The Paleo Diet Fantasy

PaleoDiet2Someone just sent me an email with a brochure that promotes a Paleo Diet. I wonder why?

In the “Don’t Eat” category, besides grains, legumes (beans, peanuts, soy, etc.), potatoes (all starchy tubers), dairy, and of course all processed foods, it also says not to eat salt, sugar, and vegetable oils (oils are a refined product).

Five years ago, when I started researching the Paleo Diet, I learned that foods were supposed to be organic and locally grown, and especially not farmed. That’s right, they had to be wild, because agriculture, Paleo supporters said, was a recent event. That was their rationale for not eating grains and beans, because farming is only 10,000 years old, not a million years old. Also, plants should be from heirloom and non-genetically engineered varieties, since ancient fruits and vegetables were not as sweet or pulpy as today’s. Eggs should be from free range hens. Meats should not be factory-farmed, and should be lean and low in fat since animals in Paleolithic times were lean.

All foods should be eaten raw since fire was not yet thought to be controlled. (There’s still debate about that, but: “All evidence of control of fire during the Lower Paleolithic is uncertain and has at best limited scholarly support.”) So, in keeping with their tenets, meat on a Paleo Diet should not be cooked. Some in the community argue that grilling over an open wood fire should be allowed.

No cigarettes, alcohol, vitamins, supplements, or drugs, especially synthetic, are allowed on a Paleo Diet. I even read of some people who shunned electricity.

So, someone who is eating a Paleo Diet is not drinking coffee (a bean), wine, beer (barley, a grain), or other fermented foods like black tea, vinegar, or pickles. They eat nothing farmed, so no grains, beans, or lettuce unless it has been foraged. No oranges, pineapples, mangoes, or bananas if you live up north. No cold-water salmon if you live down South, in fact, no fish at all unless it’s locally caught. No chocolate.

Do you know of anyone who eats this way? This is one of the most ridiculous diet plans I’ve ever heard of.

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