The Paleo Diet. Honestly, the thought of it makes me rage a bit inside. And by a bit, I mean the kind of rage where you’re sure smoke is going to start coming out your ears like a Bugs Bunny cartoon and you are going to punch someone in the throat.
Why does it get me SO enraged? I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with a history lesson. What, exactly, was the paleolithic period? Let’s think about it. A little lingustics can help us here, “Paleo” meaning ‘old’ and “Lithic” meaning stone – it’s the Old Stone Age. This is the oldest period of the ages collectively known as the stone age, beginning about 2.4 million years ago. Yes, 2.4 MILLION. It ended about 12,000 years ago (so for all of us who learned BC – we are talking about 10,000 BC or BCE). We consider this period part of human pre-history since it happened before writing was developed (not until about 5,500 bce)
This is a pretty broad distinction as far as human history goes. In the beginning of the era human beings werent even developed to the point of homo sapiens yet. Seriously. That didnt happen until about 200k years ago. As best as the record shows, People werent in America yet (that didnt happen till the Mesolithic Period). So lets start that list.
1. There were many different types of human during the Paleolithic Period.
As indicated above – the human race spans the gamut from homo habilis to what we all refer to as Neandertal and to what we know as homo sapiens. You think all these peoples ate and lived the same way? Big fat nope. Diverse geographies and abilities mean these peoples didn’t have some magic unified diet.
2. The era is defined by the use of crude stone tools.
Ya’ll can put your KitchenAids and VitaMixes away, because the distinction made to signify the start of this era is the use of crude stone tools. Stone arrows, hand axes, what became spears and spear tips and harpoons – GREAT! We could totally hunt all those free-range, undomesticated animals. We had fire and did know how to use it, and our tools got a bit more advanced as the period went along, but if you think our paleolithic friends were making kebabs and singing kumbayah you have another thing coming.
3. Animals weren’t domesticated yet.
We domesticated dogs to help with hunting. Our prehistoric ancestors didnt have cattle free grazing on their neatly protected territory and they certainly weren’t making organic grass-fed butter. I almost choked one day when someone talked about that shit as being
so paleo. The hell it is. Domestication of animals didnt come until well into the Neolithic period – indeed, it is one of the reasons we draw the line there and call it the end of the Paleolithic period. That started with pigs, then sheep, then cattle (thank you AMNH!)
4. Plants werent even really domesticated. Seriously.
The hallmark of a Neolithic (note I did NOT say Paleolitthic) society includes planting down some roots for you and your peeps and growing things. Planting fields of rye or millet, tending some fig trees depending on where you were – these are the hallmarks of early permanent settlements – conclusively NOT what our nomadic hunter-gatherer friends were up to.
5. WHY IS EVERYTHING MADE WITH PUMPKIN!?
Can we discuss? I dont know why it is a go-to. Pumpkins are a South American gourd. CLEARLY not something we were domesticating and baking in our non-existing paleolithic ovens.
6. I know I said there were only 5 reasons. But I have to make another point. PEGAN IS EVEN MORE FRIGGING RIDICULOUS.
Seriously, I saw something labeled as “Pegan” and while I laughed a little because it sounds like Negan (love me some TWD) i had to look at the note to find out that a Pegan is a Paleo-Vegan hybrid. For Fucks Sake. Forgive me. But if you think for one split second Mr. Neandertal was going to give up that juicy undomesticated deer he just stalked and killed with a shoddy assault weapon made from stone by choice…..just get out.
So, next time someone offers you a paleo friendly chia-and-pumpkin smoothie made with organic hormone free, free-range cow milk in their fancy Vitamix blender…just tell them to shove it.
If you want to try to eat fewer processed foods, be my guest – but just dont drag my paleolithic friends into it.