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Paleolithic food for long distance hikes
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Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/07/2010 16:02:11 MST Print View

I've recently gotten into the paleolithic diet (google "paleolithic diet", "evolution diet", "paleo diet") and wondered what to get for doing the JMT next year. Came across a new web site with set of ideal food for such hiking:

Also see their home page,
The owner is a former NFL player (NFL Guard, John Welbourn)

Info about him and this company was in the press today.

News Story Link

Edited by marti124 on 01/07/2010 16:04:04 MST.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/07/2010 19:32:52 MST Print View

I also follow a Paleodiet ( though there are a lot of different paleodiets out there)
here is the ultimate in PALEO/ and traditional American trail food:

Its grass feed beef pemmican!

I also carry a small plastic screw top jar filled with pure coconut oil to use as a snack especially when I start to bonk. the oil tastes and feels sooo satisfying. There is no comparison to the sickly feeling I used to get after eating a granola bar or worse a trail bar.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Paleolithic diet on 01/07/2010 21:30:01 MST Print View

That's an interesting idea.
To eat a real paleolithic diet would be hard. The hunter gatherer cultures within historical times ate a tremendously diverse diet -- more than a hundred, perhaps several hundred different food sources. Humans are omnivores not carnivores. The largest portion of the calories consumed were not meat from large animals. Exceptions were probably arctic regions and winter in subarctic regions where there's not a lot to eat besides meat.

Grains and legumes were probably consumed, but in lesser quantities than after agriculture was invented. For example, native americans in the north collected wild rice. There are theories that agriculture led to higher population densities and nutrition poorer than in pre-agricultural cultures because there was too little eaten besides grains and legumes.

I have stayed in a hotel in Matera, Italy, that was in caves in a place that's been occupied since paleolithic times -- it was quite comfortable.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/07/2010 21:49:22 MST Print View

With that diet, don't you have to club your own food?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/07/2010 22:00:53 MST Print View

>> With that diet, don't you have to club your own food?

Nah, Ryan Jordan recently reviewed the tool needed. :)

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Lets not go crazy over the comment... PLEASE.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/07/2010 22:27:47 MST Print View

I'd be more concerned about the expiry date ...


HEY HEY YOU TOO???? on 01/07/2010 23:57:56 MST Print View

Paleo is great it!

A signifigant departure from other things diet related but I have created a Pale/Zone hybrid that works well for me.

Definately a needed resource for most people unaware of their diet/ intake


Edited by rcaffin on 01/08/2010 03:27:27 MST.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 01/08/2010 03:09:11 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 23:05:26 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/11/2010 11:52:25 MST Print View

Nuts, seeds, dried wild game and berries would make up the bulk of foods you could carry and easily eat. If you want to be a proper paleolithic dieter, you would choose only foods which are native to the locale you are hiking in. The rule of thumb is "eat fresh, in season and locally procured". Of course, for longer hikes you will need to dry some foods and hopefully supplement along the way with fresh foods, but you need to have a good understanding of local btaony.

Mixing foods from different climates is a No-No. Beef pemmican plus coconut oil is a non-sequitor. Supplement your beef pemmican with fresh caught cold water fish instead, or fish oil in a pinch. make sure a lot of your meat intake is from raw liver and kidneys. If you want a more tropical paleodiet, then all things coconut are good, as are fresh and dried tropical fruits (not berries), and ocean fishes. Many insects, root vegetables and fungi were also an important part of paleo diets in all cliamates. Eggs wherever you can find them are good to go. Again, you need to know what you're doing if you venture into this arena. One bad mushroom can really ruin your trip.

If you want to really fine tune your paleo diet, you need to know a lot about your ancestry, and design a diet around what they would have eaten from the region of the world you may have evolved from. If you are not of American Indian descent, then the diet they followed may not be the best one for you...not to mention thee aren't a lot of wild buffalo left roaming the plains, and wild maze and rice of the past are vastly different to the cultivated stuff most often found at the grocery store...I think some of the American Indians were partial to turkey and pumpkins ;)

Edited by retropump on 01/11/2010 12:03:34 MST.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Paleolithic diet. on 01/11/2010 13:37:41 MST Print View

PBS has an interesting series on the evolution of human culture and technology, "The Human Spark". If they're right (likely), then some of what I wrote above is wrong. What I said does apply to modern hunter/gatherers and perhaps to early anatomically modern humans, but not to Neanderthals.

Neanderthals had an effective hunting technology that didn't change much that they used for hunting large animals. Most of their protein came from animals and probably most from large animals. They did not fish at all so far as is known.

The Paleolithic era lasted a long time -- from 2.5 millon to 10,000 years ago. It's not obvious that a diet that Neanderthals or hominids ate is that healthy for us.

Edited by Snowleopard on 01/11/2010 13:38:29 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Paleolithic diet. on 01/11/2010 14:14:29 MST Print View

Heard an interview a while back with a nutritionist who pointed out that fire and cooking added hours to the day of our forebearers by freeing them of literally sitting around and digesting.

Anyhoo, this is certainly one of many HYOH arenas and if a benefit is going stove and fuel free, great! (And I do love prosciutto :-)



Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Paleolithic diet and cooking on 01/11/2010 14:37:38 MST Print View

Some interesting ideas on "to cook or not" comes from studying apes:

Great apes prefer cooked food.

Wobber V, Hare B, Wrangham R.

Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Peabody Museum, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

The cooking hypothesis proposes that a diet of cooked food was responsible for diverse morphological and behavioral changes in human evolution. However, it does not predict whether a preference for cooked food evolved before or after the control of fire. This question is important because the greater the preference shown by a raw-food-eating hominid for the properties present in cooked food, the more easily cooking should have been adopted following the control of fire. Here we use great apes to model food preferences by Paleolithic hominids. We conducted preference tests with various plant and animal foods to determine whether great apes prefer food items raw or cooked. We found that several populations of captive apes tended to prefer their food cooked, though with important exceptions. These results suggest that Paleolithic hominids would likewise have spontaneously preferred cooked food to raw, exapting a pre-existing preference for high-quality, easily chewed foods onto these cooked items. The results, therefore, challenge the hypothesis that the control of fire preceded cooking by a significant period.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Paleolithic diet and cooking on 01/11/2010 16:14:15 MST Print View

Now I'm thinking you should definitely cook your food:


No human foragers have been recorded as living without cooking, and people who choose a ‘raw-foodist’ life-style experience low energy and impaired reproductive function. This suggests that cooking may be obligatory for humans. The possibility that cooking is obligatory is supported by calculations suggesting that a diet of raw food could not supply sufficient calories for a normal hunter–gatherer lifestyle. In particular, many plant foods are too fiber-rich when raw, while most raw meat appears too tough to allow easy chewing. If cooking is indeed obligatory for humans but not for other apes, this means that human biology must have adapted to the ingestion of cooked food (i.e. food that is tender and low in fiber) in ways that no longer allow efficient processing of raw foods. Cooking has been practiced for ample time to allow the evolution of such adaptations. Digestive adaptations have not been investigated in detail but may include small teeth, small hind-guts, large small intestines, a fast gut passage rate, and possibly reduced ability to detoxify. The adoption of cooking can also be expected to have had far-reaching effects on such aspects of human biology as life-history, social behavior, and evolutionary psychology. Since dietary adaptations are central to understanding species evolution, cooking appears to have been a key feature of the environment of human evolutionary adaptedness. Further investigation is therefore needed of the ways in which human digestive physiology is constrained by the need for food of relatively high caloric density compared to other great apes.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/11/2010 16:46:11 MST Print View

Thanks for the replies. I definitely like cooked food for the supper meal, the other two meals can be cold, except I like warm coffee in the morning. The main changes for hiking on a paleolithic diet is to avoid the stuff that came after agriculture occured - sugar, grain, beans, legumes. With coffee, one does not eat the beans, so that's probably ok and if not, calorie wise, it is zero. So that leaves for hiking: dried meats/flesh or aluminum-foil flesh (tuna, salmon, chicken), nuts, nut-oils, dried fruit and dried vegetables, and "dried" includes freeze-dried. 100% whey powder for protein is acceptable (in some views, including my own). Dried Butter is okay too (for some, --an Amish food seller sells dried butter, believe it or not). Some paleos include cheese although I very much limit it. I've heard of dried cheese but don't know where one gets it.

ps - I use the whey protein for breakfast and sometimes as a mini-snack shake-drink. I cook protein for supper.

Edited by marti124 on 01/11/2010 17:19:39 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/11/2010 16:58:22 MST Print View

"100% whey powder for protein is acceptable (in some views, including my own)."

Hmmmm...sounds super neo-neolithic to me, but whatever works for you is what matters.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/11/2010 23:38:44 MST Print View

I think cooking most foods has been shown to be smart. But don't forget wild fermenting. Fermenting at home is sadly not done much in the west anymore but there seems to be groups of people around who do it. Ive been going crazy experimenting the last few months. Fermenting breaks down the foods and makes them more digestible, increases the nutrients in the foods and builds up healthy gut flora.
I also love dairy. Ask any vegan and they will tell you milk is liquid meat. Only the lactose made it hard to tolerate strait for our ancestors. But if I go back to the fermenting thing, fermenting breaks down the lactose and makes it digestible for lactose intolerant people. It is also the way people stored milk before refrigerators.
Another thing- many people confuse paleo re-enactment with the paleo diet. They are not the same thing as our ancestors were forced to eat many things that where harmful to their health for survival and some things that are good for us like dairy and the ability to digest lactose is a new evolutionary step.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/12/2010 14:03:50 MST Print View

"Another thing- many people confuse paleo re-enactment with the paleo diet."

That's a pretty natural confusion. "paleo-diet" does imply eating like our paleolithic ancestors, insects and all. If you are going to include modern foods, like dairy, because we can ferment them, or digest them directly if we have lactase, then you could also include grains and legumes for folks who can ferment them or have lots of copies of the amylase gene to digest the starches. Foods like beer, rice wine, natural soy sauce and tempeh come to mind. Also, many sprouted grains and legumes are more nutritious than their cooked un-sprouted counterparts. So when folks talk about a "paleo-diet", they are really referring to a neo-paleo-diet? Which means I, as a high amylase expresser and non-DQ 2.5 haplotype, am allowed to eat grains :)

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/12/2010 15:58:05 MST Print View

That's a pretty natural confusion"
Its only natural if one is uneducated about what the whole paleo diet movement is all about. All the things you mention have been hashed out many times by different people.

simple explanation here:

further reading here:

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 01/12/2010 16:17:56 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/12/2010 17:31:59 MST Print View

"Its only natural if one is uneducated about what the whole paleo diet movement is all about."

The only thing I feel uneducated about is the extrapolation that all grains and legumes are bad, and that a diet based around paleolithic concepts of food and exercise is in anyway healthier than other diets that have said grains, legumes and of course dairy. But we've hashed this out before, and I think we agreed at least that refined foods, of almost any sort (what is whey protein??? A refined food that stimulates insulin secretion...) are bad, and especially foods high in simple sugars (especially HFCS). Whole grains (provided you are a high amylase expresser or gluten intolerant) are a good thing if well cooked or sprouted. Ditto legumes. Dairy can be a super food. Dr Mike agrees via Gary Taubes on this in one of his replies:

A paleo-diet is merely guessing at what foods combos might be best for us, same as any other lifestyle 'diet' (Atkins, South Beach, Pritikin, Zone etc...). If it works for you, great, but that doesn't mean that a diet rich in proteins, leafy vegetables AND whole cooked or sprouted grains and legumes is bad for me, just like I don't need to ferment or avoid dairy foods to digest them, but you may (and most Asians certainly would).

The world cannot support all of us eating a hunter/gatherer style of food consumption. What the world needs is a) A serious population reduction to allow more sustainable free-range and wild food production, and/or b) To stop processing most of it's food and stop adding sugar to almost everything. This would be such a huge start that refinements such as a 'paleo' diet would probably not be necessary for most folk's long term health. Of course, it will never happen. There's just too much profit in processing and advertising foods and making them quick to prepare and taste sweet/salty/greasy.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Paleolithic food for long distance hikes on 01/12/2010 19:22:08 MST Print View

Lynn, as a Type 1 diabetic I have struggled for years to get my diet right, especially since I have to regulate my blood sugars in balance with the insulin that I take. I've read all sorts of theories and solutions, including the paleo-diet and Atkins and Zone, etc. Thing is it is not just an option for me... I HAVE to get this right. You seem to have a very good grasp of how it all works. I tried to PM you about this question, but guess posting here will have to do: could you recommend some good books that can get me started in thinking better about eating? I don't want one of these dumbed-down, anecdotal accounts that seem more chatter to fill up space than actual, serious information about eating. Would you have any good suggestions?