Eric Garza

Musings on food, energy and adaptation

Myths and realities of the Paleo Diet

Bison calf suckling its motherThis past Thursday evening I found myself at a local health food store offering a lecture titled The Paleo Diet: Myths and Realities. The Paleo Diet advocates eating like paleolithic peoples supposedly did, avoiding grains, legumes, dairy products, refined sugars and oils, and processed foods more generally. I say ‘supposedly’ because the diet of people throughout the paleolithic was, if nothing else, variable. While refined sugars, oils and processed foods weren’t on the menu, evidence from fossilized dental plaque suggests grains and legumes very much were [1]. And while pre-agricultural peoples didn’t milk wild animals, when hunters killed lactating females the mammary glands, which contain the makings of milk, were likely consumed along with the rest of the animal. Read more…

Energy, diminishing returns and the future of food

An oil pump at sunsetAs those who’ve followed this blog for a while know, I enjoy writing about food and energy. It all started with Meat vs Veg: An Energy Perspective, a piece that featured some of the energy audits I’ve done on small scale farms and focused particularly on differences – or lack thereof – in energy input-output ratios between farms that produce vegetables versus those that produce meat. Food and energy posts made up the bulk of earlier blog entries, although for the past couple months I’ve strayed from that topic a bit. Well, ’tis time to return to food and energy.  Read more…

A hunting I will go…

A stone arrowhead for hunting.Alas, time flies and before I know it the beginning of Vermont’s early archery season is nearly upon me. Over the next few weeks I’ll head out to a few different pieces of land in the Champlain Valley, and while I’ll happily take shots at small game animals my primary pursuit will be the whitetail deer. Back in Indiana, where I grew up, deer were so numerous and hunters (and predators more generally) so few that deer had largely lost their fear of people. You could likely walk right up to them. Deer in Vermont are far more skittish, hence the fact that in the seven years I’ve been hunting in this state I have yet to tag one with archery gear. Read more…

Vermont Traditional Foods and Health Symposium

While I enjoyed traveling to the Regional Wise Traditions Conference put on by the Weston A. Price Foundation last weekend, the symposium I attended in Burlington and Shelburne this past weekend was more my style. For the last few years Shelburne Farms has organized and hosted the Vermont Traditional Foods and Health Symposium, which, this year, ran from Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon on September 25 – 27. The symposium was fantastic, and I thought I’d use this post to talk about it. Read more…

Wallowing in bias

Bronze watch gearsWhile working on my first graduate degree – a masters of science in environmental science – I’d managed to hold on to the notion that scientists as individuals and science as an institution had a unique way of looking at the world that afforded them a clearer view of reality. This was the scientific method, and it involved formulating hypotheses, testing them in controlled contexts, then using the resulting data to inform airtight theories of how the world worked. I thought science was – or at least could be – objective, that if a scientist followed a particular set of rules they could avoid bias in their work. Read more…