. . . diet! No, not as in eating to lose weight; I’ve been reading a bit about the latest thing: Paleo and Primal diets. Apparently (and I have not been reading in depth, so forgive me if I tread on some neolithic digits), these two ways of thinking about food (and eating it, I suppose) have some things in common:
* Eating tons of veggies
* Eating lots of protein
* Avoiding grains
* Eliminating gluten
* Doing away with corn
* Avoiding high fructose corn syrup
* Avoiding sugar
* Eliminating processed foods
* Enjoying the occasional wine and beer
* Exercising regularly
There are differences, too, but I’m not getting into that now; I have a limited amount of time on the computer tonight.
My initial thoughts on this (and again, this is my gut reaction to a very limited exposure to a wee bit of information): From what I know about pre-historic civilizations, people ate according to where they lived, what they could harvest and the season of the year. I don’t see cutting out grains altogether; instead, why not eat them from mid-summer to late autumn, maybe storing some for use through the winter. Then in spring, back to lots of greens; later on add berries and tree fruits; then back to grains again.
Corn, or maize was a staple in central North America, but not in Europe or, I think, other continents, either. And the grains would have been the ancient varieties, not the hybridized stuff we have nowadays.
Meats would have been wild, so in most cases healthier, as they could generally eat what they needed, not just what they would have been fed in captivity. Of course, this means getting out there and hunting . . .
The natural diet of those days included roots, barks, lots of herbs that we would turn up our noses at these days; they tend to be fibrous and strongly flavoured.
And before you rush out with your hand-knotted bag made from cedar roots (or whatever passes for weaving fibres in your locale), you may want to read up on the various things you are planning to harvest. In Victoria (BC), First Nations people dug and ate crocus bulbs; however, they knew that the chocolate coloured blooms had a bulb that is poisonous.
Cooking soup the Paleo/Primal way: Nettles are yummy (to me, anyway LOL), but you will want a good pair of gloves before you begin gathering. Pigweed (known as lamb’s quarters in more upwardly mobile Pleistocene circles) is also very nutritious; add it to that soup of wild rabbit and gopher that you are simmering in your deer’s stomach soup pot (suspend the stomach on a tripod, add water and roots, plus whatever meat, fish and veggies you happen to have gathered), then drop in a few small stones that have been heated in the campfire’s ashes. The water will boil; as the boiling subsides, lift the stones out, using a pair of ‘Y’ shaped branches (fairly sturdy ones) and put them back in the ashes to heat again. Repeat until the soup is done. Oh, remember to remove the gland from the hind leg of any rabbits, too.
Salads: Gather greens that are in season. Watch for onion or garlic shoots; they add flavour and are nutritious, too. Miner’s lettuce and chickweed are juicy, mild and good for you.
Exercise: don’t worry about it; gathering your food, preparing it and storing it, not to mention making woven gathering bags, arrows, bows, spears and all that will have you in great shape in no time!