F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
8

Paleo vs Traditional Diets

by (15400)
Updated about 9 hours ago
Created October 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM

I have just listened to a lecture by Dr. Daphne Miller and now I am starting to doubt Paleo. No, not the whole foods approach. I do not doubt that it is healthy. I doubt the fact that Paleo diet is healthier than other diets. Of course, it is a healthier alternative to SAD, but it is still far from being perfect.

Why? Because Paleo's approach to food is too narrow. Dr. Miller pointed out that there are many components of traditional diets:

  1. Eating seasonal
  2. Using spices as medicine
  3. The way it is prepared
  4. The way people eat together
  5. The way people consume meat (as a spice)
  6. Eating the whole animal
  7. The way the food is viewed
  8. Whole foods for dessert
  9. Grass-fed, wild, organic
  10. Food as medicine etc.etc.etc.

She views "diet" as a holistic term that is a part of culture rather than a list of foods that you need to eat and the way to choose them.

Also, after listening to her lecture, I have finally understood the answer to my questions (that Paleohackers were not able to answer) - why Japanese, Italian and French used to be healthy (before McDonalds and Dunkin Donats arrived) despite all the carbs in their diets.

Here is the link if you are interested:

The Wisdom and Science of Traditional Diets

My a-ha moment happened around 1:15.

I also am skeptical about the Paleo gurus now. If there are so many healthy ways to eat, why demonize some foods? All those so-called Paleo gurus - I am sure that they believe in what they preach - but... they are making money out of it too. Is it a new cash cow now? And to claim that Paleo is the ONLY healthy diet is (to say the least) misleading.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not against Paleo. I just don't think this is the only way to be healthy. I know I am going to get a lot of heat for this question. But I really do not care. I am not here for the money. I am just searching for answers.

In case if my question is not obvious:

Am I the only one who thinks that traditional diets (the way people used to eat before the food industry was developed) are way healthier and tastier than Paleo?

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57
1005 · April 05, 2014 at 6:37 PM

"We have 3 energy choices, protein, carbs, or fat... so pick." If you pick Protein for your energy choice, you're going to have a bad time.

A64ed062eb5e2c3407122fcf16c5de6b
705 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

At http://perfecthealthdiet.com/q-a/comment-page-38/#comment-95267 he talks about other factors, and somewhere there he also mentions that there is unavoidable mismatching between our circadian rhythms and sunlight times as you move away from the equator. PHD doesn't proscribe any particular foods, but does give many examples that work for them. You have to find the food that works best for you, in my case I eat a lot of white potatoes, which didn't exist here 500 years ago. I think that all ancestral diets were healthy but some were much healthier than others due to location.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

I know about Nurishing Traditions, but there is more to it than just Weston Price. He did not go deep enough. Not sure about Steffansons.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Sub-Saharan Africans are typically lactose-intolerant. In an area with a focus on dairy, they'd suffer. East-Asians historically ate less gluten. In an area where food's more focused on carbs and starches, they get fat. Black people living in Northern areas will near-certainly need Vitamin D supplementation. I repeat: I'm from North European ancestry and I was fat and unhealthy whilst following a TRADITIONAL, seasonal Spanish diet in Spain. Eating typically British/Baltic foods, I'm healthy. I believe that what we ate historically has shaped certain human ethnicities.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56
2029 · October 26, 2012 at 7:39 PM

VB - We know that heart disease and cancer were rare for these people, but nutritional deficiencies were common for many groups of people. Just because they didn't have heart disease or cancer does not mean they were healthier than us. Something to chew on.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 26, 2012 at 5:41 PM

1. yes and this is a largely encouraged in paleo/ancestras circes. 2. perhaps, but who is to say these cooking methods can not be learned and used across diverse groups/areas if the main outcome in increased bioavailability?3. well yeah, but we also have to recognize that not all traditional cultures were very healthy. 4. argumentative, but really is just a combo of 1 and 2....I just say I understand what I would call the metaphysical side of your argument. But, in the end I think you just got very riled up over this presentation.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 26, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Thanks for your input. Again, Paleo is a very healthy approach and there is nothing wrong with eating Paleo. However, the more important point, as I believe, is to try to study traditional diets before they totally disappear in the midst of all those fast food restaurants (and I am sure, there will be a fast food Paleo chain at some point). It is important to preserve what we have - we are losing traditional diets just as fast as we are losing languages.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 26, 2012 at 8:04 AM

My point is: Korean dishes maybe or maybe not Paleo, but Paleo is not Korean food. The difference between any traditional cuisine and Paleo: 1. traditional cuisines use foods grown/available locally. 2. traditional cuisines include specific methods of cooking and therefore recipes increase bioavailability of nutrients and seasonal items (no blueberries in the winter, etc.) 3. traditional cuisines are based on 1,000s of years of trial and error 4. traditional cuisines are richer in flavor and taste and more. You need time and patients to cook traditional foods.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 26, 2012 at 7:56 AM

I do not really think that ancestry is that important. If you live in Poland and you are Sami, you have to eat the traditional Polish way. "traditional" like 200 years ago.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 25, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Not to mention I use primal items to make traditional dishes....yes even with local organic items that I grow myself (least 4-6 month out of the year anyway). I ferment my own foods. Even working on raising my own chicks soon....eating is only ONE factor in health.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 25, 2012 at 8:39 PM

The problem you come to is how much "healthier" are you going to get? If you follow paleo/primal and don't sweat the small stuff....what do you really have to gain by biohacking your individual circumstances to add in various paleo no no's? To me it's more trouble than its worth....i'm strictly 80/20 as is with no distress from the occasional gluten or dairy. There is a point of diminishing returns is all I'm saying.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 25, 2012 at 7:34 PM

But then you'd have to factor in ethnicity: as food from an area shaped a people, they shaped their food. What the Native Americans ate may not be a wise diet for a White Westerner of British stock. It explains why Central-Europeans are less prone to Lactose-Intolerance than some African ethnicities, which didn't take milk after childhood. So you'd have to not only eat locally, but eat locally AND eat according to what your ancestors' bodies adapted to eat. So, if you live in Poland but are ethnically Sami, you may not be adapted to so much starch and so little meat!

Medium avatar
10184 · October 25, 2012 at 7:13 PM

http://www.burkemuseum.org/hungry_planet/salish_bounty No science to ancestral foods whatsoever.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 25, 2012 at 7:06 PM

...and when you dig into the disingenuous part a lot of times you'll find a copy of Dr. A....I'm more interested in what went into those cooking baskets and pits and reconstructing the best I can. Safe to say that whatever it was came from local sources and is very easy to obtain.

A50ca1bb3d72544cb50171bd7b46105c
130 · October 25, 2012 at 4:15 PM

VB... I don't get your point, your favourite korean dish sounds pretty paleo to me. The raddish is obviously paleo as well as the greens and some of the other stuff you mention. The only thing debatable would be the Gochujang sauce with its fermented soybeans and rice (which fits into PHD). But see, that is the beauty about Paleo, it is essentially a framework for the most optimal diet for you. That's why you will find so many different ways, e.g. a lot of people will do well with high-fat dairy, some will not. But it is also fact that some foods are more nutritious/healthy/"safer" than others

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5
8879 · October 25, 2012 at 2:15 PM

I've blogged a lot about this. Paleo can try to claim umbrella, but the very basis of the diet contradicts that. Either humans have evolved to consume more modern foods, or we haven't. So to then say well X is OK on paleo because we adapted, but Y isn't is disingenuous.

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I know this is cliched and cheesy but I see Paleo as a journey not a destination. It's about the human animal and the evolved relationship with the rest of the biosphere. It's so much more than just a list of foods you can or can't eat.

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I would disagree that traditional diets are 'perfect'. There is no perfect diet, no single truth - it's a chimera. The cultures and food sources which sustained humans during the Paleolithic are lost forever. The best we can do is to muddle along - piecing together something as nourishing and sustaining as we can from our contemporary storecupboard and the crumbs of the past.

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 12:31 PM

It's a terrible shame but for many people it simply isn't possible to have a diet based on what's locally available due to the way our society and food production and distribution networks are set up. You can still eat a traditional diet and be totally cut off from the culture/geography of the food you're eating. I suppose what I'm trying to say (very badly!) is that your criticisms of Paleo are true for some people but not for everyone.

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Agree 100% with the 'food not being treated as a sacred ritual' stuff. However, I don't agree that (all) Paleo just treats food as a bunch of different items. It can be like this for some people but for many others it's not like that at all. Many Paleo followers are also involved with local food production and local communities, animal welfare, seasonal eating and have a much deeper emotional/'spiritual' connection with their food. I try to buy as much food as I can from farms, producers and independent shop owners in my local area and community.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9
1211 · October 25, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Another example I remember is from a recent Chris Kresser podcast about mercury toxicity and pilot whales. So if a person's traditional diet includes pilot whales, it might be better to eat less of that food. I’m not suggesting abandoning traditional foods altogether, but maybe tweak to make healthier. These are just a couple examples and there are probably more for various reasons. http://chriskresser.com/the-truth-about-toxic-mercury-in-fish

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 9:25 AM

You have an 'offical line' from WAPF which you don't get with Paleo. There's no equivalent Paleo body - it's all much more anarchic (which is part of the beauty of Paleo - you can find your own path). For all the good things that it does, I think you get a false sense of certainty and security with WAPF because it's a more monolithic organisation, there's more of a 'party line'. However, in the same way that there's more to Paleo than one or two 'gurus' there's more to traditional diets than WAPF (I'm not accusing you of falling into this way of thinking btw - it's not a criticism of you!).

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 9:15 AM

I didn't mean to imply that Paleo and traditional diets are the same (sorry if it came across this way). I agree that there are disagreements and but these aren't about a set of 'Paleo' beliefs vs 'traidtional diet' beliefs. Paleo followers may disagree with WAPF followers. However, Paleo followers also disagree with other Paleo followers, and WAPF and other people following 'traitional' diets also disagree with one another. I think part of the issue is that the WA Price Foundation has 'cornered the market' when it comes to tradiational diets (in the US at least - not in the UK).

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9
1211 · October 25, 2012 at 2:02 AM

I'm a fan of traditional, paleo, whole food type diets. I'm not sure I follow the logic about the Larabars. Thanks for the comment.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 25, 2012 at 12:54 AM

@VB..Paleo is NOT HG? Are you sure. Then why do we study all these HG tribes? Guess I don't know what paleo is to you, but to me paleo IS HG. As in paleo man was a HG, and study of modern day HG's gives us insight as to how he would live given todays plant and animal life.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0
7380 · October 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM

:) I certainly will.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM

And while this is not my ancestral diet it bears a resemblance to it. There are adaptable features, though I'm not planning on using cooking baskets.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Aisling, strangely enough I'm in the middle of reading a book that documents a lot of the foods in the Coast Salish diet. The information is apocryphal, but you can piece it together - salmon, mollusks, game, berries, wild hazelnuts, herring - it appears to be generally low carb and low fat. With no pottery or metalware food prep appears to be undercooked by modern standards. Hot rocks in watertight baskets, pit steaming and roasting, and open fire cooking.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3
2353 · October 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM

FYI tamir — rice *is* a grain.

E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b
831 · October 24, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Then you are misunderstanding the basic points of the traditional diet. If you live in Seattle it doesn't mean you can just go join the local Native Americans and eat whatever their traditional diet is and it will be perfect for you. 50% of the reason their diet works for them is because their ancestors lived there for the last 8,000 years. The people and the diet evolved together.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:48 PM

@ MathGirl - nobody gave the right answer to the question that was listed as a link - Paleo diet vs masai diet vs cretan and okinawa. I am not looking for the right answer to my question. But that question had the right answer, but nobody wrote anything, I guess they just did not know. I guess I need to explain myself a little better :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:45 PM

LOL - thanks for making my day. Be gentle to your USB port next time, you never know when you are going to need it :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Thank you very much for your comment. It was very interesting to read your edited part.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I am trying to say. I will be honest with you - I am a little tired with responding to answers to my question and I actually regret asking this question. But I have an inquiring mind and nobody who can answer my questions so... I will be more careful next time. Thanks for responding one more time. I really enjoy reading some things on your blog even though some things are way too scientific for me. :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:34 PM

I think I have finally found the reason behind obesity in America. When it comes to food, the nation is disconnected from its cultural roots and it does not treat food as a sacred ritual, but rather as a profitable industry that is designed to make the most calorie-dense foods in a cheapest and fastest way possible. Paleo and (sorry) the Perfect Health Diet just continue to treat food as a bunch of different items like grass-fed meat, starch, omega 3 fats, etc. There is more to eating than just consuming nutrients. I am not sure if I am making my point clear, but I hope you understand what ..

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:28 PM

in Turkey and even tabooli was perfected by thousands years of Lebanese history. I think that the problem with Paleo and the Perfect Health Diet is that they look at foods as vegetables, fats, meats, etc. and do not allow for the richness and abundance of local flora and fauna, the nutrient combining laws that can be discovered after thousands of years of practice and the secrets passed from one generation to another.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:24 PM

if you God forbid you add soy sauce instead of gochujang sauce - that's it, the dish is ruined. They had about two thousand (or more) years to develop their specific dishes. Do you know that they have a special soup for hangovers? Another dish is for when you break your bones? When a person is sick they cook a special rice porridge called juk? And for their birthdays you get a seaweed soup? This is treating food like Hypocrates told us to - let food be thy medicine. In every single ethnic cuisine there are dishes designed to maximize nutritional benefits. There is a special "wedding soup" ...

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Every Korean dish requires one (at least) or a bazillion items that can be found only in Korea. For example, some beef soup. You supposed to add Korean radish to it (half green, half white) and if you don't put Korean radish, it won't taste the same. Also, they have like five hundred wild greens that I have never heard of before (they have their own Korean green onions that taste and look different than normal scallions) and if you don't add them, it will taste different. Then they ferment all kinds of stuff and in a special way that is beyond any normal person's comprehension and patience and

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:13 PM

OMG, I guess I got overwhelmed by all the comments I got (just three would be okay with me) and got a little rough - for which I apologize. I will try to be nicer next time (unless I get too many responses). My objections to you (please don't think I am being critical - I guess I have a different learning curve than many others) is that both Paleo (in its broadest term) and the Perfect Health Diet are incomplete and oversimplified (for me personally). Please do not take it the wrong way. What do I mean by all this? Okay, let's me illustrate using my favorite Korean cuisine ( I am not Korean)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:12 PM

OMG, I guess I got overwhelmed by all the comments I got (just three would be okay with me) and got a little rough - for which I apologize. I will try to be nicer next time (unless I get too many responses). My objections to you (please don't think I am being critical - I guess I have a different learning curve than many others) is that both Paleo (in its broadest term) and the Perfect Health Diet are incomplete and oversimplified (for me personally). Please do not take it the wrong way. What do I mean by all this? Okay, let's me illustrate using my favorite Korean cuisin ( I am not Korean).

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10490 · October 24, 2012 at 8:00 PM

I <3 you, MG72.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Thank you for contributing. Just to make a short point (because I disagree with many statements you have made) - Paleo gurus say grains are a no-no. WPrice says - fermented are fine. Dairy - disagreement. How much fat - disagreement. How much meat - disagreement. Low carbs vs high carbs - disagreements. So Paleo and traditional diets are NOT THE SAME THING by any definition. Plus nobody really knows real authentic Paleo recipes. How do you know what they ate their meat with? Did they make any soups? Stews? Yes, we know what foods they did not eat - but it is all vague and very inconclusive.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:32 PM

MarkES - thanks for sharing but who knows - maybe that was some kind of Eskimo study similar to China study? I don't know about eskimos that much even to make an educated guess. I think further research is needed. Paleo diet has not been around for centuries. (by Paleo I mean the "American version of Paleo", not "the real HG version of Paleo". The HG diet has been around for millions of years and it has been proven to be a successful one. If you pick and choose what is healthy for the individual, you will end up eating Larabars.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:26 PM

@JayJay - HG all the way. The thing is: Paleo is NOT HG. THIS IS WHAT I WAS TRYING TO POINT OUT - why am I having such a hard time trying to be understood? Because of my English?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Alice - thanks for your thought. I believe that a traditional diet is the one that based on 1. local natural food and herb sources 2. ancient nutritional wisdom of indigenous people 3. the way of eating. So if you live in California (for example), you should be eating what Native Americans used to eat before they saw the first white man. If you move to Alaska, you will have to eat the Inuit way. Not just the foods they ate - but all the way, with meal frequency, authentic recipes, meal times - the whole experience. That's what a traditional diet means to me.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 24, 2012 at 5:29 PM

^ You also have the choice to remain ignorant or to educate yourself. Freedom of choice is a good thing.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM

**two parts, even :p

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM

with food and, if you can't find them through eating whatever you want, if you can't find them through following what is, frankly, a VERY healthy diet philosophy, then you won't find them in the diet of the Madagascan Pygmies either, nor in the Mediterranean diet, nor anywhere else. These philosophies and attitudes are found in YOURSELF. I had them pre-Paleo and was, admittedly, rather healthy. However I am HEALTHIER without grain. There are too parts to the puzzle: eating well and having a good food-philosophy. One OR the other will help, but both together are immensely powerful.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 1:07 PM

It's not that I don't believe there is more to diet than what you do or don't eat (or even genetics!), it's just that I question whether a "traditional" diet would help someone who can't make Paleo (one of the most flexible full-time diets there is!) work for them. There has to be a passion for the food (and maybe for feeding others!), a love of yourself, a desire for health greater than your desire for sugars, a faith in your home-remedies (neither "placebos" NOR functional ones will work without some faith in them!)... These things are crucial to ANY healthy relationship (continued)

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23
11048 · October 24, 2012 at 1:03 PM

"...nobody gave the right answer." In other words, no one agrees with you and must, therefore, be incorrect.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

However, if you wish to play it that way: what would a "traditional" diet be for me? I have a genetic background from at least six countries and two ethnic sub-groups, I was raised away from my home-country, I was a vegetarian child and a good chunk of my family are vegan. I've eaten many ways, many "traditional" and "healthy" and "non SAD" diets throughout my life. The only diet where I've felt HEALTHY and comfortable has been Lacto-Paleo.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

However, if you wish to play it that way: what would a "traditional" diet be for me? I have a genetic background from at least six countries and two ethnic groups, I was raised away from my home-country, I was a vegetarian child and a good chunk of my family are vegan. I've eaten many ways, many "traditional" and "healthy" and "non SAD" diets throughout my life. The only diet where I've felt HEALTHY and comfortable has been Lacto-Paleo.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM

As far as Asian cultures go: in every Asian culture I have ever heard of, it's considered normal to carry a bottle of water everywhere, sip your way through at least a litre of pure water a day and drink warm water from a thermos in winter. The few Asians I've known who DIDN'T follow this were second and third generation immigrants who had poorer health, worse skin and who got chubby easier, though that may just be down to the standard Western diet and not the water, the fact remains that their drinking habits are far different to those of the West.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Cultures yes, people: same "ethnic subgroup". It's what some might call "Mediterranean White People". And your experiences far differ from mine, as everyone I knew who stayed slim either routinely dieted or followed a non-traditional, non-Americanized diet. Everyone else had a distinct family pattern of "slim teen-overweight adult".

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM

What if you had a HG society and an agricultural society on the same site/climate. Which would you choose since both would be traditional, yet quite different? http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/low-carb-diets/nutrition-and-health-in-agriculturalists-and-hunter-gatherers/

Medium avatar
10184 · October 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I find myself eating more and more fish and seafood as I age. My direct ancestors ate a lot more than I do. It was a chore when I was younger. Now it seems odd to not have 2-3 servings a day...like my ancestral food pyramid...same thing goes for berries and mushrooms...

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 9:56 AM

PHD diet is even worse than Paleo if you ask me. He is going to mention circadian regulation? Great! I hope he knows that sunrise times vary depending on your distance from the equator. Sweet potatoes do not grow in Ireland. Salmon does not live near the tropics. You need to know your land. There is more to cooking than roasting over fire.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 9:51 AM

They are very important. Paleo is the same for everyone and it should not be. Imaging going into Masai tribe and saying - guess what, guys. You had it all wrong. Inuits have a much healthier diet. Tomorrow everybody has to bring a spear - we are going seal hunting. Paleo diet does not teach you how to co-exist with your land.

A64ed062eb5e2c3407122fcf16c5de6b
705 · October 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM

@VB I think it boils down to "how important are those other factors for the desired end result?". PHD is geared towards living long and healthily. If there is a missing factor (could very well be one of the ones you mention) then Paul will surely add that. The next edition of the PHD book will talk a lot more about circadian regulation, for example. It's nice to sit around the campfire and eat in group, but isn't eating in a good restaurant while reading about your friends on facebook also nice?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 7:48 AM

It is not entirely made up. It is build around food types that were consumed by humans for million of years. I am not saying Paleo is wrong, I am saying it is simplified and incomplete.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 6:34 AM

I bet theirs extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe :P

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 6:29 AM

Well no, even a twin study would not be certain. Theres other environmental factors but diet. You cannot control for the entirety of two peoples lifes, every health impacting element (even quality of the food itself)

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 6:23 AM

Well, modern witchcraft is not created by people who were around in the middle ages or earlier either. I agree that its quite speculative, I simply disagree that its entirely made up either.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:14 AM

Jamie, it would be a revivalist diet if Lorein Cordain or Robb Wolf would live with those cavemen for at least a year (or more). But they did not. So they do not know what kind of spices those cavemen ate. How many times per day they ate. What food combining rules they had. What was their attitudes towards foods. Paleo diet is very superficial, although, and I repeat, it is MUCH HEALTHIER than SAD.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:08 AM

After reading all the answers, notice how nobody gave the right answer. People just don't understand the concept of a traditional diet.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:06 AM

Thanks for the link.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Jamie, thank you for a beautiful and a truly philosophical answer. Unfortunately, I disagree with most of it (too many things to list). It is okay though. The only way to test a Paleo diet is to do twin studies, where one person would eat let's say, Mark Sisson's way and another would eat a traditional Okinawan diet. Then compare the lab results when they would be around 90 years old. I bet the Okinawans would win.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 5:58 AM

The difference in traditional diets and Paleo is like the difference between MacDonald's and a traditional farmer's market. You can build a MacDonald's restaurant anywhere and have the same foods. A Japanese farmer's market would be quite different from a French one.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 5:55 AM

That was actually not my understanding of a traditional diet. I believe that traditional diets have nothing to do with your ancestry, but everything with where you live now.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 5:53 AM

I think Paleo is missing many valuable components. It is not that my definition of Paleo is a little narrow. It is Paleo that is too narrow.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:37 AM

The process you describe -- starting with a template and customizing -- is the essence of paleo and not a departure from it.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:34 AM

I think if people followed traditional diets, they would still be Paleo :)

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:28 AM

To me, Paleo can be inclusive of traditional diets. Why force a dichotomy?

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:25 AM

Why can't Paleo be geographically determined?

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:25 AM

Why can't Paleo be geograpically determined?

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0
7380 · October 24, 2012 at 3:44 AM

But, I'e been peeing in the USB port. :/

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 3:37 AM

Maori are actually a great example of how tradition changes. There were once south americans or asians. They travelled, became pacific islanders, carried native plants and such here, and then ended up eating grubs, berries and meats from here, apart from their introduced sweet potato. They basically ate what was around that didnt immediately kill them. But they did learn stuff my trial and error. Like out native kava like plant is not a sedative but a hallucnigen similar to nutmeg.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Its not invented either. Its technically a revivalist diet (ie a speculative recreation of an actual traditional diet). Much like modern witchcraft isnt exactly the same as ancient paganism, its a speculative re-creation. You wouldnt claim either is invented, as it does have a tradition, a history, its just one that is pretty darn interpreted.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 3:05 AM

Basically put, subjective experience is underrated these days in terms of knowledge. We miss a whole load of things because we rely too heavily on "evidence" which is often itself biased, and not enough on what we learn, and intuit and experience. But then again, that is all "wisdom" and tradition is, a period of collected experience. Observation cannot alone make all possible connections, it cannot fix to seeming or unseeming correlated elements into a causation.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 24, 2012 at 3:04 AM

I think you can take the ideas of the foods from your genetic ancestry and apply it to your current location. For example, I appear to be from people who relied heavily on cold water ocean fish and leafy greens, so I can eat local cold water ocean fish and leafy greens. But keep in mind, too, that when we get into the specifics, we may not match our ancestry perfectly. Most caucasians don't have genetic mutations in their methylation cycle, but you see a lot of it in Kenyan and Nigerian populations: so adopting some of their recipes may be wise if you have those mutations.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:56 AM

All behaviour is cultural. Just like our modern behaviour is our modern culture. I meant, what is your basis for thinking traditional diets are perfect diets? (keep in mind, I have not, and probably wont, watch the whole video)

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:51 AM

I think the biggest problem with this presented conception of knowledge (and the one people commonly beleive in), is that its like a lost object. One day, your supposed to just find it after a long time looking. But its more like looking for the ideal rock (you keep finding a better one, and throwing the other away), or better - trying to map out an island with flashlight in the dark.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:49 AM

I think you bring up an interesting issue in this idea of tradition/wisdom. For health direction: Some rely on the common sense of pre-agriculture, or pre-industrialism. Some rely on science and intellect, as well as beleif. I think its well worth considering into these other two, experience and subjective practice (tradition), and balancing them all against each other. They all have their faults and weakness, and are stronger when used together.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:45 AM

Paleo, on the other hand, tries to rely on genetics (what we are adapted to, rather than what we have experimented with in our landscape). But paleo is guesswork based on logic, just like traditional wisdom practices are guesswork based on experience and observation. Id probably put some stock in information from both sources - the logic and science of the paleolithic (with tradition based on how many people did it, and for how many years) and science. Knowledge is elusive after all. People who beleive they have it, have not thought about the nature of knowledge.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:41 AM

It somewhat depends on timespan, wisdom. If something has been done a certain way, for thousands of years, its probably better than something done for hundreds. But if one or two people slowly develop an illness from the practice, there is no way to make the connection, without understanding the mechanisms.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:40 AM

Somethings are too complex, or too subtle for "wisdom" to pick up on. Thats where we need medicine and science. On the other hand of course, out modern minds tend to obfiscate the common sense, and the subjective. I would not personally champion a way of eating, merely because its based on traditional practices and wisdom. That certain counts toward some intelligent practice, but it does not ensure their are no negative side effects.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:37 AM

I think traditional wisdom is both underrated, and overrated. Its something we dont use alot of these days, and we could stand to rely more on it. Theres some powerful medicine in herbs, plants and foods. And yet, the body is extremely complex. Most things have both pros and cons. Whats an example...opium used to be used for poisoning (a long time ago). In fact, its not good at clearing toxins, but it does make the situation feel better. Tobacco was used by the native americans, but its a carcinogen (and so is their native sassafras).

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:34 AM

"By the way, beef stroganoff is not a traditional food. It is Primal, but it was invented in the late 1800s" Well, the way I make it, its hardly neolithic. Mushrooms, onions, tomato, chicken bone broth, beef, salt, dairy.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:32 AM

It might be a traditional "revival" diet, but its not "invented". Sure theres speculation, but it is based on a diet that is traditional but merely was too long ago to be passed down. Its a bit like modern witchcraft compared to ancient paganism. Its not like the two have no relation, but they are not exactly the same either.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 24, 2012 at 1:29 AM

I also don't agree with her "meat as a spice" perspective. I think it's biased.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 24, 2012 at 1:25 AM

Another frustration I have is that it's nearly impossible to get whole-animals from my bio-dynamic farmer because he has to take his animals to a typical processing plant, and they won't save the lard, the ears, the liver and kidneys, and so forth. I tried eating those parts from the Asian grocer, but the quality of the meat at that particular grocery store is so bad that even my dog won't eat them.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Hey guys..."bizarre foods america" is on the travel channel right now. Maybe we can get some ideas :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM

I used that freedom of choice to buy chocolate ice cream and cakes because I did not know what kind of consequences would follow. Now I am so screwed up, it is scary. Maybe choice is not a good thing after all?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 11:54 PM

And which culture/traditional diet do you choose if you live at a site where two different cultures ate vastly different "traditional" foods? http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/low-carb-diets/nutrition-and-health-in-agriculturalists-and-hunter-gatherers/

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:53 PM

And they were much healthier than we will ever be...

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:52 PM

I agree with thhq but I would add one caveat: ask the local Native Americans what goes with what and how to cook what you find in your local forest. I would not match food to ancestry. I would mix and match local foods to find the best nutritional combinations.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:47 PM

I have been to Italy and France (more than twice) and all three cultures look quite distinct to me. Also, I have many French friends (and some Italians and Spanish) and all of them stay slim. I also saw what they ate everyday because we ate together. Those who ate traditional meals were healthier, but all stayed slim even in their 60s. BTW, Asians don't drink more fluid. I used to work with Asians.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 11:41 PM

Oh, to throw another variable at you (since I have looked at permaculture) you would have to make the decision as to indigenous vs native plants. You CAN grow a wider variety of things in an area than are traditionally found there and to some extent this has already greatly blurred the lines of regional foods.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 11:36 PM

^ I do think you should learn some traditional cooking methods and recipes. Dr. Cate does have a point about food/spice combonations, taste, and improved nutrient densities. PHD talks about cooking a fatty hunk of meat slowly OVER a bed of vegetable. It's all out there to explore.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 11:34 PM

I'll go on to say that I have posed questions about permaculture and creating a food forest. Coming from Primal for instance they always rate "fresh local organic" as your first choice....from there anything is less optimal. So to say that Paleo doesn't take it into account isn't quite correct. As to traditional combos of foods...well I have read those books that I recommended (along with PHD and a couple books on fermentation) and I use the techniques learned along with fresh produce from my garden and fresh killed animals from local farmers...and I still call my WOE paleo/primal.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 23, 2012 at 11:31 PM

A more modern version is probably to eat the best ancestral form you can. Eat the foods that are truly local - the fruits, berries, fish, vegetables and meats that are grown within 100 miles. Collect them as best you can manually, even if all this means is walking to the grocery store. Try to match them to your ancestry. I'm not in a city, and an fairly close to a lot of sources of wild and fresh foods, so I'm sort of lucky (though it sucks that there is no opera).

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Haha, grad school is totally a disaster, and doing it in Boston is definitely natural.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23
11048 · October 23, 2012 at 11:16 PM

With the transitory nature of a great deal of humans today, what should be considered traditional? Should it be their current location or what their family ate? I'm a California girl and enjoy all sorts of produce that grows year round locally. However, my Dad's family is Dutch (paternal) and English (maternal) and my Mom's family is Irish (paternal) and Native American (maternal). Holy crap sticks...no wonder my body is so screwed up.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Interesting how local cultures invent cuisines to go with the locally available foods. The forms and variations of Japanese, from teppan to sushi, all using the same relatively narrow range of spices and foods. I don't know where to go to get good okonomiyaki, but it could easily be worked into paleo....mixed seafood whipped into eggs and cooked brown like a pancake, served directly off the grill with a topping of mayonnaise and seaweed powder.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e
11152 · October 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Sara, think of it this way: Humans were displaced by natural disasters all the time. Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, all of these were cause to relocate. Sometimes relatively close, sometimes much further away. It didn't allow for an "adjustment" period, people would just experiment with edibles and learn what works and what doesn't. Unless it was toxic, it didn't kill them, they simply incorporated it into their diet. Think of your living so far from home as a "natural disaster".

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:04 PM

I watched the video and especially the part where she explained how diet is a part of culture and we need to approach it holistically.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Because you have different plants/herbs/protein and fat sources in your environment. Mother nature puts things in there for a reason. We need thousands of years to discover those secrets.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:00 PM

This is our lives... Please watch the video - especially about Crete. I envy them.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 10:58 PM

I am not sure you a qualified to be a Paleo member. You need to bring your urine sample ASAP to verify your membership. Also Paleo people do not accept Thomas Hardy - he was not Paleo. And you better start worshipping Paleo gods.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 23, 2012 at 10:56 PM

One reason it's important is because food eaten fresh, locally, and seasonally is going to be a lot more nutritious than food that is shipped across the country or worse. I also think peoples figured out how to eat best for their genetic/biochemical millieu. So there's both a consideration for locale, but also for ethnicity (or whatever).

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Jamie, sorry, Paleo is NOT a traditional diet. It is an "invented" diet. French, Korean, Japanese, Bushmen traditional dishes in combination are traditional diets. Maori used to eat a traditional diet. By the way, beef stroganoff is not a traditional food. It is Primal, but it was invented in the late 1800s. Traditional diets combine nutritional wisdom and local plants/animals from many many many generations. You can learn how to eat Paleo in one hour. It takes at least a couple of years to pass down the art of traditional cooking. Thanks for your comments, as always. Hope you are doing well.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I worry about the lost information, too. Right now I'm living 3000 miles from where my family lives, and where I want to settle down. I need to eat locally and seasonally here, but I'm reticent to devote much time to learning the local foodstuffs because I really just want to be back home.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM

^ Whats your basis for that line of thinking? Is it some form of evidence, or more philosophical?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 23, 2012 at 10:48 PM

^ Why is that important?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 23, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Paleo is one of those diets. But like anything really old, we have lost much of the practice, like their use of medicinal plants. Healthier? hard to know. Wed need a large scale trial. As for tastier, i dont really know. I am still myself learning tasty primal recipes, recent examples - beef strogannof, cheese sauces, liver pate. Id like to paleo-ize some more french sauces. I havent hit a taste brick wall yet, I am still saying "yum", but then I do include salt, dairy, herbs. I think if I wasnt primal, it might be trickier making tasty stuff. Nessesity is the mother of invention though.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 23, 2012 at 10:37 PM

They are presenting the ideal of a anti-industrial diet? Which in itself makes sense of course. Whole miminally prepared foods is a great basis for a diet. If you add into paleo, nourishing traditions, and use your noggin, I beleive you can arrive at something like this. Ill answer your question in a the next comment...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 23, 2012 at 10:32 PM

Be good if you could sum it up. I watched a few parts. One part mentioned how spices have medicinal properties (which I know already, but its interesting the suggestion that these are health promoting). Another part was talking about fats and how moderns oils are crappy (as per paleo). The last part I saw was talking about basically how any diet that isnt industrial is better. Does that give a good overall impression. Dont really have an hour today to watch a presentation...

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM

True. But this is not what I was getting to. Basically, if people would follow traditional diets, they would not need to go Primal or Paleo. They would be healthy. Even consuming traditionally prepared grains and dairy.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 10:05 PM

True. I would do anything for that lamb shank!!!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 10:00 PM

I understand and I agree. My point is - we make it all so simple. Cut out refined foods - eat more grass-fed and organic - be happy. But it is not that simple. It is more complex than that. You are what you eat. And you suppose to eat what is around you in your natural environment. It takes thousands of years to discover the secrets to eating local. We lost it.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM

...and a braised lamb shank to go with that babaganoush...oh my...I've taught myself to make pretty good pot roasts and smoked meats, but it would turn out so much better if I'd learned it from someone else as part of a tradition.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Tony - well said. My understanding of Paleo now is that Paleo diet is a shortcut to eating healthy. It is healthier than SAD. Gosh, ANYTHING is healthier than SAD. But it is not a perfect diet. Even The Perfect Health diet is not a perfect diet. Traditional diets ARE perfect diets. And they are different, depending on your location.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Wow thhq. I have no idea who you are but I am impressed. But my points is deeper than that. I don't think I articulated it very clearly. Basically, traditional foods utilize climate/landscape/geography. It means that people in California traditionally should eat differently than people in Upstate New York. And that's what Native Americans were able to achieve.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 23, 2012 at 9:49 PM

VB, I just love your questions. I'm looking forward to watching the video: thanks for sharing it.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Nance, I agree with you totally. What I am saying is... there are diets that are better than Paleo. They are geographically determined.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 23, 2012 at 9:31 PM

My grudge is that they are Paleo/Atkins, which is modern and insults the principle of trying to eat ancestrally. Nevermind the Atkins processed food industry, which thankfully most paleos reject. The problem is eating a high fat, low carb diet on a regular basis and justifying it as being what we were evolved to eat.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:29 PM

I was blessed to try ethic dishes from over 60 different nations in my lifetime. Even though I am a very good cook and my meals taste fantastic, they are no match to traditional foods prepared with proper ingredients by some little old lady back in the kitchen. I would do anything (and more) for a properly-made baba ganoosh.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 23, 2012 at 9:25 PM

You have to be careful who you take advice from. How much time did Cordain and Taubes spend as ethnologists? I've learned more about ancestor diet from reading about northwest Amerinds and neolithic Anatolians than from the so-called gurus. It's not rocket science to build a modern diet around seafood, dairy, eggs, meats, fruits and root vegetables which closely resembles ancient diets.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · October 23, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Yes! Why does there have to be one right/correct way, why must your eating patterns be right or wrong, why should what's right for me be the same as what's right for you, etc., etc. I'm currently defining "paleo" as "to the extent practicable, eat whole foods and avoid processed foods." The gray area for me is those items that are minimally processed, such as honey or cream or ground cinnamon and I happen to think they're fine. I'm really just trying to avoid "seasoning mixes" and soda, ice cream, cookies, etc.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23
11048 · October 23, 2012 at 9:15 PM

You make your food as tasty as you like. The Paleo food I prepare is pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Less than 10? Very close to zero - I don't know the count in meat.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 23, 2012 at 9:06 PM

I agree. The tricky part is that they must be "prepared in a special way." Traditional cultures that depended on grains and pulses as a primary or a major source of food also had a daily life routine that centered on the processing of those foods to make them sustainably nutritious. Very few people in the internet culture are going to be willing or able to spend hours each day soaking, sprouting, grinding, etc. So, yes, even grains can be a Paleo food if proportions are kept in balance. But for practical purposes, they are not a realistic component for most "non-traditional" people.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Heres a link to the "Fat of the Land" book http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CDgQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fowndoc.com%2Fpdf%2FThe-fat-of-the-land.pdf&ei=JgaHUOb5HNGH0QH1qICgCQ&usg=AFQjCNH-HSRmVKwGXqR354d0tknEFJ0cyA&sig2=YUkWLCLi6eOg1Ca_3jZVBg

B41cdb2253976ba9b429dd608d02c21f
1495 · October 23, 2012 at 9:03 PM

How can you eat 0 carbs? Even beef has a small amount of carbs.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:52 PM

I am glad I am not the only one. I myself eat 0 carbs for now - that is the only thing that is working for me because I am very sick. But I am not planning on doing it long term. I am definitely going to try some traditional foods once I am healed.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:46 PM

I have read some things on his blog/website. Yet it is a far cry from a real traditional diet. He is not looking into diet holistically. It probably sounds awful, considering that he included all the right foods, but there is a very important idea that he is missing. Diet does not boil down to what foods are safe and what foods are not safe to eat. Diet is more than a list of foods or a recipe. Diet is a way people adapt to their surroundings. It has three components: 1. geography, climate and landscape 2. ethnobotany and biology 3. ethnic cuisine based on the first two.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Many traditional diets include grains and pulses. All traditional diets include dishes prepared in a special way. So-called "ethnic dishes" were developed to maximize their nutritional value. We don't really know how Paleolithic people ate their foods, what spices (if any) they used. We do know more about hunter-gatherers, although I doubt that too many people follow their recipes. But there are plenty of traditionally made dishes in many cultures and the recipes are easily obtainable.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:31 PM

I don't really care that people are making money from Paleo. Everybody makes money from everything. My point is that they could be (not sure) biased.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 23, 2012 at 8:29 PM

BTW - thanks for providing the link that you are referring to. Maybe I missed an imnportant detail -- but I think it boils down to how you define "Paleo". I'll have to watch the video later when I am not at work :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:29 PM

I am reading Deep Nutrition as we speak...

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:28 PM

K...I'll let some others respond now :)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:27 PM

The problem with her definition ..."She views "diet" as a holistic term that is a part of culture rather than a list of foods that you need to eat and the way to choose them." Is that our cultural norm for diet sucks...so we have NO healthy food culture, therefore actually must list the foods you may have or avoid for health.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:25 PM

^Actually I had to change that...I meant "Deep Nutrition".

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:21 PM

If you watch the video, you will understand the difference between 1-10 Paleo and 1-10 in traditional diets.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Paleo is "A" traditional diet and one with quiet a bit of variety, but I did go back to edit my answer to give you some more resources if your interested.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Oh no... I was hoping that there is somebody else out there who thinks that traditional diets are superior.

Total Views
4.8K

Recent Activity
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

Last Activity
72D AGO

Followers
1

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

23 Answers

best answer

9e20abb05f3f6e3cc4bb107f8980aecd
7
5929 · October 24, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Hi VB,

Interesting topic. Dr. Miller makes a lot of good points -- all 10 of those things you list are important factors in health, with the exception of eating seasonally (not much seasonality in the tropics where most human evolution occurred, and no real evidence for benefits from eating seasonally now that we can get fresh foods from all parts of the world where the seasons are different).

Re your questions: "If there are so many healthy ways to eat, why demonize some foods?... Am I the only one who thinks that traditional diets (the way people used to eat before the food industry was developed) are way healthier and tastier than Paleo?"

On the first point, there are many factors in health and many causes of ill health, including many dietary causes. We don't know which causes are salient in most diseases. So when we know that a food has the potential to cause disease, and its nutritional value is replaceable by safer/healthier foods, there's good reason to eliminate it from the diet rather than hope that you'll be one of the people for whom it doesn't cause trouble.

On the second question, first many traditional diets fit within a broad Paleo template. For instance, traditional East Asian, southeast Asian, and Pacific islander diets that use white rice, taro, yams, and sago as starches are Perfect Health Diet-compatible. Second, some Paleo-template diets like our Perfect Health Diet are designed to be tasty -- intentionally, because we believe evolution designed our food tastes to get us to eat what is healthy for us, so delicious food is healthier than non-tasty food -- and so we specifically recommend tasty food combinations like starch, fat, acid, salt, spice.

If by "Paleo" you mean a severely restricted lean-meat-and-vegetables diet, I might agree -- many traditional diets are certainly tastier and might be healthier too. But the Paleo/"ancestral" template is broader than that.

One side point: most of the things Dr Miller brings up, like the use of spices as medicines and the ways foods are prepared, were innovations developed during the Paleolithic and passed down into Neolithic and historical times. Thus, the Paleo template encompasses nearly all of the things you most respect about "traditional" diets.

Best, Paul

A50ca1bb3d72544cb50171bd7b46105c
130 · October 25, 2012 at 4:15 PM

VB... I don't get your point, your favourite korean dish sounds pretty paleo to me. The raddish is obviously paleo as well as the greens and some of the other stuff you mention. The only thing debatable would be the Gochujang sauce with its fermented soybeans and rice (which fits into PHD). But see, that is the beauty about Paleo, it is essentially a framework for the most optimal diet for you. That's why you will find so many different ways, e.g. a lot of people will do well with high-fat dairy, some will not. But it is also fact that some foods are more nutritious/healthy/"safer" than others

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:13 PM

OMG, I guess I got overwhelmed by all the comments I got (just three would be okay with me) and got a little rough - for which I apologize. I will try to be nicer next time (unless I get too many responses). My objections to you (please don't think I am being critical - I guess I have a different learning curve than many others) is that both Paleo (in its broadest term) and the Perfect Health Diet are incomplete and oversimplified (for me personally). Please do not take it the wrong way. What do I mean by all this? Okay, let's me illustrate using my favorite Korean cuisine ( I am not Korean)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Every Korean dish requires one (at least) or a bazillion items that can be found only in Korea. For example, some beef soup. You supposed to add Korean radish to it (half green, half white) and if you don't put Korean radish, it won't taste the same. Also, they have like five hundred wild greens that I have never heard of before (they have their own Korean green onions that taste and look different than normal scallions) and if you don't add them, it will taste different. Then they ferment all kinds of stuff and in a special way that is beyond any normal person's comprehension and patience and

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I am trying to say. I will be honest with you - I am a little tired with responding to answers to my question and I actually regret asking this question. But I have an inquiring mind and nobody who can answer my questions so... I will be more careful next time. Thanks for responding one more time. I really enjoy reading some things on your blog even though some things are way too scientific for me. :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:28 PM

in Turkey and even tabooli was perfected by thousands years of Lebanese history. I think that the problem with Paleo and the Perfect Health Diet is that they look at foods as vegetables, fats, meats, etc. and do not allow for the richness and abundance of local flora and fauna, the nutrient combining laws that can be discovered after thousands of years of practice and the secrets passed from one generation to another.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:12 PM

OMG, I guess I got overwhelmed by all the comments I got (just three would be okay with me) and got a little rough - for which I apologize. I will try to be nicer next time (unless I get too many responses). My objections to you (please don't think I am being critical - I guess I have a different learning curve than many others) is that both Paleo (in its broadest term) and the Perfect Health Diet are incomplete and oversimplified (for me personally). Please do not take it the wrong way. What do I mean by all this? Okay, let's me illustrate using my favorite Korean cuisin ( I am not Korean).

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 26, 2012 at 5:41 PM

1. yes and this is a largely encouraged in paleo/ancestras circes. 2. perhaps, but who is to say these cooking methods can not be learned and used across diverse groups/areas if the main outcome in increased bioavailability?3. well yeah, but we also have to recognize that not all traditional cultures were very healthy. 4. argumentative, but really is just a combo of 1 and 2....I just say I understand what I would call the metaphysical side of your argument. But, in the end I think you just got very riled up over this presentation.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:24 PM

if you God forbid you add soy sauce instead of gochujang sauce - that's it, the dish is ruined. They had about two thousand (or more) years to develop their specific dishes. Do you know that they have a special soup for hangovers? Another dish is for when you break your bones? When a person is sick they cook a special rice porridge called juk? And for their birthdays you get a seaweed soup? This is treating food like Hypocrates told us to - let food be thy medicine. In every single ethnic cuisine there are dishes designed to maximize nutritional benefits. There is a special "wedding soup" ...

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 12:31 PM

It's a terrible shame but for many people it simply isn't possible to have a diet based on what's locally available due to the way our society and food production and distribution networks are set up. You can still eat a traditional diet and be totally cut off from the culture/geography of the food you're eating. I suppose what I'm trying to say (very badly!) is that your criticisms of Paleo are true for some people but not for everyone.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:34 PM

I think I have finally found the reason behind obesity in America. When it comes to food, the nation is disconnected from its cultural roots and it does not treat food as a sacred ritual, but rather as a profitable industry that is designed to make the most calorie-dense foods in a cheapest and fastest way possible. Paleo and (sorry) the Perfect Health Diet just continue to treat food as a bunch of different items like grass-fed meat, starch, omega 3 fats, etc. There is more to eating than just consuming nutrients. I am not sure if I am making my point clear, but I hope you understand what ..

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Agree 100% with the 'food not being treated as a sacred ritual' stuff. However, I don't agree that (all) Paleo just treats food as a bunch of different items. It can be like this for some people but for many others it's not like that at all. Many Paleo followers are also involved with local food production and local communities, animal welfare, seasonal eating and have a much deeper emotional/'spiritual' connection with their food. I try to buy as much food as I can from farms, producers and independent shop owners in my local area and community.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 26, 2012 at 8:04 AM

My point is: Korean dishes maybe or maybe not Paleo, but Paleo is not Korean food. The difference between any traditional cuisine and Paleo: 1. traditional cuisines use foods grown/available locally. 2. traditional cuisines include specific methods of cooking and therefore recipes increase bioavailability of nutrients and seasonal items (no blueberries in the winter, etc.) 3. traditional cuisines are based on 1,000s of years of trial and error 4. traditional cuisines are richer in flavor and taste and more. You need time and patients to cook traditional foods.

6041ed543c2b22ae7b297fb2ea59a355
10
100 · October 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Surviving does not equal thriving. Traditional diets were based on what was availble and often cheapest at the time, which is why many are based around starchy foods (rice, potatoes, corn..etc.). People didnt eat these diets to be healthy, they ate this way so that they didnt starve to death. Nutrition is a fairly new science still, hundreds of years ago people didnt scrutinize fat or carbohydrate grams. They ate what they needed to stay alive.

Be thankful that you live in a time and a place that allows you freedom and choice to what you put in your body.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:53 PM

And they were much healthier than we will ever be...

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM

I used that freedom of choice to buy chocolate ice cream and cakes because I did not know what kind of consequences would follow. Now I am so screwed up, it is scary. Maybe choice is not a good thing after all?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 24, 2012 at 5:29 PM

^ You also have the choice to remain ignorant or to educate yourself. Freedom of choice is a good thing.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56
2029 · October 26, 2012 at 7:39 PM

VB - We know that heart disease and cancer were rare for these people, but nutritional deficiencies were common for many groups of people. Just because they didn't have heart disease or cancer does not mean they were healthier than us. Something to chew on.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
9
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Yes you are the only one....(that was the question right?)

I have no idea how 1-10 are not paleo, but whatever. Check out WAPF and I also the book Deep Nutrition (four traditional pillars of health) and Sally Fallons "Nurishing Traditions". Good resources. May also wanna read Steffansons (spelling?) "Fat of the Land". Good luck!

Actually old Paleo (lean) was replaced by new Paleo (dont be scurred of the fat) in large part due to considering how traditional societies actually treat the meat they eat i.e. prizing the fatty cuts and such.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Paleo is "A" traditional diet and one with quiet a bit of variety, but I did go back to edit my answer to give you some more resources if your interested.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:25 PM

^Actually I had to change that...I meant "Deep Nutrition".

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:21 PM

If you watch the video, you will understand the difference between 1-10 Paleo and 1-10 in traditional diets.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 11:41 PM

Oh, to throw another variable at you (since I have looked at permaculture) you would have to make the decision as to indigenous vs native plants. You CAN grow a wider variety of things in an area than are traditionally found there and to some extent this has already greatly blurred the lines of regional foods.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Heres a link to the "Fat of the Land" book http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CDgQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fowndoc.com%2Fpdf%2FThe-fat-of-the-land.pdf&ei=JgaHUOb5HNGH0QH1qICgCQ&usg=AFQjCNH-HSRmVKwGXqR354d0tknEFJ0cyA&sig2=YUkWLCLi6eOg1Ca_3jZVBg

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 11:36 PM

^ I do think you should learn some traditional cooking methods and recipes. Dr. Cate does have a point about food/spice combonations, taste, and improved nutrient densities. PHD talks about cooking a fatty hunk of meat slowly OVER a bed of vegetable. It's all out there to explore.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Oh no... I was hoping that there is somebody else out there who thinks that traditional diets are superior.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 11:34 PM

I'll go on to say that I have posed questions about permaculture and creating a food forest. Coming from Primal for instance they always rate "fresh local organic" as your first choice....from there anything is less optimal. So to say that Paleo doesn't take it into account isn't quite correct. As to traditional combos of foods...well I have read those books that I recommended (along with PHD and a couple books on fermentation) and I use the techniques learned along with fresh produce from my garden and fresh killed animals from local farmers...and I still call my WOE paleo/primal.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

I know about Nurishing Traditions, but there is more to it than just Weston Price. He did not go deep enough. Not sure about Steffansons.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 11:54 PM

And which culture/traditional diet do you choose if you live at a site where two different cultures ate vastly different "traditional" foods? http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/low-carb-diets/nutrition-and-health-in-agriculturalists-and-hunter-gatherers/

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:29 PM

I am reading Deep Nutrition as we speak...

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:28 PM

K...I'll let some others respond now :)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 23, 2012 at 8:27 PM

The problem with her definition ..."She views "diet" as a holistic term that is a part of culture rather than a list of foods that you need to eat and the way to choose them." Is that our cultural norm for diet sucks...so we have NO healthy food culture, therefore actually must list the foods you may have or avoid for health.

4455063b58d25bd90522c8915229bd56
6
65 · October 23, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Why get caught up in the politics of paleo..?? There are so many variations within the paleo movement. Have you checked out Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet? (sp) He has done alot of research on traditional diets. Just find something that works for you (paleo or not)...simple.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · October 23, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Yes! Why does there have to be one right/correct way, why must your eating patterns be right or wrong, why should what's right for me be the same as what's right for you, etc., etc. I'm currently defining "paleo" as "to the extent practicable, eat whole foods and avoid processed foods." The gray area for me is those items that are minimally processed, such as honey or cream or ground cinnamon and I happen to think they're fine. I'm really just trying to avoid "seasoning mixes" and soda, ice cream, cookies, etc.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Nance, I agree with you totally. What I am saying is... there are diets that are better than Paleo. They are geographically determined.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 9:51 AM

They are very important. Paleo is the same for everyone and it should not be. Imaging going into Masai tribe and saying - guess what, guys. You had it all wrong. Inuits have a much healthier diet. Tomorrow everybody has to bring a spear - we are going seal hunting. Paleo diet does not teach you how to co-exist with your land.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 9:56 AM

PHD diet is even worse than Paleo if you ask me. He is going to mention circadian regulation? Great! I hope he knows that sunrise times vary depending on your distance from the equator. Sweet potatoes do not grow in Ireland. Salmon does not live near the tropics. You need to know your land. There is more to cooking than roasting over fire.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:25 AM

Why can't Paleo be geograpically determined?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:46 PM

I have read some things on his blog/website. Yet it is a far cry from a real traditional diet. He is not looking into diet holistically. It probably sounds awful, considering that he included all the right foods, but there is a very important idea that he is missing. Diet does not boil down to what foods are safe and what foods are not safe to eat. Diet is more than a list of foods or a recipe. Diet is a way people adapt to their surroundings. It has three components: 1. geography, climate and landscape 2. ethnobotany and biology 3. ethnic cuisine based on the first two.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:25 AM

Why can't Paleo be geographically determined?

A64ed062eb5e2c3407122fcf16c5de6b
705 · October 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM

@VB I think it boils down to "how important are those other factors for the desired end result?". PHD is geared towards living long and healthily. If there is a missing factor (could very well be one of the ones you mention) then Paul will surely add that. The next edition of the PHD book will talk a lot more about circadian regulation, for example. It's nice to sit around the campfire and eat in group, but isn't eating in a good restaurant while reading about your friends on facebook also nice?

A64ed062eb5e2c3407122fcf16c5de6b
705 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

At http://perfecthealthdiet.com/q-a/comment-page-38/#comment-95267 he talks about other factors, and somewhere there he also mentions that there is unavoidable mismatching between our circadian rhythms and sunlight times as you move away from the equator. PHD doesn't proscribe any particular foods, but does give many examples that work for them. You have to find the food that works best for you, in my case I eat a lot of white potatoes, which didn't exist here 500 years ago. I think that all ancestral diets were healthy but some were much healthier than others due to location.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
5
340 · October 23, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Two points:

First, you might need to reconsider what Paleo is. It is difficult to accept Paleo as distinctly different than "the way people used to eat before the food industry was developed."

Second, the recommended Paleo practice is to observe and learn what works best for you. This ALL BY ITSELF will allow you to adopt a variety of dietary practices an still be Paleo and healthy. Disparate practices are not necessarily in conflict with Paleo eating.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:04 PM

I watched the video and especially the part where she explained how diet is a part of culture and we need to approach it holistically.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM

^ Whats your basis for that line of thinking? Is it some form of evidence, or more philosophical?

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 23, 2012 at 9:06 PM

I agree. The tricky part is that they must be "prepared in a special way." Traditional cultures that depended on grains and pulses as a primary or a major source of food also had a daily life routine that centered on the processing of those foods to make them sustainably nutritious. Very few people in the internet culture are going to be willing or able to spend hours each day soaking, sprouting, grinding, etc. So, yes, even grains can be a Paleo food if proportions are kept in balance. But for practical purposes, they are not a realistic component for most "non-traditional" people.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 2:56 AM

All behaviour is cultural. Just like our modern behaviour is our modern culture. I meant, what is your basis for thinking traditional diets are perfect diets? (keep in mind, I have not, and probably wont, watch the whole video)

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:28 AM

To me, Paleo can be inclusive of traditional diets. Why force a dichotomy?

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 23, 2012 at 8:29 PM

BTW - thanks for providing the link that you are referring to. Maybe I missed an imnportant detail -- but I think it boils down to how you define "Paleo". I'll have to watch the video later when I am not at work :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Tony - well said. My understanding of Paleo now is that Paleo diet is a shortcut to eating healthy. It is healthier than SAD. Gosh, ANYTHING is healthier than SAD. But it is not a perfect diet. Even The Perfect Health diet is not a perfect diet. Traditional diets ARE perfect diets. And they are different, depending on your location.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Many traditional diets include grains and pulses. All traditional diets include dishes prepared in a special way. So-called "ethnic dishes" were developed to maximize their nutritional value. We don't really know how Paleolithic people ate their foods, what spices (if any) they used. We do know more about hunter-gatherers, although I doubt that too many people follow their recipes. But there are plenty of traditionally made dishes in many cultures and the recipes are easily obtainable.

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I would disagree that traditional diets are 'perfect'. There is no perfect diet, no single truth - it's a chimera. The cultures and food sources which sustained humans during the Paleolithic are lost forever. The best we can do is to muddle along - piecing together something as nourishing and sustaining as we can from our contemporary storecupboard and the crumbs of the past.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
4
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 3:22 AM

I think traditional wisdom is both underrated, and overrated. Its something we dont use alot of these days, and we could stand to rely more on it. Theres some powerful medicine in herbs, plants and foods. Its a useful and productive system of knowledge, the subjective, intuitive and experential.

And yet, the body is extremely complex. Most things have both pros and cons. Whats an example...opium used to be used for poisoning (a long time ago). In fact, its not good at clearing toxins, but it does make the situation feel better. Tobacco was used by the native americans, but its a carcinogen (and so is their native sassafras). Cinnomin lowers the blood sugar, but it does so by altering the metabolism in other ways (more cellular heating, receded glut4 receptors).

Somethings are too complex, or too subtle for "wisdom" to pick up on. Many things in fact. Thats where we need medicine and science.

On the other hand of course, our modern minds tend to obfiscate the common sense, and the subjective. That way we miss things that should be self-evident, because we are waiting for 20 peer reveiwed studies to prove it.

I would not personally champion a way of eating, merely because its based on traditional practices and wisdom. That certain counts toward some intelligent practice, but it does not ensure their are no negative side effects.

I mean it goes without saying that traditional cultures are not aiming for optimal health, they are merely avoiding the more obvious harms, by their observable correlation with certain practices. A good form of intelligence, but hardly a perfect form of knowledge.

It somewhat depends on timespan, wisdom. If something has been done a certain way, for thousands of years, its probably better than something done for hundreds. But if one or two people slowly develop an illness from the practice, there is no way to make the connection, without understanding the mechanisms.

And moreso if everyone in the village or tribe, is at that point doing a range of potentially responsible behaviours. Either way people would just shrug their shoulders and put it down to bad luck, or evil spirits.

Paleo, on the other hand, tries to rely on genetics (what we are adapted to, rather than what we have experimented with in our landscape).

But paleo is also guesswork based on logic, and some evidence, just like traditional wisdom practices are guesswork based on experience and observation.

Id probably put some stock in information from both sources - the logic and science of the paleolithic (with tradition based on how many people did it, and for how many years) and science. Knowledge is elusive after all. People who beleive they have it, have not thought about the nature of knowledge.

I think you bring up an interesting issue in this idea of tradition/wisdom. For health direction: Some rely on the common sense of pre-agriculture, or pre-industrialism. Some rely on science and intellect, as well as beleif. I think its well worth considering into these other two, experience and subjective practice (tradition), and balancing them all against each other. They all have their faults and weakness, and are stronger when used together.

I actually beleive that a higher form of intelligence exists in the combination of the subjective and the logical, a form of knowledge that no society has exhibited, combined, and to its full potential, to date. But even still, you cannot have perfect knowledge.

I think the biggest problem with this presented conception of knowledge (and the one people commonly beleive in), is that its like a lost object. One day, your supposed to just find it after a long time looking.

But its more like looking for the ideal rock (you keep finding a better one, and throwing the other away), or better - trying to map out an island with flashlight in the dark. The search for knowledge is eternal, unending.

TLDR:

Basically put, to sum, subjective experience is underrated these days in terms of knowledge. We miss a whole load of things because we rely too heavily on "evidence" which is often itself biased, and not enough on what we learn, and intuit and experience.

But then again, that is all "wisdom" and tradition is, a period of collected experience and intuition. Observation cannot alone make all possible connections, it cannot fix to seeming or unseeming correlated elements into a causation. If it was a 100% superior form of knowledge to logic and science, wisdom would have discovered that tobacco was a carcinogen back in pre-colonial america etc.

Clearly both approaches have their benefits and failings.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 6:34 AM

I bet theirs extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe :P

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 24, 2012 at 6:29 AM

Well no, even a twin study would not be certain. Theres other environmental factors but diet. You cannot control for the entirety of two peoples lifes, every health impacting element (even quality of the food itself)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Jamie, thank you for a beautiful and a truly philosophical answer. Unfortunately, I disagree with most of it (too many things to list). It is okay though. The only way to test a Paleo diet is to do twin studies, where one person would eat let's say, Mark Sisson's way and another would eat a traditional Okinawan diet. Then compare the lab results when they would be around 90 years old. I bet the Okinawans would win.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
4
41481 · October 24, 2012 at 1:34 AM

I don't see paleo gurus making blanket claims that paleo is the only healthy diet. Those sorts of claims you will however find being made by PaleoHackers on a regular basis. Paleo is not traditional, it's a diet based out of science, out of optimization, out of hacking.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
4
7275 · October 23, 2012 at 9:55 PM

My take on paleo is that it's a starting point for people: it's sort of the baseline to follow, and then people can add things back as works for them. I probably got this perspective on it from the Robb Wolf camp, maybe?

But anyway: cut out grains, legumes, dairy, eat whole foods of the highest quality you can afford, and see how you feel (with further restrictions if you're dealing with autoimmune stuff). Then add things back if you want, and see how it makes you feel. I agree that it may leave stuff out that's important: for example, I found out that I do better if I include spinach and lentils in my diet due to some inborn errors of metabolism.

I also think of paleo as a call to eat simpler foods: to try living without eating processed foods, breads, prepared desserts, etc, and see how you feel. But then, I also see it as encouraging local, seasonal foods, too. And I'm not tied to the idea of what paleolithic peoples ate, but just the perspective of thinking about what people have adapted to eating or not.

But I definitely like to consider traditional/ancestral foods and food preparations as well.

I guess each person makes of it what they will.

EDITED TO ADD:

Watching the video, I'll offer a quick summary. The speaker, an MD, describes some cultures around the world and how they eat. She gives some studies (on bacterial populations and health markers) showing that people who eat traditional diets are healthier. She walks through some of the diets. The main aspects seem to be (1) combining foods in ways that make the most of their nutrition, (2) eatings foods that are high in micronutrition such as fresh plants, pastured animals, etc, and (3) utilizing aspects of the environment that match the genetics of that region.

She discounts/disregards genes as a factor, citing studies of brothers and similarly genetic groups who fare differently between their traditional diet and a modern one, but that only shows that there is a genetic by environment interaction. As someone with genetic mutations in my folate processing pathways, mutations very uncommon among Caucasians (which I am) but pretty common among western African populations, I was fascinated to learn in her talk that the west African diet was high in folate.

So the conclusion I'm coming to is that it's all about having high levels of nutrients, and accommodating any particular genetic peculiarities, such as high folate diets for those of us less capable of processing folate, or diets high in prickly pear cactus which acts to lower blood sugar in population prone to diabetes.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:00 PM

This is our lives... Please watch the video - especially about Crete. I envy them.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 24, 2012 at 1:25 AM

Another frustration I have is that it's nearly impossible to get whole-animals from my bio-dynamic farmer because he has to take his animals to a typical processing plant, and they won't save the lard, the ears, the liver and kidneys, and so forth. I tried eating those parts from the Asian grocer, but the quality of the meat at that particular grocery store is so bad that even my dog won't eat them.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 24, 2012 at 1:29 AM

I also don't agree with her "meat as a spice" perspective. I think it's biased.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e
11152 · October 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Sara, think of it this way: Humans were displaced by natural disasters all the time. Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, all of these were cause to relocate. Sometimes relatively close, sometimes much further away. It didn't allow for an "adjustment" period, people would just experiment with edibles and learn what works and what doesn't. Unless it was toxic, it didn't kill them, they simply incorporated it into their diet. Think of your living so far from home as a "natural disaster".

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Haha, grad school is totally a disaster, and doing it in Boston is definitely natural.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I worry about the lost information, too. Right now I'm living 3000 miles from where my family lives, and where I want to settle down. I need to eat locally and seasonally here, but I'm reticent to devote much time to learning the local foodstuffs because I really just want to be back home.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 10:00 PM

I understand and I agree. My point is - we make it all so simple. Cut out refined foods - eat more grass-fed and organic - be happy. But it is not that simple. It is more complex than that. You are what you eat. And you suppose to eat what is around you in your natural environment. It takes thousands of years to discover the secrets to eating local. We lost it.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Thank you very much for your comment. It was very interesting to read your edited part.

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
3
424 · October 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM

First off, I'm a huge fan of 'traditional' diets. Sally Fallon's 'Nourishing Traditions' has pride of place on my bookshelf. I believe you can draw on both Paleo and 'traditional' sources to create a 'tasty' and 'healthy' diet, and kudos to you for investigating traditional foods.

I think you're trying to say that diet is so much more than food (and that Paleo can be a bit of a 'clinical' approach to food, right?). However, I think your question, as it stands, is impossible to answer for various reasons (so what follows are my ramblings on the subject, rather than a proper answer - apologies!).

Disclaimer: I'm using a work computer so sadly haven't been able to watch the video you linked to.

First off, the two things you're comparing are hopelessly broad and poorly defined. It's already been pointed out that 'Paleo' encompasses a huge range of diets and ideas (Cordain, Jaminet, Weston A. Price to name but a few). Similarly, there's a huge range of diets and foods out there which might be described as 'traditional' (Weston A. Price -again!, anything from the tropics to the Swiss Alps and many things in between). How do you even begin to compare these?

Secondly, you're setting up a false dichotomy between 'traditional' and 'Paleo'. There's a huge overlap between the two (Weston A. Price anyone?) and don't think it does any good to try to pit the two against each other. Paleo draws upon many aspects of traditional diets to find a way of eating that is healthy and also compatible with everyday modern life. It is a modern reinterpretation of what our Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten.

However, I also believe that the same is true of the 'traditional' diet movement. The social structures and even some of the technologies, crops and foodstuffs which supported traditional diets even a few decades ago are largely gone due to the forces of technology, globalisation and social change. In most places, attempting to eat a 'traditional' diet in a modern setting is as much an act of reconstruction and re-imagining as eating a 'Paleo' diet.

Also, it's worth bearing in mind that although 'traditional' diets are a million times better than the diets spawned by modern industry and agriculture, in many cases they were not as nourishing as the hunter-gatherer diets which preceded them. Yes, these diets can be healthy, but they're not a panacea (promoters of traditional diets can be just as guilty of this as Paleo supporters).

For example, evidence from skeletal remains shows that humans eating a true Paleolithic diet were better nourished than those who came afterwards and ate what you might describe as a 'traditional' diet. This is evidenced by their being taller than their Neolithic descendents. Even after millenia of traditional diets, neolithic humans didn't catch up to their Paleolithic ancestors until the 20th Century:

The ancestors of modern Europeans arrived in Europe at least 40,000 years before present. Pre-glacial maximum Upper Palaeolithic males (before 16,000 BC) were tall and slim (mean height 179 cm, estimated average body weight 67 kg), while the females were comparably small and robust (mean height 158 cm, estimated average body weight 54 kg). Late Upper Palaeolithic males (8000-6600 BC) were of medium stature and robusticity (mean height 166 cm, estimated average body weight 62 kg). Stature further decreased to below 165 cm with estimated average body weight of 64 kg in Neolithic males of the Linear Band Pottery Culture, and to 150 cm with estimated average body weight of 49 kg in Neolithic females. The body stature of European males remained within the range of 165 to 170 cm up to the end of the 19th century. Hormones (Athens). 2003 Jul-Sep;2(3):175-8.

Also, traditional agricultural diets promoted the spread of infectious diseases, as noted by this article in Nature:

The mystery of the origins of many [infectious] diseases has been solved by molecular biological studies of recent decades, demonstrating that they evolved from similar epidemic diseases of our herd domestic animals with which we began to come into close contact 10,000 years ago. Thus, the evolution of these diseases depended on two separate roles of domestication: in creating much denser human populations, and in permitting much more frequent transmission of animal diseases from our domesticates than from hunted wild animals. Nature, 418, 700-707 (8 August 2002)

The switch to traditional agricultral diets also had a negative impact on dental health:

(a)dental caries are much more frequent and severe in agricultural than in non-agricultural groups (Leigh 1925; Steggerda and Hill 1936; Gersohn 1947; Clement 1958; Swanson 1976); (b) caries increase in frequency from lowest among hunting peoples, to intermediate among gathering/collecting and hunting to highest among agriculturalists - fairly proportional to amounts of carbohydrate utilisation (Driak 1950; Klatsky and Klatell 1943); (c) experimental studies show caries to be strongly associated with sticky foodstuffs, especially laboratory preparations rich in cornmeal (Carr 19540; (d) studies of American Indians and Aleut-Eskimos consistently show caries to be common when agricultural products are a major nutritional resource (Leigh 1928; Rosebury and Waugh 1939; Waugh and Waugh 1940; Mayhall 1970). American Antiquity 43 4, 1978

Plus, there are many people with pre-existing health problems (myself included) who struggle even with Paleo (and traditional diets). There's no one perfect diet for everyone.

As to the 'way tastier' part - I'll leave that up to you to decide!

To sum up, I would say eat a diet based on whole foods according to what makes you most healthy and don't get to hung up on definitions and labels ('Paleo', 'traditional', whatever).

Paleo and traditional diets have so much in common and are so much healthier than most other modern diets. We should be challening SAD and the conventional dietary wisdom, not having 'angels on a pinhead' arguments about which is marginally better for health.

Good health to you - whatever you end up eating!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Thank you for contributing. Just to make a short point (because I disagree with many statements you have made) - Paleo gurus say grains are a no-no. WPrice says - fermented are fine. Dairy - disagreement. How much fat - disagreement. How much meat - disagreement. Low carbs vs high carbs - disagreements. So Paleo and traditional diets are NOT THE SAME THING by any definition. Plus nobody really knows real authentic Paleo recipes. How do you know what they ate their meat with? Did they make any soups? Stews? Yes, we know what foods they did not eat - but it is all vague and very inconclusive.

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 9:25 AM

You have an 'offical line' from WAPF which you don't get with Paleo. There's no equivalent Paleo body - it's all much more anarchic (which is part of the beauty of Paleo - you can find your own path). For all the good things that it does, I think you get a false sense of certainty and security with WAPF because it's a more monolithic organisation, there's more of a 'party line'. However, in the same way that there's more to Paleo than one or two 'gurus' there's more to traditional diets than WAPF (I'm not accusing you of falling into this way of thinking btw - it's not a criticism of you!).

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 9:15 AM

I didn't mean to imply that Paleo and traditional diets are the same (sorry if it came across this way). I agree that there are disagreements and but these aren't about a set of 'Paleo' beliefs vs 'traidtional diet' beliefs. Paleo followers may disagree with WAPF followers. However, Paleo followers also disagree with other Paleo followers, and WAPF and other people following 'traitional' diets also disagree with one another. I think part of the issue is that the WA Price Foundation has 'cornered the market' when it comes to tradiational diets (in the US at least - not in the UK).

E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b
3
831 · October 24, 2012 at 2:12 AM

So basically you need to figure out where your genetic ancestry lies and go live there and eat the foods they ate before modern foods were introduced. You do understand you can't just apply those principles to where you live and the foods available there now and poof bingo create the perfect diet right? The whole point of her talk is that people adapted to what they had available and the climate and terrain they lived in to create a food culture that kept them as healthy as possible. No such thing exists here in America for a transplanted European, Asian or African. It's lovely anthropology but you can't convert it to a modern diet.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 5:55 AM

That was actually not my understanding of a traditional diet. I believe that traditional diets have nothing to do with your ancestry, but everything with where you live now.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 24, 2012 at 3:04 AM

I think you can take the ideas of the foods from your genetic ancestry and apply it to your current location. For example, I appear to be from people who relied heavily on cold water ocean fish and leafy greens, so I can eat local cold water ocean fish and leafy greens. But keep in mind, too, that when we get into the specifics, we may not match our ancestry perfectly. Most caucasians don't have genetic mutations in their methylation cycle, but you see a lot of it in Kenyan and Nigerian populations: so adopting some of their recipes may be wise if you have those mutations.

E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b
831 · October 24, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Then you are misunderstanding the basic points of the traditional diet. If you live in Seattle it doesn't mean you can just go join the local Native Americans and eat whatever their traditional diet is and it will be perfect for you. 50% of the reason their diet works for them is because their ancestors lived there for the last 8,000 years. The people and the diet evolved together.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM

And while this is not my ancestral diet it bears a resemblance to it. There are adaptable features, though I'm not planning on using cooking baskets.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Aisling, strangely enough I'm in the middle of reading a book that documents a lot of the foods in the Coast Salish diet. The information is apocryphal, but you can piece it together - salmon, mollusks, game, berries, wild hazelnuts, herring - it appears to be generally low carb and low fat. With no pottery or metalware food prep appears to be undercooked by modern standards. Hot rocks in watertight baskets, pit steaming and roasting, and open fire cooking.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0
3
7380 · October 23, 2012 at 10:54 PM

I don't care about any of this. What I wanted to comment on was:

a. Seeing any of this as a strict either/or, instead of a personally adaptable eating plan. (Each of us can do what we want, no one is testing urine for membership).

and

b. That people that have an issue or any concerns keep acting like all paleos are sheep by declaring any person that espouses a paleo lifestyle a "guru". (I'm an atheist and a skeptic. Of everything. Yes, there are sites that I read because I think they are informative, encouraging, or entertaining. I in no way consider the authors wiser or more capable than myself. I also like Thomas Hardy, Don DeLillo, and Joss Whedon. It doesn't make me a slavish follower of Jude or Buffy.)

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0
7380 · October 24, 2012 at 3:44 AM

But, I'e been peeing in the USB port. :/

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 10:58 PM

I am not sure you a qualified to be a Paleo member. You need to bring your urine sample ASAP to verify your membership. Also Paleo people do not accept Thomas Hardy - he was not Paleo. And you better start worshipping Paleo gods.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0
7380 · October 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM

:) I certainly will.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:45 PM

LOL - thanks for making my day. Be gentle to your USB port next time, you never know when you are going to need it :)

B41cdb2253976ba9b429dd608d02c21f
3
1495 · October 23, 2012 at 9:07 PM

I eat what my CSA brings me (this is how I ate prior to Paleo and then I learned that I was basically eating Paleo). It's veggies, meat and a few grocery items (some made on their farm-like salsa, others acquired from local vendors-like coconut milk). I make the rest (I have sauerkraut going right now).

E773ca32b29508bae2055579a26afa98
2
470 · October 24, 2012 at 7:41 AM

I think the more people that are helped / saved by Paleo, the more we'll see be "preachy" about it.

Paleo is a reasonable baseline, but yeah, find your own way, and share it with us.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
2
3509 · October 24, 2012 at 3:44 AM

Paleo diet's value is based on scientific evidence. As you mentioned there are other healthy diets, in particular some of the traditional diets. We will need many years of data on humans following paleo, and a clear definition of what is paleo diet, in order to sort out whether or not it is better or worse than say traditional Mediterranean or Japanese diets. In the meantime, researchers can gather scientific evidence...We discussed something similar a while ago: http://paleohacks.com/questions/16264/paleo-diet-masai-diet-cretan-and-okinawa-diets#axzz2ABR0mtS0

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:06 AM

Thanks for the link.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 8:48 PM

@ MathGirl - nobody gave the right answer to the question that was listed as a link - Paleo diet vs masai diet vs cretan and okinawa. I am not looking for the right answer to my question. But that question had the right answer, but nobody wrote anything, I guess they just did not know. I guess I need to explain myself a little better :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:08 AM

After reading all the answers, notice how nobody gave the right answer. People just don't understand the concept of a traditional diet.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23
11048 · October 24, 2012 at 1:03 PM

"...nobody gave the right answer." In other words, no one agrees with you and must, therefore, be incorrect.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10490 · October 24, 2012 at 8:00 PM

I <3 you, MG72.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 25, 2012 at 7:13 PM

http://www.burkemuseum.org/hungry_planet/salish_bounty No science to ancestral foods whatsoever.

Bbae431256192d2c57ba2a2122d12cd3
2
84 · October 23, 2012 at 8:47 PM

I agree with you. For me, paleo is to eat unprocessed food, no refined oils, no junk food, no flour and sugar. currently i don't consume grains and legumes, but i eat pretty high carb diet from white rice and starchy vegetable and eat good fats (milk fat, olive oil) and moderate amount of animal product (meat, egg, milk) . i think traditional diet are great, and modern diets/foods are bad for us.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Less than 10? Very close to zero - I don't know the count in meat.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:52 PM

I am glad I am not the only one. I myself eat 0 carbs for now - that is the only thing that is working for me because I am very sick. But I am not planning on doing it long term. I am definitely going to try some traditional foods once I am healed.

B41cdb2253976ba9b429dd608d02c21f
1495 · October 23, 2012 at 9:03 PM

How can you eat 0 carbs? Even beef has a small amount of carbs.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3
2353 · October 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM

FYI tamir — rice *is* a grain.

00123e828c05d131885fccc69643d771
2
20 · October 23, 2012 at 8:22 PM

It seems that your grudge is with the types that are making money from paleo. Is this statement not a bit ironic when comparing it against "the way people used to eat before the FOOD INDU$TRY was DEVELOPED"

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Wow thhq. I have no idea who you are but I am impressed. But my points is deeper than that. I don't think I articulated it very clearly. Basically, traditional foods utilize climate/landscape/geography. It means that people in California traditionally should eat differently than people in Upstate New York. And that's what Native Americans were able to achieve.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 8:31 PM

I don't really care that people are making money from Paleo. Everybody makes money from everything. My point is that they could be (not sure) biased.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Because you have different plants/herbs/protein and fat sources in your environment. Mother nature puts things in there for a reason. We need thousands of years to discover those secrets.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · October 23, 2012 at 10:56 PM

One reason it's important is because food eaten fresh, locally, and seasonally is going to be a lot more nutritious than food that is shipped across the country or worse. I also think peoples figured out how to eat best for their genetic/biochemical millieu. So there's both a consideration for locale, but also for ethnicity (or whatever).

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:52 PM

I agree with thhq but I would add one caveat: ask the local Native Americans what goes with what and how to cook what you find in your local forest. I would not match food to ancestry. I would mix and match local foods to find the best nutritional combinations.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 23, 2012 at 9:31 PM

My grudge is that they are Paleo/Atkins, which is modern and insults the principle of trying to eat ancestrally. Nevermind the Atkins processed food industry, which thankfully most paleos reject. The problem is eating a high fat, low carb diet on a regular basis and justifying it as being what we were evolved to eat.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23
11048 · October 23, 2012 at 11:16 PM

With the transitory nature of a great deal of humans today, what should be considered traditional? Should it be their current location or what their family ate? I'm a California girl and enjoy all sorts of produce that grows year round locally. However, my Dad's family is Dutch (paternal) and English (maternal) and my Mom's family is Irish (paternal) and Native American (maternal). Holy crap sticks...no wonder my body is so screwed up.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 23, 2012 at 11:31 PM

A more modern version is probably to eat the best ancestral form you can. Eat the foods that are truly local - the fruits, berries, fish, vegetables and meats that are grown within 100 miles. Collect them as best you can manually, even if all this means is walking to the grocery store. Try to match them to your ancestry. I'm not in a city, and an fairly close to a lot of sources of wild and fresh foods, so I'm sort of lucky (though it sucks that there is no opera).

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · October 23, 2012 at 10:48 PM

^ Why is that important?

Medium avatar
10184 · October 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I find myself eating more and more fish and seafood as I age. My direct ancestors ate a lot more than I do. It was a chore when I was younger. Now it seems odd to not have 2-3 servings a day...like my ancestral food pyramid...same thing goes for berries and mushrooms...

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f
1
2944 · October 25, 2012 at 11:02 AM

I like the points you've made VB.

'Paleo' for me can be very reductionist in terms of prescrbing food/(supplements!) as a cure all. There is some focus on sleep issues etc but many seem to prosecute an exlcusionary eating pattern. I'd be interested as to know how many of the people with binging issues on here had them pre- 'paleo'- I'm not saying 'paleo' is a cause but the retriction that's a big part of it can have a negative/excarbating effect for many.

More broadly, and fundamentally to the focus of the question (sorry for the tangetential first paragraph...) what've you written for me accords with what I've been thinking about how nebulous 'paleo' is. If it is not re-enacting the practices of ancesotrs through diet and more, then what is its defining factor? At the moment paleo seems to be an empty signifier that amounts to an ideology and source of identity expression, of which the boundaries are so blurred that the the 'paleo diet' seems to bevery similar to approaches to life like that which you posted in the question...

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 26, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Thanks for your input. Again, Paleo is a very healthy approach and there is nothing wrong with eating Paleo. However, the more important point, as I believe, is to try to study traditional diets before they totally disappear in the midst of all those fast food restaurants (and I am sure, there will be a fast food Paleo chain at some point). It is important to preserve what we have - we are losing traditional diets just as fast as we are losing languages.

E246df7366ba4b48f75b53378ed33282
424 · October 25, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I know this is cliched and cheesy but I see Paleo as a journey not a destination. It's about the human animal and the evolved relationship with the rest of the biosphere. It's so much more than just a list of foods you can or can't eat.

Medium avatar
1
2913 · October 24, 2012 at 1:57 AM

It sounds as if your definition of "Paleo" might be a little narrow ... everything from Cordain's Paleo Diet to Sisson's Primal Solution to Jaminets' Perfect Health Diet to Nate Miyaki's Samurai Diet to Weston A. Price's Ancestral Health falls under the "Paleo" umbrella ...

The lesson is "What can we learn from our ancestors?" What do the Inuit and Kitavans have in common? What traits do the Masai and pre-agricultural societies share?

The strictest you could get would be:
1. Eat Real Food
2. Avoid Processed Crap

If you need more definition to your life:
3. Sleep More
4. Don't Stress

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 5:53 AM

I think Paleo is missing many valuable components. It is not that my definition of Paleo is a little narrow. It is Paleo that is too narrow.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 25, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Not to mention I use primal items to make traditional dishes....yes even with local organic items that I grow myself (least 4-6 month out of the year anyway). I ferment my own foods. Even working on raising my own chicks soon....eating is only ONE factor in health.

Medium avatar
10184 · October 25, 2012 at 7:06 PM

...and when you dig into the disingenuous part a lot of times you'll find a copy of Dr. A....I'm more interested in what went into those cooking baskets and pits and reconstructing the best I can. Safe to say that whatever it was came from local sources and is very easy to obtain.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5
8879 · October 25, 2012 at 2:15 PM

I've blogged a lot about this. Paleo can try to claim umbrella, but the very basis of the diet contradicts that. Either humans have evolved to consume more modern foods, or we haven't. So to then say well X is OK on paleo because we adapted, but Y isn't is disingenuous.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 25, 2012 at 8:39 PM

The problem you come to is how much "healthier" are you going to get? If you follow paleo/primal and don't sweat the small stuff....what do you really have to gain by biohacking your individual circumstances to add in various paleo no no's? To me it's more trouble than its worth....i'm strictly 80/20 as is with no distress from the occasional gluten or dairy. There is a point of diminishing returns is all I'm saying.

Medium avatar
1
379 · October 24, 2012 at 1:28 AM

I also sometimes doubt the paleo diet as the one perfect diet. For me, it's a starting point, a template to start with, before customizing around each individual's body and ancestry.

I am not in it to lose weight, I'm just looking for a healthy mind and body.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:37 AM

The process you describe -- starting with a template and customizing -- is the essence of paleo and not a departure from it.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
1
70 · October 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM

The Italian, French and Spanish are genetically similar group which is typically thinner during youth, but, when overconsuming grain, BALLOONS once over 40 (unless they periodically "diet"). This is something I've witnessed first-hand and you would see too, if you went to these countries: skinny teens, fat over-40s. Asian cultures eat a lot more vegetables, drink more fluid and (rice being a "safe" grain) this works well for them. When you take a Japanese family and swap rice for pasta, they get bigger too!

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Cultures yes, people: same "ethnic subgroup". It's what some might call "Mediterranean White People". And your experiences far differ from mine, as everyone I knew who stayed slim either routinely dieted or followed a non-traditional, non-Americanized diet. Everyone else had a distinct family pattern of "slim teen-overweight adult".

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM

As far as Asian cultures go: in every Asian culture I have ever heard of, it's considered normal to carry a bottle of water everywhere, sip your way through at least a litre of pure water a day and drink warm water from a thermos in winter. The few Asians I've known who DIDN'T follow this were second and third generation immigrants who had poorer health, worse skin and who got chubby easier, though that may just be down to the standard Western diet and not the water, the fact remains that their drinking habits are far different to those of the West.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 11:47 PM

I have been to Italy and France (more than twice) and all three cultures look quite distinct to me. Also, I have many French friends (and some Italians and Spanish) and all of them stay slim. I also saw what they ate everyday because we ate together. Those who ate traditional meals were healthier, but all stayed slim even in their 60s. BTW, Asians don't drink more fluid. I used to work with Asians.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM

**two parts, even :p

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 26, 2012 at 7:56 AM

I do not really think that ancestry is that important. If you live in Poland and you are Sami, you have to eat the traditional Polish way. "traditional" like 200 years ago.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

However, if you wish to play it that way: what would a "traditional" diet be for me? I have a genetic background from at least six countries and two ethnic sub-groups, I was raised away from my home-country, I was a vegetarian child and a good chunk of my family are vegan. I've eaten many ways, many "traditional" and "healthy" and "non SAD" diets throughout my life. The only diet where I've felt HEALTHY and comfortable has been Lacto-Paleo.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

However, if you wish to play it that way: what would a "traditional" diet be for me? I have a genetic background from at least six countries and two ethnic groups, I was raised away from my home-country, I was a vegetarian child and a good chunk of my family are vegan. I've eaten many ways, many "traditional" and "healthy" and "non SAD" diets throughout my life. The only diet where I've felt HEALTHY and comfortable has been Lacto-Paleo.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 25, 2012 at 7:34 PM

But then you'd have to factor in ethnicity: as food from an area shaped a people, they shaped their food. What the Native Americans ate may not be a wise diet for a White Westerner of British stock. It explains why Central-Europeans are less prone to Lactose-Intolerance than some African ethnicities, which didn't take milk after childhood. So you'd have to not only eat locally, but eat locally AND eat according to what your ancestors' bodies adapted to eat. So, if you live in Poland but are ethnically Sami, you may not be adapted to so much starch and so little meat!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Alice - thanks for your thought. I believe that a traditional diet is the one that based on 1. local natural food and herb sources 2. ancient nutritional wisdom of indigenous people 3. the way of eating. So if you live in California (for example), you should be eating what Native Americans used to eat before they saw the first white man. If you move to Alaska, you will have to eat the Inuit way. Not just the foods they ate - but all the way, with meal frequency, authentic recipes, meal times - the whole experience. That's what a traditional diet means to me.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM

with food and, if you can't find them through eating whatever you want, if you can't find them through following what is, frankly, a VERY healthy diet philosophy, then you won't find them in the diet of the Madagascan Pygmies either, nor in the Mediterranean diet, nor anywhere else. These philosophies and attitudes are found in YOURSELF. I had them pre-Paleo and was, admittedly, rather healthy. However I am HEALTHIER without grain. There are too parts to the puzzle: eating well and having a good food-philosophy. One OR the other will help, but both together are immensely powerful.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Sub-Saharan Africans are typically lactose-intolerant. In an area with a focus on dairy, they'd suffer. East-Asians historically ate less gluten. In an area where food's more focused on carbs and starches, they get fat. Black people living in Northern areas will near-certainly need Vitamin D supplementation. I repeat: I'm from North European ancestry and I was fat and unhealthy whilst following a TRADITIONAL, seasonal Spanish diet in Spain. Eating typically British/Baltic foods, I'm healthy. I believe that what we ate historically has shaped certain human ethnicities.

032a7274ac01078dc60db95728175ef4
70 · October 24, 2012 at 1:07 PM

It's not that I don't believe there is more to diet than what you do or don't eat (or even genetics!), it's just that I question whether a "traditional" diet would help someone who can't make Paleo (one of the most flexible full-time diets there is!) work for them. There has to be a passion for the food (and maybe for feeding others!), a love of yourself, a desire for health greater than your desire for sugars, a faith in your home-remedies (neither "placebos" NOR functional ones will work without some faith in them!)... These things are crucial to ANY healthy relationship (continued)

687bcdeaf37909fd0a6c3dbcc244f1de
0
0 · April 05, 2014 at 6:34 PM

As a nurse, I understand what nutrients are, and I don't see why not trust in what God made, not man. Aside from the toxin debate, how about nutrition...we have 3 energy choices, protein, carbs, or fat...so pick. Forget all the internal science for short...each digests at a different rate and has different nutrient density. We have to vary the diet, but carbs are addictive and require consistent replacement or they cause cravings. This can at the least add to lack of nutrition and over consumption in calories. Glucose transports nutrients....but the nutrients need to be there! Might as well go low carb, higher protein and fat. Satiety lasts, and if run out of fat energy, already have extra in storage. Go body go!

Satisfaction and energy allow to be active and eat more nutritious food.I feel comfortable choosing food based on need and not craving. Tastebuds are manufactured and change to like what they are trained to like. I love whole foods plain before I cook them and spice them.

Paleo isn't making money on word of mouth and sales of whole foods at local markets. Most of us cook from scratch to boot, so even healthfood stores aren't making money off me. I don't use supplements, I use food medicine! I run circles around everyone I know! 3 months paleo.

Former depressed, fatigued, and fat carb queen.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57
1005 · April 05, 2014 at 6:37 PM

"We have 3 energy choices, protein, carbs, or fat... so pick." If you pick Protein for your energy choice, you're going to have a bad time.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9
0
1211 · October 24, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Interesting topic and thanks for sharing the video and your thoughts. I'm enjoying this discussion.

One thing I was wondering is if parts of a traditional diet are always the healthiest?

As an example, here's a reference I remember from the Perfect Health Diet:

Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients) (2005)

Greenland Eskimos (Dyerberg and Bang, 1979; Dyerberg et al., 1978) who ingest on average 6.5 g/d (3.8 percent of energy) of EPA and DHA derived mainly from seal (Bang et al., 1980). A tendency to bleed from the nose and urinary tract was observed among the Greenland Eskimos (Bang and Dyerberg, 1980). One study comparing perirenal adipose tissue fatty acid profiles with incidence of hemorrhagic stroke in human autopsy cases from Greenland showed that the amounts of EPA and DHA in the adipose tissue of 4 hemorrhagic stroke victims was greater than in 26 control cases with no cerebral pathology (Pedersen et al., 1999). Furthermore, ecological studies have suggested an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke among Greenland Eskimos (Kristensen, 1983; Kromann and Green, 1980).

It makes me think that it's good to pick and choose what's healthy for the individual, which I believe is part of the point of this topic that diet should be individual and not one-size-fits-all.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9
1211 · October 25, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Another example I remember is from a recent Chris Kresser podcast about mercury toxicity and pilot whales. So if a person's traditional diet includes pilot whales, it might be better to eat less of that food. I’m not suggesting abandoning traditional foods altogether, but maybe tweak to make healthier. These are just a couple examples and there are probably more for various reasons. http://chriskresser.com/the-truth-about-toxic-mercury-in-fish

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 6:32 PM

MarkES - thanks for sharing but who knows - maybe that was some kind of Eskimo study similar to China study? I don't know about eskimos that much even to make an educated guess. I think further research is needed. Paleo diet has not been around for centuries. (by Paleo I mean the "American version of Paleo", not "the real HG version of Paleo". The HG diet has been around for millions of years and it has been proven to be a successful one. If you pick and choose what is healthy for the individual, you will end up eating Larabars.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9
1211 · October 25, 2012 at 2:02 AM

I'm a fan of traditional, paleo, whole food type diets. I'm not sure I follow the logic about the Larabars. Thanks for the comment.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79
0
5150 · October 23, 2012 at 10:22 PM

  • If you like a restrictive diet because you have issues controlling your dairy/grain intake, go Paleo.

  • If you like a restrictive diet, but can't live without dairy, go Primal.

  • IF you like a traditional diet that doesn't really exclude any food groups besides processed foods (which all healthy diets do), go WAPF.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6
340 · October 24, 2012 at 4:34 AM

I think if people followed traditional diets, they would still be Paleo :)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 24, 2012 at 5:58 AM

The difference in traditional diets and Paleo is like the difference between MacDonald's and a traditional farmer's market. You can build a MacDonald's restaurant anywhere and have the same foods. A Japanese farmer's market would be quite different from a French one.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · October 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM

True. But this is not what I was getting to. Basically, if people would follow traditional diets, they would not need to go Primal or Paleo. They would be healthy. Even consuming traditionally prepared grains and dairy.

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account

Get Free Paleo Recipes