Over the past few years, I've accumulated quite the collection of older books, ranging from texts to mass-media diet books. Thank you Amazon which is my source for 90% of these finds. I'm not sure why I hadn't gotten it before, I did purchase The Stone-Age Health Programme around a year ago, but for some reason I only just now got a copy of The Paleolithic Prescription. My Stone-Age has gone temporarily missing, but these appear to be the same book, or contain similar tables and such, and I'm pretty sure Stone-Age is/was a British version of Prescription. Here's a cellphone snap of Table XVII, a day's worth of "Paleolithic" Food from the other book that I had tweeted out last March (it is identical in the two books). Here's a direct link to the image. It's blurry, I didn't have much luck quickly getting a better image from this book, so it will just have to do. You'll have to zoom in with your browser, but you'll be able to make out the following:
- 65% Veggies, 35% Animal
- Carb 55% , Protein 26% , Fat 19%
- An insidiously fattening 400 grams of carb!
- PUFA:SaFA ratio 1.35
- Whole wheat bread, oatmeal, oat bran and wheat bran
- Lean meat
- Orange juice
- Skim milk, low fat cottage cheese
- Corn oil margarine
I admit to being rather shocked by this myself. So I did a little more skimming of this book than the other, and in the last chapter, you find some guidelines and take-aways from the material presented on the first 264 pages. This chapter is entitled The Paleolithic Prescription: Old Ways, New Prospects. You actually have to wait another 10 pages of explanations and convincing for the advice under the heading Nutrition:
Our nutritional protocol attempts to balance the dietary patterns of our ancestors with twentieth-century food availability.
Carbohydrate should provide about 60 percent of an average day's calories; sugar and refined flours should be minimized while fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- sources of complex carbohydrates -- should be emphasized.
Protein should constitute about 20 percent of average daily calories and should come from low-fat sources.
Fat should constitute the remaining 20 percent of each day's calories. More should be polyunsaturated than saturated; avoid butter and lard as well as highly saturated coconut, palm, and palm kernel vegetable oils.
There you have it. 60:20:20. While the book contains information on how grains are relatively new to the human experience, for the most part they were not demonized as digestive devils based on a litany of toxicants (none of the usual suspects appears in the index, nor in my skimming of the sections on wheat and corn). Rather, whole grains should be "emphasized". These recommendations are preceded by the following:
The following life-style recommendations are based on our current understanding of what life must have been like during the Late Paleolithic (generally between 35,000 and 20,000 years ago). They are also balanced as closely as possible with the consensus views of mainstream scientists and physicians concerned with health promotion and disease prevention. They have been modified still further to accommodate the realities of life as most of us experience it today. They are intended to be practicable, not ideal and unattainable.
Agree or disagree with this approach, it was the one put forth in a mass media book by the originators of "paleo", based on their own groundbreaking 1985 paper. The macro ratios in Prescription were clearly a concession to the consensus, but here's the summary table from their 12 year update. But, much of the differential would swap carb out for protein where almost 200g protein would already be an ample intake.
When S.Boyd Eaton addressed the audience at AHS12, his presentation included this slide -- to the gasps of many in the audience according to the Twitter buzz.
Long-Term Paleo: What Happens if You Follow the Ancestral Health Protocol for Thirty Years?
It was clear from both the title of the talk, and his demeanor in delivery, that this was, indeed, the prescription he had followed for himself.
Re-read the paragraphs above if you need to in order to grasp the spirit of Eaton, Shostak and Konner. They were the original keepers of the template. Perhaps the macros in practice were a bit more Zone-like than USDA-like, but they most certainly weren't in any way, shape, or form, like the modern "template" where one can add in high fat dairy, or -- gasp!! -- legumes without drawing the ire of Father Cordain and the keepers of his Paleo Diet Church. With The Paleo Diet, Cordain turned paleo into a carbophobic, food fearing elimination diet. Oh, he always allowed for a free meal here and there, just so long as you understood you were poisoning yourself with each pancreas and intestinal taxing bite!
No, these folks were about to transitioning away from processed foods and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, back to a simpler approach based on real whole foods and greater activity. They recognized the latter as often needing to be purposeful, hence called it exercise. There was no 30 day challenge nonsense. No 21 day detox. No used car salesman crap. No mention of leaky gut. No need to eliminate pet toxicants from the diet so as to "heal" something real or imagined, or that you never knew you had. There was absolutely no mention of the need to deliberately exercise in order to "allow" yourself to eat a potato, and, of course the ridiculous notion of fattening fruit (because it turns to fat, so eat your butter!) was nowhere to be found in this book.
They mention insulin and diabetes, and although they put forth an "exhausted pancreas" model (in the genetically susceptible), there is no obsession over carbohydrate causing this need for insulin. Rather obesity/excess weight resulting in increased insulin secretion is put forth as the culprit. There actually is mention of caloric intake and expenditure.
It really makes one shake their head with wonderment over where in the world Cordain picked up his ideas about diet (and exercise). While ship jumpers blame paleo branded goodies for the downfall of their vaunted movement, perhaps the roots lie far deeper. The spirit of the Paleolithic Prescription was not one of fear mongering over toxins in real foods, nor was it about demonizing particular foods to the point of calling them "murder" or not-human-food at all. I can think of no better activity to deprogram from today's paleo brainwashing than to read this book either before or after the ridiculous Hartwig book It Starts With Food. This is what is wrong with paleo. Perhaps even less so, ironically, than the paleo cookies and cream.
Lastly, the exercise portions of the book call for an unsurprisingly balanced approach of being more active in general, aerobic exercise and strength exercise. Missing from the book is a tone of any sort of exercise activity being the "wrong kind", or that somehow wearing Vibrams while constructing cheerleader pyramids and giving each other piggyback rides, or perhaps crawling through Central Park, makes someone an enlightened playful Grok.