Depression, evolution and inflammation. Back to the diet.

March 14, 2012

There is a great blog on Evolutionary Psychiatry Dr Emily Deans click here. Emily’s post on depression and inflammation, genetics and evolution is very interesting and links to a paper on this topic full free text here. Like all GP’s I get to see a lot of depression and it is a challenging condition, even with the most dedicated specialist treatment, and total patient cooperation.

My interest in  the ideal neuro-developmental diet dates back to my days when I was involved in a community group preventing lead poisoning . Lead has profound effects on the brain, causing reduced IQ, and ADHD and sociopathy. And lead poisoning was almost universal in the USA until 1990. This made it clear to me that the brain is affected by things other than genetics. Later when I became interested in the Paleolithic diet I eventually discovered that it is the ideal neuro-developmental diet and some interesting work has already gone on, including the Ghent conference where Cunnane gave this interesting appraisal including his own original theory. Prof Michael Crawford in London does some ground breaking work in this field.

The brain is the biggest loser in the Neolithic Diet. It is no coincidence that the diet of our Paleolithic forebears was associated with an explosion in brain size. Every modification of our diet since, has had a negative impact on the brain.

To understand the issue we need to forget about the complexities of the brain and focus on 2 general issues- wiring and firing. Wiring is the structure of the brain, size and position of nuclei (clusters of neurons) and the interconnections (synapses) made by axons and dendrites. Firing describes the release of neurotransmitters- where 2 nerves connect, they communicate when an electrical impulse arrives, not by sharing the impulse, but by the first nerve releasing chemicals (neurotransmitters) into the connection (synapse).

The modern diet is low in long chain omega 3. (Ultimate Reference Book= The Omega Diet by Simopoulos and Robinson) Bad for wiring as the synapses are made of omega 3. Bad for firing as neurotransmitters are packaged into “synaptic vesicles” using omega 3. This is why fish oil helps depression.

Next problem, let us go past folic acid which is a vitamin needed for the methyl cycle, and remember that it is just one of 4 methyl amigos. The 4 methyl amigos are folic acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 and Choline (the forgotten one). We all know that folic acid or B12 deficiency affect cell migration in the embryo (this deficiency may cause spina bifida). Let us also remember that methyl vitamins are needed to produce serotonin, and I think also dopamine and norepinephrine (don’t quote me).  So stress on this system can reduce production of these neurotransmitters, which is of course central to depression.

Wind back to CHOLINE. Now this only became a vitamin in 1999, and is needed to make Acetyl Choline, one of the main neurotransmitters, and the target of many Alzheimers drugs (But no papers on Alzheimers and simple supplements of choline as they are too cheap). Now 70% of the population are deficient in choline. Whoopsy. Back to square one.

The deficiency of choline makes it likely that our brains are structurally disorganised due to poor cell migration. It would also contribute to reduced production of neurotransmitters to make matters worse. Increased homocysteine makes it worse again.

Agreed that brain inflammation is undesirable and there are many avenues cited in Loren Cordain’s epic paper Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double Edged Sword. The seminal single reference on paleolithic diet and health and disease. See also and .

And on it goes. Neolithic life is also associated with very high risk of lead poisoning (though Americans born after 1990 might be low in lead, which is why their IQ is higher). And a few other issues such as iodine deficiency (though unusual in USA and Canada but common in Australia and Europe).

If the incidence of depression has increased in recent decades, then the increased inflammation may not be entirely evolutionary (as the time frame is decades rather than millenia). Since the early 1900’s (detoxified cottonseed oil) there has been an increased intake of short chain omega 6 oil (pro inflammatory) which became a flood in the late 1960’s with the widespread recommendation of safflower and sunflower oil consumption. These oil have physiological effects on our bodies, which is to say they are drugs. It was made worse again by adding lots of trans fats to solidify them to mimic butter or give processed foods a good “mouth feel” or extend shelf life etc.

This highly inflammatory diet change has been associated with asthma, arthritis, cancer, depression, ADHD, macular degeneration to name a few diseases.

The Pathos-D paper makes the unwarranted assumption that depression is a genetic illness simply because of the association of some alleles with depression. There is a simple reason why dietary diseases look like genetic diseases which I have posted about before. If everyone smoked we would think lung cancer was genetic. Similarly everyone eats a harmful Neolithic diet, so we think that dietary diseases are genetic. Everyone eats a lot of salt so we might once have thought that hypertension was largely genetic, but everyone knows it is largely due to the massive amounts of salt added by food companies.

I used to confuse phenotype (our health or illness or other character) with genotype (the architect’s plans), but have fortunately downgraded the status of the gene in comparison to diet (with the exception of the small but important number of true genetic diseases). We can upgrade to the GDE model- genes diet and exercise cause most variations in PHENOTYPE. An analogy is that if your house falls down- who do you blame? The architect (genes), the building materials (diet) or the workmanship (exercise). Anyone who has built of renovated a home knows that the work of the architect is generally superior but there are often problems with the materials or workmanship.

Weston Price’s classical text Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 1939, details his world journeys looking at the links of diet and dental disease and other disease. He is perhaps the second Darwin, the Darwin of food. He did not encounter any cases of depression. The one case of suicide was due to intractable dental pain, due to cavities from introduced Western foods such as flour and sugar.

The Omega Diet tells us that more recent investigators in Japanese fishing villages found not one case of depression when surveying elderly people.

Dethrone King Gene. The Phenotype is King and is mostly determined by diet and exercise (otherwise we might as well give up). If everything is genetic then what point is there in diet and exercise? None at all. However we all have seen and felt and know that diet and exercise is critical. Don’t be sold down the river by the gene.

What is the psychology of the widespread acceptance of genetic explanations?
I would venture that they are overly accepted because they are esoteric, doctors themselves are bit confused. Doctors and scientists rather like genetic explanations as they are intelligent, and if intelligence is primarily genetic (which I dispute) then it makes them fundamentally and naturally superior (and their families and offspring) so there is an appeal to the ego. And genetic studies get a good percentage of research funding grants. Genetics always promises that all the answers are just around the corner, just like the magic software program that doesn’t actually work, the share investment system that never beats the index funds, and anything else that is sold heavily but doesn’t deliver. Yes, it’s time to deliver some healthy skepticism to the geneticists and ask “where are your results?”. Obviously DNA has delivered a range of excellent PCR pathology tests, and recombination DNA protein products, but for the man is the street, genetic testing might pick a handful of useful results. And for the man with depression, how many have been helped?

Paleo water isn’t just H2O

October 10, 2011

Paleolithic water is not just H2O. Natural waters contain H2O of course, but also can contain important mineral contents. Rainwater is fairly close to 100% H2O but river waters, and spring waters contain significant amounts of minerals, and alkali load. I have attached a table below. Our ancestors may have obtained a significant amount of calcium in their “Paleo water” intake.

This can be overlooked as often the amount is quoted per 100g just as food is quoted per 100g. Yet the daily serve of water is more like 1500ml to 2000ml.

Remer and Manz wrote a famous paper on dietary acid base balance and ironically overlooked the mineral water, which in their table, by coincidence was Apollinaris, which is one of the strongest mineral waters in the world. Its PRAL of -1.8 does not look like much as it is per 100ml, but per 1500ml is a whopping -27mEq/day, (-27mmol/day) which is a large percentage of the typical daily acid load neutralised. The composition of hundreds of mineral waters is available at

My main thrust is that the paleo intake of water probably made a significant contribution to the dietary acid load, calcium intake, and perhaps Mg Na K and other electrolytes, and I think is worth consideration, and even formal research. It is also an important reminder of a couple of things:
1. The devil is in the detail
2. Always question your assumptions, relentlessly. Too many mistakes are made by oversights on assumptions. In mathematics, many mistakes are made on the first page, in the assumptions. It is too easy to overlook water, yet it is the second largest substance to enter the body (the largest being air).


All concentrations in milligrams/liter. TDS is total dissolved solids and pH is a measure of the acidity of the water. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A dash (-) indicates that the component was not detected or the water was not analyzed for this constituent. A tilde (~) means “approximately.”

Water composition

Water composition

Key to Analyses: (1) Rainwater from Menlo Park, California; (2) Average rainwater from sites in North Carolina and Virginia; (3) Composition of the Rhine River as it leaves the Alps; (4) Stream draining igneous rocks in the Washington Cascades; (5) Jump-Off Joe Creek, southwestern Oregon, wet season, November, 1990; (6) Jump-Off Joe Creek, southwestern Oregon, dry season, September, 1991; (7) Great Salt Lake, Utah; (8) Average seawater; (9) Groundwater from limestone of the Supai Formation, Grand Canyon; (10) Groundwater from volcanic rocks, New Mexico; (11) Groundwater from a spring, Sierra Nevada Mountains: short residence time; (12) Groundwater from metamorphic rocks in Canada: long residence time.

Read more: Fresh Water, Natural Composition of – seawater, river, sea, freshwater, temperature, salt, types, source, marine, oxygen, human

King Gene is dethroned!

June 27, 2011

I still remember the culture shock when I realised that the grand emperor of science, King Gene, was an impostor. The Emperor’s new clothes are non existent. Love live the new King, nutrition and exercise!
There are 3 commonly accepted groups with varying health levels:
1. Superb Health (Phenotype). Unacculturated hunter gatherers.(eg traditional Aborigines, Pacific Islanders). e.g. low level diabetes heart disease.
2. Mediocre Health (Phenotype). Europeans (for the sake of simplicity and because they are the bulk of my practice, and most research data bases)
3. Poor Health (Phenotype). Westernised hunter gatherers (eg most modern Aborigines, Pacific Islanders). e..g. high level diabetes heart disease.

CAN YOU SPOT THE PROBLEM? Groups 1 and 3 are virtually genetically identical, yet we steadfastly hold on to the false premise that these diseases are largely genetic. If groups 1 and 3 are genetically identical, then any differences in diseases CANNOT be largely due to genes, it must be due to other factors such as diet exercise and infective diseases.

There are a few ways of looking at it- all leading to the conclusion that the adoration of the gene is unjustified. The words Darwinian, NeoDarwinian and genetic defect are dropped as self evident. Unfortunately Schopenhauer truth phase 3 (self evident) comes late in every paradigm. When something is self evident, I guess its fair to say that it then becomes intuitive, maybe Schopenhauer could have intuitive as 4th stage of truth. What happens when it reaches its limits and the paradigm fails? It may be that some or all of our assumptions or intuitions are wrong.

Consider the body as a simple house. Everyone who has built or extended a house will know that if a house falls down, it will RARELY be due to bad plans, and often due to faulty building materials, poor workmanship or termites. The body is much the same.

Genes (building plans), Diet (building materials), Exercise (Workmanship), Disease (termites)
Back in the Paleolithic age, this builds beautiful healthy bodies (houses).

One day, we decide to substitute 75% of the building materials with cheap substitutes (bird food)(Neolithic food).

Houses start to fall down all around us (disease, atherosclerosis in Egyptians).

Along comes Superman (Charles Darwin), or the improved new version with added DNA- NeoDarwin.
And of course, the genes get improved, but not the diet (it gets worse), exercise (worse), disease (worse).
So the genes get better again and again, as NeoDarwin is all powerful. We know that, we learnt that in Sunday School or grade 8 science, anyhow we know it’s important. The genes keep getting better. The bodies are still fairly unhealthy, but not as bad as they were before. Each generation, NeoDarwin in his ancient wisdom improves things a little bit.

And then along comes the doctor, and the latest toy, with the best funding stream is, DNA labs. And genetics is still the final frontier of ego confrontation, and confusing and bamboozling people. The Romans called it obscurantism. And there are even a handful of true significant genetic diseases, just to whet our appetite. The doctor keeps searching deeper and deeper in the genes, the defect must be here somewhere. NeoDarwin will be angry if I cannot find them. I must sequence more genes, get more funding. The doctor says, these illnesses must be genetic, they just must be. Nobody will disagree, the doctor sounds so clever, he’s working so hard, just wait a bit longer, the breakthrough is just around the corner. (Sounds suspiciously like the prospectus of every biotech startup investment, but I digress).

But alas, the problem is not with the genes, it is with the diet and exercise. The doctor wants it both ways. NeoDarwin is powerful. Each generation there are LESS AND LESS genes promoting illness, and the role of food and exercise conversely is more dominant as the cause of the remaining individuals with disease. The doctor can’t have NeoDarwin being so powerful IMPROVING GENES, then use NeoDarwin to justify the false belief that DEFECTIVE GENES ARE THE MAIN CAUSE OF DISEASE. Sorry Doc, you can’t have it both ways. Evolution can’t improve the gene pool and simultaneously increase the contribution of genes to disease, the 2 concepts are obviously contrary to each other (dare I say it’s self evident, even intuitive that this is wrong).

So, wearily, we see that the search for genetic roots of disease is a fools errand. Turn the ship around. There are exceptions, worth looking at, but few.
We see Emperor Genes new clothes were just a veil, that we tend to blur the boundary of genotype and phenotype with sloppy thinking. Phenotype is everything, the gene far more perfect than we knew, is no longer the cause of most disease. We built the gene up as the Emperor but really as a villain, only villains cause disease, we were too afraid to realise that. NeoDarwin can keep on his merry way. Return the diet and exercise to normal, there is no incentive to evolve. Back to the building and bodies analogy. The genes building plans are superb. We all have the genes to build skyscrapers, but the building materials are fit for huts, barns, and the odd 3 storey home. The building materials limit our constructions (bodies) not the genes.

The Ancient Egyptians could have designed the Empire State Building, they had the architects and labourers, but not the necessary materials (steel, glass concrete), infrastructure (power, water). We have the genes for the Empire State Building, and all that holds us back is the materials, workmanship and the odd termite.

As Vitamin B12 pioneer Ralph Carmel once quoted the end of Portnoy’s Complaint “Now vee may perhaps to begin”.
Ben Balzer


Why Dietary Diseases Look Like Genetic Diseases #1

August 3, 2008

The high level of disease in modern man is a stark contrast to the low level of those diseases in unacculturated hunter gatherers. Paleolithic diet buffs believe this is due to differences in their diet. We believe that diet is the main cause of disease. Why then is so much research focused on finding genetic causes of disease? The reason is a simple logical fallacy- as nearly everybody eats a Neolithic diet, most lines of research won’t show up the dietary cause as the researchers are looking at groups who are all on the same harmful diet. Therefore it looks like diseases are genetic, when in fact they are dietary. While some diseases are clearly entirely caused by a gene, they represent a fairly small and well documented number. in the rest of cases, the genes have a variable influence, probably representing gene nutrient interactions.

I am grateful to salt expert Dr Trevor Beard for bringing this to my attention. He quotes one of the best-known publications of a British epidemiologist named Geoffrey Rose, now deceased (a sad loss). The exact words from page 32:

If everyone smoked 20 cigarettes a day, then clinical, case-control and cohort studies alike would lead us to conclude that lung cancer was a genetic disease; and in one sense that would be true, since if everyone is exposed to the necessary agent, then the distribution of cases is wholly determined by individual susceptibility.

On page 33 he also says:

The hardest cause to identify is the one that is universally present, for then it has no influence on the distribution of disease.

The references is:

The Environment and Meat Eaters

July 9, 2008

Carnivores are paradoxically the ancient protectors of the environment.

Consider this, when the first major African game parks in South Africa and Kenya and elsewhere were made, the animals were initially left undisturbed in the belief that interference could be harmful. Elephants and buffalo have no significant natural enemies other than man, and their herds grew rapidly in the game parks. Elephants destroy several trees every day as they eat their bark or simply sharpen their tusks. Buffalo and elephant herds trample much grass. Within a short time they turned bushland to grass land and grass land to dust. Elephants were then starving to death along with other animals. It then became apparent that these herbivore species can be extremely damaging to the environment. So culling of the game park populations began. In due course, these populations were brought into balance with the environment, the environment again flourished and it has been sustainable for decades ever since (though culling remains debated).

This simple illustration shows us that carnivores are actually very protective to the environment. Forests and grasslands are actually protected and nurtured by carnivores. Humans are the only carnivore that is capable of killing elephants and buffaloes, and prehistorically we killed off even larger herbivores (megafauna). Whilst it is a shame that these giant megafauna were eliminated, the big winners were the forests and grasslands. This frames carnivorous activity in a different philosophical light to that which is usually believed. According to this model the human race were probably the most protective of all animals towards the environment. This of course explains our ancient spiritual beliefs, from Gaia in ancient Greece to the hunter gatherers who say “the people belong to the land, the land does not belong to the people”. Our role as custodians of the land is ancient and our spirits continue to yearn for it today.

Where did it all go wrong? With the act of farming which Jared Diamond refers to as “The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race”. The act of farming is one where we destroy the inedible plant species in an environment and then replace them with edible species or graze domesticated herds. We immediately went from being the protectors of the environment to its destroyers. Vegans correctly remind us that grazing cattle is more destructive than raising vegetable crops, but they conveniently overlook the fact that all farms exist in destroyed habitats. At least we can all agree that grain fed meat is particularly destructive, and leads to inferior quality meat (that is softer due to high amounts of harmful saturated fat- see ).

We should recall that salinisation from farming has destroyed much of the world’s arable land. Indeed salinisation of wheat farms is mentioned in the oldest clay tablets from the Middle East (Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia), and we are all aware that the ancient Middle Eastern Fertile Crescent now has much desert due to human activity. In the end, it may already be too late to save our farmlands. Then we shall be forced to turn to oceanic farming, which ironically enough will provide us with paleolithic style foods only.

Iodine, Traditional Cultures and Pregnancy

June 27, 2008

From Dr Weston Price. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration 1939, 1945 pp 400-402 APPLICATION OF PRIMITIVE WISDOM. Dr Price, a dentist, is one of the founding fathers of modern nutrition.

In Africa I found many tribes gathering certain plants from swamps and marshes and streams, particularly the water hyacinth. These plants dried and burned for their ashes which were put into the foods of mothers and growing children. A species of water hyacinth is shown in Fig. 130 (click). The woman shown in Fig. 130, with an enormous goiter, had come down from a nine-thousand-foot level in the mountains above Lake Edward. Here all the drinking water was snow water which did not carry iodine. She had come down from the high area to the six- thousand-foot level to gather the water hyacinth and other plants to obtain the ashes from these and other iodine carrying plants to carry back to her children to prevent, as she explained, the formation of “big neck,” such as she had. The people living at the six-thousand-foot level also use the ashes of these plants.

Weston Price Africa Goitre

Among many of the tribes in Africa there were not only special nutritional programs for the women before pregnancy, but also during the gestation period, and again during the nursing period.

For the Indians of the far North this reinforcement was accomplished supplying special feedings of organs of animals. Among the Indians in the moose country near the Arctic circle a larger percentage of the children were born in June than in any other month. This was accomplished, I was told, by both parents eating liberally of the thyroid glands of the male moose as they came down from the high mountain areas for the mating season, at which time the large protuberances carrying the thyroids under the throat were greatly enlarged.

Among the Eskimos I found fish eggs were eaten by the childbearing women, and the milt of the male salmon by the fathers for the purpose reinforcing reproductive efficiency.

The coastal Indians in Peru ate the so-called angelote egg, an organ of the male fish of an ovoviviparous species. These organs were used by the fathers-to-be and the fish eggs by the mothers-to-be.

Coeliac disease- a disease or a simple case of poisoning?

June 23, 2008

Coeliac disease- a disease or a simple case of poisoning?

We are all creatures of habit. In this complex age, we never give a second thought to electricity, television, even the internet. Let alone running water, roads, wheels, and houses. Few of us ponder about what life was like without them. Even fewer of us ask the same questions about the very food that we eat. What was life like before the supermarket, the refrigerator, tinning and preserving, and how about before intensive agriculture, or before farming itself- indeed where did our food all start? Yet the history of food is exactly the topic of most interest to scientists in the relatively new field of paleolithic diet, and it gives some startling insights into what we eat and how if affects our health.

The New Year always brings a rush of friends pronouncing that they are going on to a “detoxification diet” whatever that is. For many of us though, avoiding toxins is a very real daily necessity, fraught with potential danger. These are people who have coeliac disease. People with coeliac disease must avoid food which contains gluten- a substance found in cereals such as wheat rye and barley. Gluten is toxic to them. At first blush this seems a strange thing, as we all eat cereals and take them for granted. But if we scratch a bit harder, we soon see that cereals are not the innocent foods they appear to be.

I dispute that coeliac disease is a disease, it is more the tip of of a toxic iceberg. While people with coeliac disease are well aware that they are sensitive to being poisoned by gluten, whereas others do not have this reaction, it is likely that everyone’s health is affected by the suite of other toxins in wheat and other cereals.

For millions of years, humans and their relatives have eaten meat, fish, fowl and the leaves, roots and fruits of many plants. One big obstacle to getting more calories from the environment is the fact that many plants are inedible. Grains, beans and potatoes are full of energy but all are inedible in the raw state as they contain many toxins. There is no doubt about that- please don’t try to eat them raw, they can make you very sick.

Around 10,000 years ago, an enormous breakthrough was made- a breakthrough that was to change the course of history, and our diet, forever. This breakthrough was the discovery that cooking these foods made them edible- the heat destroyed enough toxins to render them edible. Grains include wheat, corn, barley, rice, sorghum, millet and oats. Grain based foods also include products such as flour, bread, noodles and pasta. These foods entered the menu of New Stone Age (Neolithic) man, and Paleolithic diet buffs often refer to them as Neolithic foods.

The cooking of grains, beans and potatoes had an enormous effect on our food intake- perhaps doubling the number of calories that we could obtain from the plant foods in our environment. Other advantages were soon obvious with these foods:

· they could store for long periods (refrigeration of course being unavailable in those days)

· they were dense in calories- ie a small weight contains a lot of calories, enabling easy transport

· the food was also the seed of the plant- later allowing ready farming of the species

These advantages made it much easier to store and transport food. Of most critical importance, it enabled food to be stored for the winter. It also made it much easier for nomads and travellers to carry supplies. Food storage also enabled surpluses to be stored, and this in turn made it possible to free some people from food gathering to become specialists in other activities, such as builders, warriors and rulers. This in turn set us on the course to modern day civilization. Despite these commercial advantages, our genes were never developed with grains, beans and potatoes and were not in tune with them, and still are not. Man soon improved further on these advances- by farming plants and animals.

Instead of being able to eat only a fraction of the animal and plant life in an area, farming allows us to remove all the inedible plants in a particular area and replace them with a large number of edible plants and animals. This in turn increases the number of calories that we can obtain from an area by some 10 to 100 fold or more. Then followed the harnessing of dairy products, which allow man to obtain far more calories from the animal over its lifetime than if it were simply slaughtered for meat.

Paleolithic Diet buffs refer to the new foods as Neolithic foods and the old as Paleolithic Diet foods. In simple terms we see Neolithic as bad and Paleolithic as good. Since then, some other substances have entered the diet- particularly salt and sugar, and more recently a litany of chemicals including firstly caffeine then all other additives, colourings, preservatives, pesticides etc.

Grains, Beans and Potatoes (GBP) share the following important characteristics:

· They are all toxic when raw- there is no doubt about this- it is a fact that no competent source would dispute- they can be extremely dangerous and it is important never to eat them raw or undercooked. These toxins include enzyme blockers, lectins and other types.

· Cooking destroys most but not all of the toxins. Insufficient cooking can lead to sickness such as acute gastroenteritis.

· They are all rich sources of carbohydrate, and once cooked this is often rapidly digestible-giving a high glycemic index (sugar spike).

· They are extremely poor sources of vitamins (particularly vitamins A, B-group, folic acid and C), minerals, antioxidants and phytosterols.

Therefore diets high in grains beans and potatoes (GBP):

· Contain toxins in small amounts

· Have a high glycemic index (ie have a similar effect to raw sugar on blood glucose levels)

· Are low in many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytosterols- ie they are the original “empty calories”

· Have problems caused by the GBP displacing other foods

As grains, beans and potatoes form such a large proportion of the modern diet, you can now understand why it is so common for people to feel they need supplements or that they need to detoxify (ie that they have toxins in their system)- indeed both feelings are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily realize which supplements we need, and ironically when people go on detoxification diets they unfortunately often consume even more Neolithic foods (eg soy beans) and therefore more toxins than usual (perhaps they sometimes benefit from a change in toxins).

So there we have it. Gluten is not the only potential toxin in wheat, there are many others- but these others tend to be reduced by cooking. Cereals have many other inferior aspects as a food, and they certainly ere not one foods that we evolved with (or created with if you prefer). For over 2 million years all food was gluten free, but now for the past 10,000 years Caucasians, Africans and Asians have eaten foods containing gluten, but for Native Americans, Australian Aborigines and Pacific Islanders, cereals have only been available for 100 to 500 years. Scarcely any time at all. Wheat and other cereals are at best second rate foods, which were introduced as emergency foods to prevent starvation in winter, but whose high productivity lead to their wholesale introduction, like many of the cheap substitutes that we use today.

So, gentle reader, to answer your question “why can’t I eat cereals”, it would appear that we were all never meant to eat them in the first place.

Dr Ben Balzer, general practitioner with a special interest in the paleolithic diet.