Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday #86: “Neanderthin" by Ray Audette

Dear kids,

It’s hard for me to say how much meat we should be eating as a society. But the rest of the Paleo rules, I’m down with.

Neanderthin: Eat Like a Cave Man to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body by Ray Audette makes a very convincing, research-based argument that at least some meat is good for us. It advocates paleo-style eating: eating natural- or near natural-state fruits, vegetables and meat but no dairy or grains.

Paleo rules: Do eat meats, fish, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and berries. Do not eat grains, beans, potatoes, dairy or sugar.

Here, a few important points:

  • On why certain foods are unhealthy: Many grains are inedible without human agricultural practices (milling, long cooking); legumes filled with aflatoxins, alkaloidic (toxins), etc. Must be cooked. Dairy not available till farming, or sugar. Potatoes not edible until fire.
  • The Paleolithic Era is the time in human history when we were hunter-gatherers. It is also the time when we were healthiest.
  • “Indeed, if we look at the skeletal remains of man prior to 10,000 years ago before the technological innovation of the Neolithic (Agricultural) Revolution—we find no evidence of obesity and very little evidence of the plethora of other immune system diseases that are so common today. When we examine the remains of humans immediately following the Neolithic Revolution, we see at once evidence of the obesity and diseases common in the modern world.”
  • The physical characteristics of humans shows that they are natural carnivores.
  • “. . . More than 95 percent of primates have a single-chambered stomach incapable of digesting most complex carbohydrates as they occur in nature (in the absence of technology).”
  • “Within this savanna environment, man is the only primate . . . There are few of the trees whose fruit and leaves provide the bulk of food for the creatures of the forest. Life on the savanna is dominated by grasses, grass-eating animals called herbivores, and the carnivores and omnivores that, in turn, prey upon these herbivores.”
  • “Our unique characteristics include a large lopsided brain, bipedalism, eye dominance, a lack of fur, and a unique variety of sweat glands. None of these physical traits (except bipedalism in some bird species) is found in other animals.”
  • Big brains are necessary for hunting large animals, and not as needed for gathering.
  • Social dependence is most often seen in pack animals that are carnivorous and protective.
  • Brain size increased as humans developed tools for hunting and therefore ate more meat. Big brains need more nutrition.
  • Humans also have a “relatively small lower gastrointestinal tract,” making concentrated calories like meat, fruit and nuts much easier to digest.
  • Bipedalism is only found in humans and some flightless birds. “As a human, when walking or running your hands are free to use a weapon which, if thrown while moving, greatly increases the weapon’s velocity . . . Bipedalism also allows us to use our hands to carry over large distance more efficiently than other primates. The long-distance carrying ability allows us (through sharing) a highly efficient division of labor in our hunting and gathering efforts.”
  • The human is the best long-distance hunter, partly because there’s no fur and therefore less overheating. The ability to hunt other animals when tired and hot in mid-day also helps. Head hair protects humans from the sun.
  • Handedness, which developed thanks to eye dominance, helped us learn to “throw an object with accuracy. This ability is what has allowed humans to become the most efficient hunters on earth.”
  • Our long-time relationship with dogs helped humans hunt, too. Dogs circled the prey and humans shot at them from afar.
  • On vegetarianism: “All the plants and animals that once inhabited the cultivated land must be killed to provide space for vegetable crops.” Kills ecosystem that naturally provides balance for all. “In fact, it is for this reason that the person wearing a fur coat has killed fewer than 10 percent of the animals killed by the person wearing a cotton coat.”
  • There are no vegetarian primates.
  • “Since ancient times, the most destructive factor in the degradation of the environment has been monoculture agriculture. The production of wheat in ancient Sumeria transformed once-fertile plains into salt flats that remain sterile . . .”



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