“Paleo” means whatever the person saying it wants it to mean. No more and no less. The actual diet eaten in most of paleolithic history has little in common with most of what gets eaten by anyone who is not eating mostly game (including organs and marrow), fish, poultry, and some collection of vegetables especially root ones. Modern beef is far far from “paleo.”
I think the idea behind paleo is roughly to get the right macronutrient balance compared to what humans have eaten throughout most of our history. So significantly less carbs. Primarily to get insulin response into a useful range rather than constantly pegging the dial.
There’s probably a lot of naturalistic fallacy assumptions on top of that about the nature of artificial food, defined however you like artificial to be.
But I assume fundamentally it isn’t a caveman diet simulator, but rather a reflection of what our bodies evolved to handle. Within that construct, almond flour sounds fine. Almonds have a pretty good macronutrient profile. And I think the to make almond flour, you just blanch and grind them. Sweet potato flour apparently just requires you to chop up sweet potatoes, bake them until they harden, and then mill them into powder. Nothing about that sounds grossly unnatural somehow, and while I’m sure almonds, sweet potatoes, and chestnuts have all undergone selective breeding and even genetic engineering, I doubt the change they’ve undergone and processing they require is nearly as dramatic as wheat, corn, etc.
Almonds are a funny choice because “paleo” ancestors had a really high chance of poisoning themselves on the bitter, cyanide-containing varieties. We aren’t even sure how they managed to reliably pick out and select for growing the sweet ones (as wild bitter ones still grow where almonds were first cultivated), and although they seem to have been the first domesticated nut that didn’t happen until maybe 3000 BC.
That being said, I think almonds are great! It’s just funny how much human intervention was required to reliably not die or at least not harm yourself while eating them.
There are a fair amount of foods that can kill you, that animals can eat just fine [don’t eat any random berries even if you see monkeys eating them as an example.] Tapioca comes from a root that has to be processed to be eaten, acorns are almost ungodly bitter until you take a couple weeks to soak the tannins out, cashews are related to poison ivy and the hulls can cause the same blistery reaction. Back in the usenet days I was on some funky raw-whatever diet list, and got a shitstorm because I am positive that raw wheat can be eaten without killing a person - I used to grab it by the handful when I was 8 years old and skipping out to the woods to lurk and read and wanted a snack. I must have eaten a couple pounds of raw wheat right off the stalk any given summer and I don’t seem to be dead. I have also harvested and eaten raw grass seed, which in the right unmowed field is almost as productive as commercial wheat [just way tinier grains].
I think the way people practice the random diets by trying to find ingredients that will make the same old junk food just in their defined diet annoying - it would be a lot healthier if they just embraced the ingredients they can use and find tasty ways to use them. I make a kick ass quinoa pilaf, and I don’t try to make it fake the pasta/rice combination as quinoa has its own flavor profile.
I think any wild nut or tuber or whatever might have been pounded and made into a kind of mush, or even cooked like pancakes back in “caveman times”. Even the seeds of wild grasses. Just no domesticated forms.
Exactly. Standard paleo is a healthy way to eat primarily because it specifies using whole foods with no or very minimal processing.
Making “paleo” pancakes with almond butter and bananas avoids gluten, but is very questionably “healthier” overall than regular pancakes. Emulating junk food with more nutritionally-dense starting ingredients is still probably pretty crappy for you. Waving the magic “paleo” wand over your junk food because you used “approved” ingredients doesn’t make it healthy, it just makes it less shitty than Ho-Hos.
I have come to find that “paleo” = the same sort of crap you might get from natural news (up to and including advising against vaccination). I am sure there is some evidence based scientifically accurate stuff out there but so far all I have seen is rubbish and woo.
Plus following a Paleo diet can be very expensive. Think about it: You’re basically eating meat and vegetables. Have you seen the price of ribeye lately? In the dead of winter like now you’re going to pay premium prices for out-of-season veggies too.
I have a couple of friends who tried doing Paleo last year. They lasted almost two weeks on it then threw in the towel. One of them claims that man was never meant to restrict his/her diet to that extent.
I think that a lot of the funktastic diets must come from people living in California, with the generous growing seasons and interesting variety of ethnic foods to choose from [especially the locavore stuff. If we tried to eat locavore right now I would have mrAru out killing rabbits and peeling bark for inner lining to try to stave of starvation.]
I am very glad we have food shipped in from all over, being diabetic with high blood pressure one thing I do avoid is dried and preserved fruits or really anything with a high sugar or salt content [which is a shame, I used to adore dried fruit as a snack growing up and my favorite junk food is pretzels.] While I did grow up in the tail end of the 20th century food desert, being able to actually buy decent vegetables and fruits fresh is wonderful.
For people wpndering why I refer to it as a food desert, let me open a window into the recent past of living in small town USA. Picture the town grocery store, an IGA. Walk in the front door and get your cart. Think of it as any random time of year. In the fruit and veggie aisle, you will find: potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, celery, lettuce [iceberg], turnips, rutabagas/swedes, winter squash[typically hubbard] and apples, lemons, limes, pears, bananas and seasonal fruits in their season - grapes, oranges, pumpkins. Getting a case of mixed oranges and grapefruit in the beginning of January from relatives in Florida or California was a big deal. Dried fruits were available all year around - raisins, prunes, dates and mixed candied fruits for baking. You could get Birdseye or a couple other brands of frozen vegetables, and there were several brands of canned fruits and vegetables available all year long. In the meat department you had beef - ground or in the form of whole muscle - roasts, steaks, stew meat and liver. Chicken whole or cut into pieces. Pig - picnic ham, raw pork butt [what gets turned into ham when preserved], chops, roasts, sausages. Turkey and lamb were seasonal, getting lamb other than around Easter was impossible unless you knew a farmer. Getting Turkey other than around Thanksgiving or Christmas meant either knowing a farmer or going out and killing one yourself. Fish was frozen or dried - most people I knew that didn’t fish or knew someone who fished had only ever had ‘fish sticks’, dried fish rehydrated or Friday’s/Lent’s deep fried cod or haddock fillets with tartar sauce. Don’t get me wrong, fish fry as done in Western NY is fantastic if the place is good, and where we went it was fantastic!
In general in most areas of the US were pretty white bread, families that had been over from Europe long enough to have assimilated with the white bread White Anglo Saxon Protestant original population of the US. So food was boring, routine and nonethnic. The whole joke about Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Night is pretty true, families fell into routines of Sunday being a roast chicken, or pot roast, or something fairly formal, people did things like always having fish on Friday, Mondays was always Sunday leftovers, always having meatloaf on Tuesdays… spicing was salt, pepper, bay leaf, dried herbs like parsley and sage. It took the GIs coming back from Italy to get pizza and pasta popular, and from Japan, Korea, Hawaii to get the few scattered Chinese places as popular as they are now. Our GIs brought back wives, and the taste for odd spices. People moved around the country and introduced Tex-Mex to the north, and maple syrup to the south. The culturati college dwelling types snuck out of cover and made food interesting with asking for weird ethnic stuff that most people had never heard of. The Hmong snuck into the Central Valley and started raising their strange and interesting veggies, and the displaced Balkanites came to the East coast and started raising their foods.
Be thankful for living now, when food isn’t rationed and we have more than the basics. I certainly am. [though my mom does have some Depression recipes that are fairly tasty, and some WW2 era ration recipies that are pretty palatable for being so restricted in fat and sugar use.]