Where the Buffalo Roam ...

 {If you came here from social media looking for the PaleoFX [ ... excuse me ... Paleo f(x) ]  related content, do a quick browser search on "Deer Play" to skip on down.}

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day
Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day .....

I want to thank Nina Teicholz.  This is a serious thank you, although I doubt she'd take it that way.  But for her referencing shenanigans, I would have never had the slightest inclination to read W.W. Newcomb Jr.'s The Indians of Texas: From Prehistoric to Modern Times.   I'm not going to describe this dense book as a page turner, and Newcomb's language is of an era when his chapter titles were acceptable.  But none the less it's been quite informational.  It's also interesting to piece together with accounts from the northern plains.

As Regards Those Buffalo ....

If there is any doubt about buffalo eating in what is now the state of Arizona, as Teicholz insists by correcting her book in the manner that she did, there never were buffalo there.

adapted from source
Furthermore, and I do believe when I first noticed this "error" in Big Fat Surprise, this map leaves little doubt as to the obvious that someone (sorry, don't recall who for the hat tip) pointed out.  There were essentially NO buffalo left anywhere in the US.

As Regards Historical Buffalo Hunting ...

THE HORSE-RIDING, buffalo-hunting, warlike Indians of the plains are among the most familiar of North American Indians, and their memory lingers more picturesquely in the public fancy than that of any other group of native tribes.
In ancestral circles, they would have you believe that even this stereotype was the paleolithic way of indigenous American peoples ...  
In the nineteenth century there were more than thirty different tribes following this pattern of life, but most of them were recent invaders of the plains and none of them had been acquainted with the horse prior to the arrival of Europeans.
In other words, this was not a native way of life, and as you'll see, the introduction of horses, not evolution or human ingenuity, factored in most prominently in adopting this relatively new dietary reliance.
In slightly less than three centuries this revolutionarily new kind of Indian culture came into existence, for a time blazed brightly, and suddenly was extinguished. It was conceived when Indians in the southern plains acquired Spanish horses, it established its form and became rich by hunting the buffalo on horseback, and it disappeared when the buffalo was exterminated and the American frontier over-whelmed it.
Could this be why, contrary to her assertions, primarily meat-eating human populations are rather more of a rare find?  

But you've all heard the chant before.  How the neolithic is but a few seconds on the clock if humankind's evolution is viewed as a 24 hour day.   We're talking 300 years tops of buffalo-staple eating.   Which gets one thinking ...

How Successful Were the Hunters?

Is the Paleo™istic vision of hunting in the paleolithic overly romanticized?   It was recently discussed on Twitter, that folks like Teicholz "cherry pick" aspects of ancestral cultures that enure to their dietary preferences (nice post by Slipp Digby).  I've also discussed the penchants of some to use the dietary offerings at feasts as indicative of the routine diet in a culture.  
Before the spread of horses some peoples in the southern plains had depended upon the buffalo for their subsistence, and a number of agricultural tribes hunted them seasonally, but a buffalo-hunting existence was neither easy nor particularly rewarding. Pedestrian buffalo hunters were faced with difficult logistic problems, so difficult that even though buffalo were plentiful, hunters were hard pressed to keep their families and equipment in the vicinity of the herds. If the buffalo had remained in one locality throughout the year, or had even followed a regular pattern of seasonal migration, then prehistoric Indians could have relied more fully on them. But this was not the case, as we have seen. Even now, with our encyclopedic knowledge of the buffalo, the reasons for their erratic and unpredictable movements are not fully understood. It is no wonder there seem to have been only a few tribes who subsisted solely on the buffalo in pre-horse times.
This is quite different from the tales of buffalo roaming so plentifully as to turn the plains dark!  Incidentally, the picture is not a whole lot different up in the north with the Lakota.  
The most successful prehorse adjustment on the plains apparently was one in which there was a combination of gardening and bison-hunting.
Ya don't say.  Hunter-Gardener ...
With such an economy there was little danger that both the gardens and the supply of game would fail at the same time. Drought sometimes ruined the crops and the buffalo might vanish, but only infrequently would both food sources fail at once. There are some hints in the early Spanish literature that even those tribes that did not plant gardens carried on considerable trade with the agricultural Pueblo Indians.
In the Northern Plains, much the same thing is reported.
It follows that in poor hunting years they may have gotten “advances” from them, or resorted to raids and stealth to subsist until the game returned. But horses changed all this; they allowed hunters to find the herds even though they were ranging far from their usual pastures, and they provided quick and easy transport for people and their equipment so that they could remain near the herds.
Horses rapidly transformed poorly-equipped hunters, who had likely lived a life of occasional feast and frequent famine, into rich, lordly nomads whose bellies seldom growled with hunger.
Equipped with the horse, Plains Indians developed many of the characteristics of pastoral peoples of the Old World, despite the fact that the buffalo upon which they depended were never domesticated. The similarity can be pushed too far, but the raiders of Genghis Khan are paralleled in many respects by the Comanches, the Cheyennes, or the Sioux (Dakota).
In other words, the vast majority of what we know of the buffalo hunters would have been tales from the horse-era (and guns made it even easier).  It bears repeating that not all tribes in areas historically inhabited by buffalo adopted a buffalo-as-staple hunting based culture.   I discussed a variety of tribes in this post.  Of interest is that even the buffalo hunting Lakota were likely not always "obligate" hunters

Take homes:

  • Lakota weren't always subsistence buffalo-hunters
  • They had to move to keep up with the buffalo (which were dwindling)
  • They and neighboring tribes were already agriculturalists

But These Folks Did Treasure the Fat Slab!

One last source/historical retelling here.  This is something I was "challenged" with on my Facebook page when I tweeted out an image (from the producer advertisement) about how modern bison meat is "outrageously lean".  

The Diet of the Mountain Men (can be read online free at my JSTOR link, though you may need a free account)

Despite the talk of starvation, eating soles of shoes and rotted meat from a carcass, there is talk of waste.  They ate those "choice parts" we keep hearing about and left the rest, only making jerky or pemmican if they had the time!  This to me seems rather odd, as the native traditions in this region are filled with tales of food preservation.  Almost an obsession with it one might even say.  This was certainly reminiscent of passages in Newcomb's book as well.   Were these men (of any race) really that stupid as to waste when the impending starvation was so predictable?  Who knows.  But yet again, there's that talk of true starvation.  

What did my FB foe get out of the piece?  Oh, 

So ....

Sustainability ~ Where the Deer Play ...

It makes common sense that it would be difficult for an unarmed humal of little technology to kill and dismember a large animal for food.  So before the humans in any area obtained or developed better hunting methods, game was likely more plentiful due to this "level playing field".  More abundant game would have made was still a challenging food source as success in killing it was unpredictable.  As humans obtained or developed their "game", the wild game would become more scarce as the killing became easier.  Even without some of the tales of "waste" vis a vis the buffalo, they would have been hunted to extinction anyway, just later rather than sooner.  The natural balance of ecosystems with man as hunter in the mix doesn't seem to bode well for the survival of our chosen prey.   This phenomenon has apparently been repeated throughout human history, and likely answers the question as to why man ever "domesticated"  animals in the first place if they were so abundant to hunt.   The saga of the American buffalo is merely one that has been studied and document in more recent times.  Wild animal populations don't stand a chance against humans with weapons and transportation.    Humans took to raising animals in order to provide a desired and predictable food source.

Feeding the human population *now* absolutely must depend on the other HG food procurement strategy:  Herder-Gardener.  And in countries like the US, few among us even do our own HGing.    Sustainable farming is a big deal in the paleo community these days.  Nevermind that farming -- either growing plants or raising animals -- is pretty much by definition, "not paleo".    This idea that "industrial farming" is some evil brainchild of the "meat industry" for no other purpose but to torture animals and fatten the populace is absurd.  But yes, the meat industry IS an industry like any other, because someone ELSE's capital, blood, sweat and even tears goes into producing a product that others need to survive (you know what I mean, yes, I know nobody needs to eat meat ... work with me here).  

According to just about every source, meat consumption in the US averages out to be around 6 oz per capita per day.  That's less than half a pound for those in the metric system  (16 oz = 1 lb).   We have over 300 million people in this country.   Just look at our meat industry at a glanceanother version of similar.  The math and stats are a bit inconsistent (the first source claims livestock population tops 300 million, add values below and they only total about half that) but when you're talking these kinds of numbers, it's somewhat immaterial to the point I'm getting at: 
The U.S. meat and poultry industry is among the largest and most efficient systems in the world.  Our herds and flocks are a national asset and include 91 million head of cattle66 million pigs; 5.3 million sheep; 9 billion chickens and 242 million turkeys.
U.S. meat and poultry plants total nearly 7,000 and each plant is inspected every day by federal inspectors from the Agriculture Department. Plants that handle live animals have inspectors present during every minute of operation who are fully empowered to take action when problems occur, including stopping lines and shutting plants down.
In 2011, the U.S. produced 26 billion pounds of beef; 22 billion pounds of pork; 148 million pounds of lamb; 37 billion pounds of chicken and 5.8 billion pounds of turkey.
What exactly is it they think is going to happen if even a sizeable portion of this country were to increase their animal protein intake?  Real paleo is not about dairy, and whole food is not about butter and whey shakes but never the tween shall meet!   An average 1200 lb steer amounts to (rounding here) about 500 pounds meat, 150 lbs fat and 100 lbs bone.    Grassfed beef is considerably leaner and takes longer to raise -- this source puts feedlot at around a year old, while grass fed at 1.5 to 2 years.    What if demand for beef remained the same, but all beef were raised on grass only?  Now, what if demand doubled (as any sort of moderate LCHF or paleo plan would demand)?

Here's a Wild Idea!!

So I was perusing the PaleoFX schedule for the upcoming CONference in a couple of weeks.  The Best Meat is Illegal to Buy: Ending the Ban on Wild Hunted Meat.   It's more paleo than most of the talks ... in spirit anyway ... but it just stuck out as more delusional than the 2014 Daniel Vitalis Rewilding.  If the title doesn't sound off, here's the blurb:
The sale of most wild hunted meats in the US is illegal, despite the overabundance of animals such as deer. Most of the venison consumed in America is instead shipped here from New Zealand. Accordingly, the most affordable, sustainable, and highest-quality meat in America will never enter the mainstream food supply, thereby continuing our reliance on cruel industrial meats and over-fished oceans.

You're kidding, right?  If only we allowed people to not only hunt to sustain themselves, but sell the extra to others?   Who is this dude?  Josh Whiton studied computer science and founded a transit tracking company and got into nutrition because of his Mom's diabetes.  All a somewhat familiar story in paleo, as then:
With the writings of Michael Pollan, Gandhi, and Thoreau as his guide, Josh became a food system reformer (and master compost maker), starting a community garden in his neighborhood and later, a highly-visible one-acre commercial urban farm just a mile from city center.
Pollan, Ghandi and Thoreau, that's quite a trio!  He's been a near-vegetarian (color me surprised) and raw-foodist (haven't they all been), and even a calorie restrictor (presumably of the CRS variety) before stumbing into paleoism which "he continues to advocate from both a dietetic and ecological perspective."  THe last paragraph of his bio is a hoot to me for all the ironies:
He now lives bi-coastally in Raleigh, North Carolina and the Silicon Valley / San Francisco Bay Area where he advises entrepreneurs, tweaks the diets of paleo friends, and speaks publicly on startups, health and whatever else interests him. When not doing any of that he is likely chopping wood, hunting, or driving a very fast electric car. 
He joins another "paleo" living the modern life on two coasts, the one I'm thinking of being Nell Stephenson the Paleoista.  I can't think of anything much LESS "paleo" than jet setting between the coasts of the United States and having a home at each location.  When talking about being ecologically minded and sustainability and all that jazz, do either of these two ever stop to think that they are using up more than their "share" and failing miserably to live by example?  Whiton has his urban farm.  How quaint.  Paleoista buys "local produce" at the Brooklyn farmers' market that grows it upstate when seasons permit.  Does she only eat avocados while in California?  But back to Josh ...

The electric car -- very fast! -- ahem ... where does the electricity come from Josh? -- aside, he claims to be a hunter.  THIS is what boggles the mind.  This talk will no doubt be some version of this article from his website:  The Best Meat is Illegal to Buy.  He links and comments on this Wall Street Journal article:  If Only Hunters Could Sell Venison.    It sort of makes it worse that Whitton didn't come up with this hair brained notion on his own.  Oh ... sorry ... hair-brained is a bit harsh, and the idea on its face is not so bad.  It's just that if you know anything about hunting, suburban deer problems and any notion of the politics and logistics, you'd have to be under the influence to consider wild game meat a sustainable alternative to domestic livestock, or even a supplement to it.  From the WSJ:
On Oct. 7, [2013] scientists at the Wildlife Society's annual meeting in Milwaukee broached the idea—heretical to many—of allowing the limited sale of wild venison again as an incentive to reduce deer numbers and damage.     {emphasis mine}
I was reminded of the uproar back in the 90's when I lived in Connecticut and a state park had become overrun with deer.   The state organized special hunts to cull the deer population.  It was quite ridiculous because nobody likes the deer nuisance, but if there's anything suburbanites like less it's the thought that Bambi is going to be killed instead of humanely transported to some sort of woodland reserve to live out the remainder of her life without ever starving or fear of a bullet to the head.   

In my latter years in CT, I lived in a more rural area and actually owned a shotgun, had a hunting license and hunted a few times.  I don't recall the exact numbers (and they'll vary anyway), but we were only allowed a couple three deer in a season, and some years the seasons were quite limited.  The best man at our wedding was a bit more of a true hunter who went on a few trips to other states.  His family always had some sort of game in their freezer, and his Dad did so enjoy watching me nosh on teryaki squirrel legs once before informing me of what I was eating.  I didn't flinch ... he was rather disappointed.  But, I digress ...  In any case, I've been around hunters from time to time in my life and am familiar with the politics, the numbers game, the problems with allowing gunfire anywhere near homes (read: accidents), etc. etc.   I currently live in a much more populated area, but I see tons of deer here.  YOU CAN'T HUNT THEM!!!!    Much of the non-lethal approaches involve contraception/sterilization, but this is not without controversy.  

So then the WSJ article gives some stats:
The white-tailed deer population of the U.S. is now estimated at somewhere between 30 million and 45 million. Proponents of allowing wild venison sales say the six million whitetails that licensed hunters will kill this season aren't nearly enough to contain, let alone to reduce, this population.
Yes, this was the reason for the meat industry stats earlier.  So now let's get some deep thoughts from Whitton:
I found out years ago after making the commitment to eat only non-industrial, pasture-raised meat. At the grocery store each week I would contemplate the varying degrees of wholesomeness of the meat being sold — outdoor access, free range, pasture-centered, etc. — the price going up the further the animal’s life moved from a federally subsidized grain diet in a concentration camp.
This search for meat that had lived and eaten well paved the way for an impossibly obvious thought. I had now and then encountered ruminants living pasture-centered lives with plenty of exercise while consuming robust grass-fed, twig-fed, bark-fed, berry-fed diets surpassing anything on the grocery shelf. Wild animals. Deer. The most nutritious, humanely raised meat wasn’t being raised by people at all but rather raising itself in the woods.
Super! I thought. I’ll just start buying venison. Will it be very expensive? Or maybe very cheap?
It was only then he discovered he couldn't buy it.  Perhaps this is when he took up hunting, but I'm just not getting any sort of "I shot and gutted a deer" vibe from this guy.  I wonder where he gets this notion that deer is the "most nutritious", although articles do about on its nutritive value.  Anyone who has had venison knows it's quite "gamey" and most of it is rather tough.  The article that inspired him spoke of suburban issues and the deer that I see trapsing across yards in my area are munching largely on fertilized, pesticided lawns and shrubbery ... sorry to burst his bubble.  Those foraging on the sides of the highways?  Not exactly pristine grass if you know what I mean.

But let's give Whitton his fantasy deer.  The problem as he sees it, is that the disallowing of sales is what is keeping this most glorious of meats off the American food table and instead lodged in our bumpers or rotting on the roadside.  Dose of reality time Josh.  Even IF they allowed me to sell a deer I killed, I would not be allowed to go into the neighbor's yard or even up into the woods lining the highway to shoot them.  In other words, this "surplus" is a man-made artifact for which hunting has not proven to be an adequate solution.  Damn those deer suffer around here, but damned if enough of them don't live to breed more and more.    But here's the most -- shake my head can't find the words -- paragraph of his article:
So because wild game has no commercial value as food, its primary value has devolved into sport — and one that is not widely shared. Now, at one end of the spectrum we have gun-toting country-boys who kill more deer than they can possibly eat and who feed half of it to their dogs. At the other end you have rifle-phobic sophisticates who can’t dream of eating an animal from the woods, let alone going out and getting one. And everywhere in-between? Too few.
Excuse me, but even at the coasts you can't be this much of an ignorant fool ... or can you?  Every hunter I've ever known has found a good belly -- usually human, but so what if it's their dog -- for every last ounce of that meat.  And many of the not-so-country folk, who cannot process the deer they bag, have to pay good money for the deer to be butchered because they just don't have the place to do it, or skill set for the rare occurrence.   I'm curious where he falls on this spectrum, because it sure as heck sounds like he's on the other end of country-boy and is really just upset that he can't get venison without having to go kill it himself or befriend one of those undesirable country-boys.  Sheesh, I can't stand the snobbery of it all sometimes.  

In Josh's perfect world, the country-boys would be able to satisfy their baser lust for sport, and even support their ho-hum existences through the sale of their conquests, and guys like Josh would happily be able to walk into the grocery and source their supermeat at affordable prices.  It would surely be wholly approved by the Whole 30 gang as well!   But let's run a few more numbers.  Most deer are considerably smaller than the mature buck in this table from here.  We're talking half to one-third the size.  Using a generous 125 lbs as an average, meat yeild is going to be around 50 lbs ... roughly 10% of that from a steer, and 25% of a hog!  

See where I'm going here?  If ol' Billy Bob can fetch $25/lb for his 100%  organic, forest raised, supermeat, why he can supplement his income by $1,250 per deer!  In NYS, there's a Deer Management Program that issues additional tags for population control, and unless I'm reading this wrong, there's one deer tag per mode of hunting and then one DMP tag possible.   My memory from CT  in the 90s was one tag each and we could get an extra for private land.   Ol' Billy Bob is going to make a killing!  (Keep in mind that I'm really stretching the numbers in Josh's fantastical favor.)  

But back in the real world, it's abundantly clear why there are deer "overpopulation" problems in the suburbs.  Food (lawns, gardens and nice shrubbery) plus lack of predatory control makes a nice habitat, even if you end up with starving deer in the winter, and lots of road kill.   It has nothing to do with any shortfall of hunters or folks who would hunt more if more tags were allowed, etc.  I can't haul off with my side by side at a deer that goes "bounding through" my back yard and hope to avoid a stiff fine at a minimum.  

So let me end my rant (sorry, had to get this one out, and this post seemed the appropriate place to stick this) with some numbers.  Currently the deer population totals roughly 30 million.  According to the WSJ article, this is about what it was before the white man cometh, and who were hunted to very low levels (not nearly the "near extinction" of the buffalo, but 1% of initial population) by the 1900s.  Sound familiar?    But now I'll go to the trusty Wikipedia 
By the early 20th century, commercial exploitation and unregulated hunting had severely depressed deer populations in much of their range.[57] For example, by about 1930, the U.S. population was thought to number about 300,000.[58] After an outcry by hunters and other conservation ecologists, commercial exploitation of deer became illegal and conservation programs along with regulated hunting were introduced. In 2005, estimates put the deer population in the United States at around 30 million.[59] Conservation practices have proved so successful, in parts of their range, the white-tailed deer populations currently far exceed their cultural carrying capacity and the animal may be considered a nuisance.[60][61] A reduction in natural predators (which normally cull young, sick, or infirm specimens) has undoubtedly contributed to locally abundant populations.
You don't say.    So currently 6 million deer are hunted, yeilding a generous approximation of 300 million pounds of meat.  Meanwhile there are 6000-million pounds of turkey meat alone, and this is the smallest itemized species on the NAMI general fact sheets.   More importantly, I cannot think of a more conscientious minded group regarding sustaining animal populations than the hunters themselves, despite Whitton's bigoted smears.

Finally, there may be not be a more sustainable meat than venison. When you think about it, the entire North American hunting system is based on sustainability. Hunters are only allowed to shoot as many deer as wildlife biologists say we can. Numbers are carefully tracked, and once that quota is up, hunting stops. If numbers are high, more licenses are issued and seasons are expanded. In this way deer populations are kept in check.
With that much effort going into the management of a population—which I would argue has been a fairly underutilized resource—a case can be made that venison is one of the most sustainable meats available.
Sustainable because hunting is limited.  Will allowing the sale of venison change this?  Probably not, because the article was talking about a very limited effort and presumes that merely raising limits would be insufficient without incentive to be able to profit from the effort.  

If we declared open season on Bambi?  By my math, 30 million x 50 lbs/head = 1.5 billion pounds of venison.  Happy Thanksgiving, Good bye Bambi.   If you're going to PaleoFX, do consider heckling asking this dude what he thinks of my suggestion that all surplus wild game meat be allowed to be distributed for free to poor students through the school lunch program.  Let him hunt his own or "starve".  Even Loren Cordain is more honest and realistic here (no longer available since the book update circa 2012):


charles grashow said…

Many native Americans just 200 years ago were nomads and ate very
little plants and lived on animal and fat, especially fat from buffalo.
It was a treasured and honored part of their culture
charles grashow said…

Phinney: The Innuit people ate a lot of fat (80% of calories), not protein. Their protein intake was moderate to low and very few carbs. Obesity was very uncommon.
MacSmiley said…
I can't believe the near-extinction of the buffalo didn't occur to me immediately, because it's so obvious and I have known about it for decades.

There were a LOT of pressures on buffalo herds, some of which Evelyn has already mentioned. The arrival of the horse was one. But there were even more insidious European-American (read white man) commercial and official military strategies involved. From Wikipedia…


Under the subtitle "Military Involvement"…
The US Army sanctioned and actively endorsed the wholesale slaughter of bison herds.[10] The federal government promoted bison hunting for various reasons, to allow ranchers to range their cattle without competition from other bovines, and primarily to weaken the North American Indian population by removing their main food source and to pressure them onto the reservations during times of conflict.[11][12] Without the bison, native people of the plains were often forced to leave the land or starve to death. One of the biggest advocates of this strategy was General William Tecumseh Sherman. On June 26, 1869, the Army Navy Journal reported: "General Sherman remarked, in conversation the other day, that the quickest way to compel the Indians to settle down to civilized life was to send ten regiments of soldiers to the plains, with orders to shoot buffaloes until they became too scarce to support the redskins." [13] According to Professor David Smits: "Frustrated bluecoats, unable to deliver a punishing blow to the so-called "Hostiles,"unless they were immobilized in their winter camps, could, however, strike at a more accessible target, namely, the buffalo.That tactic also made curious sense, for in soldiers' minds the buffalo and the Plains Indian were virtually inseparable."[14]

Under the subtitle "Discussion of Bison Protection "

As the great herds began to wane, proposals to protect the bison were discussed. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, among others, spoke in favor of protecting the bison because he saw that the pressure on the species was too great. Yet these proposals were discouraged since it was recognized that the Plains Indians, often at war with the United States, depended on bison for their way of life. In 1874, President Ulysses S. Grant "pocket vetoed" a Federal bill to protect the dwindling bison herds, and in 1875 General Philip Sheridan pleaded to a joint session of Congress to slaughter the herds, to deprive the Indians of their source of food.[17] By 1884, the American Bison was close to extinction.

Add to that the motivations of the railroads and the commercial and even industrial uses buffalo hides, and it's a true wonder any bison are alive today!!
Gwen1961 said…
Evelyn, thank you for this. These people...oy! Does anyone know how old Josh is? I poked around google world a little and didn't find anything.

Around 1978 or '79, I had a boyfriend who went deer hunting every year with his father. They were men (like they used to be) who knew what they were doing. I remember that particular year they bagged a good sized deer and brought it home. They strung it up on a branch in a big tree in the backyard and proceeded to gut and butcher it.

I'd be interested in knowing Josh's politics. For the last 30+ years there's been a trend for pushing people into smaller spaces, i.e., those backyards that most of us have grown up in are fast becoming a thing of the past. Smaller homes, smaller (or non-existent) yards, condos, apartments, etc., are not conducive to hunting and processing wild game. Does Josh have an answer for that?

This guy is a dilettante. Plus, I cannot stand this trend of using fluffy words to describe yourself. This description from his TED Talk (yes, naturally he has one):

Josh Whiton is an entrepreneur and explorer of the psyche with a bent
for social and ecological reform. He believes that everything can be
improved and whatever can't can be composted.
carbsane said…
So I am now inclined to think it was Stella Barbone who pointed this out first. I have to go check ;-)
carbsane said…
Oh gag me. Complete valley girl accent and all.

Reminds me of Joel Salatin and his "statistic" regarding how the lawns etc. could sustain enough livestock and chickens w/o any farms or somehting like that. Thus I could break free of my grocery store addiction, as if any of us need to be pummeled into thinking we are addicted to one more thing!!

I have a decent sized yard owing to this neighborhood being established in the 40's, but there are houses on "postage stamp" lots all around (theoretically mine could be subdivided). My neighbors tolerate our firewood habit, and even manage not to call the cops when we split (yes with a gas hydraulic splitter) for 8-10 hours once a year. I have plenty of room for a chicken coop, and could even see a small pig pen. Yah, that's kinda not allowed around here. I can just imagine if I strung up a deer, LOL!

This guy sounds like the documenting of "cool things I did" type. I want to see him with the deer he kiled :D
carbsane said…
Just in case my links get farkled if I edit, I'll put this in a pinned comment. The hat tip goes to Sharon Badian http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2014/05/no-big-surprise.html#comment-1394677792

Her link: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/timeline/riseind/west/bison.html
MacSmiley said…
He probably lives on the same block as Mark I-only-eat-meat-I've-killed-myself Zuckerberg.
Susanne said…
My German aunt recently gave me an old book of hers from the 1960s-70s because I always used to look at it when I was at her house as a child. It explained how you could sustain a family on a suburban-sized lot through intensive organic planting and extremely obsessive composting. There was also some woo involved, including placing compost in a cow horn and burying it and later digging it up at certain phases of the moon (Google "biodynamic agriculture"). The really horrifying/fascinating bit when I was a kid was that your animal protein year-round came almost entirely from a hutch of rabbits -- which you were feeding from your plant scraps of course -- because their calculations showed you couldn't really support any substantial number of chickens. Just imagine, nothing but rabbit, week in and week out.

I think there was humanuring involved too but I would have to go back and check.

BTW I'm living in a rural area in the Midwest and I'm pretty sure the deer around here have GMO corn and soybeans as a substantial part of their diet, judging by where you see them feeding. So good luck with that organic certification.
StellaBarbone said…
The lifestyle of the 18th and 19th century Native people was not representative of pre-Columbian contact. It's estimated that the population decreased by as much as 90% following the arrival of European diseases. That had a profound impact on the way people conducted their lives. In the wetter parts North America the indigenous people mostly used wood as their building material. As their population collapsed, their cities collapsed leaving archeological traces that have only recently been found and explored. Twentieth century and earlier writers knew nothing of those cities and settlements.

European immigrants did not recognize the Native agriculture as such. They expected cleared fields, plowed straight rows and fenced or hedgerowed stock. Without draft animals, though, agriculture took a different form which appeared to be unrestrained chaos to the immigrants. Even more so, because of the precipitous drop in population, a lot of labor intensive agriculture had stopped and much managed land had reverted to wild state by the time of the European settlements. In reality, we now know that before Columbus, there was extensive agriculture and trade spanning both continents.

Buffalo probably constituted a smaller part of the pre-Columbian diet as it was much more difficult to hunt without guns and horses. Arguing that the Native people ate a buffalo heavy diet or that any 18th century customs represented previous millenia is just ignorant.
Rosie May said…
I remember Mat Lalonde savaging a questioner after his A.H.S. lecture a few years ago regarding grains and legumes v meat, the poor bloke only pointed out that you could not feed the world on grass fed meat. Mat's response if my memory serves me right was that it's the world's fault for being overpopulated, an honest answer at least but then he's not really part of the Paleo movement as such.
MacSmiley said…
The Three Sister FTW!!
carbsane said…
I don't know Mat well, but have always had cordial interactions with him. I must say, that when someone linked me to the video of that interaction, I was quite taken aback by his demeanor towards the guy.

The blurb from Cordain is the truth, but inherent in it is some sort of "we (with the most who have ruined ourselves) need the therapeutic diet the most" ... and the rest be damned. But underneath that lies the question of why "they" don't need it if all the phytates and saponins and lectins are so gut destroying and mineral deficiency producing. They should need it most!

Mat seems to have removed himself from the IHC much like Kurt Harris did. They're probably both the better off for it. I think the nutrient density thing has some merit, but then again, a single-minded focus on that alone borders on eating disordered, and when human breast milk comes in at the bottom of the list, it ought to give folks some pause.
StellaBarbone said…
The "treasured and honored part of their culture" was really a temporary aberration.
StellaBarbone said…
Phinney is just flat wrong.
blipton said…
Regarding sustainability, there's a great ted talk about how introducing livestock into an area can actually prevent (and even reverse) desertification

charles grashow said…
Wrong yes - but he will NEVER admit to being wrong
sautterron said…
Excuse me, but what economic theory tells that every diet should be available to everybody? The question kind of preassumed it, that is it was fallacious in and of itself.
In the economic reality many companies thrive on offering products affordable only to a small minority.
Jane Karlsson said…
Mat should know better. How can you say one food has low and another high nutrient density when they are both high in some nutrients and low in others? He and Cordain can only get away with their ridiculous grains-have-low-nutrient-density idea by pretending certain nutrients don't exist.
carbsane said…
Exactly. Nutrient density -- if you try to quantify it -- is a flawed construct. Which nutrients, the rank of importance, and how quantified -- e.g. per weight, per dry weight, per calorie -- would all produce different results. Also somewhat meaningless in the end, because even if liver bests a potato, one is more likely to be able to survive on the latter than the former.
carbsane said…
Water content of certain foods makes the "per kilogram" standard fairly useless.
LWC said…
I thought Lalonde's scale was a response to the ANDI guide which is based on the nutrient per calorie that Joel Fuhrman developed and Whole Foods adopted.

Fuhrman's scale favors vegetables (as does his diet) over animal products*, which perpetually peeved the "paleos" so they proffered their own version placing meat at the apex.

*Note: Fuhrman's ETL diet is not vegan, whatever Penn Jillette asserts.
Jane Karlsson said…
I think the whole thing is an attempt to discredit grains. Paleolithic people didn't eat grains (they did), grains have low nutrient density (they don't), grains are full of toxins (they aren't), their manganese will fry your brain (it protects it), etc.