food

There's something missing from your paleo diet

Image via Pixabay

You can’t swing a stick of celery these days without coming into contact with someone following the paleo diet.

This increasingly popular eating regimen involves just eating foods thought to be available to our caveman ancestors during the paleolithic era – namely meat, seafood, nuts, fruit and veggies, and certain oils.

Whether they’re doing it for their health, or for the Instagram bragging rights, paleo enthusiasts tend to follow their regimen to a tee. But reports out this week suggest there’s one authentic Stone Age delicacy missing from their plates…

Snails. Delicious, delicious snails.

A recent archaeological excavation has revealed that up to 30,000 years ago, the slow-moving gastropods were probably on the (stone-carved) menu. Hundreds of charred shells were found near fireplaces along a cliff in Spain, suggesting the Paleolithic people in this region were eating snails 10,000 years earlier than their Mediterranean counterparts - and long before the French started serving them up as a restaurant delicacy.

Paleo diet? Ha! More like the snail-eo diet.

Although the shells could have been left behind by hungry animals, they were found alongside stone tools and other animal remains, strongly indicating homo sapiens had cooked and eaten them. The shells were also roughly the same size, suggesting the creatures were all harvested together when they were fully-grown. Only the biggest and the best for our caveman friends.

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Snails are conspicuously absent from the modern Paleo diet. Image via Wikimedia
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The study's lead author, archaeologist Javier Fernández-López de Pablo, says snails could have been a key source of vitamins A, B3, B6 and B12 and cholesterol. "What this suggests is that these groups [of humans] had already opted for a strategy of diet diversification that allowed them to increase their population," he tells the BBC.

As for how the snails were eaten, an analysis of the excavation site revealed the fireplace had been built with pine and juniper wood, and that the snails were most likely roasted below 135 degrees Celsius. So no, there was no garlic butter to detract from the sliminess, but at least our ancestors weren't slurping them back raw.

So there you have it - add a grass-fed, manually harvested (i.e. plucked from your garden) snail or three to your paleo snaileo salad today! Or maybe just try these delicious paleo recipes by The Merrymaker Sisters instead. Your call.

Have you ever tried the Paleo diet? Or snails, for that matter?

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