Paleo Fish? More thoughts from Bruce about applying Paleo to pond management

A couple years ago, a really bright neighbor of ours, a double PhD, was having a discussion with me about diets. I had just made a statement…something like “calories in equal calories out,” when he informed me that I was wrong. As a guy that makes a living inventing stuff, most of which doesn’t work that “first” time, being “wrong” is not necessarily a rare thing. But still, I don’t really like hearing it…at least not so directly! But there it was…a common sense statement like “calories in, calories out,” and this guy is telling me in no uncertain terms that it’s wrong.

So as usual, I needed some proof. He hands me a book. I read it. It inspires me to read four more books around the same topic1. And then, along the way, to pass these books around and get more feedback from my inner circle of friends. And from all this feedback, another project unfolds! We call it our Paleo lifestyle project. So what does this have to do with FISH?

The Ancestral Diet

Here’s the basic premise. The reason people in “first world” countries get fat is because they consume carbohydrates like grain, potatoes, and other stuff that is outside of our ancestral diet. Think sugar. This phenomenon has taken place over the last 15,000 years or so, and is particularly associated with the last couple hundred years. But, since our version of homo sapiens has been around some 2 million years, even 15,000 years is nowhere near enough time for us to have evolved an ability to handle these new, cheap calories.

Along the way, the ratio of healthy Omega three to unhealthy Omega six fat has gotten reversed, not in our favor. So here’s the bottom line. Eat wild-caught seafood, eat grass-fed critters, eat wild game, and spend some time on your feet doing stuff, and you get trim and healthy again. The corollary message is, while eating this good stuff, don’t eat the other stuff.

Pondmeisters are well positioned to grow their own wild food. Point to watch, though…if the fish are being fed a non-paleo diet, they aren’t true paleo. In other words, their ratio of healthy fat won’t match nature’s model. The one that helps us by keeping us trim and in cancer-fighting mode.

Success at Home

Last year, here at Shepherd, we harvested enough fish and wild game for a whole village of folks to eat paleo. We didn’t track harvest of heirloom vegetables and fruits, but it would have added actual tonnage to this bounty.

Both Anne and I have truly enjoyed this Paleo project. We’ve both lost eleven percent of our body weight, and we are both stronger than when starting the program. And the curious thing is that I probably eat more volume of food. So it’s not really a diet.

So how does a pondmeister manage for paleo fish? It’s really pretty easy…do it the way nature’s been doing it before humans started messing with fertilizer. Keep the inorganic fertilizers out of the picture. Consider that inorganic nitrogen has only been around for the last 80 years or so. Before then, organic was the only option. So if you are going to feed your fish, make it organic.



Recipe books:

  • Paleo Comfort Foods
  • The Paleo Diet Cookbook
  • Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry
  • Paleo Happy Hour
  • Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go
  • Guilt-fee Desserts, and Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat