The Paleo diet can hit the road

Cavemen ate from food trucks, right?

Not exactly a ten-dollar burger. Zee Wild Boar. Not So Fast!
  • Not exactly a ten-dollar burger. Zee Wild Boar. Not So Fast!

Gala Foods

3030 Grape Street, South Park

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

I won't often admit to consulting Wikipedia, but while researching what is meant when people refer to a "Paleo diet" — based on the premise that our bodies are actually better off only digesting the types of food available to our caveman ancestors — I came across this gem: "Advocates claim that followers of the diet may enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life, unlike our ancestors."

I'm not out to debunk Paleo. Some of the strongest, fittest people I know have adhered to this diet and could quite literally toss me across the room for attacking its merits. However, it's a gimmicky premise for a food truck.

I was kind of surprised it runs on gas and not Flintstones feet.

I was kind of surprised it runs on gas and not Flintstones feet.

The Not So Fast! truck recently made an appearance at the Tuesday Curbside Bites event, in the Gala Foods parking lot, South Park. It claims to be "the first Paleo & Primal friendly fast food truck in San Diego," so stuff like grains and dairy are out, while local meats and wild-caught seafood are in. I braced myself for one of the lettuce-wrapped burgers that anchor its menu.

Actually, an egg bun is an option, and so is cheese, and I applaud the move. Nice that every customer doesn't have to wrestle with the idea of trapping a burger patty within a loose, leafy construction.

However, I'm a team player, so I stuck with the lettuce wrap. I did accept the offer of cheese, because I'm not a caveman and don't feel the need to eat like one. (Actually, the Wikipedia entry didn't make it immediately clear whether stone-age humans ate lettuce wrapped burgers.)

Now, I showed up early to the event only to find that my first two choices — the lamb and elk burgers — were unavailable. A shame, because the lettuce-wrapped lamb, feta, and tzatziki burger sounded pretty good to me.

Instead I went with Zee Wild Boar, a "BBQ spice wild boar patty" with herb-grilled vegetables. Here we go, I thought, a lean, game meat. Lettuce. Finally, a food truck to feed me well, even sell me an organic sports drink to go with it. Perhaps healthy eating was at long last within my reach.

I wouldn't find out right away. Not that I have any right to complain. It does say "Not So Fast" right in the name of the truck right? In the end, it took nearly 25 minutes for me to get that grilled boar patty on a bed of lettuce.

I can complain about how it tasted. Well, that it didn't taste great, and that — dumb's on me for this one — this healthier-than-thou Paleo meal was just as meaty and greasy as any burger I could get around town. A little gamier, but ultimately not as enjoyable and a huge pain in the ass to eat without a proper bun. And ten bucks. The lamb would been 12.

The real issue came later in the evening, as I settled into my seat to watch Steve Martin play bluegrass to a smiling audience at Humphrey's. That's when the churning started, the occasional sharp pain and heaviness in my belly. Apparently Paleolithic ingredients don't respond well to live music, even of the folksy variety. Or maybe my modern-era temple of a body just can't handle hunter-gatherer fad diets.

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Wow, as foodie cults go, I'll skip this one. Grains as part of a healthy diet seem OK to me, for starters. And milk. And eggs. Neanderthals did eat these things (when they could get them), according to the latest analyses of Neanderthal tooth tartar scrapings.

But on to the idea of wild boars. Whew. So, where are they when they are killed, and how do they die? Spears? Traps? Lead shot? Are they imported from Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Georgia, Indonesia, Latvia...?

Per some online wholesale wild-boar meat sellers, there may be a shortage, so obtaining the ground pork (excuse me, "wild boar") might not be easy right now. It goes for a hefty price, up to about $120 for 10 pounds. Frozen. Shipped.

Then there's the issue of why the shortage: porcine epidemic diarr ... never mind. But all over the place, huge ditches of dead domestic pigs are causing contamination and stench. According to the Pig Site. I guess wild boar can also get sick.

The USDA doesn't much like wild boars. They call them "invasive species." USDA even has a mapping system so you can report wild boar.

Maybe you should report your stomach upset? At least to the food truck.

A good read about Paleo diets:

And then contemplate the fabulous agriculturists of 5500 years ago, in the Orkney Islands:

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