So three months ago, I wrote a (sort of) takedown of the lack of anthropological data in many popular Paleo/Primal books and information in general. My view on this has not changed and I still will be looking into other data as I said I would, I just don’t have the time to write right now…I’m doing enough of that for school!

But recently in the last month or so, the whole paleosphere has basically blown up due to (thanks to?) the publication of Marlene Zuk’s new book entitled Paleofantasy… in which she basically says everything paleo is bunk, based on made-up garbage science, et cetera. So this sent pretty much everyone into a tizzy on both sides of the debate, something I’d frankly kept out of because I’ve been doing something more important than keeping up with a trend: reading books. Anyway, her book sent many people either into body-twisting shit fits or lots of finger pointing and sneering, depending on what side of the fence you’re on. I’ve read enough now to know that much of her book is written as a smear attempt, based on factually incorrect data that she, a evoltionary biologist, should have known better than to use. Kind of like Derek Freeman’s attempt to takedown Margaret Mead’s Samoan data by using his own heavily biased data, which was summarily ripped apart by the anthropological community. Zuk attempted a hit on the scene and she’ll sell a lot of books, convince a lot of people that eating meat and veggies (and other real foods) are a “fad”, but I don’t think she’ll be writing an update to the book in the future, her credibility will have suffered too much.

However, I did read a pair of great posts by Miki Ben-Dor of Tel Aviv and one by Paul Jaminet, author of the Perfect Health Diet (still the best Paleo diet book I’ve read to date) that go heads and shoulders above nearly everything else everyone has written. Not because they try very hard to maintain a neutral bias, but because they do one thing: stick to facts. Nikoley has a great post full of piss and vinegar, as anyone would expect, but it’s not something I would point someone to if I wanted to say “this will explain in detail why Zuk’s wrong”, whereas Ben-Dor and Jaminet nailed it on the head. One thing I read that I can really agree with is that Zuk’s book “should have been a blog post in 2012, not a book in 2013″ (Sisson, natch!). And he’s totally right. She mostly covered stuff that the community figured out about two years ago and summarily left behind.

All of this back-and-forth only proves one thing: paleo’s hit the mainstream and it’s having some real growing pains. Prominent TV talking heads have been talking about it for the last year or two, numerous news outlets have run articles on it (pro and con), and it’s even crept on to The Biggest Loser. This book will be both good and bad for the community as a whole, but it certainly will do little to stop its progress forward.

In addition to all the anthropological, political, and strength-related information I read every week, I also read lots of nutritional-related information, much of which is based around fresh research or newly-released papers. I don’t always read the papers — I typically do not have direct access to them, even through my University…and most are god awful long — but I do tend to listen to field experts who do. So when this post from Glen Matten popped up about antioxidants, his recent book The Health Delusion and a new paper on the efficacy of antioxidants, I took note. It all boils down to something very easy to digest: antioxidants are good for us on a cellular level, so ousting them isn’t always a great idea. Honestly, just go read the whole thing, it’s short but quite informational.

But I do have one nitpick with a nitpick of Glen’s, albeit a small one that I think is a misunderstanding. Glen takes issue with Dr. Watson’s take on why we should eat antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries.

Secondly, Watson doesn’t quite grasp contemporary thinking about why fruits and vegetables are good for us when he writes “blueberries best be eaten because they taste good, not because their consumption will lead to less cancer.” It’s horribly reductionist to think that fruits and vegetables could be good for us solely because of their antioxidant content.

My interpretation of what Watson said is “eat blueberries because they’re delicious, not solely because they can help stave off cancer, that’s just an added benefit.” Who knows, we may both be wrong and Dr. Watson meant something else entirely. But seriously, blueberries are delicious and you should be eating them whenever they’re in-season. I buy pounds of them when I can.

Vitamin infographic

Vitamin infographic

Well this is a neat little display of the essential vitamins and how to easily obtain them from real, whole food sources. If one was determined enough, they could use this to help them dump a multivitamin and remain determined to get all the daily vitamins from foods rather than a pill.