Now that WHS readers around the globe have adopted the Eocene Diet and are losing weight at an alarming rate, it's time to explain the post a little more. First, credit where credit is due: Melissa McEwen made a similar argument in her 2011 AHS talk, where she rolled out the "Cambrian Explosion Diet", which beats the Eocene Diet by about 470 million years. It was probably in the back of my head somewhere when I came up with the idea.
April Fools day is good for a laugh, but humor often has a grain of truth in it. In this case, the post was a jumping off point for discussing human evolution and what it has to say about the "optimal" human diet, if such a thing exists. Here's a preview: evolution is a continuous process that has shaped our ancestors' genomes for every generation since the beginning of life. It didn't end with the Paleolithic, in fact it accelerated, and most of us today carry meaningful adaptations to the Neolithic diet and lifestyle.
Modern genetics has revealed that we are all genetic patchwork quilts, our genomes shaped by several different environments, and perfectly adapted to none. We're caught in the middle of an evolutionary transition, partially adapted to Neolithic life but not quite there yet, and no longer quite adapted to the life of a hunter-gatherer either.
I'll delve into these topics further in upcoming posts, and introduce Ötzi, the Tyrolean ice man, who will be our guide.