Paleo Pickings, The Diet That Doesn't Make Me Want to Die

Categories: Dietary Diary

Photo by Dominique Boubion
Cavemen ate pancakes all the time

If there's any fad diet that's the opposite of raw vegan, it's paleo, a diet tailored around the idea that our bodies have not evolved to properly digest grains, a product of the agricultural revolution so recent in our evolutionary history. In the interest of balance, for the next three weeks my goal is to eat only what a caveman would eat -- you know, things like cauliflower pizza and gluten-free banana pancakes. Things a cavemen could totally make if they had access to an oven and a health food store.

Photo by Dominique Boubion
That's a pretty tasty breakfast

So, I was in Laguna on one of these warm winter days and decided to eat at Taco Loco on PCH.

"What would a paleolithic human eat pre-agricultural revolution?" I asked myself.

I spotted the obvious answer, a Mahi Mahi burger that came with a side of rice and chips, as well as a side of avocado salsa. Perfect. Cut the bun, the rice and the chips and you're in caveman territory.

Why no grains? Grains are a no-go during paleo because besides the idea that our bodies have not evolved genetically to properly consume them, they also contain very few nutrients per calorie. The same goes for legumes (beans, peanuts, and other things). The reason why are phytic acids. These phytates bind to minerals, prohibiting absorption. Buns, chips, and rice, therefore provide a lot of calories in carbs, but not that much actual nourishment.

Back to the mahi-mahi.

Once I ordered, the cashier asked, "Rice or chips?"

"Neither is fine, thank you."

"Oh, come on. You gotta pick one. The rice is pretty good."

I didn't expect that he would insist I order a side, or make a case for it. With three people in line behind me I didn't want to be the person arguing, Seriously, no rice, and I didn't want to be the person that explained my diet within earshot.

I decided the chips would be the easiest choice, since they could easily be transferred to my boyfriend's plate without contaminating my otherwise pristinely healthy dish.

"Chips then," I said. He laughed.

"Ok, the rice," I conceded.

As my boyfriend went to pick up our plates, I could hear the cashier say, "See doesn't the rice look good?!"

"Yeah, it looks delicious!"

"See, you gotta trust me. You trust her, you end up paying child support."

The message: don't trust people who don't eat carbs. But for the record the rice did look delicious, and I may or may not have let a little fall into my avocado salsa. It may or may not have tasted like heaven.

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