- Nov 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm #1806472
Piper- just to be clear, you had lost weight during the earlier portion of the PCT, but you were already gaining weight back before completing the PCT?
if that's true, that flies in the face of everything I've ever experienced or have read about- long days on the trail typically generate such large deficits that regardless of diet choice you can seldom maintain weight (let alone gain weight)
MikeNov 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm #1806479
My trail diet was primarily simple carbs. Candy, cookies, crackers and pasta with artificial cheese powder and real cheese. I resupplied in convenience stores. During a 4-day section I would have one tuna packet or one chicken breast. Sometimes I would remember to put some olive oil in my food. Otherwise it was all candy, cookies, cheese and pasta and crackers.
As for how my body could be "happy at the weight it was", that's hard to say as my weight fluctuated a lot. I lost about 25lbs at first. 125 is my lean thru-hiking weight. I hiked the PCT in two sections. I lost a little more during the High Sierras (probably got to 115) then gained back to 125 on the trail until I got off in Northern California. I gained a little weight back home over the winter and then hit the trail again. I lost back to my 125 thru-hiking weight. Then slowly to the end of the trail I started gaining over my lean thru-hiking weight. I was over 160 when I started this low carb thing.
So far I haven't found steak for breakfast to be much of a hardship, so when it gets too hard, I'll let you know.Nov 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm #1806480
W I S N E R !BPL Member
This is all interesting; thanks for all the links being posted.
One thing I'd like to say about my earlier post on moderation: I hardly have all this figured out, and if a certain way of eating works for you, makes you feel better, etc., then more power to you. I don't want to come across as having THE answer. I do, however, have to question assertions, coming from any dietary system, that as humans we are "meant" to eat a certain way. It seems to me that there are just too many examples of people in prime health that eat in strikingly different ways; thus my belief that we are adaptable enough to thrive on any smart diet.
But as someone mentioned earlier, "moderation" is a tricky word. Moderate what? How much is "moderate"?
This is highly subjective. If you're eating what you think is a "moderate" amount of ice cream, yet continue to gain weight…well, so much for your idea of moderate. So again, I think it comes back to what works for you. This is where sticking to a general set of rules, as opposed to simply "moderating" makes sense- providng it makes life easier/better for you.
I've actually been interested in "paleo" eating for a while, though I can't say I practice it.
One striking benefit of this diet that has always jumped out in my mind is the lack of processing; no refined carbs, no refined sugars, etc. Think about foods that come in packages…a strict "paleo" diet (what I understand of it anyway), would likely rule 99% of all packaged products out. Similar to the advice I've often heard of "If it comes in a wrapper, has more than a few steps involved in preparing it (talking ingredients, not meals), or you've ever seen an advertisement for it…You probably shouldn't be eating it." This has always struck me as relatively sound advice, though it could be applied to many different styles of eating. It's primarily what I tried to follow in my vegan days.
One question I've always had:
How do endurance athletes do with paleo eating? I've read some of the more strict approaches don't even advocate too much cardio…so that's out for me right off the bat. It's what I enjoy. Closest I can personally think of to a "paleo" endurance athlete would be Ben Greenfield, a triathlete/trainer who's blog I read quite a bit. While not no-carb, he advocates a low-carb diet, far lower than what most endurance athletes would normally consider. He, and many others I've read (as well as Piper above), report lower food cravings and hunger issues, and more even energy levels, supposedly due to more consistent blood sugar throughout the day. This is something I'm curious about…especially as a carb junkie.Nov 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm #1806491
Piper- thanks for clarifying- that's very interesting (and baffling) to say the least. I'm curious if anyone has experienced anything similar? Almost everyone I know that has thru hiked has ended up on the "a little too skinny" end of the scale.
I hope the Paleo regime pays off for you, I can certainly understand the frustration of hiking long days and still putting on weight.Nov 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm #1806493
James holdenBPL Member
Note that yoy can gain weight if you eat more than yr energy output even at higher activity levels
In the dash to the south pole exactly 100 years ago amundsens men gained weight … This is skiing from the bay of whales through an unknown ice shelf, pionnering the crossing of the axel heilburg glacier and the first crossing o the queen maud mountains …. I believe their diet was around 4500 calories per day
Scott who had a known, an what many consider to be an easier, route but less calories … Well that ended in tradegy
Unless there is a medical issue, Constant excercise in levels exceeding yr calory input will result in loss of weight … It took me 3 months+ to notice the difference … And well over 2 years to reach my "ideal" level
But it works … It just requires commitementNov 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm #1806495
Roleigh MartinBPL Member
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Google this: famous paleo athletes – a cool example:
Extreme Meal Plan
Running 1,300 miles makes you very hungry
Few people require as many calories as Dean Karnazes. The San Francisco dad and author of the best-selling memoir Ultramarathon Man has run 350 miles without stopping, fallen asleep while running, won races in 120-degree heat in the desert, and completed a marathon at the South Pole. Last year, Karnazes became the first and only person to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days, starting in St. Louis and ending with the New York City Marathon. When he finished, he jogged back to St. Louis again, just because, for a total of 1,300 miles. CHOW was curious to find out what, and how much, a body in such constant motion needs (or wants) to eat. —Lessley Anderson
I know you exercise a lot even when you’re not racing. What do you eat on a normal day?
Post 50 marathons, I am now following what I call the Neanderthal diet. I’m only eating foods that a Neanderthal man would have eaten. So getting away from refined foods and even whole grains. Could we even eat a whole grain when we were cave people? The answer is really no. How could we strip the grain? We ate vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and things we could pick and eat.
[end quote–see link for rest of article]Nov 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm #1806504
looks like a lot of carbs to me???????
"What was a typical day like in terms of your diet?
I’d get up at 5:30 in the morning. I was having my physiology monitored, because Chris Carmichael was doing a research study on me. They were looking at the long-term effects of endurance sports on muscle turnover and blood chemistry. I would have a brutal blood draw, then go pee in a cup, and then I’d eat Greek-style yogurt, plain, no sugar added; half a box of Nature’s Path organic granola, peanut butter flavor; and a cup of bananas or berries. That would be my breakfast. Then I’d go run a marathon, come back, and hop in the bus.
After finishing each day’s marathon, I’d have an almond butter sandwich with honey and sliced bananas, and a protein shake by Cytomax. For dinner I’d typically do a mixed organic green salad with almonds, avocado, olive oil, vinegar—we had some good balsamic vinegar—and either a large piece of salmon—we had backup smoked if we could not get it fresh—or even canned salmon, which actually has a lot of Omega-3s in there. And lots of fruit—maybe an apple, pear, orange, berries, peach, and cantaloupe."Nov 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm #1806509
I think that if it weren't for having been harmed from 40+ years of the standard American diet, a moderate approach could have worked for me. Research seems to show that fructose (which constitutes 1/2 of table sugar and a little more than 1/2 of high fructose corn syrup) is particularly destructive. If I had never eaten so much of it through my life, I probably could have gone through life without insulin resistance. By "so much" I do not mean that I sat around binging on sugar and drinking liters of soda (I have never purchased a Big Gulp), what I mean is that I ate enough of it to harm me and so I never responded normally to a diet of normal healthy food. My father once told me I was insulin resistant and he was probably right.
Other than not eating sugar or other foods that raise blood sugar (such as grains and fruit), I switched out all my fat from vegetable oils to animal fats and sometimes a little coconut oil. This is probably the most controversial aspect of the diet: all that saturated fat.
After hiking the PCT my feet hurt a lot. They hurt for 2 years afterwards. I tried barefoot running and wearing huaraches sandals for everything, figuring all I needed to do was strengthen my feet. They still hurt. I also got something called "frozen shoulder" which is common among older women and nobody knows what the cause or cure is. The change from "healthy" oils to saturated animal fat made the pain in my feet and frozen shoulder disappear. Someone told me it was probably the inflammation of the seed oils that kept me in pain and eliminating them has made the difference.
I honestly believe that seed oils are far more dangerous than grains, but I avoid both now. I don't see a need to eat grains. On backpack trips I'll probably bring some noodles or crackers unless I figure out something better to eat, but in my regular life, a little sweet potato or yam every now and then is sufficient.
I know that I'm not totally cured, even if "curing" anything is possible. I mean, I have lost very little weight even though I calculated my calories yesterday and they didn't even clear 1000 and yesterday I actually ate some lunch, something I don't do every day. I'm probably permanently screwed as far as weight loss. Oh well. I can still hike. That's all that matters.Nov 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm #1806516
"Piper- thanks for clarifying- that's very interesting (and baffling) to say the least. I'm curious if anyone has experienced anything similar? Almost everyone I know that has thru hiked has ended up on the "a little too skinny" end of the scale."
Actually, it is fairly common for women to start gaining weight before the end. Look at pictures of thru-hikers in the trail journals. The men end up emaciated but not the women. I'd be surprised if you could find a single emaciated woman.
Since I resupplied as I went, I ate stuff that was easy to buy and easy to eat. A typical day on the PCT:
Fig Newtons, or granola bars, or grape nuts with nuts, dried fruit and Nido
Cookies, or poptarts
Hummus with crackers (sometimes I'd put olive oil in the hummus), or just the crackers, candy
Candy, or a layer of Pepperidge farm cookies or a half dozen Oreos or a 4-serving packet of instant pudding with Nido
1L pot filled as far as possible with Orzo pasta with 1 packet of Alfredo cheese sauce powder and chunks of Swiss Gruyere cheese. Sometimes add tuna or chicken.
Part of the problem with my terrible food choices were the mosquitoes through the entire state of Oregon and the rain through almost all of Washington. I could never sit down. I had to stuff my food under a headnet while I was walking. M&Ms, crackers and cookies are easier to stuff under a headnet than a sandwich or hummus and crackers.
The other problem was heat. So many good foods do not last when it's 90 degrees all day long. Candy melts, cheese gets really gross, vegetables get really stinky, even used tuna packets get really stinky. I didn't want to carry stuff that was too messy. It was hot in So Cal during the day and blazing hot in Nor Cal, day and night.Nov 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm #1806555
Jeremy and AngelaBPL Member
@requiemLocale: Northern California
Regarding slow weight loss, you may find a tape measure becoming more useful than a scale. I ran across a blog posting a little while ago with a photo of the same person at the same weights.Nov 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm #1806562
"I don't think humans have been around for 35 million years, Brian, more like 200,000 years. As for agriculture, it seems logical to me that humans would also have included grains in their wild form in their diet. Otherwise how would they have known to domesticate them? I doubt very much it was an epiphany that led them to suddenly start planting wheat, rice, millet, etc, out of the blue."
Yes modern humans haven't been around that long but our distant ancestors have been here since the primal sludge, either way the point is we have been hunter gathers for the overwhelming majority of our existence.
As for wild grains? We can speculate in times of real desperation -if the time of the year was right for grains to be budding- some one could have hand milled a little to eat. That is a far,far cry from a diet that include grains in any real regular way. Grains are a lot of work for very little gain. Look it up – compare whole grain bread to a carrot or a leafy green of your choice. Leafs can be easily picked and roots dug up and thrown onto a fire. You can not eat a wheat berry with out a lot of labor and we haven't gotten into the grains natural toxic defenses against your digestive system. Cultivation most likely started as part of permaculture/horticulture but the ability to store grains gave rise to wealth and the ability to collect taxes in a way even pastoralism could not.
"What makes you think all the good folks here at BPL get their info on the subject from Hollywood?"
From what they say? But Im including all my discussions over the years on this site about this topic. We all know the true Hollywood story: Man lived a short brutal life in a state of perpetual starvation, He died young with no art or language and would have gotten heart disease from eating fatty bison if only he lived long enough for the symptoms to manifest. I took anthropology classes in college for fun, I know these things are not true in any way.
"Exactly where did you come up with this particular idea? Sources?"
It should be required reading: The art of not being governed- by James C. Scott
It is common knowledge that everyone from the Greeks to the Aztecs was based on a large system of Slavery. Meat was usually forbidden and reserved for the upper classes.
"The problem is not grain, or carbs in general, but, rather, excess consumption."
I would word it like this": the problem isn't carbs its grain and sugars. Contrary to popular belief obesity is a sign of malnutrition not simply over consumption, or in other words over-consumption and low energy is a symptom of obesity not a cause.
see Gary Taubes http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-Controversial-Science/dp/1400033462/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322543879&sr=1-1
I would like to clear something up- the Paleo diet is not a low carb diet! In fact the over whelming majority of paleo cultures eat a diet based on root vegetables as well as meats. Were people get confused is what I tried to get across in my earlier post. Ketgenic diets have a very strong therapeutic effect for obesity and diabetes so many people go this root on the paleo/wholefood diet. Over time when one metabolism has healed they may be able to add healthy carbs back in their diet.Nov 29, 2011 at 6:44 am #1806654
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. I did not read his whole book but I have seen his talk on youtube and have read his blog and skimmed both his books at the bookstore.
I do not weigh myself. I've lost one notch on my belt loop. I can still wear my fat pants. The love handle flaps on the sides of my belly are almost flat but otherwise I look almost the same. But it's only been two months.
I feel I have a lot more endurance without carbs and with a body that is able to burn fat. I think people have it backwards. You need carbs for fast energy but not for slow energy.
I do a low carb approach because I am older, I'm at that magic age for women where anything we used to do doesn't work to keep us fit anymore. I also think that my tendency to favor sweets means I should avoid carbs. I also have read Michael Eades and Kurt Harris and they both make the most sense.
Sure I could load up on nice healthy fruit but after my first half of the PCT I attempted to keep the weight off eating only peaches and grapefruit. The weight came back so fast I could see the changes daily in the mirror.
There's some debate over how much fruit ancient humans would have eaten. The fruit in my own foodshed is small and bitter and not abundant year round. The humans who lived here before Western man lived high on the hog foodwise, but they had so much easily obtained food that they were sedentary (as a culture) and thus engaged in warfare protecting their territory. There's no strong line between agriculture and hunter-gatherer. The "agricultural revolution" probably wasn't so much a revolution of growing grains but a revolution of the idea of private property and slavery.
Anyway, my broken metabolism has opened a door to a potentially new way to shave some weight off my pack. I could do it the old way and carry loads and loads of food so that I can eat every couple of hours, or I can do it the new way and be happily not eating with my energy high and no hunger and eat less frequent meals.Nov 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm #1807368
"Yes modern humans haven't been around that long but our distant ancestors have been here since the primal sludge, either way the point is we have been hunter gathers for the overwhelming majority of our existence."
Ah, yes, bacteria. The ultimate hunter gatherers. ;)
"As for wild grains? We can speculate in times of real desperation -if the time of the year was right for grains to be budding- some one could have hand milled a little to eat. That is a far,far cry from a diet that include grains in any real regular way. Grains are a lot of work for very little gain. Look it up – compare whole grain bread to a carrot or a leafy green of your choice. Leafs can be easily picked and roots dug up and thrown onto a fire. You can not eat a wheat berry with out a lot of labor"
I suspect it was a bit different than that, Brian. Grain, by its very seeding habit, grows naturally in fairly dense stands. Hunter gatherers were intimately familiar with the life cycles of their various food sources, and timed their movements to be "in the right place at the right time", ie when fruits were ripe, fish were running, etc. Grain, before it dries out into a form suitable for storage can be chewed raw. Try it sometime. It can also be soaked to soften it even further. All that one needs do is to take a seed head, rub it between your palms to separate the berries from the outer husks, and start chewing, then spit out the inners husks. My point is that hunter gatherers could not have afforded to overlook any fod source and that it was this kind of experience over a long period that eventually led some bright guy/gal to get the bright idea of planting the seeds themselves and thereby ensure a more predictable source of food. There is no way it would have come as a sudden "Saul on the road to Damascus" revelation and,voila!, amber waves of grain sprang forth.
"We all know the true Hollywood story: Man lived a short brutal life in a state of perpetual starvation, He died young with no art or language and would have gotten heart disease from eating fatty bison if only he lived long enough for the symptoms to manifest. I took anthropology classes in college for fun, I know these things are not true in any way."
I don't believe that, and neither do a lot of other people, I'd bet. That said, while some may have survived to a ripe old age 30,000 years ago, I doubt very much if as many did as do today. Do you have any way of determining average life expectancies from that period? Infant mortality? How many survived past puberty?
We have a pretty good handle on that kind of thing today, but I doubt very much if that is the case for populations back then. The art and the language are fairly well accepted by most educated people these days.
"It is common knowledge that everyone from the Greeks to the Aztecs was based on a large system of Slavery. Meat was usually forbidden and reserved for the upper classes."
It is apparently not so commonly known that hunter gatherers in the Kodiak Archipelago kept slaves, as did many Native American tribes. Slavery also has a long history in Africa. Nomadic peoples such as the Mongols also took slaves. My point here is that slavery is not dependent on agriculture, but rather stems from human traits that we are slowly evolving beyond.
"I would word it like this": the problem isn't carbs its grain and sugars. Contrary to popular belief obesity is a sign of malnutrition not simply over consumption, or in other words over-consumption and low energy is a symptom of obesity not a cause."
I have no problem with your statement as regards sugar. When it comes tto grain, I disagree. As I said earlier every civilization of note had been based on a grain. Lets take the two with the longest continuity, China and India. The diet of millions of lean, fit peasants in both countries is based on rice and, to a lesser extent, wheat, supplemented by a wide variety of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and a small amount of meat when it can be obtained. It has been this way for millenia. These people don't have a weight problem in general, nor do they seem to be suffering from the effects of grain toxicity. I've seen them up close in both countries. The weight/energy problems in those countries invariably come with affluence, as is increasingly the case as people move into the middle class and upper class and begin indulging in excess consumption of processed food rich in unhealthy fats, meat, and sugar, while no longer engaging in the vigorous exercise required to earn their bread by the sweat of their brows.
Many thanks, BTW, for clearing up some of my misconceptions about the Paleo diet. It is clearly a healthy diet, but not the only one, IMO.Nov 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm #1807384
A lot of those of us here who are attempting to explain the paleo diet are also in the process of learning about it. We are not the ones who have spent years studying it and doing experiments and real world trials, including years of personal trials. So to take us to task to try to explain what we are learning without doing the research and reading yourself is a bit lopsided. What paleo-nutritionists are attempting to do is discover, through scientific inquiry, what the optimal way of eating is for a human being. There are no hard and fast rules saying this food is automatically bad, but rather, through tests and observation and personal trials, a gradual elimination and categorization of foods that do us harm or cause sub-optimal performance. It's a young discipline, with still a lot to learn, all the time discarding previous misconceptions. Unless you have read the research that these scientists and doctors are putting together, I don't see how you can just dismiss what they are saying. They specifically want to AVOID fad diets, so they do the experiments and research in order to get at the truth. Most of it is very good science, and freely shared on the Internet, with lots of revisions to earlier beliefs, and in that way very different from the Atkins Diet.
Others can resist the notion of a range of healthy recommendations all they want, especially the emerging knowledge coming out about grains, but the truth is that there is a very real, very visible, and very persistent problem with obesity in American (and to a lesser extent elsewhere). People are unnaturally fat. And getting worse all the time. Prople's exercise habits have not changed that drastically in the last 50 years, and yet obesity rates have risen to epidemic proportions. SOMETHING besides lack of exercise is causing this. Paleo research is showing more and the culprits as being wheat and sugar. Nothing else explains it as well. And nothing so effectively works at treating the problem as the elimination of these the things from the diet.
I was a die-hard vegetarian, rarely eating processed foods, before I became diabetic.And I did far more exercise thatost people ever due. I still got fat and diabetic. The paleo diet has changed all that.Nov 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm #1807386
John S.BPL Member
But the Paleo diet is just that…another fad diet sure to be followed by many others in the months/years to come. Just you watch ; ).Nov 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm #1807389
John, one form of this research is called "paleo", and there are other names like "primal", "Neanderthal", "neanderthin", "caveman", you name it. It's not theme that matters, but the science behind the nutrition and the way the body works with different nutrients and accompanying lifestyle (every paleo or primal account I've read always emphasized plenty of exercise). I'm read Philip Maffetone's "Big Book of Endurance Training" right now and, though he doesn't call it that, his recommendations for eating and nutrition are completely consistent with the primal philosophy. If you eat this way you will get optimal results… if you eat another way you will get damaging results.
I've never followed a food fad before (unless you can call vegetarianism a fad), but this is the first way of eating and living that has actually had a real life, measurable impact on my diabetes and health. It's spreading in the diabetes community like wildfire, because, for the first time in their lives many of them are finally able to control their blood sugars and live a normal life. Diabetics are not particularly special in terms of what they need to be healthy… All they need to do is follow a diet and lifestyle that doesn't deviate from the optimum balance of food, exercise, lack of stress, and sleep. In other words a healthy way of living that is good for anyone. A fad diet would do diabetics no good, since their lives literally depend on it.
Again, read Maffetone. Very comprehensive and lucid explanation of how train and eat.
Edit: When I started reading Maffetone's book, I hadn't known that he advocated "lesser" carbohydrate intake. It was a pleasant surprise to find that he had come up with this in the 1970's, way before all the paleo hoopla now.
If you'd like to see what it is all about without committing it try Maffetone's "Two Week [carbohydrate] Test".
It should give you immediate results that you may never have seen before. Basically it tests your tolerance for carbs.Nov 30, 2011 at 9:30 pm #1807391
Kimberly WersalBPL Member
@kwersalLocale: Western Colorado
Piper, what really strikes me about your thru-hike diet is that it seems terribly deficient in protein, especially considering the amount of exercise you were getting. Maybe, despite the exercise, you were steadily losing muscle mass–and that muscle mass is what burns calories (loss of muscle mass = lower metabolism). So, now, though you aren't seeing a big weight loss, you may be building back your muscle mass, which may help repair your damaged metabolism. If you don't do any weight training now, you may find that adding that in may help with losing inches.
I, too, have followed a low carb diet in the past, and found that it really did help tame my appetite, with no loss of energy (after the initial adjustment period). I had hikes of 20 miles with 5,000+ feet of elevation gain in one day while consuming virtually NO carbs, and found that running off of stored fat really worked for me.Nov 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm #1807413
Time was not the reason hunter gathers did not invent stuff. They most likely had more free time them we do. It is really about control. What is technology but controlling our environment.
An agricultural society is one that has taken control of there food supply, humans are unique in this respect. This control increases the food supply which in turn increases the population, which in turn would increase the need for land for agriculture, hence the conquering and subverting you mentioned. The reason technological innovations occurred is because of the increased population, ie more brain power and food now cost money, it is under someones control. People now had to work for it, and that work was decoupled from the attainment of food. That work was put towards the control of other aspects of our environment. People actually had less free time, they where working under someones thumb. The ability to go out around your current area and take what food you needed was gone.
You are right hunter gathers did either have to assimilate into the machine or face annihilation. Before agriculture war was not made as an all out conquest as we know it today. It was more or less a game of tag, to let everyone know where everyone was. The intention of utter destruction or assimilation did not occur till the agricultural revolution. That is why these simple tribes where wiped out so easily. They were playing a different game. They did not know the rules had changed.
I recommend reading Ishmael by: Daniel Quinn
Omnivores Dilemma by Michael PollenNov 30, 2011 at 10:55 pm #1807415
In 2010, all but one of the female AT thru hikers I met ether gained weight or stayed the same. Granted that is not nearly as big of a demographic as the males but still it is a data pool.
I think it may have something to do with building muscle and adding weight on that way even though some pounds of fat may come off.Nov 30, 2011 at 11:48 pm #1807417
This has me thinking about control. This struggle we have to understand. I feel as though all of our "knowledge" has only gotten us further away from understanding.
Take our current discussion on our desire to know what is best to eat. We try to control everything, to break it down into words and numbers, carbs, fats, and proteins. To categorize it all to an ever more finite minutia. We as a people think that we understand if we do this. So we continue to break things down, study, observe and "advance". This has created a great consternation with in our societies. There are hundreds of studies all saying something different. The consumption of food to sustain our persons has become a myriad of choices, one day something is a heart attack waiting to happen, then next a miracle food. This increase in choices creates an atmosphere of doubt, anxiety and stress. As other studies have shown, stress kills! Oh great now my mental exercise to eat the healthiest diet is unhealthy, its killing me!
HAHA At a certain point I feel like just laughing at the tizzy that we get our selves in. Just these last few days personally I have gotten my self in one, not about food, but now Im laughing cause it is just silly.
I mean I have never see an animal struggle with what is best for it to eat. A tree does not contemplate the different types of soil around, or air it breathes. They seem to live with a certain understanding that we have forgotten or do not know.
The fact about us is we really do not know. We don't know what is the best thing to eat. Agriculture allowed us to take matters into our own hands. We took control of our food and much more, But when it comes down to it we have a very simple understanding of the world. We need to organize things just so. An excel spreadsheet charting foods eaten, calories in calories out, All boxed away in a grid. Well the world is not a grid, it is a swirly whirly gum drop. Maybe the desire to control is not the path to take. It seems to me and this is just my observation, that we are all mixed up. Our constant contemplation for knowledge and control has created a huge distraction from actually living in the KNOW.
I think why we sometimes harken back to hunter gathers and what they where eating is because deep down, we know that we are mixed up. We know that the more that we have dissected, our thoughts, the world and striven for knowledge that we have gotten away from something. We think maybe, just maybe they were living a little more like that tree. Maybe they were on to something there.Dec 1, 2011 at 1:22 am #1807428
"There is no way it would have come as a sudden "Saul on the road to Damascus" revelation and,voila!, amber waves of grain sprang forth."
No I never tried to insinuate that its was necessarily that sudden. But it was only 10,00 years ago that the first tiny percentage of human beings began what anthropologist call agriculture. Im getting sucked into explaining something that is too big for the internet. We are also going off a tangent from diet philosophy to archeology and anthropology. I will never be able to answer that question to your satisfaction online but I would start with James C Scott.
But let me inject a grey area here, Its only gluten grains that are really not good for you. Buckwheat and rice are perfectly fine if you are not already suffering from obesity and diabetes. But they still are not as good as other non grain foods. Another twist is the fact that traditionally grains like wheat are prepared with some form of soaking/fermentation process. This could be anything from traditional sourdough bread to beer. Soaking and fermenting removes a lot of the phytates and lectins. In other words traditionally people had strategies to make grain more edible and less harmful. We no longer prepare our grains this way in the industrial age , its not conducive to fast modern processing. The paleo diets philosophy is to just drop this food and concentrate on more optimal food sources. After all, we are not poor peasants we can freely choose anything in the world to eat.
It should be noted that wholefoods dieters do eat wheat but they make or seek out real sourdough bread in small bakerys or they buy sprouted bread like the Ezekiel brand.
"That said, while some may have survived to a ripe old age 30,000 years ago, I doubt very much if as many did as do today."
You're right about that! Modern medical science is a miracle. I would not want to live in world without it.
"Do you have any way of determining average life expectancies from that period? Infant mortality? How many survived past puberty?"
Yes, Archaeology! They study the health and nutrition of past cultures. Its certainly true that there is still a lot to know but they do know a decent amount from bones and food refuge and vessels. But your forgetting that hunter gather cultures have survived into modern times and studies have been done on them. We know a decent amount about their diets and health. It is fair to question how much they are like ancient hunter gathers- but we can learn a lot about diet by comparing their diet and health to ours.
"My point here is that slavery is not dependent on agriculture, but rather stems from human traits that we are slowly evolving beyond'
Your right, slavery exist out side of agriculture but agriculture is historically very dependent on slavery even up to the southern plantations and an echo survives even today with the exploitation of poorer immigrants on modern farms. Also, some of those African and American cultures were agricultural societies some of them were an agrarian mixture of sorts. There isn't always a clear line between hunter gather/pastoralism/agricultural. Thankfully modern technology allows us to do a lot more with a lot less manual labor needed.
"China and India. The diet of millions of lean, fit peasants in both countries is based on rice and, to a lesser extent, wheat, supplemented by a wide variety of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and a small amount of meat when it can be obtained."
Earlier in my post I point out that rice is gluten free. So Im not surprised they don't suffer its effects. We should point out that while they may be lean peasants are stereotypically shorter than the ruling classes. In India they eat a lot of dairy, in Asia they eat everything that moves! Neither culture had refined sugar.
I should make it clear sugar is defiantly worse than grain! if you eat grain but no sugars you will be pretty healthy, it you eat sweet potatoes instead of bread you will be healthier still- according to the paleo diet.
"The weight/energy problems in those countries invariably come with affluence, as is increasingly the case as people move into the middle class and upper class and begin indulging in excess consumption of processed food rich in unhealthy fats, meat, and sugar, while no longer engaging in the vigorous exercise required to earn their bread by the sweat of their brows."
I have to disagree with this. It is a fact that wealthier people are on average much leaner and healthier than poor people in this country. I think its easily explained by the much better quality of food the wealthy eat compared to the cheap easily available junk foods everyone else is eating. Think Wholefoods market and nice pricey restaurants where the chef would not use anything less than local organic ingredients. As modern countrys get affluent they start eating our junk food.
Personally Im not a strict paleo dieter. I am into whole foods. I defiantly respect the paleo movement and follow the blogs. It is always revising itself when new info comes out.
Bottom line for me is to eat clean organic pastured whole foods. Leave out the industrial cooking oils , chemical flavorings and preservatives, Cheap fillers, and sugars. Cook like great grandma used too in butter and grease. Cook at home and you should be able enjoy good health.Dec 1, 2011 at 1:41 am #1807431
1+ to your whole post!Dec 1, 2011 at 2:46 am #1807432
Think of the paleo movement in this way: people have gotten very confused about what constitutes healthy food, what they should be eating. The fad diets, and just the very need to have diets at all, clearly shows that people don't know what it is they should be eating for their health. A lot of people who have tried different kinds of diets and health trends for years, never managed to lose the weight they needed to lose and ended up right back where they started from.
People like Loren Cordain and Art Delaney decided to delve into the whole question of what constitutes the optimum diet for human beings and reasoned that our bodies evolved during a time when we were hunter gatherers, a time that spans the bulk of our 2 million year history. From paleoarcheological studies of human skeletons and fossils, there was a sudden spike in the advent of modern diseases right at the same time that agriculture started to be used to feed ourselves. Before that humans had evolved to the point where our bodies pretty much fit into the kinds of food and lifestyles that hunter-gathering necessitated. WIth almost 2 million years to develop this way, naturally our bodies followed suit, adjusting to certain kinds of food and certain kinds of activity. Critics bring up the wide distribution of humans around the planet, but in general the kinds of food that people could obtain by hunting and gathering was on the whole similar wherever we went. None of it was from husbandry and mass planting. (by the way it isn't true that humans are unique in terms of farming and agriculture. Many kinds of social insects have done it far longer than we have, notably ants and termites and bees. Other kinds of insects and bees and even fish care for domesticated "cattle")
Paleo attempts to gather information about archeology, anthropology, nutrition, exercise, etc., and determine what is the optimal combination of circumstances akin to how we lived during our longest run of natural selection, reasoning that if we can recreate those circumstances then that is probably the optimum way for us to live and eat today. During most of our history we didn't have the huge access to certain kinds of food that we do today (many studies show that while we have volume of food, the variety of our food choices is far, far smaller than what the average hunter gatherer ate everyday, especially in regard to vegetables). We were quite restricted to certain kinds of food that we were able to gather and get at. Anything else, including many things that require cooking and special preparation techniques, was simply out of our palette.
Paleo tries to recreate this restriction from the past, while still remaining in the modern age. Some people, like Roy Mankovitz (The Original Diet: The Omnivore's Solution), go way beyond what most of us would willingly do, by trying to completely replicate how paleolithic hunter-gatherer's must have lived, including as much as possible eating the original food sources, even going so far as to advocate eating certain kinds of nutrition-laden soils. The main question though always remains the basis of paleo thinking: what is the best way for us to eat if we look at archeology and anthropology?
The point is our bodies evolved like that of any other animal, and even though we are omnivorous it doesn't mean that we can eat anything. Just like alcohol and tobacco, in spite of certain foods being edible and non-fatal, there are still a lot of things which are simply unhealthy for us to eat. More and more evidence is especially pointing to sugar and wheat.
Paleo doesn't say that wheat and sugar are impossible to eat… many animals have evolved to eat them and thrive on them… but that at this point in our evolution we haven't yet evolved to eat them and retain our health. 10,000 years is just not enough time to evolve. There are studies that show groups of people around the world who managed, due to being isolated from the rest of the world, to evolved certain characteristics that helped them to eat food that is not healthy for the majority of the population, such as a group of people in Swiss mountains (Loetschental Valley) who seem to have developed the ability to take in milk without ill side effects like lactose intolerance. But these developments are rare.
What is surprising is that following the paleo way of eating is not difficult. You simply reduce, as much as possible, the amount of carbs you eat, particularly refined carbs like sugar and white flour. You don't need to keep charts or count calories or think in percentages or anything like that. By eating the amount of healthy fat that you do, your satiety is naturally taken care of. You just have to make sure that you get plenty of vegetables, a goodly amount of protein, and fill the rest with fat from fish, olive oil, nuts, and meat.Dec 1, 2011 at 3:18 am #1807434
Stuart RBPL Member
Why should sugar be eliminated?
Traditional hunter-gatherer societies highly value honey.
(Nb I am not advocating the constant consumption of sugary snacks/drinks prevalent in the Western diet)Dec 1, 2011 at 3:43 am #1807435
Traditional hunter-gatherer societies highly value honey.
You did notice I wrote, "reduce as much as possible".
Yes they valued honey, but honey was extremely difficult to come by and could only be enjoyed on rare occasions. No one said that you can never enjoy any of the joyful things in life. But in our world today we indulge far too often in food that our bodies just can't handle in the amounts we subject them to. If those societies had spent all their time eating honey, doubtless it would have harmed them, too, unless, like some animals, they had developed a tolerance for it.
Your last statement answers your own question.
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