The Paleolithic Diet

Written by Alana Jolley

October 29, 2014

The Paleolithic Diet

The Paleolithic Diet is popular as a way to lose weight and have better health. The [glossary]Paleolithic diet[/glossary] has become trendy, but it is doubtful that [glossary]Paleolithic[/glossary] peoples ever considered their way of eating as a diet.  At least not what we think of as a diet today.

The common Paleolithic Diet has a predominant meat content, but meat has most often been a supplement to fruits and vegetables, rather than the main course.  What period of time is designated as the Paleolithic period?  The Paleolithic period dates from approximately 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago. Can people today eat like Paleolithic people? We cannot eat very much like Paleolithic people because almost every fruit and vegetable, with the exception of dates, figs, and grapes has been altered by human hands (talk about GMO) to be almost unrecognizable today.  In order to domesticate a plant, there must be a wild ancestor.  The wild ancestors of the foods we eat today were of course edible, but were they like modern varieties?  No.

Where did Paleolithic people live?  Would ancient populations living in Siberia have eaten the same foods as Africans in the tropics, or those who lived in Northern Mexico or Australia?  The Paleo-Indians in North America followed herds of local game and they ate a variety of native plants of their region.  Paleolithic peoples, depending on their environment, had very different [glossary]subsistence[/glossary] patterns.

The Culture and Food free course at examines Origins of Human Diets, the Globalization of Obesity, Green Genes (why green plants are a boon to any diet), and the Paleolithic Palate, questioning whether such a “diet” is sustainable for a planet with 10 billion people.

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