Well, it would not have been in the Paleolithic
...And, I'll get to that later...
Lots of Paleo shit brewing now. I'm not going to name or link any of it. It really doesn't matter and if people want to allude in comments...well, I don't moderate those unless someone has the audacity to write "fuck," or something.
To roughly summarize, we are getting beyond the low-carb emphasis, and bizzarely enough, there's fat phobia encroaching on heels. But as I said, I'm not referencing any of it; and because, I actually have something more important to highlight: my post here.
What has happened, as alluded to above, is the result of the same fool's errand: "The Search for the Wholly Optimal." You see, we're all human animals. ... But never mind that we have scoured the entire habitable portion of the globe from equator to arctic circle and sea level to 16K, and everything in-between, for the last 50-60K years Out of Africa...and that's not even considering the vast ecological differences on that continent from rain forrest to dessert -- and that would be over millions of years of natural selection (a term I far prefer to "evolution").
And yet we're still infatuated with the bizarre notion that there is one specific dietary regime that works for everyone and us Paleos -- always on the job -- have a serious task ahead of us, and that is to "optimize." It's probably nobody's fault. After all, we've grown up in an increasingly obese culture with an increasingly voluminous library of dietary prescriptions intended for everyone. After all, who doesn't want to write a diet book and sell a million copies? Nobody wants to write a million diet books. Hint.
And since you can't write a million diet books, diet books are essentially crap -- unless, of course, there are implicit or explicit principles one can extrapolate and apply to their own self-experimentation. And that's why I'm "Paleo" -ish. Of anything out there, it's the Paleo books that truly have the principles, even if implying or explicating that this should work for everyone or is approaching some notion of optimality. And in many cases, the principles far outweigh any prescriptions -- such as macronutrient ratios -- so that in essence, the sound principles undercut errors and exuberance. That's always good. That's why I always endeavor to be a principled man, above all else. I really do loath the pragmatic paradigm. As well, I loath the word "paradigm." So there you go.
This need not be a long post so I wont make it so. Brevity always scores high on the virtue scale, in my opinion.
Optimality in dietary practice can only apply to an individual (or perhaps small group, to finally reference the subtitle of the post). And that means: all diet books are useless beyond the pure principles, and that's why we're "Paleo" in the first place, and...and, we have to finish the job ourselves. It's not about low carb or high fat; it's about cutting back or cutting out neolithic foodstuffs; i.e., processed foods and derivatives. But nobody can prescribe for you whether a diet of 40, 50, 70 or 80% natural fats work best for you, or, 40, 50, 70 or 80% STARCH. There, I said it.
For me, high starch is not going to work, but a decent amount does well, even damn white rice (hypoallergenic, BTW, for those who have problems with tubers and potatoes). But I have no idea what's best for you, and the idea that I could write a book to tell you so, strikes me as absurd. I won't go there. I will have a book. It will be 100% principle based. Working on it.
Individual optimality is not the best thing. Individual optimality is the only thing, in the context of your very one and only life. How do you know you've gotten there? You never get there. That's just life. "Optimal," while possibly illusory, is not a bad thing to shoot for individually. The best benefit to that might be the simple exercise of discounting everything you're told and actually working individually.
Update: I neglected to mention that this thinking is in part a result of a number of emails and phone conversations with Kurt Harris, MD.
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