Beginner's Guide to Eating Paleo

Courtesy of Spaniard from Return of Kings:
The paleo lifestyle’s the first step in honing the discipline many of us never learned from our absent fathers. The lifestyle, known as the barbarian or caveman lifestyle, has been gaining in popularity in recent years. There’s many variations of the diet, but in essence it boils down to this, if a pre-agricultural human could eat it: then it’s allowed. Conversely, if a pre-agricultural human was unlikely to have access to it, it’s not allowed. With the paleo diet, when a person is full, their body will let them know. The paleo diet is high in proteins, leading to adherents feeling full for a long time after having a meal. This is not the case when eating meals consisting primarily of grains like pasta, which provide a fleeting sense of fullness due to their low nutrient density, resulting in multiple high calorie meals throughout the day which leave their consumers continuously hungry, yet, paradoxically, larger and larger.
Humans like diversity in their palate, and the paleo diet provides this, making it easy to follow. Unlike the typical American diet, which could best be described as “one thousand ways to prepare nutrient sparse grains and two thousand ways to eat sugar,” the paleo diet has actual variety to it, instead of the illusory variety experienced by those that think that eating a meal of lasagna with soda pop on Monday, pizza with soda pop on Tuesday, and spaghetti with soda pop on Wednesday is a diverse diet. That’s a diet whose calories derive primarily from grains and sugar, a complete lack of diversity, and additionally, a recipe for obesity due to the propensity for overeating that diet creates.
A sample paleo diet meal would consist of a pound of salmon and a side of broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower on Monday, a pound of t-bone steak and a side of mushrooms and asparagus on Tuesday, and eggs with tomatoes, onions, and avocados on Wednesday, with all three days including blueberries, oranges, apples, and bananas as snacks throughout the day. The paleo menu, although occupying only a fraction of the supermarket space that’s occupied by the components of the average American diet, is intrinsically more nutritionally diverse than the average American diet, is easy to follow, and is heavy on proteins, making it easy for adherents to stay on the right path, the path to manliness.
All I can say is that once you go Paleo, you'll never go back. It's incredibly easy to eat this way, but it took me a long while to completely give up rice, bread, and pasta. Once I did, though, it became clear that I didn't miss it. At all. I can't even drink beer anymore unless it's a proper German steinlager or hefeweizen brewed with serious hops.

In a broader context, the two most common criticisms that I've heard of the Paleo diet are that it is too expensive and that it is unsustainable for a global human population.

To the former, I ask: what exactly is palatable about the alternative? Today the healthcare systems of most Western nations are nearing complete collapse due to the number of straining geriatrics suffering from heart disease, obesity, cancer, and dementia brought on by senility. Hunter-gatherers from both Paleolithic and modern times suffer from almost none of these diseases, and it was and is common for such folk to live to a ripe old age if they avoid injuries or death in the hunting process.

To the latter, I say: true. The Paleo approach to life means eating what the human body was always designed to eat and digest. The agricultural revolution allows us to produce food faster, more cheaply, and more easily than ever before- and it is simple fact that without the advent of agriculture, humanity would not have expanded nearly so quickly. Whether you view this as a good or bad thing (being the misanthrope that I am, I tend to be pretty ambivalent on the subject), it is true that eating this way is unsustainable for the rest of humanity- the sheer amount of resources required to support grass-fed livestock or pastured pigs or truly free-range chickens is immense relative to the CAFO operations that seek to extract the most economic value from the fewest resources.

Don't let that stop you, though. Your health is the single greatest asset in which you can invest. Without it, everything else becomes meaningless- money, sex, wisdom, power, everything. Going Paleo is the first step on a much longer and more interesting road. I'd say you owe it to yourself to start walking.


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