Those people pushing the boundaries of what "everyone should eat" may have part of their story right, but as usual there are a lot of loose ends fluttering in the breeze. Yes, our free-living ancestors ate plant material when available and convenient. But they weren't eating it the way most modern folks do.
From "tubers are okay" to "pan-fried in nut oil" is a big jump. Do we sun-dry and ferment our potatoes? Of course not (we probably wouldn't like them if we did). But that's how Andean potato-eaters were doing it, and apparently thriving.
The vast majority of Americans (i haven't sufficient knowledge of everyday practices to indict preparation techniques elsewhere), even if they DO cook their own legumes from dry instead of just buying them in cans, more often than not only soak them overnight, or use the quick-soak method. Softening -- that's the reason to soak beans, isn't it? HAhahahahaha....
When it comes to subsistence vegetable foods containing protein, HOW they're prepared is absolutely critical. If you say "legumes are okay" you HAVE to append that statement with "when you soak them to the point that they're beginning to ferment, because if you don't you're not only NOT getting the food-value you expect from them, you're also robbing your body of the nutrients in the other things you eat alongside."
I just don't understand the drive to get people to eat second-class forms of nutrition! Beans and potatoes really don't taste good enough to be worth the bother! They're useful as hell if you're in a survival situation, but my friends and i ain't THERE (yet).
The message seems to be coming from individuals who have gone out of their way to diversify their gut-bugs, and they're intent on feeding them. I strongly suspect that "a good microbiome" is a SYMPTOM of health, not a determiner of it -- despite what happens when you put skinny-mouse bacteria into fat mice. Just as obesity and naturally-occurring hypothyroidism are symptoms of malnutrition and energy misappropriation -- causality and DIRECTION-of-causality are sometimes tangled.
If i can get liver and oysters and lamb-chops, why the hell should i waste my appetite on BEANS? Especially as we get older -- we have less appetite and less power to digest! What we SHOULD eat for well-being are easily-absorbed nutritional powerhouses, not the scratching-the-bottom-of-the-vitamin/protein/mineral-barrel foods that fatten and bloat and promote inflammation. Soaring blood-sugar and insulin spikes? They may not be harmful in isolation ... but YOU can have them, not me.
Now, in the case of people who need to make the most of their food dollar, as we discussed yesterday, beans and potatoes are far-and-away better choices than the day-old-baked-goods aisle. For conscientious vegetarians who don't care about the small animals that are killed in wheat-fields as much as cows, chickens and pigs, tubers and legumes are better than tofu, too. And you can't beat a well-prepared Cajun-style red-beans-and-rice either, every once in awhile. But all things equal (tolerance-wise), to go for the latter instead of the mussels in home-made tomato broth? Insane. ;-)
One could make an argument for all kinds of modern foods being "paleo" in character -- it means NOTHING. Paleo is only a template for a healthy lifestyle that omits modern practices and foodstuffs which are KNOWN to be deleterious, like staying up half the night watching television, and eating things that require processing which destroys food value. This is why nut-flour-based desserts really aren't "paleo" even if they only contain nuts, eggs, honey and natural flavorings -- they've violated the healthy spirit of the game if you eat them EVERY SINGLE DAY....
So YES, tubers and legumes are ancient foods, just like the nuts, eggs and honey of my example. BUT THEY ALL HAVE TO BE EATEN IN CONTEXT. If YOUR digestion can stand them, they're potentially nourishing. BUT....
All vegetables "are trying to kill us," as they say. Some people are killed more easily than others. For the hard-to-kill to insist more delicate constitutions emulate them is self-aggrandizement, hubris and selfishness. It's exactly like lactase-persistent people advocating milk-drinking in people who don't have the genes for it. Like celiac people being told they just have to take their RS, and they'll be fine -- bread is the staff of life, after all. ...EXACTLY.
Like others before me, i find the "paleo" part of my blog-title to be misleading to others, and containing unintended connotations. I'm too stubborn to change it, though, and i'll persistently defend the concept of non-NADism. "Is it paleo/primal?" however, is a question not worth asking. Say, rather, is it non-NAD -- the LAST thing i should eat regularly are the Neolithic Agents of Disease.