I know that strict paleo doesn't include grains, dairy or legumes. However, I think the majority of people here are flexible with what they eat. Butter and cream seem to be sacred gods on this site.
I was wondering if I could do some sort of poll about whether you take into consideration your background in deciding whether or not your body can handle a food. I know just trying it out is the best way to do it, but sometimes it's just hard to read your body, you know? Or should I just shut up and stop being crazy?
For me, I'm Asian. I'm the first person in my "line" to be introduced to milk products as my parents grew up without any of that (grew up in rural poor areas), and my grandparents and so forth never had it as far as I know. I LOVE dairy. I want to marry yogurt and kefir but I don't know if this would be "okay" for me to include in my diet. I don't THINK it causes problems but there is so much going on at once that it is difficult to isolate. Other people from different backgrounds (e.g. European) may have had milk, from either cows or goats going back thousands of years before the Asians.
Just curious. Fire away.
I'd have to say many of my reactions to food would be compatible with a hunting/gathering ancestry. I hope you get lots of diverse responses.
Russian, Polish and Scottish are my dominant ancestries. Experimentation and use of probiotics has revealed that what I thought was lifelong lactose intolerance was incomplete/incompatible gut flora. I now consume butter, heavy cream and home-made Bulgarian yogurt without problems.
I'm one of those who had many chronic symptoms disappear when I stopped eating wheat, and I had severe negative reactions to eating wheat for a while. At present I don't have bad reactions but eating sprouted bread a few times generated mild GERD. No more sprouted bread, at least until I test again.
My preferred meats are definitely ruminants: beef, bison and lamb. I eat occasional poultry, preferring duck to chicken. I'm eating more fish than in the past but only because it's supposed to be healthy. I've always done well with shellfish.
I seem to be somewhat starch-intolerant. Rice doesn't work very well, nor do white potatoes. I can handle moderate amounts of sweet potato and I do well on rutabagas. I don't thrive on much coconut. A few pecans or pistacchios would be my favorite nuts but they'd be seasonal items only.
I thrive on citrus fruit and berries in moderate quantities. I also do well with melons. Plums, cherries and peaches are fine. I enjoy ripe pears more than apples but a barely-ripe Granny Smith or Macintosh is good. Leafy greens and generous helpings of non-starchy vegetables are great. Bananas are also fine but not as tasty to me as some of the others.
I don't like tea even with sweeteners, and coffee is only palatable with cream and honey added.
I am Northern European in Ancestry via Scotland and Wales (which in turn was more Southerly deeper European ancestry by way of the Celt, Scotti, Roman, Norman, and Angle conquests, frankly). There is a smattering here and there of Native American ancestry there, but I try not to use it to justify eating Corn when I know I shouldn't (besides, when I do eat corn, I blame alcohol and the deliciousness of late-night drunken taco binges, not genealogy ).
Considering genealogy comprises such a tiny window in Human evolution, I'm not sure what to make of it. If you really boil it down, most of the ethnic foods that are made famous as "indigenous foods" to certain ethnic groups, are steeped in agriculture for the most part. Yes, even corn to Native and Meso-Americans.
For the most part, I would take into account anything earlier than 10,000 years ago as being irrelevant in dogmatic Paleo eating. Even then, the very violent shifts in ecology over the prior 60,000 years of Sapiens development would make pinpointing a specific "Ancestral" food quite difficult... in warmer climes and climate-ages, you would probably see much more fruit, tubers, grubs, warm-water fish and shellfish eaten. In ice-ages, primary food sources would have been some vegetation and considerably more ruminant, marine mammal (in frozen coastal areas), and small-game meat. This is why, frankly, I think a better rule of thumb is to "avoid foods with ingredients labels", "eat whole foods", and "avoid foods that hurt you".
We succeeded as a species because of our communication (that enabled us to cook and share information about safe/not-safe foods), which allowed us to eat almost anything (provided it grew in the ground or had a face). And we were able to tell others about the foods that were not safe to eat.
I consider it when sorting through the margins of my diet. You know the things that are not going to be your everyday but are going to be occasional deviations with little consequence. Two examples, beans & corn. My northern european genes (or north american gut bacteria) seem to handle a little bit of soaked beans just fine. But corn just doesn't work for my gut, no way no how... which makes sense because it's about as novel to me as wheat is to native american peoples.
I'm Filipino and I know that my grandparents and all of my relatives eat a lot of white rice and coconuts and mangoes. We have a type of noodles called pancit that is a staple at get-togethers. So I'm trying not to be too aversive towards carbs and so I eat a lot of sweet potatoes (but have not eaten rice).
Filipinos also tend to eat a lot of pork (ever heard of lechon?) and fish and my mom told me that my grandfather cooked a lot of things in pork fat (and my grandfather was very fit/healthy and lived to be 92--died of old age). So hopefully I got some of his genes and am confident that if I eat somewhat similarly to him, I'll be good.
This is lechon by the way:
I'm part Chinese, Irish, Scottish, and English. I don't even know where I would begin! But seriously, my family members are extremely varied in their diet and lifestyle and histories, so I feel like I'm just a mixed bag. Some things that work for my brother don't work for me, so it's a bit hard to spend too much time looking into my food heritage. I focus more on the food culture that I was raised in, which is a combo of farm-and-fishing culture: raising lambs and trapping prawns!
All very interesting. I've thrown around the "ancestral diet" phrase from time to time....meaning "where you're from" in more recent generations, rather than referring to a more "Paleolithic" type diet.
I know for myself, I can tolerate corn (though I still limit it now) as I'm 50% Latino/Mexican. Of course not good with wheat. I like my coffee and tea black (though I just made the switch with coffee in the last 6 months - no cream).
I do. I'm 100% scandinavian by ancestry (dad full-norwegian and mom half-norwegian half-dane). I confidently added some amount of dairy back in in the form of cheeses and kefir.
Zero observed problems, and it could be said that I the "better" feeling I got was particularly from the kefir. I can't bring myself to drink normal milk again though.
No, I don't work on "well in theory I should/shouldn't be able to handle this because of my ancestry"
I started (a long time ago) on a super clean diet like Robb Wolf's autoimmune protocol and then I slowly reintroduced things and see if they have a negative effect. Because of that I do heavy cream, butter, and after a glycolyticly demanding day I'll have a potato. That's only based on how I look, feel, and perform. And after all, isn't that what counts?
Eat what you like, it seems that if you think there are rules that you a too dogmatic, so screw the guidelines, eat anything as long a you can see a cavemen eating it. Paleo on this site means eat anything. The more popular Paleo gets, the less structure it has so EVERYONE feels good about their style.
It's certainly prudent to sort foods that way but not to never try them over a period of time necessary to gauge: I consider the following (this is not science, just me trying to make my life easier) 1. Bloat(short and long term)--do I feel and observe my gut expanding beyond what the volume of food would indicate is appropriate? 2. Skin--(long-term) are there changes in my existing condition (seborrheic dermatitis.) Is my skin drier, etc. 3. Breathing-(short and long-term) am I able to, controlling for the air in my immediate environment, able to continue exercising as I am accustomed to do without being short of breath. 4. Strength--(long term), as in #3, is there any difference? 5. Sleep--Am I sleeping as I used to? 6. Stools--obv. 8. Palate-match--do I like eating this? Can i envision doing so on a regular basis (not necessarily every day.) This may seem superficial but it may prove to be the most important consideration.
with regards to dairy, stuff like kefir and yoghurt don't, AFAIK, have significant amounts of lactose. I tried eating the rice variety of my ancestors (a type of sri-lankan red rice, there are about 4 I believe) and while I didn't have major problems, anything more than 100g and I felt seriously bloated which doesn't happen with the same amount of tubers. Genes must be expressed and if you're not in your ancestral environment, who knows what that supposedly milk-deprived genome will do in response to your 'new' environment? It doesn't have to be bad.