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If only Early Man had it so good... If only Early Man had it so good...
by John Harvey
2014-09-05 10:01:02
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A few years ago, American scientist Dr Loren Cordain decreed that the diet followed by our ancestors  more than two million years ago must also be the best diet for us today.

Like most, Cordain's so-called "Paleo Diet" was militantly anti-carbohydrate, and advocated cutting down on whole grains, salt, dairy products and alcohol - foodstuffs largely unavailable to Early Man.

And like most, this diet - comprising foods that can be hunted (meat and fish) or gathered (eggs, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts) - was of course a sensation before it went the way of all weight-loss fads and was summarily consumed by the Next Big Thing.

Yet one wonders what early Homo Erectus would make of the food we have today, had it been available to him during his own epoch.

More importantly, however, what would his attitude have been to those who told him not to gorge himself on a bucket of deep-fried burgers while drinking 20 Red Bull Vodkas on the trot?

Rest assured, it would not have been the large animal lurking in the bushes to be at the receiving end of his hunting spear.

Today we are inundated with all kinds of "experts" warning us not to eat this or that, not to be taken in by the subliminal messages contained in those evil fast food commercials. But just for a moment, let's put ourselves in the ancestor's position.

You've had a pretty unsuccessful day's hunt, and all that you've managed to bring home for the pot are a few mangy forest hares and some fern leaves to garnish. Furthermore, that oaf neighbor of yours has gone and done his business in the closest water source. During a drought, no less.

After listening to the incessant grumbling of Grandma, going on and on about her leg being severed by some or other beast, all you want to do is sit back, relax and gnaw on Peter Rabbit's revolting hind quarter. 

Then you take your first bite and realize that the hare has not been cooked through, and that the maggots you thought had been removed during the skinning process are still there. Except you have already eaten about two handfuls of the filthy things in your desperation to sate your hunger. 

Chances are, without the local witchdoctor's (or Paleo equivalent) ability to summon 21st Century medicine from somewhere, that is you finished as a living entity.

Now picture the scenario where you can fan a few flames and draw the attention of Dave the Delivery guy over on the next hill, who always ensures that your family-size pizza arrives piping hot. Not only that, but "Dependable Dave", as he is reverentially known around the camp fire, can also kick in a few two-liter Cokes at no extra charge.

Not only are you able to enjoy your great-tasting meal, conveniently dropped off at your grass overhang, but odds are that you will at least make it through to next week, unless Grandma's nemesis pops in for a prehistoric snack.

The point is that as supposedly intelligent human beings living two million years later, we have become far too obsessed with analyzing the drawbacks of the very things that made our lives better in the first place.

The constant stream of cause celeb diet tips and health conscious movements are far more annoying than picking up a telephone and placing an order for something that you know will taste good. 

So that three kilogram rib rack and potato wedges may not be the best things for you, but it sure beats going out and taking your chances with something that just ate something nastier than itself - and has the potential to make you the next thing on the menu.

 


        
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