Originally Posted by David Mathews
I have Cordains Paleo Diet book. Just curious what your take is on his work? What would you consider enough veggies and fruit and what would you say is too much meat. I ask because I'm still trying to tweak our diet, familywise.Thanks!
I like a lot of Cordain's work but in the books he does tend to ignore the fact that we're all descended from a long line of omnivorous but mostly plant eating primates and go straight to the Man the Hunter
stuff. I can understand why he does this, after all he's got books to sell and his customers probably don't want to be reminded that we're little more than Cheeta's (slightly) smarter cousin. The problem with this though is it leaves the door open for people who skimmed thorugh the book (assuming they read it at all) to use the paleo argument to justify cutting down on fruit and vegetables so they can gorge on fatty meats three times a day. Obviously there's nothing inherantly bad about eating fat but a little goes a long way and cutting fruit and vegetables from your diet so you can eat more fat means you're reducing your intake of vitamins, minerals, fibre, phytochemicals etc and that is never going to be a good thing as far as your long term health is concerned.
Overall though I think the Paleo Diet book is one of the better diet books on the market with just two caveats, 1: he says you should avoid all starchy root vegetables despite them being staple foods for most hunter-gatherers, and 2: the recomendation that you rub meat with flax oil before roasting it is just plain stupid. If you're interested in learning more about the diets of hunter-gatherers though you should read Deadly Harvest by Geoff Bond as it's far more in depth than either of Cordains Paleo Diet books.
As for how much fruit and vegetables you should eat, as Cordain says in the book, you should feel free to eat them in unlimited amounts because as they're quite bulky being mostly cellulose and water the relatively small size of your stomach prevents you from overeating. As a rough guide a portion of meat should be about the size and thickness of your hand but as long as you're eating lean meat you don't really need to worry about it too much. Again this is a rough guide but as a starting point it might help if you try to keep your P:A ratio of plant foods eg. fruit, vegetables (including the starchy ones), nuts, seeds berries etc and animal foods eg meat, fish, eggs and insects (only joking
) to around 3:1 (~70% Plants, 30% Animal), measured by volume not weight, that way all your macro and micro nutrient intakes should take care of themselves, assuming you're eating a reasonably varied diet.