Re: Hunter/Gatherer vs Gatherer/Hunter was speciation

Mike/Damon or Peni R. Griffin (
Mon, 14 Oct 1996 03:27:18 GMT

This is going to sound trivial, but I think it's relevant to the
question of hunting and gathering. Hunting of large animals is
usually a more prestigious, but less useful, function in a
non-agricultural society, than the gathering of plant and small animal
foods. In agricultural societies, the richer you are, the more meat
you eat. Here in America, meat is of such high preference value that
we'll dump millions of pouds of grain down the lowing maws of animals
when we could be more efficiently and cheaply feeding people with it;
meat is considered the most important portion of most meals (the
entree), and we'll plunk down anywhere from a dollar to five dollars a
pound for red meat we know will clog our arteries and which must be
liberally seasoned in order to be palatable, without blinking, while
we refuse to buy nutritious, naturally delicious fruit that tops two
dollars a pound. Why do we behave this way?


I recently went on a lo-fat diet, and until I got the knack I was
starving all the time. Our systems crave fat. We have to eat stacks
and stacks of carbohydrates in order to feel anything like as full as
we can get from a little judicously administered fat. We like meat
because it's the easiest, most abundant source of fat there is. I
suspect this dates from our hunter-gatherer days, when we were
constantly moving all over the landscape and couldn't store anything
we couldn't carry -- and, as many a picnicker has realized, it's
easier to carry food in our stomachs than in our hands. Fatty foods
lasted us longer after it got inside, and therefore we developed
enthusiasm for them. This sounds simple and obvious, but I have never
seen it written down anywhere. People talk instead about the craving
for protein, which is silly. You can get protein from judiciously
combined vegetable foods, much more safely than from a dangerous and
possibly parasite-ridden prey animal, and you don't need all that much
of it to get by on.

Oh, what's the secret to not being hungry on a lo-fat diet?
Carbohydrates and lots of them. Those low-fat fruit bars are good.
So are those new low-fat candybars, but don't overindulge those.
"Lo-fat" for a candy bar may still be pretty high in absolute terms.
And for those salty-snack cravings, fat-free crackers and pretzels.
Preferably Snyders. The so-called lo-fat potato chips aren't
particularly low in fat, and they don't taste remotely like potato
chips. Take larger helpings of rice and potatoes and green vegetables
at dinner, and smaller helpings of meat, and use sour cream instead of
butter or margarine.

Does it seem weird to anybody else that we live in a society in which
getting too much food is considered a problem?

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