So I am new to Paleo, and have been doing a lot of research to make sure that I am making the right choice by switching to a Paleo lifestyle. I think i've figured out a lot of things, but I just want to make sure I am on the right lines here?
From what I can gather, it seems that:
(1) the balance between omega 3/omega 6 is vital - so as to stop inflammation and therefore 'diseases of civilisation' (2) by avoiding Grains/Dairy/Legume means you avoid inflammation
So, I understand that no inflammation within the body = good health
BUT, what I don't understand is why so many people seem to be basing their Paleo diets around meat when they are high in omega 6's? And, when looking at studies of the Kitavans, they eat a lot of fish (i.e. a lot of omega 3) and rarely any proper meat (occasional wildfowl).
I know they are only an example, but it is a source of confusion to me as to why everyone is eating so much meat?
Also, with regards to fat (specifically saturated fat), I think that a Paleo diet does need these fats but not from animal sources.
So, yes my question is why are there so many Paleo people focussing their diet around meat when surely it should be around vegetables/fruits/tubers etc? Thanks!
1.Because we owe our larger brains to the fact that we adapted to eat it.
2.Because the Omega 6/3 issue isn't an issue at all if you source your meat properly.
3.Because the Kitavans are one people that have adapted to a more pescatarian diet, but there are many HG's and many more peoples of the Paleolithic that have eaten minimal vegetable matter and thrived, if anything the Kitavans are not an example of what you can't eat, but of what you can (and how awesome we are as a species to adapt to practically anything).
4.Because it tastes good, is fairly accessible, and most importantly is a whole food.
5.Because with the exception of coconuts, saturated fat is very rare in the plant kingdom.
I literally could come up with about 50 of these answers, but I kept it to the issues you addressed specifically. I am one of those "lotsa meat" guys, but that's because I have experimented with several ways of eating and continually go back to the most successful way for me.
It is not about mimicry or recreation of modern HG's or even persons in the Paleolithic, it's about eating to survive.
I do think many paleo folks eat more meat than is necessary for meeting nutritional requirements, referring to those who eat 1, 2, 3+ pounds of meat per day. Protein, vitamin, mineral needs can be mostly met with maybe 1/2 pound or so per day. Fill in with a good amount of vegetable matter and you're well over 100% in all nutrients. Then it's a matter of filling in with starches and fats to get your energy up to the necessary amount.
I end up eating 8-12 ounces of animal product (meat or eggs) daily, 1-2 pounds of veggies, and 2-3 ounces of added fats. That covers nutritional bases (macro and micro) as well as providing adequate energy.
It's about quality, not quantity. I think folks forget that at times, or just twist it to feed their appetites.
If you think meat was hard to come by, just imagine trying to gather enough fruit and veg in a pre-agricultural world. We are social creatures, the hunt was a large part of that development, and it didn't even need to be successful every day. Unless you are really suggesting that everyone eats a whole cow every day. We ate our fill when we killed an animal, developed preservation methods, and filled in the gaps where necessary. But in general, people eating a lot of meat (with the fat) don't need to eat every day, much less several meals a day.
For me, proper meat is all good with no unpleasant side-effects. It's the first thing on the plate, and often the only thing. Oh, and good luck getting fats from non-animal sources.
I don't think I eat "so much" meat. I eat 1/2 lb of meat many days and closer to a pound some days. I eat generous amounts of fruit and raw/cooked vegetables although probably less tubers than some describe.
It's about finding what you need at a given time. If I feel more hunger for meat than usual, I probably didn't eat enough meat yesterday. If I'm not hungry for meat I don't eat any. I pretty much do the same with vegetables--some days I eat tons and the next I might eat only a few. For whatever reason, I'm always hungry for fruit although some days I want more than others.
From month to month or season to season my food mix can vary widely. My staple meat is definitely beef with only a little poultry and fish because I clearly thrive on beef more than the others.
I consider my approach a moderate one and I know many other PH regulars who are comfortable with their personal routines--which may be very like mine or very different.
I would suggest that you do some reading on the subject so you can get a better understanding of what the point of all this really is. Sounds like you're still hung up on certain myths of the SAD, and it's important to really dissect these things and begin to develop an understanding of where all of this originates.
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
The Paleo Diet and/or The Paleo Answer by Loren Cordain
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
Just some places to start, but if you're just hopping on the bandwagon because it sounds trendy and not because you actually agree with the science won't get you very far. Forget everything you think you know, and start again from scratch! Welcome to a better life! ;)
I see a few apologists here, and I just want to add that I unapologetically eat a ton of meat. I eat meat at almost every meal, and I try to rotate them for a variety. Bacon, sausage, eggs, beef, bison, pork, chicken, lamb. A bit of fish, but I need to eat more.
I do it because it works. Because I'm never hungry. Because I enjoy it. Because it tastes damn good.
I'm not one of those folks out for optimization. I don't care what studies say about cancers. Since we can't even come close to recreating the environment our ancestors had access to, I try to do the best I can intuitively with what we have available today.
Besides, HGs would have eaten meat at every meal if they could. When they had a large kill, it likely fed the group for a long time, and you bet your sweet bippy they ate it at every opportunity. They knew that animal foods meant survival, the best kind of survival. And because meat meant survival, I highly doubt our bodies have a shut-off valve for it. There's no such thing as "too much meat."
1) Because meat is much higher in saturated fat (good fat) than polyunsaturated fat (bad fat). (Although pork is an interesting oddball - very high in monounsaturated fat (another good fat).)
2) Your source of meat matters. Conventional CAFO grain fed beef is low in Omega 3, high in Omega 6. And this holds for caged chicken, caged pork, farmed fish. Grass fed beef is the reverse, high in Omega 3, low in Omega 6. This applies to other animals as well: pastured fowl, pastured pork (harder to find), wild game, and wild fish.
I don't by organic, grass fed meat, but I still feel so much better. Getting rid of the grains, sugar, and legumes is a huge plus for any diet. I eat a lot of meat because it doesn't make be bloated and tired. I eat salads most days and a lot of eggs with butter. So, I eat meat whenever I can because it tames my cravings. Yes, meat is the central focus.
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