Breaks from meat seems natural. Unless a caveperson always succeeded in his/her hunt (or was 100% accurate with food storage techniques, or never experienced draught, or was never injured, etc).
Part of the reason fasting might be good is to help protein recycling. Are there other reasons why it might be good to take a day off of eating meat every week or two? I'm thinking that there might be reasons that science doesn't know about yet, since we barely even know what optimal levels of vitamins and minerals are. Maybe something involving hormesis?
Eating meat every single day is a great way to get into paleo, but I don't know if it's what our bodies are 1) used to, or 2) optimized for.
I agree that we probably didn't get meat 365 days a year. But on the flip side, that does not mean we would gain any special benefit from skipping meat. If we are designed to eat meat almost every day and/or at very long stretches at a time, then it could be that we would not gain at all from skipping meat on any given day. We probably also had days where we could not find water and had to skip it, but that doesn't mean that skipping water is good for you. My point is that we have to watch out for where such a logic structure leads us. Just because you sometimes had to go without does not automatically mean it is healthier to sometimes go without. I personally have not seen enough data either way to have a very strong opinion on it either way though really.
Why not be super realistic and on some days have some lizards and grubs? When hunting was bad, most cultures probably relied on gathered foods, which included some meat, but usually of the less-desirable sort :)
There are modern-day paleo and paleoish people that do this sort of thing for religious fasts. It would be interesting to hear from some of them, like Michael.
Why not go the way of moderation with this one and say something like: it's beneficial to have longer periods of minimal meat rather than periods of going without it entirely. I've been playing around with this recently and have discovered that I often feel better when I go for a couple days (sometimes longer) eating small amounts of meat -- but cutting it out completely just makes me feel bad.
I think protein fasting is a concept that makes sense.
After all, we agree that taking breaks from carbs from time to time and going into ketosis has beneficial effects.
I think that periods of complete fasting are just one part of what a fasting schedule should be. The two other parts should be carb fasting and protein fasting.
Like mentioned by Gumby on one of Kurt Harris' last posts ( http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2011/1/5/guest-post-professor-gumby-essay-001.html ), it's very unlikely that our ancestors had constant access to meat. The opposite is also true, after a good hunt they would probably have been on a near zero carb diet for weeks while feasting on protein and fat.
Here is a nice article summarizing some of the benefits of consuming less protein: http://www.carnivorehealth.com/main/2010/9/16/low-protein-diets-longer-life-decreased-cortisol-more-testos.html
I would extrapolate on that article and say that other than keeping protein intake on the low side most of the time, we should also benefit from restricting them completely from time to time.
Nora Gedgaudas' makes an argument for limiting protein in her book "Primal Body, Primal Mind" that makes sense. It is fun sport to theorize what ancient ancestors did or did not do. Some fasting/starvation might have played into our ancestor's lives. But then, it could be argued that we only have the "still-paleo" living hunter/gatherer groups to look at, that have been pushed to fringes. Perhaps it would be wise to consider that there were populations at some point in time in some locale that had a great abundance of fish/seafood or game and did indeed feast on meat daily!
The way I understand the true Paleo diet is that you can eat from a list of pre-agriculture, pre-animal husbandry whole foods that hunter-gatherer people would forage or hunt. I think the ratio of meat to vegetable should be individual. What I am tying to say is Paleo does not have to be meat heavy and low carb. I think the hunter-gatherers often ate only a few bugs, grubs, lizards, fish, crayfish, and frogs as a protein source, and yes, days with no meat at all. Their food choices had to be based on how easy to was to catch or forage. Personally I eat a small amount of protein with most meals, but I eat tons of veggies. The human body seems very adaptable, I know plenty of very healthy robust vegetarians. For me, balance and moderation work best with all the foods I eat. I think breaks from meat are healthy as well as short fasts.
Personally, I don't crave it daily, so I don't eat it daily. Some days I eat mostly veg & some dairy (for the fat/calcium), eat fish/chicken for a while & there are just certain times i crave beef. Once in a while on a totally meat free day, we'll have refried beans as a protein, but that happens infrequently.
So, in short, what i'm saying is, I go w/what my body asks for... that steak looks far more glorious than an ice cream sundae ever could! LOL But, I don't eat meat every day... just most days. :)
In the modern era, I think one reason to have meatless or outright fast days is that we have too much of a good thing. Even sticking to whole foods, I sometimes feel I eat more than I really need out of habit and it slows or stops my weight loss.
I used to say I had to eat meat every day as it was the only food that shut down my appetite. It served as my anti-binge prescription. In the last few weeks, though, I've noticed that drinking fizzy water kefir does just as well to kill cravings. I also had some days where a busy schedule meant I didn't eat at my normal times and decided to just skip until the next day. I felt so good--not weak or tired or even hungry--on the following days that I decided this is a natural thing for me. I felt no need to compensate by eating more, so it caused slightly better weight loss.
I've been pretty liberal with my fruit allowance for the holidays, but in January I'm going to do a couple weeks of leptin reset. Then I'm thinking of settling into a long-term pattern in which one day per week will have no meat/dairy, but lots of vegetables and fruit, and another will be a water fast. My goal would be to stick with that until I get rid of the other half of my excess fat, about 30 pounds.
Are you falling for the vegan pushed "Meatless Mondays" astroturf campaign crap?
Unless you're fasting those days, which is a perfectly good way to enable autophagy and get into ketosis, (both of which are very beneficial,) you should absolutely eat some meat each day.
Look, the next vegan that comes up to me and tells me I should honor "Meatless Mondays" is going to wind up on my BBQ - well, ok, ok, only if they've been grassfed and not grainfed. :-)