Didn't the modern miracle of vaccines eradicate the plague and pestilence our Paleolithic ancestors succumbed to? Think again...
Paleo-oriented researchers, foodies, and clinicians seek to honor a wisdom in evolution that has been forsaken in the modern food era.
The human genome is best expressed under conditions of plentiful macro and micronutrients, an absence of foodborne and manmade toxins, and an acknowledgement of our coevolution and inextricable interdependence with other animals, plants, and microbes. If we get out of our own way, and follow ancestral practices, we can hope to optimize the genetic potential of our bodies to produce a robust and sustainable state of health and vitality.
Does that mean that those with ancestral dietary aspirations are glorifying a time long gone that was in actuality riddled with pestilence and plague? Weren't people dying prematurely of diseases we have long since eradicated through the miracle of vaccination? Isn't vaccination the best way to have it all - Paleo principles plus suppression of those nasty bugs that threaten our very lives from the moment of birth? Are we cherry-picking modern epigenetic exposures - yes to a traditional diet, no to evolutionary immunity - in favor of 'high tech' medical interventions?
Why are we eating ancestrally in the first place? Isn't it to evade or undo the immune-disrupting, inflammation-generating, and infection-promoting effects of the modern grain-based diet, also featuring genetically engineered vegetable oils, synthetic additives and flavorings, grain-fed meats, and processed dairy? Our present dietary trajectory was initiated around 10,000 years ago in the transition from 2.5 million year old Paleolithic to the so-called Neolithic periods. Our Neolithic predecessors were the innovators of today's grain-based, animal breeding and milking, sedentary, city-dwelling mode of subsistence, whose glorious technological innovations (written language, science, engineering, pyrotechnology, pottery, etc.) came with an ultimately steep price: epidemic levels of so-called 'diseases of affluence,' including metabolic syndrome, heart disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer.