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Nutrition Past and Future

TPNS 13: If You're Serious...

Primitive Nutrition 13:
If You're Serious...


The question must be asked:  Why would you want to base your lifestyle on stone agers?

Those are bugs.  When you see a plate like this, do you salivate?

Well, you should, if you believe your diet is written in your genome.  Insects are eaten by most modern humans today.  Nonhuman primates eat them as well.  Do you really think our evolutionary ancestors in between considered themselves above eating bugs?

The eating of locusts even gets approval in Leviticus.

I have already shown you that Paleolithic humans practiced nutritional cannibalism.  I'll just add here that they ate Neanderthal children as well.

If you're going to be primitive, you'll need some parasites.  I'll borrow a couple slides from this publication now.

We can see in old human waste remnants that stone agers were infested with them.

Parasites accompanied humans as they dispersed from Africa.

Parasites are an important omission with respect to Paleo diet health claims. They have always been with us.  It is well understood these days that our gut bacteria have crucial functions in digestion and immunity, making us not just humans but really superorganisms.  We evolved with parasites as a part of our superorganism, too, and their absence from many of us today is not altogether beneficial.

Parasites were very likely influential in the way our immune system developed.  Does Loren Cordain value his immune system as much as his brain?  He should, and if he's being logically consistent, he should swallow some nematodes with the gusto with which he eats meat, because his immunity would not be what it is today without them.

If you are really doing Paleo and you've taken your parasites to be like Grok, you'll need to start eating some dirt as well.  Being comfortable with parasites means being comfortable eating soil.

Paleo diet promoters are really big on auto-immune and intestinal problems.  It seems for them those issues always relate back to diet.  But have you ever heard a Paleo guru suggest you swallow some worms to calm your bowels?

When you see Loren Cordain's papers referencing the low cholesterol of hunter gatherers, bear in mind these folks almost certainly had parasitic loads.  Parasites are known to affect cholesterol levels.

Here are four references to show you that before we had statins to lower cholesterol, we had parasites.  The cholesterol deniers neglect to mention this, I've noticed.

Here you can see a study of a hunter gatherer community.  Its authors found that they had high parasite loads and high levels of inflammation, but also low blood cholesterol and hardly any atherosclerosis.  Parasites work, but I might prefer to keep my cholesterol in check with a healthy vegan diet.  Paleo-logic may guide you to a parasite-based lipid strategy instead.  Good luck with that.

Of course, don't forget about seasonal nutritional stresses as well.  Put yourself through periods of weight loss and insufficient caloric intake and Grok will tip his hat to you.  Seasonal stress does not mean intermittent fasting, folks.  That's not seasonal.  Also, at the times you are most stressed, avoid eating too much lean meat.

What is the payoff of this lifestyle for the hunter gatherer?  Does he get to enjoy his golden years in good health?  Hardly.  Have a look at these appalling life expectancy figures for Paleo model cultures.  Naturally these figures are skewed by high infant mortality, save for the last line, which is hardly reassuring.

This table makes the outlook clearer.  In the second column you see your expected age of death if you are lucky enough to make it to 15.  With average age of death for this group as low as 51, it becomes clear why no one thought to base a diet book on these people before Loren Cordain.

If you want to romanticize hunter gatherers, you're also going to need to get comfortable with deplorable rates of violent death.  You didn't think primitives avoided disputes through negotiation, trade, and the judiciary, did you?

In the violent days of prehistory, women may have felt a bit less secure than today, too

Of course, no one would choose to revert to a primitive culture.  People do, however, choose a supposedly primitive diet.  They do this because they think it is healthier for them.  Let's see if they are right.  The health claims of Paleo are up next in the Primitive Nutrition series.

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