Why Paleo Recipes Are A Scam
About a year ago I lost a lot of stubborn extra weight by switching to a strict Paleo diet. For about two months I ate just meat, fish, organ meat, fresh herbs, fruit and nuts. One thing led to another and I started working out actively – the excess energy and great mood caused were the reasons.
I can safely say I respect the Paleo diet more than any other possible ‘diet’ system out there. I find the concept logical, I love the natural emphasis and probably 90% of foods I eat now can be called “paleo”. Yet when I see a phrase “paleo recipe” I cringe.
The main idea of the Paleo diet is to eat like people ate before they invented agriculture. That is, eat like hunters and gatherers ate – because we’ve been hunters and gatherers for a lot longer than we’ve been growing our food. The premise is: wheat, rice, legumes, sugars and dairy are not the best staple foods for our body.
The idea of modern “paleo recipes”, however, is to keep you eating all the familiar dishes that made you so fat and unhealthy in the first place. Paleo cupcakes, paleo lasagna, paleo pancakes, paleo chocolate, — I mean these are all real things I see online every day! All that stuff is invented to keep you munching your life away. To eat “paleo” without actually living paleo! That is not possible. The main part of Paleo is living Paleo, not just dieting. Diets themselves are a big lie.
Once again: if you are looking for paleo recipes, you are trying to fool yourself into eating the right way. What happens is you eat the right stuff in wrong form. You are being stuck in your kitchen to please your gut, guess what – it’s the most anti-Paleo thing to do.
So how did the hunters and gatherers live?
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, one of the brightest thinkers of today, stresses that hunters and gatherers did not eat regularly, and praises intermittent fasting.
Eating irregularly makes a lot of sense within the Paleo diet. Hunting is not easy and neither it is predictable. People could go for a week without fresh meet, feeding on berries and nuts – and they’d be feasting once they managed to hunt down an animal.
Not being selective.
Once you hunt down an animal you don’t just cut out the fillet and chuck the rest. People ate organ meat, gristle and bone marrow – and you should too if you’re into paleo dieting. Organ meet is a unique source of vitamins you’d need to be getting from pills otherwise. Both mainstream and slightly unconventional nutrition schools praise organ meats.
Not overthinking cooking.
There was very little time to cook, not to mention the absence of advanced utensils or equipment. The most people ever did to fruit was drying and fermenting, meat was fire-roasted or baked in ashes. That is why the idea of a “paleo pie” is an oxymoron and an abomination. There are no paelo blenders and no paleo ovens. There’s food, there’s fire and there’s the sun, — use those to cook.
Normal lifestyle of a hunter/gatherer tribe implies short bursts of intense activity mixed with longer periods of rest or mild activity. Gather berries – run away from a bear – hide. Or – lie in an ambush – chase animal -feast. Imagine: walking and running are the only ways to get anywhere. Cutting out any other transportation would alone solve anyone’s excess weight problem forever.
“Like contemporary hunter-gatherers, Paleolithic humans enjoyed an abundance of leisure time unparalleled in Neolithic farming societies” says Wikipedia. A Paleo lifestyle person has proper time off work to create and contemplate. Living Paleo means finding reasons in the world around you, thinking, inventing and leaving beautiful paintings in caves. Every hour you spend in your kitchen checking with that recipe on your phone’s screen is hurting your soul.
“eh… so what do I cook?”
Cook food for yourself, not “dishes”. Learn to uncook your food and ditch the recipe mentality for good.
All recipes are worthless because they make you indulge in eating. Instead, cook just enough to sanitize and make food edible.
Roast, grill or boil your meat until it is safe to eat; wash and peel your vegetables and greens. That’s it.
If you feel like eating a “treat” make a combination using common sense, not some food blogger’s ego.
Meat goes well with salads, nuts go well with fruit & honey, dairy is awesome with berries. There, I just laid out the foundation for around 300 recipes from all over the world, bearing different names and cooking methods.
When you restore natural tastebud sensitivity being fit is easier. The junk food problem gets solved by itself, and other problems disappear too: you don’t over-complicate cooking, you have no time to waste in the kitchen and you need less additives to your food.
What if you need to cater to friends and family and cook conventional food? This problem is bursting like a bubble because you’re the only one enforcing it. Baby food is simple and clean – it’s just veggies or meat boiled in water and blended into paste. Our toddlers eat that and love it, it’s only later that we spoil their taste by cooking conventional dishes. There will be zero problems teaching your family to live without recipes as long as your food is fresh, hearty and abundant.
No shortcuts to honest life
Sure, paleolithic population had shorter life span. Most probably lack of basic medication and hygiene was the reason – but we’ve taken care of that by now. It’s time to revert the rest of our lives to honesty.
What we need to fight today are the diseases of affluence – obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, coronary diseases. Paelolithic people never knew those, and you won’t either if you start living Paleo.
You can’t be on a paleo diet and eat foods typical for agricultural societies all day. You will snap and break down reverting all your weight loss success. Instead, make your dieting effortless by changing your tastes.
You can’t just download a bunch of recipes from some food blogger and expect life changes. Paleo Diet requires paleo life, and recipes are only an obstruction.