3

votes

How are these foods justified and not as Neolithic as grains? Alcohol, nuts, veggies, coffee, seeds...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 05, 2012 at 1:39 AM

Examples:

alcohol - yes we probably came across fermenting fruit at times. Probably not like a glass of wine on a daily basis.

coffee - likely that our ancestors took drug containing beans, roasted and then brewed them (in non existent cookware)?

nuts - many wild nuts are poisonous (ie wild almonds, raw cashews. Even the genus macadamia has only 2 edible species of 9). They contain anti-nutrients, are high in 06. Would we occasionally have had a few in season? Yes but never in high quantities and on a regular basis. Almost certainly never grind and cook with them.

seeds - same as nuts.

dairy - arguable. Similar slightly to something we have as babies. It's fat is similar to the fat of the animals. But likely better to not eat at all.

veggies and fruits (in high quantities) - Firstly they are seasonal. Secondly, wild veggies don't taste so great, the ones we have now are the result of thousands of years of artificial selection for the most appealing qualities to us. And even at that, the majority of people don't like the taste unless accompanied by something (sauce, spice, meat etc). Modern fruit has also been artificially selected - wild would be stuffed with seeds, more fibrous and less sweet. You would have it in season (probably gorge on as much sweet as you could), but it wouldn't be a year round thing.

Now I do partake in these things myself, although try to avoid. I like them, they do something for me. But I think it's pretty obvious they aren't totally paleo, why are they any different from grains?

What attracted me to paleo was it's simplicity - base our food choices on what our ancestors ate. Why? Because almost no matter how much we think we know about health, we will always be missing something. We just 'discovered' most vitamins and nutrients in the last century (they have always been there though). How many nutrients do we not know about, or may never know about? The simple fact is we are just a bunch of clever monkeys and our knowledge will always be limited.

Even when we do studies, they can't fully encompass what we are trying to prove, because we can't, for example, lock thousands of people away for their lifetimes, feed them precise diets and then compare the results.

So why should we consume any of the above?

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:34 PM

supplements aren't particularly paleo at all ... but people here still use them ... a lot ...

Ee70ee808f748374744404a00e1c22ed

(1163)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:03 PM

RS- nothing more technologically advanced than some honey diluted in a water skin and some hungry yeast floating around... I'd say it was highly likely.

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:06 PM

Coffee and red wine have only theoretical benefits. I haven't looked into it but I have little doubt most 'studies' on them would be sponsored by the producers of those products. The theory on the benefits of antioxidants provided by these products has not been proven.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 06:55 PM

VB - How much evolution have you managed to cram in during the time since your birth?

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 05, 2012
at 05:38 PM

Yeah the idea that you have to become a farmer to suddenly know how to make a water-tight container is absurd.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 04:38 PM

Nemesis - I don't know where you spent more time - in Africa or Asia, but I spent most of my time in Europe. And I never had a coconut (or a pineapple) in my life till I got to be 24 years old.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 04:36 PM

@ Karen - totally agree! I actually wanted to use that example myself! :))) However, I have never tried mongongo nuts. If you have them - eat them all year long. If you have hazelnuts - one month in the fall. Not sure about walnuts, but they are not available all year round. Karen, thanks for your answer - I give you A+!

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:21 PM

We definitely spent a lot more time in Africa than we did in Europe or Asia.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Not all nuts are a short seasoned as hazelnuts. In parts of Africa, the mongongo nut is eaten throughout the entire year by HGs. http://www.beyondveg.com/tu-j-l/raw-cooked/raw-cooked-3g.shtml When looking at paleo, we have to remember to look at Africa too as origin of humans. I see way to many of us here who seem to think humans evolved in northern Europe or Alaska.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:07 PM

-1 nuts - some are pretty high carb, but nuts are paleo. Extensive evidence of hazelnut eating in paleolithic Ireland etc. HGs in Africa make mongongo nuts a major part of their diet. Fruits and vegetables vary from low to high carb, and do in wild also. http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/05/31/wild-and-ancient-fruit/

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:01 PM

Yes, have to look at human eating patterns from Inuit to Kitavan to Hadza. And more.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:26 PM

If it's tasty it's what you were evolved to eat. Too bad do many tricks have been played to make unhealthy things tasty.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:20 PM

Those large creatures posed problems in killing, butchering, cooking and preserving. It takes a Bedrock to make a Brontoburger.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:15 PM

Low carb dieting is Neolithic. Why not start by avoiding that?

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:28 AM

But eating bread and potato chips has not shown to have beneficial effects on the body in the way that coffee and red wine have. In moderation, of course.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:28 AM

For being smallish mammals with no fangs or claws, vegetables presented a less lethal food source than, say, one of the many large creatures that roamed Africa during that time period.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 10:40 AM

@RS - they did not have much. All they had were animals and plants. If they did not catch any animals, they ate plants. This is where veggies come in :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 10:39 AM

:))) Here goes my favorite person, Korion and my favorite topic - coke :))))) Can you please do me a favor and read the ingredients on a bottle of coke? Could you please tell me which ingredients are safe? Please???

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:27 AM

I disagree. I don't think there's anything wrong with mexi-coke or coffee or ice cream, yet I can definitely live without those. After all I've done an elimination diet for 8 months. Grains have a lot of bad stuff in them (phytic acid, phosphorus, gluten, ...), but coffee, milk, coke, ... are much more safe.

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:38 AM

Who's avoiding chocolate bars? Lindt 99% is to die for

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:58 AM

This is my take on that: They are advocated on this site because people like them.Some people cannot live without coffee. Some cannot imagine their lives without coke. If you are healthy, you do not want to hear "this is bad for you", otherwise many people will stop following altogether. I love chocolate ice cream. I know it is not Paleo. But it is my favorite vice. And if you know you can't, but you really want it, then... you can. As easy as that.

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:11 AM

I agree they are tasty - except maybe booze and coffee are consumed far more for their stimulant effects than flavor. But I think most people find bread, potato chips and chocolate bars very tasty too, and we avoid those.

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:04 AM

re - mead. I'm sure it was - in the neolithic from what I would guess. You need containers and some technological advances to brew (just looked it up - earliest evidence is 7000 BC).

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:00 AM

I agree with what you are saying. What I'm wondering is why a lot of these ingredients are advocated on this site. They are fine in small amounts, but potentially no different from grains if consumed on a regular basis.

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 06:56 AM

You didn't mention veggies, which I would say on a regular high consumption basis aren't really paleo. Although they are widely considered paleo in the community. I just don't see how they would be consumed on a large scale by our ancestors.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on June 05, 2012
at 06:47 AM

I don't subscribe to the philosophy that everything we learned and figured out to do over the course of human evolution has been harmful to our health. Some of the things we do are quite clever and have allowed us to survive. We don't have these big beautiful brains for nothing. (and some of what we figured out in fact allowed us to evolve those brains...)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 02:28 AM

And remember, at first people were not hunters and gatherers. They were scavengers, hunters and gatherers.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Good question. I don't think people learned to do all those things till the advent of agriculture. As for wild veggies don't taste as well - not true. There are many wild plants I know that taste MUCH MUCH better than domesticated varieties - they have more flavor. Lots of wild greens taste amazing. Wild mushrooms taste WAY better than any mushrooms from the supermarket, it is like night and day. Wild strawberries, too. I think mead was developed when people settle down.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:52 AM

Squirrels get drunk by eating fermented pumpkins around Halloween. Alcohol: so easy a furry rodent can do it.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:44 AM

alcohol- mead was made from honey and very widely consumed.

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8 Answers

14
26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:52 AM

The point is not to emulate a paleolithic diet. The point is to live as healthy as possible. The things you are citing: caffeine, nuts, seeds, dairy, and high-GI fruits are not counted by many as being "paleo" or healthy for you in large quantities, for various reasons. These things, in a strict "paleo" sense, can be consumed in very small quantities, but not daily. There have been many arguments for and against each of these. I suggest you research each of thse individually and make up your own mind as to whether or not they are something you want to eat. No one is a fascist dictator here. We are a "cheer-ocracy". Do what you want. If it works for you, keep on keeping on.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 10:40 AM

@RS - they did not have much. All they had were animals and plants. If they did not catch any animals, they ate plants. This is where veggies come in :)

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 06:56 AM

You didn't mention veggies, which I would say on a regular high consumption basis aren't really paleo. Although they are widely considered paleo in the community. I just don't see how they would be consumed on a large scale by our ancestors.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:28 AM

For being smallish mammals with no fangs or claws, vegetables presented a less lethal food source than, say, one of the many large creatures that roamed Africa during that time period.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:20 PM

Those large creatures posed problems in killing, butchering, cooking and preserving. It takes a Bedrock to make a Brontoburger.

10
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:14 AM

Beating a dead horse isn't paleo either. But it's still done. This has been visited ad nauseum here but just for a recap....

Alcohol - Is not paleo, but is one of the "cheats of choice" for many people that follow a paleo diet.

Coffee - See above.

Nuts - Edible species of nuts have been eaten all over the world by hominids well before agriculture existed. We simply eat the ones that are available today. Many people restrict them, but they are far from being a "neolithic" food.

Dairy - Paleo with Dairy is Primal, which doesn't focus on reenactment.

Veggies and Fruits in high quantities - That really depends on what region of the world you lived in. Tropical areas would have had considerably more fruit (and sweet fruit, at that) than we have access to, as well as edible starches.

Humans adapt to many environments, and primitive human food was directly related to their environment. Some may have only eaten seasonal fruits and veggies, but some could have lived in warmer climes where different fruits and veggies were available year-round.

Here in Florida, I pick and eat wild oranges in November, wild strawberries and blackberries from December - March, and pretty much any vegetable I want for the rest of the year. I've walked out of the woods quite a few times with a duffel bag full of non-animal food.

In short - the Paleo world you are envisioning is quite small. Open it up a little.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:01 PM

Yes, have to look at human eating patterns from Inuit to Kitavan to Hadza. And more.

5
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 05, 2012
at 10:55 AM

First and foremost: Paleo is not reenactment.

Onto specifics:

  • Alcohol - as much as folks like to gripe about toxins and antinutrients, people give ethanol a pass all too often. Certainly, more modern examples show the benefit of alcohol (i.e. beer/wine is safer than water for drinking).
  • Nuts/Seeds - Again, it comes back to toxins and antinutrients (and O6). O6 is not bad, toxic, or otherwise. It's a nutrient we need it, it's just rather easy to obtain and easy too obtain too much. Humans have been processing food for a long time, more and more evidence that we've been cooking and processing foods earlier and earlier. Cooking mitigates these toxins and antinutrients. Seasonality plays a part, but at least in terms of nuts, they store really well.
  • Dairy - One food that there's some evidence that some folks have adapted/evolved to consume (i.e. continued lactase production into adulthood).
  • Veggies and fruits - Seasonality, so what? Eat seasonally. Many veggies store quite well into winter. Though not things like tomatoes; think roots, cabbages, etc... Wild veggies/fruits are different than modern cultivars, but think about what people forage from the wild: greens, mushrooms, berries, etc... hardly no options. You can't imagine eating non-enhanced veggies/fruits, but folks did so for generations.

5
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on June 05, 2012
at 01:49 AM

Because booze, nuts, veggies, coffee and seeds are tasty.

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:11 AM

I agree they are tasty - except maybe booze and coffee are consumed far more for their stimulant effects than flavor. But I think most people find bread, potato chips and chocolate bars very tasty too, and we avoid those.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:28 AM

But eating bread and potato chips has not shown to have beneficial effects on the body in the way that coffee and red wine have. In moderation, of course.

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:38 AM

Who's avoiding chocolate bars? Lindt 99% is to die for

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:26 PM

If it's tasty it's what you were evolved to eat. Too bad do many tricks have been played to make unhealthy things tasty.

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:06 PM

Coffee and red wine have only theoretical benefits. I haven't looked into it but I have little doubt most 'studies' on them would be sponsored by the producers of those products. The theory on the benefits of antioxidants provided by these products has not been proven.

1
25438785ea803adbd842993fad179921

on June 05, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Acorns were a staple food of California Indians. They required grinding and leaching to remove tanic acid. This could be accomplished with stones and very tightly woven baskets. Paleolithic peoples were likely able to accomplish a similar level of processing.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 05, 2012
at 05:38 PM

Yeah the idea that you have to become a farmer to suddenly know how to make a water-tight container is absurd.

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 05:56 AM

I have seen wild hazelnuts in nature. They are only available for a very limited period of the time, like for two-three weeks. They are in abundance and... then they are gone.

Thank you for your question because I have been asking this question myself many many times. I also loved the way you worded it. I think you are quite talented with words.

So, here is my answer:

We as species designed (by evolution) to eat a wide variety of food.

It is important (if not crucial) to eat natural foods (the way that mother nature intended) and allow limited processing like our ancestors (cooking, extracting from shells, etc).

Even neolithic foods (like grain, milk, beer, mead) could be consumed in small amounts and not on a regular basis under the conditions they are minimally processed and organic.

Of course, strict Paleo is always the best but, considering our circumstances (21 century), even that is healthier than SAD.

Chinese eat everything or almost everything. People in Siberia eat choke cherry berries and grind their seeds, and the seeds contain cyanide. There were some deaths from cyanide poisoning. However, it has not deterred humanity. What does not kill us, makes us survive.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 04:36 PM

@ Karen - totally agree! I actually wanted to use that example myself! :))) However, I have never tried mongongo nuts. If you have them - eat them all year long. If you have hazelnuts - one month in the fall. Not sure about walnuts, but they are not available all year round. Karen, thanks for your answer - I give you A+!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 10:39 AM

:))) Here goes my favorite person, Korion and my favorite topic - coke :))))) Can you please do me a favor and read the ingredients on a bottle of coke? Could you please tell me which ingredients are safe? Please???

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Not all nuts are a short seasoned as hazelnuts. In parts of Africa, the mongongo nut is eaten throughout the entire year by HGs. http://www.beyondveg.com/tu-j-l/raw-cooked/raw-cooked-3g.shtml When looking at paleo, we have to remember to look at Africa too as origin of humans. I see way to many of us here who seem to think humans evolved in northern Europe or Alaska.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 06:55 PM

VB - How much evolution have you managed to cram in during the time since your birth?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:58 AM

This is my take on that: They are advocated on this site because people like them.Some people cannot live without coffee. Some cannot imagine their lives without coke. If you are healthy, you do not want to hear "this is bad for you", otherwise many people will stop following altogether. I love chocolate ice cream. I know it is not Paleo. But it is my favorite vice. And if you know you can't, but you really want it, then... you can. As easy as that.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 05, 2012
at 04:38 PM

Nemesis - I don't know where you spent more time - in Africa or Asia, but I spent most of my time in Europe. And I never had a coconut (or a pineapple) in my life till I got to be 24 years old.

1dd1d4bde5b46b4c90efeadea3a96a75

(180)

on June 05, 2012
at 07:00 AM

I agree with what you are saying. What I'm wondering is why a lot of these ingredients are advocated on this site. They are fine in small amounts, but potentially no different from grains if consumed on a regular basis.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:21 PM

We definitely spent a lot more time in Africa than we did in Europe or Asia.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:27 AM

I disagree. I don't think there's anything wrong with mexi-coke or coffee or ice cream, yet I can definitely live without those. After all I've done an elimination diet for 8 months. Grains have a lot of bad stuff in them (phytic acid, phosphorus, gluten, ...), but coffee, milk, coke, ... are much more safe.

0
58d456f4c4d551a697e65ada8c32ad4f

on June 05, 2012
at 05:17 PM

If you don't want to eat or consume those things, then you don't have to. If others want to, let them.

0
06cf0b860450445b9d399fcc1b2a053a

on June 05, 2012
at 02:14 AM

You're right. These things are low-carb, but not Paleo.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:07 PM

-1 nuts - some are pretty high carb, but nuts are paleo. Extensive evidence of hazelnut eating in paleolithic Ireland etc. HGs in Africa make mongongo nuts a major part of their diet. Fruits and vegetables vary from low to high carb, and do in wild also. http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/05/31/wild-and-ancient-fruit/

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