Friday, October 21, 2011

On the 'Paleo' Diet

So the Paleo diet is getting a lot of press now. I first stumbled on this thing a few years back when I was getting my sea legs regarding Libertarianism. I tracked back from a post by Karen De Coster on the Lew Rockwell blog, and started reading about it. It was intriguing, especially because Libertarianism seemed to line up with my way of thinking. I quickly noticed that a lot of the practitioners of the 'Paleo' diet weren't all that strict about it. A lot of them, for example, will use butter. Hmm... Paleolithic man probably didn't have butter. Why would butter be okay, but grains not, since I'll wager grains came before butter in our diet.

Speaking of what came when in the diet, where is the evidence that digestive systems evolve at a certain rate? Maybe 3000 years is sufficient time to evolve. After all, if people were agrarian, wouldn't those whose systems are better adapted to farming be the ones that thrived? So I'm thinking there's not a lot of traction to the Paleo view already.

But, all that said, there might be insight there if people who follow the diet are healthier in all forms. A main insight I think is valuable is that Paleo people prefer to eat grass-fed meat. I think that's reasonable, since corn-fed beef is a lot fattier, and grass-fed straight up tastes better. But that's not Paleo... that's Argentine. And, I think, a lot of people who've never heard of Paleo prefer leaner meat.

Another good point made by Paleo dieters, but again not just them, is to avoid processed food. This seems reasonable. Processed food has many additives, most of which were invented in the 20th century, and don't really resemble 'food.' And, such foods are high in sugar and sodium, two things you really don't need much of to get by. It's also fairly easy to overdose on sugar and sodium, and too much sugar = extra waistline.

So I'm not convinced Paleo is anything special. They definitely eschew carbohydrates, but then so does Adkins. A top point, for me, is that Paleo focuses as much as possible on food in its 'natural' state or with as little processing as possible. I think that's right, and we'd all do better to focus more on what's going in our bodies. But that's some stuff my Moms has been telling me since I was old enough to understand, and she's not Paleo. She's just sensible.

On another note, I wonder if Paleo dieters are like MMTers? If so, I expect quite the onslaught.


  1. Is Paleo the Caveman diet? Some DCP'ers were abiding by this while at SU. But, as you say, I'm not big on avoiding certain foods, particularly if they're whole foods, like grains.

    BTW: went jeans shopping the other day and got a 32W. Not bad for an old man. Running 13 miles on Sunday probably helped!

  2. Ya, Caveman diet.

    Nice work! I dropped from a 33W to a 31W over the summer. Workin' the land with (mostly) hand tools will get your sweat up.

  3. Wow, a 31W. That's impressive. But you're like 7' tall, no?

    I would imagine that one could grow a fine garden in MN. The growing season is probably short, but I would think most garden plants would do well in that climate.

    South Texas = H-O-T. Not many plants can survive the heat, and the ones that do, don't produce fruit during the summer months.

  4. 6'2, thank you.

    The garden can be solid, but the weather was bad this year. Too much rain in June, and too little since then. We had great cucumbers, but the peppers really never did anything. Beans and peas got drowned. Tomatoes did well. Squash was all awful.

    Apples were great, but the apricots got the brown rot because they were too wet. Pissed me off, I was looking forward to the apricots.

    So can you not grow even citrus there? I thought they liked hot weather. Too dry is it?

  5. You don't see many citrus trees here. It's the cold that gets them. Last winter, it got down to 18 one night.

    Home grown tomatoes are unrivaled. We may try to plant some in pots next year. That way we can move them around as the heat dictates.