As I read through all these threads, I have started to wonder what is left that is healthy for us to eat??? It seems like by the time you take nightshades, fruits, veggies with oxalates, all dairy, all grains, high carb veggies - at what point are we really starting to limit our nutrient intake by limiting all these different types of foods?
I'm pretty sure 'cavemen' didn't look at a pepper and say 'oops, nightshade - can't eat that, it causes inflammation'. I think that they ate what they came across, hence the term 'Hunter Gatherer'.
Some of the restrictions are mostly used by people who have particular problems such as autoimmmune disorders with the nightshades.
Paleo isn't about reenactment, it's about finding what's optimal. Evolution of humans with only the last 10000 years spent with agriculture points the way towards what is likely optimal. As far as peppers go, only the few people who traveled out of Asia and down the Americas coastline ever would have encountered peppers - they're new world crops, only introduced to most of our bloodlines (unless you're part South American native) a few hundred years ago.
Dairy would have been introduced to some of us and genes that allowed digestion of lactose @ 5000 years ago. This mainly applies to those of us with European (especially northern European or Mideastern ancestors). Most Africans (except Masai) and Asians are lactose intolerant.
But again, all this points the way. Dairy is suspect because it is of recent introduction. Some of us handle it, some don't, and it may be somewhat subtle when it's a problem. Because most of it have never been dairy free for any length of time, we don't recognize the discomfort as abnormal until we do a trial and it goes away. This is a good area for self experimentation.
What's good to eat (this is a short and abbreviated list simply based on what I personally am eating while doing a Whole30, your list may be different): Salmon, shrimp, crab, cod, anchovies, sardines, tuna, beef, pork, chicken, lamb.... Eggs... lettuce, basil, broccoli, cauliflower, beet greens (mostly people no problem with oxalates), cucumbers, dandelion greens, bok choy, cilantro, tomatoes (see no autoimmune problems), eggplant, peppers, green beans, squash, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, taro, plantain.... Berries, cherries, peaches, plums, melons, all fruits if you don't have metabolic syndrome. Avocado, coconut, lard, palm oil, olive oil, olives.....
Sorry, fingers cramping, list too long, didn't write.
Well, it leaves animals for a start. But if you think early humans didn't learn that some things were poisonous and that they merrily ate every plant they came across then I'd wager you're mistaken. And that's neglecting questions of availability. However, most of those things you're taking away are generally recognised to only be necessary in extreme cases, with negligible impact on health for the minority. One thing paleo does advocate however is to at least find out if one of these things is impacting your health. Doesn't seem foolish to me.
I have only been Paleo for six days, but I hit it with my full (considerable) girth. Although I am not a paleo expert, I have a fantasy of having my own cooking show so I am a major foodie. I have found hundreds of recipes online and many others that could be easily made paleo with a few substitutions. Go to a farmers market and find something you cannot identify. Buy it...and disect it. You may not like it, but give it a shot. Try meats in a new and exciting way. Ever taken hamburger and thrown it on top of a veggie salad? I just spent two hours in my kitchen conducting and orchestra of paleo-cooking to see what madness I can come up with. My wife has even started joining me for my mad scheming. You can have a ton of fun with Paleo cooking.
I have been paleo for about 15 months. I don't avoid nightshades or dairy (never had a problem with either), but I completely avoid all grains and corn and eat very little processed sugar.
It is somewhat limiting, but so what? It is kind of the point because most common American foods are very bad for you, so it only makes sense that to have a healthier diet you have to avoid most foods.
Most of my meals are based around meat, eggs, and vegetables. I don't worry too much about starchy vegetables as long as I have them in moderation and after working out. But there are a LOT of vegetables out there, and they can be prepared in all different ways, and are fun and interesting and satisfying.
In a nutshell, eat plants and animals. Lots of people talk about eating 2 pounds of meat every day or whatever, but I try to eat about 2x as many vegetables as meat by volume.
There are no perfect foods, but that is okay because we are pretty robust omnivores. Most hunter-gatherer societies have come up with some complicated processing methods to render the anti-nutrients and toxins in certain foods less potent as well, so just because a food might be problematic raw, doesn't mean it can't be good for dinner.
Hunter-gatherers become very knowledgeable about their foodstuffs pretty quickly if only through trial and error, which is part of the benefit of humans being masters of oral traditions, safety and preparation methods can be shared from generation to generation.
All of the foods on your list people avoid are important to avoid if someone is unwell and trying to do a specific elimination or healing diet after a lifetime of eating "neolithic agents of disease", but if the digestive tract is intact, and there aren't other autoimmune issues they likely aren't a problem.
Jim Gaffigan voice Hot Pockets!! Lol, seriously, cook real food. If it comes out of your body undigested, either chew more, or avoid eating it. Bell peppers don't get digested by my guts, but, it's not for lack of trying. Tablespoons of coconut oil at a time aren't pretty in the aftermath for me, so I scale it down and use animal fat. Guts are a tricky business, especially if you're like me, and you've been unintentionally tearing them up with wheat, or, rather intentionally living of of beer for a long time. If you can't re-create it at home without a chemistry set, give that food a pass.
Paleo is MUCH more about 'reenactment' that about what isi 'optimal'.
What is 'optimal' anyway?!?! And before you answer that, are we talking about a 12hr a day 300lber sitting in an office chair where the longest walk of the day is from the car to the elevator or are we talking about the marathon runner? or the crossfit 5x a week/powerlifter/black belt/police officer?
Rest assured, 'cavemen' of the paleolithic time period consumed animals. And lots of them. They ate the same meals over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. How much time do you think was spent hunting down a cabbage??? vs hunting down a rat/rabbit/fox/deer/whatever 4 legged creature??? Im pretty sure the deer pays off 10,000-1 vs a cabbage.
That being said, what IS there for us to eat? Not a whole heck of a lot. 99% of meat sold in America is grain fed garbage that is as paleo as HFCS 'honey' or hydrogenated vegetable oils. Edible leafy vegetables are coated in pesticide and fungicide and god knows what else.
That pretty much leaves grass fed food and organic veggies, and don't forget road kill.
Road Kill. FTW
Where I live I have an entire ocean with one of the highest diversities of species available to me right here in the immediate area. There are shellfish, bony fish, sharks, sea urchins, squids, squishy things (squirts, cucumbers), spiny lobster, snails, kelp, sea mammals. On land there are various small mammals, deer, bear, wild turkeys, wild pigs, band tail pigeons, quail, other birds. There are lots of fresh greens to be had in spring, things gone to seed in summer, cherries in September, acorns in fall. There are wild prunus fruits in fall, yucca, elderberries and further inland are agave in spring and early summer. In winter there are wild mushrooms. There are lots of aromatic herbs. There's nary a pepper, tomato, potato, quart of milk, grain or sweet fruit to be found. Yet the native peoples of this area had one of the highest standards of living for Native Americans.
"But if you think early humans didn't learn that some things were poisonous and that they merrily ate every plant they came across then I'd wager you're mistaken." Where did you get that from? You infer so much from other people's responses that are just wild misinterpretations.
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