Is the Paleo Diet Biblical?
I have always scratched my head every time I meet a Christian who claims to follow the paleo diet. My reasoning is based on the fact that the paleo diet has evolutionary pre-suppositions. Let me explain.
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Is the paleo diet biblical? Strictly speaking, the answer is “no.”
First, let's discover together the original basis of the paleo diet.
The paleo diet is also known as the stone-age or caveman diet. “Paleo” is short for Paleolithic.
This is defined as
“A very long period of human prehistory, extending from the first tool-using hominids at least 2.6 million years ago, all the way up until around 10,000 BP.”
This diet assumes what people during this time period ate. For example, it is assumed that the food “paleolithic era” people ate was raw, because they hadn't discovered fire yet. Thus, it is assumed that their diet consisted of raw animal meat, fruits, and vegetables.
From the evolutionary perspective, people living during the paleolithic time period were “primitive.” In fact, according to the theory people hadn't discovered fire and thus were eating everything raw.
According to the paleolithic theory, everything eaten was raw and unprocessed. Thus, it is assumed that grains, refined sugars, table salt, and dairy weren’t part of the diet.
You should take note of the time periods mentioned. The “10,000 BP” refers to “Before Present.” It is also supposedly the time when the “agricultural period” began.
I want to be clear when I say that before “10,000 BP” NO HISTORY was written. Hence, the term “pre-history” or “prehistoric.”
This is an especially crucial point because this is when the scientist, archaeologist, or anthropologist has to start speculating because history wasn't written down before “10,000 BP.”
Fossils that are dug up don't have ages written on them, for example. And neither do most archaeological artifacts. So, it's important to remember that this is when the true speculation begins regarding how much time has passed and how much “primitive” humans actually knew.
From a biblical creationist point of view, we need to eliminate the “primitive” aspect and the “millions of years ago,” when we discuss the Bible, because we know that humans were created in the image of God less than 10,000 years ago.
Now, let's look at what the Bible says about diet. For example,
In Genesis 1, God said:
“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. (Gen. 1:29–30)
The paleo diet does not allow any beans or peas (legumes), or cereal grains. I'm thinking they were included in the original mandate since they come from plants that yield seeds.
Then after the flood, when Noah and his family came off the ark, God gave further direction:
“The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” (Genesis 9:2-3)
Prior to Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed, Abraham was visited by three angels. Genesis 18:8 tells us what he served the men:
“Meanwhile, Abraham ran to the herd, selected a tender, choice calf, and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then Abraham brought curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and he set them before the men and stood by them under the tree as they ate.” (Genesis 18:8)
The paleo diet does not allow dairy products.
The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43) states:
“He made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him the produce of the field. He nourished him with honey from the rock and oil from the flinty crag, curds of cows, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs, and rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats, With the finest of the wheat– And of the blood of grapes you drank wine.” (Deuteronomy 32:13-14)
Every food I can think of is mentioned somewhere in the Bible. Below are just a few examples:
Vegetables and Legumes:
- Bread (Miraculous fish and bread provision–mentioned SEVEN times in bible)?
Click here for an exhaustive list of foods mentioned in the Bible.
Of course, many foods today are quite different, due to various human “improvements.” For example, genetic engineering (GMO) and hybridization.
It is interesting that God warns people in the Old Testament not to mix seeds of two different plants.
“Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.” (Deuteronomy 22:9)
In Leviticus 19:19, the warning is repeated and includes forbidding the mating of two distinct kinds of animals:
“‘Keep my decrees. “‘Do not mate distinct kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed…'”
Mankind in his attempts to “improve” upon nature is creating known and unknown problems. I believe modern day processing, which involves pesticides, pest control methods, hybridization, irradiation, GMO, and the like, is a big part of the reason for the health problems of so many.
Evidence suggests that the increase in gluten intolerance and wheat sensitivity is related to the hybridization of wheat.
This may help to explain why many people feel better when they remove grains from the diet. It's not necessarily the gluten, though gluten can cause problems.
Another potential key to the puzzle is that we eat a far less variety of grains than we did 100 years ago. And of course, people are much less likely to consume whole grains in sufficient amounts than they were 100 years ago as well.
So, to sum it up. The Bible clearly shows that a variety of foods were eaten. As Christians, we know that mankind was not “primitive” in the early stages of life on earth. We also know that many things are being done to the foods in our current supply and that these things are causing a large percentage of the problems we are seeing today.
So, is the “Paleo diet” biblical?
Can a diet that is based on evolutionary suppositions improve the health of people when it is diametrically opposed to the very things the Bible teaches? I think not.
Instead, what we should do, if we are concerned about the foods we eat, is try to eat organic and non-GMO as much as possible. And of course, avoid any foods that are known to be intolerable.
When we start limiting the variety of foods we are eating, however, we are in effect limiting our access to the potential nutrients those foods contain. God created Vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, and grains for us to enjoy from the beginning of time. These foods contain important nutrients that are often low in people's diets, including iron and folate.
The reasoning behind the paleo diet ignores this fact. And when you start with a faulty foundation, you are likely to come to faulty conclusions.
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