What Our Ancestors Ate, and Why it Doesn’t Matter

Following a diet that was created to simulate the eating habits of people who lived over 10,000 years ago is not only unhealthy, but irrational.  While our DNA is unchanged, the world we live in is quite different.  Furthermore, we don’t live in a time of famine, disease, and constant war that our distant relatives were forced to endure.  We should be learning from the past, but focusing on the future.
It is no secret that we are heading for nutritional problems far different than any culture has ever witnessed. The food industry is ever changing and we must adapt quicker than ever.  The USDA and its conspirators have manipulated food to the extent that it resembles very little of what our ancestors ate.  With our genetically modified soybeans and corn, pink slime, and test-tube meat, we can’t compare our eating situation to that of ancient people.  We must look well past that, and decide what’s best for our diets today.  And that’s why I say, “It doesn’t matter what our ancestors ate.”
The Lives of Early Humans
Here’s what Rip Esselstyn (author of My Beef with Meat) says about the paleo diet:
For early humans, meat was a concentrated package of calories and nutrients that fueled their incredibly labor-intensive lifestyles at a time when food scarcity was common. As nutrition expert Dr. John McDougall writes: “A traditional Arctic Eskimo, living in a subfreezing climate, could expend 6,000 calories and more a day just to keep warm and hunt for food. The high-fat animal food sources—fish, walrus, whale, and seal—from his local environment were the most practical means of meeting the demands of those rigorous surroundings.”
 
However, modern life, with its office jobs, cars, and central heating, does not exactly impose the same physical demands on the human body. For this reason, those concentrated packages of calories and nutrients don’t make sense, says Dr. McDougall. “Modern Eskimos living in heated houses and driving around in their climate-controlled SUVs, still consuming a high-meat diet, have become some of the fattest and sickest people on earth.”  
 
“Meat eating may well have played an important part in our human past. In hunter-gatherer societies, where bringing home the bison was a full-time job, meat was a calorie-packed supplement to an otherwise plant-based diet. But in the twenty-first century, most of us have full-time jobs where failure doesn’t imply starvation. We are trying to take calories out of our diets, not pack them in. Food is readily available in the most benign hunting ground imaginable—the supermarket.”
 
Today’s animals are bred for their meat; starting on a congested feedlot and transported into a factory where they endure much pain and suffering.  They are systematically processed as if their lives meant nothing at all.  The antibiotics used and the diseases they carry far separate them from what they once were.  Furthermore, they are raised in some of the harshest conditions, where they’re overcrowded, undernourished, and up to their knees in filth.  How could eating sick animals make us healthy?  It may surprise you to know that the USDA actually allows sick animals to be processed as meat, as long as the meat is washed in a brine of ammonia.  These “sanitized” meats end up in drive-thrus, your favorite diners, and (even worse) your kids’ schools.
Is Paleo Even Possible?
 
Another problem with the paleo diet is that it’s not environmentally sustainable or practical. Our society makes it impossible to eat exactly as our ancestors did. For example, wild game is not readily available as most of the meat we consume has been domesticated. Only a small percent of cattle is grass-fed; the majority is raised on corn and other grains which are unnatural sources of food for the animals. To raise cattle on grass would require larger amounts of land.  If more people jumped on this prehistoric diet we would see higher rates of greenhouse gases produced, adding to the crisis of global warming.  According to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute, a staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture.
Even the plant-based food we eat has changed; it has been processed rather than grown and gathered in the wild.  And companies like Monsanto are designing seeds in labs that will ward off insects and pests.  One such GMO seed produces toxins to kill insects that attempt to eat it.  These seeds are actually labeled as insecticides and we eat them!
As you can see, things have changed in the last 10,000 years.  What our ancestors ate has little to do with the way in which we should nourish our bodies today.  We must think outside of the box and stay a step ahead of Big Ag and the USDA, which are biasedly operated by corporate leaders – the same leaders who pushed their weight to have meat and dairy included in the food pyramid.  If you take a look at Harvard’s food pyramid (which is based on unbiased scientific studies), you’ll notice that meat is mentioned only to alert you not to eat it.
As I mentioned before, we need to focus on what is good for us today.  Thinking like a caveman is not going to save us from the clever tactics of the meat and dairy industries.  We need to stop and take a look around us.  How healthy is the society in which we live?  What are the people around us eating? Who is giving us our nutritional advice?  A doctor who makes money from prescribing medication?  Although they seem simple, these questions may save your life.
I will leave you with this quote…
  “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Wayne Gretzky
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