Are YOU on the Faileo Diet?

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Welcome to the site! This content is old and may not reflect my current opinions. I keep it up mainly for reference and because I hope at least some of it is still good, but I encourage you to check out more recent posts as well as my Start Here page

 You've heard about this great thing called the paleo diet and you decide to try it. Lean meat, salads, fruit, some mixed nuts, some fasting...how hard can it be? Unfortunately, a few days later you are sick with hunger. You crave some delicious potato chips and give in. You end up back where you started. You decide the paleo diet is bunk.

Unfortunately, you never were on the paleo diet. You were on the faileo diet. It's unfortunate because certain people have been plugging this diet as THE paleo diet, when really, it's not.  

 

WHAT? Why are leafy vegetables, lean meats and seeds in the middle? It's simple- they are a total waste of any true forager's time. Think about optimal foraging theory: how much time does it take to collect 500 calories of leaves, seeds, or lean meat? How easy are they to digest? 

Well, it takes a freaking long time and any forager would say...why bother? (unless the particular leaf or seed has some prized medicinal quality). The amount of protein in lean meat is hard to digest. Inuits threw the lean meat to their dogs! Seeds and leaves aren't that easy to digest either. Humans, unlike many other apes, can't extract much energy from leaves. 

Foragers spend their time looking for energy dense foods- coconut, yams, and of course...the king...ANIMAL FAT! It's easy to digest and has tons of calories. If you are in a scarce environment, calories are simply king. Eat enough calories should be the number one rule of the paleo diet. Foragers that didn't eat enough calories died. If you are utilizing intermittent fasting, doesn't forget to feast too! Also, when you are fasting you should NOT feel hungry. If you do, you probably aren't ready for IF and you need to nourish and heal your body to be ready. A doctor in NYC that uses the paleo diet to treat illness has his patients fast before a physical. How hungry they were is a good indicator of health. The practicing paleo dieters typically don't experience hunger at all. 

Furthermore, how bad are those less-evolutionarily appropriate foods like butter? They probably aren't as good as pork belly, but plenty of agrarian cultures thrived on them. Don't fall into an obsessive purity trap- figure out what foods actually drag you down, and don't sweat the rest. Gluten grains upset my stomach, but butter doesn't hurt me as far as I can tell. 

As far as I'm concerned salads aren't really food. It's hard to get enough calories from them without resorting to oils, which aren't really that paleo. They are maybe medicine, maybe dessert...I've had some enjoyable ones, but relying on them as meals has led to many an episode of hungry angry irritability. 

Try counting your calories. If you are eating salads, chicken breast, lean reindeer jerky, salmon filets, or Planter's mixed nuts...no wonder you feel sick! These foods are fine in moderation, but they aren't truly nourishing from a caloric perspective without some fat or carbs or both. Eat some freaking pork belly....a lot of pork belly maybe in some mashed tubers...and some fatty lamb cooked coconut milk...and some short ribs cooked in tallow...and a bunch of shrimp cocktails. Eat that stuff until you aren't hungry and then tell me whether the paleo diet works for you. 

I don't think lean meats or greens are BAD, there just aren't meals in themselves. Don't eat greens unless they have bacon on them is a rule I personally follow :)

PS: Someone pointed out that nuts probably don't belong on that second tier in terms of logical foraging because most are really more trouble to open than they are worth. Mongongo nuts are an exception. Most others like butternut are impossible to open and have almost no flesh to reward you with, or are easy to open but hard to detoxify like acorns.