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  1. #1
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    The real paleo diet

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    An archeological scientist discusses the foods that paleolithic people actually ate:

    http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Debun...eo-Diet-Christ

    It's a bit long but very interesting.

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  2. #2
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    I loved that TED talk and wanted to post it here but know that some members are very passionate about being Paleo.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by VeganBikeChick View Post
    I loved that TED talk and wanted to post it here but know that some members are very passionate about being Paleo.
    I haven't read any of the books in question, but I didn't get the sense that she concluded they were recommending bad diets. Just that describing them as "paleo" was not too accurate.

    I liked the general conclusions she drew at the end regarding the importance of variety, whole foods and fresh foods. I also liked the way she described variety as "eating many different species." I don't normally think about food in terms of "species."

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  4. #4
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    That was fascinating. Not so much for debunking (or not) the paleo diet, which I don't really have an opinion on one way or the other, but because it is such a joy to hear a scientist speak so well and so balanced about something she knows a lot about. And for the total lack of snappy soundbites :-)
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  5. #5
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    Some of what she said towards the end really echoed what I read in "An Edible History of Humanity," that agriculture was responsible for population explosion, social stratification (i.e. income and power inequality), and poor health and quality of life, all at once. While I think there's a lot of BS floating around about what types of agriculture can or cannot sustain the global population (all of which will soon go out the window when climate change destroys current agricultural lands and practices, anyway), I don't think there's any question that the world truly cannot produce enough calories to sustain the population without massive consumption of grain.

    Not having read any of the "Paleo" books either, I was under the mistaken impression that they called for getting most of one's calories from vegetables, with smaller contributions from nuts and meats. And of course, eating locally, seasonally and organically. Which is what I've really been trying to do anyway, and feeling so much better (both in terms of massively increasing meat to once or twice a week during heavy training, and in terms of greatly reducing grains and increasing vegetables).
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 04-23-2013 at 04:09 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Personally I don't really care what people ate in those days For me it is about how it makes me feel - I've more energy, feel younger than I have in years, and almost all of my health problems reversed themselves very quickly after adopting this approach (digestive system issues within a couple of days). There are certainly Paleo/Primal proponents who turn all of this into a religion - but for me it is all about the results. I fall more into the Primal camp myself rather than "pure" Paleo (I will consume some forms of dairy occasionally even though I am sensitive to it). To me it is all about finding what works for our specific bodies, that is what matters in the end. I tend to be more pragmatic than dogmatic

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    That was fascinating. Not so much for debunking (or not) the paleo diet, which I don't really have an opinion on one way or the other, but because it is such a joy to hear a scientist speak so well and so balanced about something she knows a lot about.
    I agree.

    I thought the part about analyzing dental plaque to determine the foods people ate so long ago was really interesting.

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  8. #8
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    It's an interesting talk and she definitely 'debunked' a lot of the random and incorrect myths about the paleo diet.

    Unfortunately, I don't think she read any of the paleo books either...at least, not any of the more modern ones. The three myths that she 'debunked' are not really tenants of the paleo diet at all. They are mostly just talking points from the media/internet.

    1) "humans evolved to eat meat and ate it in large quantities" - humans evolved to eat omnivorously (as she points out) and the paleo diet supports this. There is a general over-abundance of media focus on the meat aspect of the paleo diet (partially to assure people that meat IS healthy). All paleo books point out that today's meat is not like our ancestors meat was and that we should either choose wild, grass-fed or extremely lean cuts when eating meat to be as healthy as possible. All paleo books also point out that our ancestors would have eaten organs and marrow too and encourage it. And not a single one says that we should eat meat to the exclusion of all else. Vegetables are a huge aspect of the diet.

    2) 'paleo people did not eat whole grains or legumes' - while the paleo diet does exclude these items, it is mostly in response to the modern diet that is totally focused on them. Proof that our ancestors had tools for grinding grain or had legumes in their teeth indicates that they ate these things occasionally. Of course they did. But have you ever tried to grind grain by hand or grow and harvest beans by hand? I have. There is NO WAY our paleo ancestors ate these things in quantity...certainly not until the advent of agriculture. Do you know how long it would take to gather the grains necessary to make a single piece of bread from the wild? Hell, even if you grew them yourself in your backyard, it would take months! You can get nutrition from beans and grains but it is more readily available from veggies and fruits. If you are starving (literally) and grains or legumes are the only thing to eat, eat them. Common sense prevails here. We live in a world of abundance so we don't need to eat tree bark just because our ancestors might have had to in order to survive.

    3) "the paleo diet is what our ancestor's ate" - of course it's not...not exactly. Every single paleo book out there points out the fact that foods now are totally different than foods where then. I'm not sure what books she was 'debunking' when she pointed out that our blueberries or carrots or broccoli are different due to agriculture. The paleo diet doesn't shun agriculture - if so, there would be no food to eat!

    And her three points for a healthy diet? Every single paleo diet book out there includes the same three ideas 1) diversity 2) fresh and in-season and 3) whole foods.

    I agree with everything she said, but she didn't really debunk anything except some of the incorrect paleo diet information floating around the media!
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  9. #9
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    I see no reason for a diet to totally exclude legumes and grains.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    I see no reason for a diet to totally exclude legumes and grains.
    Then you shouldn't exclude legumes or grains.

    I see no reason for a diet to totally exclude meat, so I eat it. I certainly don't judge those who do have reasons for excluding it though and I ask others to pay me the same respect.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    Then you shouldn't exclude legumes or grains.

    I see no reason for a diet to totally exclude meat, so I eat it. I certainly don't judge those who do have reasons for excluding it though and I ask others to pay me the same respect.
    This! As for me, excluding all legumes and grains wiped out all of my many digestive system problems - and I am far from deprived I certainly don't expect others to make my choices.

  12. #12
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    I did not read the whole article, but my take on this is that I don't exclude any foods (except processed and junk food), but my 3 or so months on a Paleo diet has changed my eating. I restrict my grains quite a bit and I eat a ton more vegetables than I used to. Dairy has always been limited for me. I also notice that when I am faced with a recipe that has added sugar, I leave it out. I didn't really see any change in my health, because I already knew what sets my stomach off. In the end, I think a lot of people jump on the Paleo bandwagon because it helps them control their weight. This is the nature of people. Everyone has to find what works for them. I knew I couldn't live without an occasional serving of brown rice or good whole wheat bread, or red wine. But, I have a lot more knowledge now and a lot more good recipes!
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    I certainly don't judge those who do have reasons for excluding it though and I ask others to pay me the same respect.
    I must have missed something.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I must have missed something.
    Nothing to miss. I'm just making a general comment.

    Paleo diet followers get judged a lot for choosing to exclude dairy, grains or legumes because it goes against conventional thinking. I'm sure there was a time (maybe even still today) where vegetarians or vegans also got judged for bucking the trend by not eating meat. I'm just using the comparison to make a point.

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  15. #15
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    I seem to remember reading somewhere that there's a hypothesis floating around that agriculture (of grains, at any rate) started as a way to ensure a steady supply of beer... Just throwing that out there.

    GLC, I think some of the Paleo animosity is due to some of the more, uh, vocal Paleo people. They come off as either holier-than-thou religious fanatics, or dietary hipsters. (I think the same thing about pushy vegetarians/vegans. If someone tells me that I shouldn't eat meat, I have to resist the temptation to go buy a cheeseburger.)
    I'm not entirely sure I buy the "wheat/legumes=poison" argument, either. Yes, there are people sensitive to them, but if you're not one of those people, I fail to see what the problem with eating them is. (And don't get me started on the guy claiming that gliadin acts as an opiate.)

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