered with sugar.)

  83. So if it were true about 30, 000 year old bread, than why haven’t they unearthed any paleolithic twinkies?

  84. This is exactly the conclusion I came to when I first read the story.
    The fact that they bashed a few grains with a rock and ate them is unsurprising (I’m sure it was a small supplement to their main diet)… and hardly justifies eating a diet largely based around grains.

  85. I am allergic to wheat, barley, rye, corn, or dairy, so I couldn’t go back to a grain laden diet if I wanted to. I don’t need an archeologist, PhD, or MD to tell me what I should eat, my body tells me that this stuff is bad for me.

    Not everyone that smokes will get lung cancer, and not everyone who eats grains will develop diabetes, but why take the chance?

  86. So they found these stones….How about ALL the arrowheads and spear tips we have found already. ’nuff said.

    Sorry if it has been mentioned already.

  87. They found it. Doesn’t mean they ate it. I was often making play doh in my kitchen for my children. Doesn’t mean we ate it.

    It certainly does not change the findings of Weston Price.

  88. I have been following this site on and off for the past year. I have noticed that sometimes when Mark has a little fun and cracks a few harmless jokes, some folks get very upset and take offense to it. This confuses me, because anyone posting on this site should know that the whole point is to provide information and resources to those looking to adopt this particular lifestyle. Presenting this information without his personal opinion, recommendations and personal style of humor would take away from my enjoyment of the learning experience. It would seem bland and watered down. I don’t know about the rest of you, but to me it seems as though some people need to lighten up. The entire first half of the article is obviously meant to be sarcastic. As far as Mark inferring that certain groups of people are evil based solely on their jobs… That, to me, is just another example of how a little harmless ribbing can be taken to heart when it’s not meant to be offensive. Anyway, that’s just one man’s opinion. Some people just seem overly sensitive to me. Moving on… I also found this article to be very interesting. Does it shake the foundation that my dietary beliefs are built on? Not at all. As many of you have already stated, results speak for themselves. Good luck to all of you on your personal journey towards optimal health and well-being.

  89. Great point CJ. The Weston A. Price Foundation website is another great resource for quality information. Also, just an interesting man to read about. I love the fact that they are a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity and that the main sources of support for the foundation are the dues and contributions of its members. They receive no funding from any government agency or food processing corporation what-so-ever. I’m thinking this is a non-biased informational resource if ever there was one.

  90. first my english isn’t too good eh!

    when you avoid grains dairy pills soda search a real source of real food (ok the world is seriously contaminated bla bla bla) but that is still possible in my case just eat fish (tuna, sardines and other small fishes i search them fishing like a islander haha) only the small fishes but one day know that i will catch a tuna
    being paleo isn’t a new wave or just another diet that you found on internet
    im’ a surfer and i train since i got memory always eat “healtly foods” but my insulin levels are not right great body and low fat levels 5 or 6 meals per day only for keep away my muscles of the monster of catabolism (he prefer attack after 10 pm) bla bla bla man something is wrong or isn’t?? since 12.000 years ago the mankind is manipulated in the same way that harvest a grain just think a little i’m not a fanatic i’m a 20 years old man that finnaly open his eyes know what you eat it’s more complex that you think is the only way that you have to defend what you believe or want to i eat real meat and breath real air the grains is the most efficient way to manipulate the mankind pills food shoes cars i don’t know millions of products that you can make just by an grain if the industry can live or make all that stuff with butter you can tell me later

    in my case since one year ago i being suffer fibromialgia and the base treatment is liryca well thats is a weird name to call pregabalina and corn starch i decide avoid that “cure” and research a natural painkiller for my constant fatigue and muscular pain and decide start fasting using the lean gains protocols and my body just adapts i think by instinct to that kind of eating in effect the pain gets lower every day and finnaly can train like old days right now i’m still have a killer pain thats true but nothing like months ago you can call palo as a movement diet religion or whatever you want (is your frewill no?) for me paleo is just avoid the reasons that makes a generations goes to a de-generation open your mind the reason for living of the mankind is simple: train,eat,love,appreciate the mother nature and being grateful with her cultivate your mind for love your brothers (yeah right) and right now fight for that the productive man is really a complete entity well have money a phd. a car house and a insurance for all those right now i feel like an empty person because only the things that comes from the nature really satisfy my soul the human being has been created to be imperfect and for learn not for learn maths or chemistry bla bla bla just for learn how to stay in the road and live the day think about

    right now is time to change and time to get real and also know that “get real” have a big cost my english isn’ good but hope that someone that could understand what i want to say can translate that like you said “grok on” like i said the trully answer isn’t come in a package comes in capsules that you can find just in your self let the real human rise consecuenses that brings in your social stability in my case (i being modelling since 18 years until this year just for my fibromialgia) but also discover a real world with more freedom money liberty and that is priceless fishing training eat what i search thats priceless you can say well i dont have time for that me either but i do what i can for search the time 🙂 good vibes for everyone!

    1. Andres..
      If, like me, you are sensitive to glutamates; even natural occurring glutamates are a problem. This is usually the case in this type of condition. Just a thought. 🙂

      Be well~

  91. Andres… Well I think I kind know what you talking about…for give me if I interpert you wrong” your english is pretty good but could be misstaken, for give me cause my spelling is BAD. But I do beleve if you give up graing all togeather your pain will stop,I to was thought to have fibromialiga..but I changed my life and went primal and I have not had an prob. since. And as far as you feeling whole…trust me when you do this and start feeling great you will feel whole:)

  92. Think of it…in 30,000 years they will find perfectly preserved McD buns!

  93. I like the thesis of your article but I was disappointed by the sarcastic tone of the opening few paargraphs. Take the high road and just state the facts.

    1. That takes all the fun out of it! Surely it would be mind numbing to only read the facts.

  94. Are we sure this “bread” was meant to be consumed? It could be a weapon for killing real food……

  95. Ok, wow, so maybe they did find some evidence that our ancestors ate grains back in the day but our “grains” today are more than just the roots that our ancestors grinded. We have all these other additives and sugars and only God knows what else, in our grains, breads, cereals, etc.
    It is still not healthy to eat grains. I think these so-called researchers are trying to find excuses to continue to eat grains and SAY it’s good for us.

    1. I don’t believe that’s their intention at all; however it causes some other groups and agencies to jump on that bandwagon propaganda for sure.

  96. What I really think is that we should all not have a black and white diet of any kind. Personally I stick to more Paleo ways of eating alongside daily Intermediate Fasting, but do have vegetarian days as well. That being said, grains are not and never again will be a major part of my nutrition. I probably have grains once a week- maybe two- but never ever more than that. Never do I eat such things as soy or gluten grains. When I do eat a grain it is always organic, whole and usually rice, aramanath, or quinoa.

    We must all do what feels best to us. After that processed foods should never ever be an option.

  97. Whether they ate it or not doesn’t matter to me. When I keep grain products to a minimum (as in when I’m at a social gathering only) I sleep better, don’t suffer from hypoglycemia symptoms, have more energy, less body fat, and have no stomach trouble.

    I’m not the whole of mankind. I am me, and I know what is working for ME and MY body alone.

  98. Wasn’t the agricultural revolution caused by a famine? I had heard that the evidence pointed to desertification wiping out regular food supplies in the middle east, which led to people eating grain.

    Which means that grain was considered at best a fallback food. If someone told me I was either going to die in 20 years from poor health, or right now from starvation, I know exactly what I’d pick.

    But that doesn’t mean that it was a part of the regular diet. It was starvation food, which means it was at least better than eating dirt (for the feeling of being full) or than some juicy nightshade (for when you’re sick of starving and decide to give up). Hardly paints a good picture for grains.

    1. Yeah, who would have though it?

      I just had a debate with someone, who is studying to be a Dietician, and thinks that this article by Dr Mercola is saying we should give up fruit and veges. If they are teaching Dieticians that fruit and veges are the main source of carbohydrates it is no wonder the world is in the mess it’s in.