The biblical answer, of course, is that they ate a piece of fruit. And thus sin and death entered our world. But what if that story is actually a metaphor for a time when humans, by eating, departed from a golden age when they were healthier and happier?
I lost a lot of weight following what is known as the Paleo Diet. The basic idea is you cut out anything that ancient man did not eat before the Agricultural Revolution (which moved us toward a grain-based diet). But as a biblical scholar and ancient historian, I wondered whether traces of the Paleolithic diet had been preserved in the earliest literature.
In my new book, Original Thin: the Paleo Diet in the Bible and Ancient Literature, I assert that the very story of the Garden of Eden has echoes of that tumultuous shift in human culture when humans had once eaten meat in abundance and seasonally available vegetables and fruits, and began to live on Bread alone. And we've been struggling with our weight ever since.
It's available on Paperback