That’s a question I’ve asked myself for a long time now.
Let’s take a look at foraging for a minute. Then vs now.
Way before I started my own Paleo journey, I’d read Paleo blogs, talk with Paleo people about various things, and any time the subject of ‘foraging’ comes up, everything all of a sudden gets quiet… and people try to rapidly change the subject.
Now, I know several foragers who do various Paleo/Primal things. But I don’t know anyone who foremost identifies as Paleo who also forages. I’m sure they are out there, I just have not met them yet.
And that just seems so… odd to me.
No one writes about it, no one talks about it, no one blogs or podcasts about it. This leads me to firmly believe that almost no one does it.
Any time I’ve asked anyone if they forage, they always say ‘forage for what?’. 😛
I’m entering into the Paleo community from a long history and background of foraging. Since I was quite small. So eating dandelions, chicory, sorrel, and pretty much wild everything anytime I can get it is the ‘norm’ for me, and looking in the supermarket for my veggies is the odd thing. (Though I will admit to thoroughly enjoying the ‘heirloom’ tomatoes and carrots I’ve discovered at my local Trader Joes.) Also I’m in a new area for me geographically which is nothing like my normal environment. It’s much drier here in California overall, and there’s just fields and field of dirt. Not even weeds or dead plants. Just DIRT. Never seen anything like it in all my life. I don’t even see weeds growing around the fences. Makes it kind of hard for a forager to prosper.
But back to the point: It seems that the goal of Paleo is to eat as close to our Paleo ancestors as possible. Since everyone likes to point out that ‘bacon’ isn’t exactly ‘Paleo’, I’d also like to point something out to those folks who think they’re ‘Oh so Paleo’.
Realistically, I’d hate to burst a few bubbles, but that means that most of the things at your local supermarket would not be on the menu for ol’ Grok. I’m speaking of plants, but then again, I don’t think any ancestor of beef was on the menu very often either. Rarely, yes. A staple? No way. The effort needed to bring down a large animal that could kill you was immense. Small game would have likely been much more frequent at the dinner table, or firepit as it were.
But why wouldn’t our store veggies be on the menu, you ask?
Because most of the stuff we eat from the supermarket, even the yummy organic stuff, is highly hybridized and has been cultivated for hundreds of years to be very different from it’s parent plant.
Fruits have been designed to be sweeter than they originally were, which we tend to think is yummy, but has turned the original good for you fruits into tooty-fruity sugar bombs.
Most fruits were originally very tart. For apples, think crab apple or granny smith.
The berries are tons sweeter as well, as most of them were pretty tart. Take wild vs store bought blueberries for example. The wild ones are much tarter, but richer in flavor across many spectrums. Same with cherries, and pretty much all fruit across the board. We’re programmed to like sweet, so that’s what we’ve bred our fruit into. Sweet. Unfortunately that same deeply ingrained sugar craving that once served us well in times of yore is now making us incredibly overweight and even obese.
People eat the foods at their local stores thinking it’s ‘healthy’. And though it can be said that it’s healthier than fast food and junk food, it’s also not very healthy overall to be consuming droves of super sugarized hybridized fruits, and even veggies.
Taste a wild carrot (Daucus carota or Daucus pusillus) vs one at the store, and you’ll instantly see what I mean. All will taste like carrots, but the store bought ones will be incredibly sweeter across the board.
So, question to all you Paleo Peeps out there… Why don’t you forage?
Is it because you think it’s too hard to learn? Has no one ever offered to teach you? Have you never considered that foraging for natural food might actually be an option in this day and age? Is foraging too ‘hardcore’ for even the most ‘hardcore’ Paleo to even bother with? (And yet still convince themselves that they and their grass fed beef are ‘hardcore’?) Ok, that last one was a bit of a poke, but really, I want to know…
Why don’t most Paleos forage?
It occurred to me that I should probably provide a link and resources for those of you who’d actually like to forage.
There are many great sites available to help you. One of my all time favorites is www.eattheweeds.com run by a nice fellow that goes by the handle of Green Deane. There are tons of videos as well as in depth plant articles on the main site as well as a forum as well for those who would like to delve deeper. Happy foraging!
Current Weight: 210. (Damn that store bought apple I ate late last night! :P)