A lot of paleolithic diet and exercise books, many how to be a hunter-gatherer guides for the suburbanites, and numerous biologically-based-sounding self-help volumes based mainly on woo have been produced since The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living was published in 1989. To my knowledge, none of the subsequent books has been as useful or as well done, even if TPP requires some updating.

I’m not recommending the book as a self help guide, but rather, as a way of linking the scientific evidence for human diet and activity, based mainly on work with living foragers, with your own process of making choices. Konner and Shostak, of course, worked and lived with the Bushmen during the Harvard-Kalahari project. Mel wrote the excellent overview of the biology of behavior that if you ever took a class from me I probably made you read: The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit, which is still very much worth reading. Marjorie wrote Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman, also very much worth the read. (Yeah, I made you read that one too.)

The Paleolithic Prescription was based in part on a paper published in JAMA by the same authors. I like the fact that this is a “self help” book for regular people based on a peer reviewed paper in a medical journal, as opposed to some crazy idea some guy got while stoned on eating too many sesame seeds or something.

Comments

  1. #1 megan
    May 10, 2011

    Eating healthy unprocessed foods and fresh vegetables, drinking more water, juices, teas and consuming raised protein sources meat, fish, plant or bird is a better diet with increased physical activity. Moving around in a garden or walking or not sitting around the house but cleaning or standing more. That’s the concept I’ve taken from the ‘paleo diet’ and reduced my genetic family tendency for type II diabetic symptoms. Nutritional research isn’t woo. And lab structured food pellets or GMO mass produced food isn’t an any better woo nor has a longterm tested results like the hunter/gather live style.

    I’m getting tired of the new schtick of scientists and atheists in seeking to stamp out obvious unsupported myth rampaging headlong against anything that isn’t what THEY are into, as if they are higher in applying logic and reason than anyone else, thus putting themselves into the SAME self righteous demagoguery platform as theological priests and politicians. Humility, self awareness paired with an agnostic type skepticism is required to deal with the world, IMHO.

    But research on the negative human dietary & environmental changes from massive grain production and herding is well known. The explosion of the human population like a bacterial bloom isn’t a sign of evolutionary success but short term boom&bust production result of the last 200yr since the discovery of ‘endless energy sources’ of petroleum and atomic. The earlier use of naturally restricted renewable sources of waterwheels, windmills and physical efforts by human/animals kept our innate lifeform expansion greed in check. The present human lifestyle isn’t sustainable, viable nor ethical in the resulting suffering caused to the human race and the planet. Oh but then like the Christians who call environmentalism a new religion and evol, for priestly scientists seeking to stamp out woo must consider it evol woo as well?

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    May 10, 2011

    megan, did you not read past the first sentence, or are you talking about other, unspecified “priestly scientists seeking to stamp out woo”?

  3. #3 MadScientist
    May 10, 2011

    Paleolithic diet? Does that involve eating pebbles like certain birds do? Ah, good ol’ ‘Golden Age’ idolatry.

  4. #4 P Smith
    May 11, 2011

    This is one of those “Water is wet” stories.

    Wow, the best way to be healtyh is by eating raw plant matter and roughage, combined with wild game that has little fat on it? Who would have thought of that?

    It reminds me of an item I saw 2-3 years ago: Someone said that commercially mass produced shoes cause most foot problems and that it’s best to walk barefoot on natural surfaces like grass and dirt. Who would have ever expected that living the way humans did for 90% of our evolved existence would be beneficial to our health?

    .

  5. #5 paulmurray
    May 17, 2011

    “Someone said that commercially mass produced shoes cause most foot problems and that it’s best to walk barefoot on natural surfaces like grass and dirt.”

    “Bob” has been saying that for years. There’s simply no other way to massage the foot-gland than walking on it.