Today, we took on the pseudoscience and assumptions behinds parts of the Paleo Diet as part of the many experts panel at the Phoenix Fanfest. What I learned from fellow awesome panelists from ASU: Basically, not everything domesticated is out to get you, and beans are okay. Human diets vary widely across the globe, and humans are extremely adaptable.
I spoke about pop culture imaginations of “cavemen” and human ancestors and why hunting and meat consumption gets so much attention. Paleo Diet says more about modern values and concepts of health than it does about what our ancestors consumed.
I learned something valuable from the audience, though. Several audience members had lost weight and had changed their lives by following this diet, primarily through the elimination of nutrient-dense foods like processed sugar. Paleo Diet may not be well-supported by archaeological or bioanthropological research on human evolution, but the diet gave practitioners an intuitive, just-so story that motivated them to make major life changes and cut back on portion size and process foods. People’s journeys toward understanding their bodies remain personal and culturally-situated, and I won’t discount how empowered folks felt by this way of eating.