Pedro forwarded an amazing story of strength, determination and courage: The Lamalera Whale hunters of Indonesia. These traditional fisher-people weave thier sails from palm fronds, fashion boats without nails and lances which typify technology nearly 200 thousand years old. One thing I find intersting is the physiques on these hunters. They are not “big” in a bloated bodybuilding sense, but they look like they could handle themselves in a scrap pretty well.
One of the common misconceptions/counter arguments about the paleo diet is that our ancestors “just didn’t eat much meat…animals run away…plants are easier”. At first blush this kinda makes sense, until you trek across ANY open landscape and imagine fueling your life with the vegetation available under foot. Work your way to northern latitudes and the likelihood dwindles further. Anthropologists and archaeologists are fully aware of our ancestors’ prowess as hunters, whether the vegetarians want to buy this proposition or not. This debate becomes something akin to a tennis volley or a little kid’s argument “Yes it is!, No it’s not!!” I guess you can dismiss the obvious like the archaeological record, but there are other arguments that border on first order, foundational notions. Here are a few papers to consider:
Physical Activity, energy expenditure and fitness. This is an analysis of contemporary hunter gatherers and extrapolations from archaeological data. The take-home is our ancestors were VERY active and burned a lot of K-cals in that activity. From this we consider the next paper:
Plant to Animal Subsistence Ratios. This is an analysis of over 200 hunter gatherer groups and what they ate. Two interesting things emerge: A-more than 50% of cals came from animal sources. B-It is thermodynamically IMPOSSIBLE to feed the activity level of our ancestors on the plants available to our paleolithic ancestors. You either need a fermentive gut and must spend all day grazing like a cow or a gorilla, or you need to kill something. As a side note: There was never a vegetarian hunter gatherer group..or perhaps there was and they died off, but they left no descendants. You do not find vegetarianims until the advent of agriculture.
Exercise and Gene expression. The Frank Booth classic makes the point: If we are not exercising like our ancestors we are broken. Validation from the human genome project: We are wired to live a highly active existence. If this is the case, there is only one way we fed this activity: Large amount of meat from our VERY successful hunting forays.
This whole thing becomes pretty straight forward when you start with the basics and work your way through the thought process. Oddly enough, you even have coroborating evidence from multiple disciplines, thermodynamic validation and predictive value. The vegetarian spin on this offers NONE of this. Not trying to pick a fight, just making a point. In the face of this point however folks like T. Colin Campbel simply dismiss evolution as a driver in health and wellness! Ah, the best way to win a fight is simply don’t show up.
Book Update: Working on chapter 2. Like I mentioned before, I have dedicated deadlines. The introduction was the toughest part…it has always been that way when I do articles. I’m a build it from the ground-up person so that initial hashing out of my work can be like threading large gauge wire through my nostrils. I’m pretty pumped to finally get moving forward on the book but I will be VERY glad when it is done. I have a load of blog ideas and I really find this more fun than the organization of a book. Think productive thoughts for me!