Wednesday, April 25, 2012

why "paleo," particularly?

Calling what i eat "paleo" is just a convenient shortcut.  Technically, this stuff wasn't around in the literally paleolithic period -- but that really doesn't matter. 

Yes, we've adapted tremendously with the changing eons.  Yes, we're also very little different from the first hominids, on the cellular level.  (We seem to feel the need to reconcile these -- but why?  I liken it to religious people of the past, who were desperate to view themselves as "special," above the "animals" ... but was it so they'd feel okay about their inhumanity to any creature they considered lower than themselves?  I have my suspicions, but that's not in the scope of what i'm writing about today.  ...Boy, am i good at going off on tangents!)

Calling my diet "paleo" is mostly to set it apart from what we tend to perceive as neolithic -- grains, dairy, legumes, sugars of various sorts, modern fruits bred for increased sweetness, "industrial seed oils" and so on.  Another blogger describes these as "neolithic agents of disease," -- probably the most inspired thing he's ever written.  Other people prefer the descriptor "ancestral" to describe their preferred foodways, but that's pretty loose in my opinion.  I've been known to use the expression "low toxicity" to describe my ideal foods, too.

The crux of the matter is, certain foods have a bad track record when widely used in the human diet.  For centuries, "rich men's diseases" have been described and, though the actual mechanism of what's to blame wasn't always correctly identified at the time, it was ALWAYS one of the NADs.  In the past, certain NADs were INTENTIONALLY prescribed for the disrupting influence it has on the body (look up Kellogg, and monastic use of soy products, for info on their attempts to squelch sexual interest...).  That book which i continue to recommend, "Strong Medicine," makes it clear that in the early to mid 20th century, many such foods were considered problematic by thinking physicians like Blake Donaldson.

Curiously enough, when i began seeking to improve my thyroid function through diet, the foods which i repeatedly found troublesome turned out to be "neolithic" ones.  These foods also tend to be the things that put weight on me.  That made it easy -- i simply came to declare that "neolithic" foods are not my friends.

Over the past year, people have been deserting the paleolithic ship, right and left (and their squabbles have given "paleos" a bad name).  I have a whole list of reasons why i think this happened, but again, that's not my theme today.  People have been adding carbs and shouting from the housetops how happy they are....  I think they'll be back, though i've no doubt they'll be calling their "diet du jour" something else, when they do.  Eventually they'll find that "neolithic" foods cause them more problems than "paleo" foods do, simply because of the nature of the beast -- a higher toxin load.

But i STILL won't go back to reading their stuff -- they've proven that their judgement isn't reliable, by their recent goings-on.  ...Have you noticed, though, that even after they've recanted their previous declarations of faith, they're still hanging around the "paleo blogosphere"?  ;-)

P.S. -- I've been following rabbit trails again, and i want to recommend a post by Robb Wolf!  Seems like he was inspired by a similar spirit to the one that inspired me....

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