Top 10 Things You Should Never Again Say Aren’t Paleo After 2010




Ironically, annual celebrations are somewhat more agrarian than paleo. It became more important to mark off calendar dates in relation to the earth’s orbit in order to grow crops more effectively. Of course, that isn’t to say that seasons weren’t important in the paleolithic, just that keeping track of them was a matter of a different sort. Therefore, that this post marks the end of a calendar year is largely arbitrary.

What follows is a list of a few things ranging from totally not paleo to totally paleo that strike me as distractions from an “Is it paleo?” perspective. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I hope you’ll add your favorites in the comments below.

After a sometimes exhausting year trying to learn about the most important period of human development with way less data than we’d like, I think it’s time for a mini-salute to modernity.

“Then with my face covered in good factory mud, covered with metal scratches, useless sweat and celestial grime, amidst the complaint of staid fishermen and angry naturalists, we dictated our first will and testament to all the living men on earth.” – F.T. Marinetti, ‘The Futurist Manifesto’, 1909

Happy New Year!

10. Creationists Glasses/Sunglasses

ZZ Top is totally paleo by the distributive power of “beards are rad”, and they wouldn’t be the same without sunglasses. I’ll leave it to you to sort out that logic. Another cool thing about sunglasses: polarization. I’m a fan of polarization as a magical coating that cuts down on glare, and in the establishment of false dichotomies and other propaganda tools. If you were a hunter-gatherer who couldn’t see, you’d probably kill for a pair of vision correcting lenses. And don’t mess with Marcello Mastrioanni.


Exception: Implicit in one version of the cover of Guy Debord’s masterwork, ‘The Society of the Spectacle‘, wearing 3-D glasses makes you a mindless automaton that’s been recuperated by the spectacle. Oh, and colored contacts aren’t fair in assessing mate value.


9. Vegans Beer

Hey, don’t question me. It’s written on the sign, and thus, totally out of my hands.

Exception: None. I mean… I could probably make a case for Hefeweizen, what with it’s gluten-bomb wheat base rather than barley. I’d rather make a case against beer with fruit in it, but if I say anything bad about fruit, the president’s vegan personal trainer might get all preachy again.


8. Birth Control

It’s just that it used to be called infanticide and infant mortality. Unless you’re a pope or other form of deviant, we’re much better off with modernity.

Exception: Trojan Condoms’ slogan, “Feels like nothing’s there.” That’s what she said?


7. Coffee

I recently heard someone sincerely say that “coffee is paleo.” Until someone establishes the Homo sapiens “Out of Seattle” hypothesis, I’m going to have to go ahead and reject that coffee is historically or logically paleo. And… I don’t care that it’s not… not even a little.


Exception: Frappuccinos. And no, getting the coconut version doesn’t make it paleo either.


6. Bicycles!

A huge number of people don’t use bikes as a substitute for other forms of exercise, but as a substitute for lazy ass planes, trains, and automobiles. That’s right, Kevin! Having the same birthday as me isn’t going to make me forget your post asking if bikes are faileo. :) Besides, there’s an entire blog dedicated to paleo cycling, so… game, set, and match.

Exception: None. Not even road bike weenies.


5. Computers {electricity, light bulbs, et cetera}

“You eat paleo, but you’re using a computer!?” Shut up. Seriously. Just. Shut. Up.

…the chimpanzees I work with are keen on computerized testing: the easiest way to get them to enter our testing facility is to show them the cart with the computer on top.” -Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved

Exception: Macs clearly aren’t paleo because of the high fructose content of apples.


4. Running {and endurance training in general}

Sure, I hate the pain sometimes too, but… it would be a strange evolutionary coincidence that bipedalism is the most mechanically efficient method of distance running, and only humans do it, AND it wasn’t a huge part of our evolution – ostensibly because CrossFit was the hominin fitness program of choice throughout the Pleistocene.

Exception: Clunky running shoes and endurance “sports” based on internal combustion engines.


3. Carbs

If only to shut up critics of paleo that keep saying paleo is dead because 10 Homo sapiens and 3 Homo neanderthalensis fossils show signs of starch consumption. Paleo isn’t anti-carbs! Paleo is anti-carbs in the massive quantity easily and cheaply acquired at Krispy Kreme and everywhere else in grocery store culture.

Exception: Refined sugars and mega-concentrated extracts like agave syrup. Oh, and wheat and corn and rice and all other grains and… (but the latter isn’t a carb thing)


2. Socialism

Sorry comrades. As a bourgeois capitalist, I didn’t want to believe it either. But… the predominant political organization of hunter-gatherer bands seems to be socialist anarchism, libertarian socialism, social anarchism, anarcho-socialism, or some other flavor of social organization that rejects private property and emphasizes communitarian forms cooperation. Objectivism runs into problems (not least because Rand didn’t really believe in evolution… more on that in an upcoming post), and libertarianism relies on a blatantly agrarian conception of property rights.

Exceptions: Authoritarianism, Marxism, State-Socialism


1. Evolutionary Psychology

“Neck-down Darwinism” ain’t cool. If you’ve noticed the difference in personality between golden retrievers and cats, you already understand what evolutionary psychology looks like. Denying that it applies to humans is evolutionarily unjustifiable anthropocentrism. If you still reject it, I hereby sentence you to a lifetime of riding zebras (which I’m told is not unlike herding cats).

Exception: Evolved cognitive biases are real, but I don’t like them.



Your turn! Favorite non-paleo things? Non-paleo things you’re sick of hearing about? Whatcha got?