Woman, the hunter


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This is what you will look like if you eat tasty animals

Some of the most common comments on blogs post related to the NYT paleo article seem to contend that we are idiots because meat was a rare treat in the paleolithic and most of the food came from women who gathered tubers and nuts.

Well, I eat tubers and nuts, but these misconceptions seem to be some legacy of politically correct nutrition education. Modern hunter-gatherers do rely heavily on tubers and nuts, but these populations are not representitive of paleolithic populations. The few modern hunter-gatherer populations left live in highly marginal environments are not models of the stone age. Thankfully, we do have isotopic analysis, which allows us to know that paleolithic humans ate meat and plenty of it.

Anthropologist Richard Wrangham is among the few that believe that tubers were very important in our evolution into humans, but most anthropologists consider tubers and nuts inadequate for providing the nutrients that would support the large human brain.

Gathering was important, but it's also important to remember that what anthropologists consider gathering includes foraging for shellfish, insects, and small game. The misconception that women didn't engage in hunting has led to lots of misguided stereotypes of women meekly digging for potatoes while men roamed the plains with spears.

Humans seem to eat tubers when they can, as they are a rich source of calories, but they are not rich in much else. And nuts make little sense as a food we evolved on considering how rich they are in omega-6 fatty acids, which overwhelming cause inflammation in humans.

In a good environment, even a decent hunter could procure some kind of flesh. Big game might have been rare, but there is no evidence that humanity evolved on a plant-based diet. I don't mean to downplay the importance of plants, as I eat plenty of them myself, but seafoods and meat provide nutrients they simply are inefficient in providing.

I hope to post more about this, as well as the other misguided idea that gorilla diets have much to tell us about the optimal human diet (hint: despite the digestive similarities, we don't have large enough colons to make the conversion of fiber into fatty acids a viable food source).

An Italian reporter asked me if I have a "paleo" boyfriend...haha, I don't and actually my boyfriend is pretty adverse to meat and fish, but thankfully part of the way I eat is vegetables and lots of them! I just try to steer boyfriend away from the most processed frankensoy foods and to my delicious pumpkin bisque and crunchy kale.