Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Is this a Paleo styled meal?

Did our Paleolithic ancestors of over twelve thousand years ago enjoy a 500 calorie meal like this? Surprisingly, the answer is 'sort of.

The Paleolithic Period coincides almost exactly with the Pleistocene epoch of geologic time, which lasted from 2.6 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago. This epoch experienced important geographic and climatic changes that affected most human societies. The ice age was drawing to a close and the planet was getting warmer which resulted in increased migrations of these people across the continents.
Definitely the wrong dietary direction...

How these people lived is sketchy. Nearly all of our knowledge of Paleolithic human culture and their way of life comes from archaeology and ethnographic comparisons to modern hunter-gatherer cultures such as the Kung San who live similarly to their Paleolithic predecessors. The economy of a typical Paleolithic society was a hunter-gatherer economy. Humans hunted wild animals for meat and gathered food, firewood, and materials for their tools, clothes, or shelters.

Human population density was very low, around only one person per square mile. This was most likely due to low body fat, infanticide, women regularly engaging in intense endurance exercise, late weaning of infants and a nomadic lifestyle. Like contemporary hunter-gatherers, Paleolithic humans enjoyed an abundance of leisure time unparalleled in both Neolithic farming societies and modern industrial societies. At the end of the Paleolithic, specifically the Middle and or Upper Paleolithic, humans began to produce works of art such as cave paintings, rock art and jewelry and began to engage in religious behavior such as burial and ritual

Paleolithic hunting and gathering people ate varying proportions of vegetables (including tubers/roots), fruit, seeds (including nuts and wild grass seeds) and insects, meat, fish, and shellfish. However, there is little direct evidence of the relative proportions of plant and animal foods. Although the term "paleolithic diet", without references to a specific time frame or locale, is sometimes used with an implication that most humans shared a certain diet during the entire era, that is not entirely accurate. The Paleolithic was an extended period of time, during which multiple technological advances were made, many of which had impact on human dietary structure. For example, humans probably did not possess the control of fire until the Middle Paleolithic, or tools necessary to engage in extensive fishing.

On the other hand, both these technologies are generally agreed to have been widely available to humans by the end of the Paleolithic (consequently, allowing humans in some regions of the planet to rely heavily on fishing and hunting). What is generally agreed upon is that the average human of that time was; muscular and lean, suffered zero heart attacks or strokes, had no dental problems and died rather young only due to injury or predation by wild animals. Not a bad role model for modern man to try and follow.

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