Archeological Discoveries and the Paleo Diet
Archeologists have discovered more insight into the real Paleo Diet of the Old Stone Age that stretched from roughly 2.5 million to 12,000 years ago. How exciting is that?
According to a 2004 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, a ground stone artifact and evidence of an oven like hearth were found in an Upper Palaeolithic site of Ohalo II in Israel. 12,000 years before wild cereals were domesticated in southwest Asia.
In 2010, evidence of starch grains from various wild plants on the surfaces of grinding tools was discovered at the sites of Bilancino II (Italy), Kostenki 16-Uglyanaka (Russia), and Pavlov VI (Czech Republic.)
In 2015, Avena (Oat) residue was found on a grinding tool at Grotta Paglicci sublayer 23A [32,614 ± 429 calibrated (cal) B.P.], Southern Italy, around 32,600 cal B.P. (Calibrated date 32,600 years Before Present set at 1950, as this was close to when radiometric dating began to be used.)
2018 “Archaeobotanical evidence reveals the origins of bread 14,400 years ago in northeastern Jordan.” I am sure none of the grains that were used in that charred remains of bread contained genetically modified grains or soy lecithin that pollute our bread today.
And while I am at it, in support of the modern Paleo mindset on dairy, a study in 2007 by led by Joachim Burger of the Institute of Archaeology at Mainz University in Germany showed that “Stone Age Adults Couldn’t Stomach Milk, Gene Study Shows.” This study shows that the vast majority of adult Europeans were lactose intolerant as recently as 7,000 years ago.
Some of these discoveries were made in 2015 or earlier. So why am I bringing them up in 2018?
Here is why…
1) As someone who loves ancient history and anthropology, I squee with delight every time I hear about discoveries like this… I get as excited as a 5-year-old who asked for a pony for her birthday and actually got one.
2) People with no understanding and no scientific backing that the Modern version of the Paleo diet is a good or bad idea keep using these discoveries to bash a lifestyle they do not understand or know anything about.
That begs the question, why do random people on the web think they have the right to dictate how someone else lives their lives or tell them what foods they should be eating?
My Thoughts on These Paleo Diet Discoveries
I admit these finds are pretty epic. But are they going to make me change my way of thinking about how I eat? Short answer, not really.
It is safe to assume that Paleo man did not have the genetically modified grains we have today, or that they ground it to the point of no nutritional value as happens with white flour today.
Point to ponder: If what you put in your mouth gives you 0 nutritional value does it really count as food?
We can all agree that early man ate what they could find as a matter of survival. I can tell you with certainty that my food needs vary from season to season here in Colorado during the age of Modern Man.
During the summertime, my body demands more water. Not only do I drink more water, but I also consume foods that contain hydration such as cucumbers. My body is happy, and works as it should, despite my Multiple Sclerosis.
In the winter, my body demands more fats and heartier foods. From just my own modern-day body needs, logic would say cave folk went through the same issue. Their knowledge of body needs was based on the need to survive, a skill we have lost considering there is a 711 on just about any street corner where you can get a quick fix of SAD. (Standard American Diet.)
With Paleolithic people living in various parts of the world, there was no such thing as one type of diet fits all. That’s logic. In the desert, for instance, you weren’t going to grow sumptuous vegetables and berries. In the winter time in the region we know as Europe today, there were no berries to eat. To my knowledge, wild berries in the winter were toxic. If I am wrong about that, let me know in the comments.
It is assumed that during the winter, the folk of Europe boiled and consumed pine needles from evergreens. One is to believe, using logic, the people of that region loaded up on fats and starches from tubers to keep them alive in the winter. (The OG of the meat and potato mindset, if you will.)
Today, with science, there still is no “one diet fits all.” I don’t care what people claim. Until science stops feeding mice “mouse chow” (mice don’t eat that crap unless in slave captivity in a lab anyway), and use humans and real food to tell me what is healthy and unhealthy for my body, I will continue to eat in the way I see fit. I will eat what makes my body work to the best of its ability.
Scientists do not agree on what is good or bad anyway. I mentioned that fact earlier in my 6 Diabetic Safe Drinks (No soda pop involved) post where we discussed the contradictory science of coffee and diabetes.
What is apparent is this. If you look around at the majority of people in the United States, it is clear that the science-based SAD (Standard American Diet) isn’t working for anyone. Prime examples of SAD results are diabetes, obesity, heart disease, autoimmune diseases of which Multiple Sclerosis is one, and one that I am managing on the Paleo diet quite well without medications. Thank you very much! Keep your opinions out of my gut health, thanks.
The manner of food that I choose to put into my gut is not anyone else’s concern but mine. I will do what’s best for me, and you do what it is you want to do with your gut. It’s not up for debate, especially of an uninformed nature. If you stop slapping my beautiful purple and green stalk of kale out of my hand, I will stop slapping that refined piece of white bread out of yours. Let’s just agree to disagree and go about our friendship. Deal?
The Paleo Diet teaches you to listen to your body and its needs.
I would like to point out that there are many misconceptions about the Paleo Diet. The big one, and the one that irritates me the most, the phony red meat in excess delusion… The Paleo Diet is not about eating all the red meat you want. If you have seen the misinformed articles with the man sitting in front of a plate piled high with 4 thick steaks, that is incorrect and misinformed information. These articles are misleading to the people who may be considering changing their lifestyle and enjoying the benefits of a healthy gut.
The majority of a Paleo plate is vegetables, with only 3 to 5 oz of protein being consumed per meal. My body runs perfectly on 120 grams of protein a day, any more or less, not so much… Too much protein and I am sluggish with no want to do anything. Too little, I get burning nerve pain like you wouldn’t believe. Listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs, but you have to really pay attention to it and learn how to read the signs.
An example of this, in the summertime, there are times I want salt. My thyroid, adrenals, and mineral levels are all fine, so I know those points are not the issue. Remember, I said the salt craving happens during the summer; having M.S., my body doesn’t regulate temperature the way it should. If it’s 90 degrees out, my body reacts as if it is 100 degrees out, therefore I sweat buckets as my body tries to cool itself. I have learned craving salt is a sign of my electrolytes and hydration being out of whack. I reach for a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon, the salt craving goes away as my body regulates hydration and electrolytes.
These are examples of little things I never picked up on before I was more mindful of what I was shoving into my mouth. The Paleo diet made me cognizant of food and what my body needs at a given time.
The Paleo Diet Is a lifestyle.
Say it with me, “The Paleo Diet is a lifestyle.”
Consider this if you will, lifestyle is a factor in a healthy gut. Lifestyle includes exercise, happiness, sleep, spending time outdoors, socialization, etc. Without those things, the healthiest diet does nothing for your stomach alone. Our paleo gurus encourage exercise, they encourage us to go outside and spend time with that huge orange orb in the sky. Both of those plus getting a kick start on healing your gut helps you begin your journey towards happiness and sound sleep.
In reality, am I going to go out foraging for wild food? Course I am not. I used to hunt and fish every season, circumstances for me have changed. I can grow my own garden, raise chickens and other animals for eggs and meat. It’s about bonding with nature, knowing where your food comes from, and what is in it.
The Paleo lifestyle isn’t about living as a caveperson or emulating the exact things that they did. We can’t, and I am thankful we don’t have to. My lifestyle is about my health, my love of the foods I decide to eat, and staying ahead of a disease that would wipe the floor with me if I allowed it to.
What I Currently Eat on My Paleo Diet.
Animal-based protein 6 out of 7 days a week.
- Lean red meats
- Wild-caught Fish
Other sources of protein I eat 7 days a week.
- Nuts of all types (Peanuts not included. Peanuts are not nuts anyway, they are legumes.)
- Sunflower Seeds
The Rainbow of Fruit and Veggies raw, fermented, and cooked Daily
I do not eat edamame or any soy products. I am allergic to soy, it is genetically modified in the U.S., and I have an aversion to hexane in my food.
I eat white potatoes 2 times a month. White potatoes are high on the glycemic load for both sugars and carbs. I have a history of diabetes on both sides of my family. I don’t want it, thanks.
In case you were curious, 1 medium baked potato has a GI of 85, a carb load of 33, and a GL of 28.
With that being said, I eat sweet potatoes in moderation as well. While their load is less than that of a white potato, they are higher in sugars.
- Grass Fed butter (4 times a week max)
- Greek Yogurt 3 times a week
- Hard Cheeses 2 times a month
- Soft Cheeses 2 times a month
I eat non-gluten grains twice a month because I enjoy them. They do not cause inflammation in my gut. I am aware they contain saponins, but so does spinach, asparagus, onions, garlic, tea and red wine, among other things.
I do soak all of my grains before consumption. Meal planning makes it easier to know when you want to start your soak.
To soak your grains: Pour water and a shot of apple cider vinegar over them. Let them sit. Skim off the foamy layer of bitter antioxidants often. I let my grains soak for at least 8 hours before cooking. With that said, if you meal plan, you can start the soak process in the morning and have your grain ready to eat by supper time.
- Quinoa (If Mark Sission says it’s ok in moderation… I will refer you to his book “The New Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health and Boundless Energy.” Not sponsored, no affiliate link. Just the title of his book that I love and keep on my desk at all times.)
- Certified Gluten free oats, because sometimes I need to feel like a kid again when I would sit with my dad in the morning over a bowl of oatmeal and banana. There is a lot worse comfort food I could be eating, and sometimes a replay of a fond memory is the kick you need to remind yourself to smile and reflect.
Wheat never goes into my mouth, period. Not only is the genetically modified, overly processed crap terrible for you, but it also flares my M.S. Our form of gluten is not the form of gluten Paleolithic man may have consumed anymore. I wonder if he would recognize it.
I eat beans rarely. When I do eat them, I enjoy lentils or chickpeas. I enjoy a good falafel once every couple of months. Again, neither lentils or chickpeas bother my gut.
I know that peas and green beans are technically a legume. However, they don’t cause my gut any issues. You should read what Mark Sisson has to say about green beans and peas.
Consumed in moderation, because even I can’t resist a good paleo brownie or The Iron You’s Chocolate Avocado Chia Pudding once in a while…
- Raw local honey
- Pure Maple syrup
- Black Strap Molasses
(Other than foods listed above that contain healthy fats.)
- Avocado oil
- Olive Oil
- Coconut oil
- Rendered Fat
I will continue to follow archeology as usual because I love it. You can tell me I am wrong for the relationship I have with food. That is your opinion. I don’t have to listen or defend myself. But, until my body and my health test results tell me otherwise, I will continue my Paleo diet the way I have for the past 6 years.
I am pushing 50 pretty hard, my cholesterol and heart are as healthy as someone in their 20s, and I am medication free. I owe it to my relationship with food, and that relationship is the Paleo Diet.
What are your thoughts on the archeological finds? Do you think the discoveries should be used as a tool for a random person on the web to dictate how someone else lives their life and what their relationship with food should be? Let me know in the comments below.