The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for March 6th, 2018

Beyond the Paleo

I know a lot of people are going to argue with this one, but you have to admit the caveman thing is getting just a little ridiculous. For example:



Dark chocolate almond coconut nutrition bars… just like early homo sapiens used to eat when they needed an energy boost on the big mastodon hunt!

At the same time that lots of scientific evidence was accumulating about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, Americans were embracing the Paleo diet – a diet ridiculed by nutritionists (even back in 2011), and consistently ranked near or at the bottom of expert diet recommendations. Wikipedia provides some criticism of the caveman fantasy. In some ways, Paleo is healthier than Americans’ normal terrible diets (particularly where it intersects with the Mediterranean diet), but that’s thin praise.

So why has it been such a big fad? Part of its popularity probably stems from the fact that meat-eating is encouraged, and the “primal man” narrative has a certain easy-to-grasp truthiness. But also, I suspect because it ties into the macho gender politics, a search for tough-guy authenticity, and conspiracy theorizing (the nutritionists are lying to you!) that have consumed American pop culture and politics for the last twenty years. One might say that Americans chose the wrong diet for many of the same reasons that they chose the wrong president.

Which brings us to the all-meat diet in the third panel, inspired by this fascinating Motherboard article on the trendlet of Bitcoin carnivores. It’s well worth your time!

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.