O Paleo, Paleo! Wherefore art thou Paleo? I had assumed as I typed Paleo into google that it might be referenced in terms of Paleolithic era but it wasn’t until I got the ‘L’ in there that google got away from diet references into the actual era referred to, in fact I would challenge anyone to define Paleolithic outside of modern diet fashion discourse! I’ve seen a few diet fad’s come and go, of course the trick is for it ‘not to be a diet but a ‘guide’ or a ‘template’ even a ‘lifestyle’. I’d very unscientifically suggest there might be a correlation between ardent cross fit fanatics and paleo…but it’s just a hunch based on the fervent social media activity I see online.
It seems a bit like that curious phenomenon of galvanising, take the hard core steel of obsessive body perfection and dip it in hot new ideas and here is your shiny thing. I’ve found myself on the other side of the fence for once – being the skeptic. So whilst zealous frenzied calls are made that the ‘end is nigh…it’s the diet apocalypse’ I quietly slipped into research mode to check out what I might be missing . But actually when Paleo is stripped back by people who know their stuff, like poor quality galvanising – it all starts to get a bit flaky.
Scientific America have better credentials and pull paleo apart like a half starved carnivore. Some of the most salivant points are:
• It isolates one epoc of human evolution and fails to see adaptations made through the course of the stone age
• The Plaeofantasy is based on an assumption that we were in harmony with nature – only if you consider constantly living hand to mouth and trying not to be another species meal harmony
• The human genome has changed very little therefore only thrives under ‘similar conditions’ – not true
• Every single species of plant and animal alive today is vastly different to those of the paleolithic period
• Lifespans were vastly shorter 40 was it – 15 middle age and a miracle if you got there
• There is no clear information exactly what was consumed and in what amounts
• Just what part of the world are we taking our info from? An Inuit Paleo will have little in common with a ‘Hadza’ or ‘Kung’ (so do we put it all in a blender? Seal and fruit smoothie anyone?)
• People were healthier?…they were not.
It occurred to me that the construction of knowledge or epistemology is a bit of a selective diet itself–– choosing to incorporate some bits – trimming the fa[c]t to get the lean sometimes thin stringy bits of relevant information. Garnish with some decent marketing and presto! A fully digestable meal to satisfy the ego and produce enough flatulence to power a small city. In fact of all the bits that bother me the most it is the snarling, sneering wild judgement of those following any sort of ‘better than others’ practice of life, be it diet or exercise or oral hygiene. Talk about de evolution. But while the construction of knowledge might be in question, equally the process of constructing ignorance or agnotology, should give all of us pause to think about how do we ‘know’ what we do not know. The tobacco industry exploited this for years and I think the diet industry might well be next in line for some careful tooth picking.
Eating chemically laden, processed, sugar loaded food from nutrient depleted soil covered in toxic spray isn’t good for us. Nor is our vastly sedentary lifestyles where we live in a chronic state of stress that is nothing like the stress of our ancestors. Eating food that is as close to it’s natural state as possible is probably better for you than eating poison…do we really need more research on this?
So here is an alternative marketing approach for those wanting to promote their Paleo produce in the wider market say restaurants. If restaurants are themed and have dress codes, why not do the Paleo dress code – fur or animal skin only, with authentic seating – rocks, logs. And of course everthing would be either raw or char grilled…I’m up for that. Then if you wanted to take that al fresco – you could throw in some wild animals just to up the ambiance.
Personally – I am sure I have seen a cave drawing somewhere of an antelope type animal being carved up and put in a pie – so nomnom pie is paleo.