an imaginative look a palaeolithic life

Pros and cons of the paleo diet

I originally posted this in an online forum.  I think it makes a better blog post than forum post though.

pros

– you get lots of exercise hunting food
– you get lots of exercise walking around the countryside gathering food
– meat cooked on an open fire tastes great
– it’s really, really healthy
– you won’t get fat because you can’t eat without catching your food first
– sitting around a campfire with your neanderthal/Denisovan/Homo heidelbergensis/Homo erectus* friends while the meat cooks will be nice and fun and relaxing
– living outdoors at one with nature is really good for that inner sense of well-being that’s so hard to find in modern society

*choose which you identify with most, or whichever best matches your cranial capacity

cons

– it can be hard to get enough fat and carbohydrate. Well, protein, vitamins and minerals can be hard to get too. Food, generally, is not easy to get. So you might be hungry a lot. Hopefully you won’t die of it though.
– it’s really really hard to make effective hunting weapons using only stone tools.
– neanderthal skeletons show injury patterns similar to rodeo riders, i.e there’s a high risk of getting your bones broken while catching food. Upper palaeolithic hunting methods (i.e. with projectile weapons) are safer, but good luck making accurate throwing spears and bows and arrows and similar out of flint, wood and animal sinew….
– flint and iron pyrite are hard to find, without these starting fires is really hard. it’s not that easy even with flint and iron pyrite.
– you can only eat fruit for part of the year, unless you find yourself a nice tropical rainforest to live in, and then you’d be in competition for it with other primates who are much better at climbing trees than you
– tropical rainforests are full of nasty, poisonous bugs, snakes and stuff. A more temperate climate would be safer, but the food that you’d eat to survive the winter is more likely to be tough and taste yucky
– palaeolithic clothing doesn’t look that great. Well, upper palaeolithic clothing probably did look quite fancy and attractive….. but you need to be able to make a needle out of flint before you can make it. Even making a middle palaeolithic flint awl for lace/strap holes in skins for middle palaeolithic clothing is beyond your flintknapping abilities. Heck, there’s a bonobo called Kanzi who’s a better flintknapper than you… you’ll be lucky to manage to make lower palaeolithic stone tools so forget clothes and just go naked. Not sure how you’ll survive the winter like that though, unless you live somewhere tropical with all the bugs and snakes and stuff.
– no bread, cake, chocolate, in fact pretty much none of the food that you know, other than barbequed meat, because most of it came from selective breeding, or the Americas, or other parts of Africa/Eurasia that are not where you live, so you won’t be able to find it.
– and no internet, so you can’t even look up on you tube to learn how to make stone tools to reclaim your right to call yourself human and say “in your face!” to any bonobo upstarts who are trying to out-Homo the genus Homo.

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