Monday, 19 March 2012

Eating By The Earth

We don't have to kill our own food today to practice the paleo food lifestyle BUT many people do not comprehend what 'living off the land' really looks like until you ask them to 'find your food' rather than shop for it.

Part of a paleo/primal diet is about being more aware of the earth around us and what it has to offer.

What would you eat if there were no grocery store? Go outside. Why not? The weather's nice enough. Look around. What do you see that is edible? What is the most abundant and easy to collect?

Does access change seasonally? Regionally? What would you have to do if you had no access to grocery stores for a year?

Would we eat seeds or would it be more prudent to leave the seeds to make more plants as plants have many leaves and many leaves will fill more stomachs than a few seeds?

Would we consume the milk of an animal or let the animal's offspring drink the milk so that we would have the grown off-spring to make stew with through the winter?

There are many more similar questions that I constantly have floating around me.

I never seem to get tired of considering them. :)

Here is a pretty cool write-up done by students, reviewing current beliefs about the evolution of diet practices: Prehistoric Life

Of what current tribal hunting/gathering practices yield: Early Ancestors

And a very cool article about how science is changing ideas about what has been eaten in the past based on dental etchings: Rethinking Food Intake of the Caveman

I like to imagine what I might think if there were no grocery stores.

When I think about it, I always begin with spring.  At that time, the easiest thing to get is greens (in warm weather months), later in the season, fruit and birds.  (Killing two birds with one stone so-to-speak lol).  Collecting and drying this type of food for winter use would be a very big deal because of such a lack of plant life, especially in areas that maintain snow through the winter.

There might be one big hunt at the beginning of the year to celebrate the coming of the warm months, resulting in one big meal of meat and fresh greens.  After that, a fair bit might be turned into soup/stew.   And lastly, the remainder would be salted and turned into dried meat.  This meat would be used later in the summer to make more soup.  And hopefully there would be enough left over to put away for some winter months also.

Another hunt might occur in the fall, after all the wild babies had weaned from their mothers resulting in an end-of-season feast with the rest being dried and put away for winter.

In cold weather months some hunting might occur for another large portion of meat.  And during very long winters it might be considered lucky to find a larger animal who has died of starvation and frozen.

All the skins through the year would be saved and turned into clothing during the many winter months of sitting and saving energy.

I spoke to a  person on a primal site the other day where there was an argument going on over whether women are supposed to have visible abs or not.  (How ridiculous is that?  If you want them fine.  If you don't want them, fine.  Can we all just support eachother in our individual goals toward health?)

When I think about this seasonal eating, it makes sense that we have evolved into beings that prefer to cycle on and off different foods depending upon what is seasonally available. So this also should be considered in a 'paleo' diet. It makes sense on many levels and in many practices including the health results that many people experience with various types of fasting practises, rotational religious practises (lent, fish on Fridays, etc.) and various other historical practices that rotate food and end up creating (intentionally or unintentionally) a detox process that aids in healing a greater portion of the population. This leads to wondering about the current gluten/dairy fasting regimen (which may be sporadic for some or last for years/lifetime for others) that is quickly gaining popularity may be just another one of these modern day practices (rather than being based on season or religion, is based on pop-culture) that may spare the portion of the population that participates, from health issues experienced by the non-participating group. It would all be very interesting, after many years have passed, to see how this gf/cf/paleo 'craze' of the early 20th century will be interpreted.

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