The 'sharp stick' test

The 'sharp stick' test refers to Ray Audette's catchy description of how to distinguish palaeofoods from non-palaeo foods: "A natural diet is what is edible when you are naked with a sharp stick," Audette says,"when you have no technology." The quote is from the interview published in the Dallas Observer in July 1995.

Others have modified this formulation thus: "A natural diet is what is edible when you are naked in the African savanna with a sharp stick."

Both are catchy and useful, though a pedant might query their compatibility with fish, olive oil, flaxseed oil, dietary supplements [1] and a few other items that many followers of a palaeo diet believe are necessary because either our degraded biosphere's processes has depleted otherwise natural foods to a lower nutritional value than they had in the Pleistocene or, simply because they prefer to include them for a variety of personal reasons.

In his book Neanderthin, Ray proposes '... the basic principle of Paleolithic nutrition: would this be edible when found in its natural state and without technology?' (p 61 in the 1999 paperback edition).


1. Art DeVany has taken and recommended glutathione and antioxidant supplements for many years and Richard Nikoley advocates vitamin D supplementation.

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