So, what difference does all of this make to The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is based on the evolutionary concepts that man was not created but has existed for millions of years, living as hunter-gatherers, consuming meats, vegetables, and fruits. According to this philosophy, grains (and dairy) were not consumed by humans until recent history around 10,000-12,000 years ago, when man began to settle down in one place, cultivate the fields and domesticate animals. Ironically, “young earth” creationists believe that the earth was formed around 10,000 years ago or less-- this view can be validated by calculating the generations from Adam to Yeshua (Jesus). So, that would mean that mankind was cultivating crops and domesticating animals from the very beginning. And the first book of the Torah confirms this as well (“Breishit” is Hebrew for “In the beginning”, or “Genesis” in Greek).
In fact, without making this blog a refutation of evolution (which is better accomplished by experts such as Ken Ham and Kent Hovind, I will assert my belief that the first people were likely brilliant beyond compare to today’s brain-numbed video game addicts and nutrient-starved, over-fed couch potatoes! Breishit (Genesis) speaks of two brothers in the first several generations after creation who worked bronze and played instruments (4:21-22). Ancient men such as Cain even built cities, with nomads continuing to exist side-by-side with these civilizations, even as they do today on every continent around the world. Adam is credited with naming all of the animals displaying his creativity and intelligence, Job recorded that the stars sing, and modern science validates this through the Symphony of the Universe!
It is important to note that primitive diets were not at all identical. There was variation in lifestyle, technology, and even diets among ancient peoples depending on geography and climate, just as there are variations today. People groups near the sea consumed very different foods from those who lived in desert or mountainous regions far from the seas. In fact, some societies are still living in “The Stone Age,” so to speak. A case in point is “primitive” people groups on Sentinel Island, the Andaman Islands, and other places throughout the world. They still hunt, gather, use tools and weapons made of wood and stone and eat a traditional whole-food diet, and they do not face the health modern “diseases of affluence” that civilized nations face today. These were the exact findings of Dr. Weston A. Price who travelled the world studying traditional peoples in the 1920-1930s, and he found that dental deformities and other health conditions did not exist among the people groups who consumed a traditional diet, albeit a VERY different traditional diet from another group on the other side of the globe.
My point in all of this is that The Paleo Diet asserts a huge change in diet after the Paleolithic Era which caused a rapid decline in health, and this change just so happens to coincide with the biblical account of creation. At creation, man ate a plant-based diet INCLUDING GRAINS, and shortly thereafter began to consume meat AND dairy products as well. I contend that although man’s health has been declining since his fall to sin just after creation, man was not substantially less healthy as a result of his diet-- after all, the soils were replete with minerals, there were no pesticides or environmental toxins, and foods were not genetically modified.
Additionally, a decline in health has always been linked to EXCESS consumption of certain foods, and most notably to high glycemic foods: “If you find honey, eat just enough-- too much of it, and you will vomit.”-- Mishlei (Proverbs) 25:16. The diet of the wealthy throughout history has typically meant a decline in health due to an excess of some sort, whether it be wine, fatty meats, sweets or a combination of several of these. More recently processed foods, which are also high glycemic, have wreaked havoc on our health. Pandora’s Lunchbox says that 70% of American caloric intake is from processed foods, and others have been quoted saying that while one hundred years ago only 5% of the American diet was composed of processed foods, today only 5% of the American diet is NOT processed according to some statistics! So, processed foods may constitute up to 95% of the American diet, and given that 1/3 of American children eat fast food every day according to Michael Pollan, this higher figure could be realistic.
The Paleo Diet has helped many people restore their health by getting them to cut the “white trash” out of their diets and consume high quality whole foods instead. It reduces inflammation because people are no longer eating excessive amounts of sugars, refined salt, unhealthy fats and modern GMO grains. These are all good things, but from a biblical perspective, there are some holes in The Paleo Diet philosophy, and I really take issue with theories that question G-d’s original dietary wisdom. If you missed the first four installments of this series, check them out starting here.
What about you? Agree or disagree with The Paleo Diet or the issues I have raised here? I would love to hear your thoughts!
If you have enjoyed this blog series and want to learn more about ancient health and beauty practices, download a FREEcopy of my eBook called Back to Biblical Health for Women. And while you are at it, pass the link on to a friend too!
L’chaim-- To Life!