What Did Paleo People Actually Eat?
Stanley Fishman recently discussed the division between the Paleo and Primal diet followers surrounding the consumption of animal fat.
The question of what Paleolithic people actually ate is hard to answer, and the Paleo and Primal communities are divided. One of the biggest controversies is whether Paleolithic peoples ate lean meat and had little fat in their diet, or whether they ate all the animal fat they could get, and plenty of it.
There is some evidence, in the form of bone piles in caves, and there is the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, who actually met and studied the diets of traditional peoples who lived completely by hunting and gathering.
It appears that hunter-gatherers, whether in Paleolithic times, or in the twentieth century, prized animal fat as one of their most crucial foods, and ate as much of it as they could get.
The Evidence for Lean Meat
When the Paleo eating ideas were first expressed, the belief was that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate lean meat, not fat. One of the strongest reasons to support this theory is that the meat of wild game is much leaner than the meat of domestic animals. The old hunters ate wild game, which has lean meat. While this is true, the fact is that wild game animals, especially older animals, actually have plenty of fat, especially in the late fall, when they put on extra fat to prepare for winter.
The fat is not in the meat, but in a huge layer of fat in the back, and in the internal organs, and in the bones, in the form of marrow.
The other basis for thinking that early peoples ate lean meat appears to be based on the common false belief that animal fat is unhealthy. Actually, fat from grassfed and pastured animals is a vital nutrient as seen in the article The Skinny on Fats.
The Evidence for Eating Fat
Some caves have been found that were occupied by early hunter-gatherers. Along with pits showing the use of fire, there is almost always something else—a bone pile. The bones are those of wild animals, and the bones have been split open. It is universally assumed that the bones were split open so the hunters could eat the bone marrow. In addition to being one of the most nutritious foods that can be eaten—bone marrow is almost 100 percent animal fat.
This article originally appeared on TenderGrassFedMeat.com. It is partially posted here with permission from the author.
Do you follow a Paleo or Primal diet? What’s your opinion on consuming animal fat?
Photo Credit: Anglo History
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