Did Paleolithic Cavemen Die at a Young Age?

This is one of the arguments against eating a paleo-style diet. “Cavemen died very young, so why should I try to eat like them?” I don’t know, and I’m too busy sharpening my spear and gathering roots to think about it. I think this argument is silly, obviously, but I still thought I would explore it to see what the real life expectancy of people living in the paleolithic era was. According to this article (1), the life expectancy then was 33 years old at birth. So this included babies and children. If the person made it to age 15, the life expectancy increased to 54 years. This article is peer reviewed I believe, but it is still more anthropology and is considered “soft science.” Now some would say that babies and children should be included in the measurement, but think about this. Babies then were not born in sterile hospitals, there was no medical care, and starving was common. Infectious diseases are now well-controlled in developed countries, and so are wild animals that could eat you. It seems that agriculture was not the miracle we all thought it was. It makes sense to be able to conveniently produce more food, but not if that food is unhealthy. The following article is not peer reviewed, it’s merely an opinion of a researcher, but he makes some good points. The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race. One interesting point that is made is that a hunter-gatherer lifestyle means fewer people living in one place. They also moved around more to follow food. This spreading out kept diseases from killing huge amounts of people. A disease may be airborne, but it’s not going to travel 20 miles without a body. Agriculture allowed people to gather in larger groups and not move often. There was no tuberculosis and no diarrheal disease before the beginning of farming, and measles and bubonic plague were not around until cities began to develop. Yes, the crowding caused this, not necessarily the agriculture, but one encourages the other.

LOWER PALEOLITHIC

I am not the only blogger interested in this. Check out this post by Turning the Tide. There is no good way to conduct any hard science in this area as the subjects of interest are long dead. I encourage all readers to consider the information presented and make a logical decision on what they think happened, but don’t just assume that agriculture is the best thing ever. Do some research, and consider what the effects of agriculture have been on our society. I’ve posted a few more articles in the sources that are considered reliable. There are also plenty of articles out there that tell a different story. This has been debated for a long time, mostly because no one can really prove anything. I encourage you to read both sides and make a logical decision.

Ggas_human_soc

1. http://www.unm.edu/~hkaplan/KaplanHillLancasterHurtado_2000_LHEvolution.pdf

2. Tellier, Luc-Normand (2009). Urban world history: an economic and geographical perspective. PUQ. p. 26.

3. Jared Diamond (2012). The World Until Yesterday. Viking. p. 353.

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Paleo: Budget friendly tips you can actually USE

I read articles all the time on how to conserve money when eating paleo because hey… grass-fed meat, organic vegetables… this stuff gets expensive. I understand. I’m living the food bill nightmare. However, all of these articles I read do not give a lot of tips that are relevant to my life. For instance: Buy a deep freeze to keep whole halves of animals. Not feasible for a grad student living in a studio apartment. Now, those tips are great for a young family of four, but for me on my own, not useful. I’m going to go over my own personal tips for younger people on their own, and I’ll make reference to some articles that I think will be useful for more established families.

1. Buy cheaper cuts of meat. 

Chicken is probably the cheapest meat, and the easiest to store. Remember, dark meat and chicken skin are ok on paleo as long as they are raised the right way. I love chicken thighs, and they are so cheap compared to chicken breasts. I buy a big batch, say 10 thighs, and freeze them in bags of 2 since they are usually small. Then I can take a bag out of the freezer in the morning and put in the fridge to thaw to have for dinner. Another tricky thing to do with chicken thighs is to save the grease from the pan and freeze it in ice cube trays to use for cooking other things later. Saves you on your coconut oil and grass-fed butter bill.

2. Only buy fresh veggies that you plan on eating raw. If you’re going to cook it, buy it frozen.

I buy fresh veggies for salads, but if it’s something I plan on roasting or boiling, I buy it frozen. This is much cheaper and lasts much longer.  A few of my favorite frozen veggie purchases are frozen chopped onions for soups and stir fries, and frozen California blend veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. I just add some garlic powder and salt and roast them in foil. Now if you ask me honestly, I would say I prefer fresh vegetables for everything. However, I can’t deny that it’s much cheaper, and me being on my own, I don’t go through an entire onion before it spoils, and I don’t go through fresh heads of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots before they all spoil. It just makes sense to buy frozen. Make sure they don’t come with all that preservative-laden sauce on them.

3. Find a good place to get eggs. Preferably not the grocery store. 

I live in the city, so I usually end up buying eggs from the grocery store. I buy organic which are usually around $4/dozen. Regular eggs are about $1.29/dozen. My parents live in the country, so every time I’m home, I make sure to pick up some local eggs which are $1/dozen, and most likely more organic than what I bought in the store. I also tend to eat eggs every day because they are cheaper than meat and full of magic, I swear. Zucchini LatkesEgg MuffinsFritatta

magic egg

4. Make expensive meat last awhile.

When I buy a nice expensive pound of grass-fed ground beef, I don’t usually make burgers, or meatloaf, or meat bagels. Yes, those exist. I make something like paleo chili, so that I get some grass-fed beef for the next three or four days. If I really get on a protein kick, I just eat some tuna. I don’t like the can much, I go for those little pouches. FYI, they also have salmon in those pouches. I think the salmon tastes better plain than the tuna. Or a hard boiled egg. Just saying, eggs are magic.

5. Watch for meat sales, but use that meat quickly.

Grocery stores tend to have meat sales when they have a surplus of something. This means that the meat could be old. Whole Foods has periodic sales on ground beef, and I usually buy some and either use it or freeze it within 2 days.

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6. Watch for affordable farmers markets

There are farmers markets in the city, but fresh produce is in such high demand that the prices are usually higher than the grocery store. This is not always the case, so I checked out a few different farmers markets in my area to see which had the most reasonable prices. This is the best way to get fresh vegetables, especially if you are into canning. I’m not, I don’t have the time or the space to store all of that, but a farmers market is a great place to get bulk veggies for canning.

7. Buy produce in season.

This tip is in almost every money-saving article because it is so true. In season produce is cheaper, tastes better, and has more nutrients.

Other articles you may find useful:

http://blog.paleohacks.com/ultimate-guide-to-eating-paleo-on-a-budget/

http://thepaleomama.com/2013/10/30cheapmaindishpaleomeals/

http://ohsnapletseat.com/2013/05/13/how-to-eat-paleo-on-a-budget-2/

Egg Muffins Recipe

egg muffin

 

This recipe is very very easy, even easier than the frittata. Egg breakfasts are my favorite, and anyone that goes paleo tends to get sick of cooking them. This is another recipe that can be made ahead of time and heated up in the microwave for a quick, satisfying breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 12 slices bacon or 6 deli slices ham or 6 deli slices turkey
  • half cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup cheese (optional) If you eat cheese, these are best with feta or cheddar, but are just fine without cheese

Directions

  • Preheat over to 375 degrees F.
  • Grease a 12-muffin muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Line each hole with 1 slice bacon or half slice ham or half slice turkey
  • Crack one egg into each hole. You can beat them if you want, but I kind of like the whole yolk in mine
  • sprinkle the top with scallions and cheese (optional)
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins no longer jiggle when you shake the pan
  • These are easiest to get out if you let them cool and use a butter knife around the edges

Makes 12 muffins.

egg muff

These muffins are as diverse as the asparagus and bacon fritata. You can add any veggie you like although I recommend cooking firmer veggies a little before adding them to the muffin pan. I have tried this with all three suggested meats and had success. You can also dice the meat and put it inside the muffin instead of using it as a liner. Either way is good. I like to enjoy 2 at a time with a little sriracha and a side of fruit.