These days it can be difficult to know which foods are good for us and which are not. We are bombarded almost daily with news stories about foods and how they might affect our health. One day eggs are good for us, the next day eggs are bad, raising our cholesterol and setting us up for heart disease. Or, eating fish two or three times a week is good, but the next day we are told if we eat fish we risk mercury toxicity. And for a long time we were told that vegetable oils were healthy and then we discovered that we should have been eating butter all along. How do we know for sure which foods represent healthy eating?
One way to think about this is to consider which foods our ancestors ate. Our hunter gatherer forebears have been studied and we have a pretty good idea of the types of foods they were eating. Researchers found that around the world hunter gatherer diets varied considerably. And yet the hunter gatherers eating their traditional diets did not suffer from the kinds of degenerative conditions that are prevalent today. Sure enough, their average life expectancy was not what we might enjoy today. But those that survived accidents whilst out hunting, childbirth and warfare, generally managed to be fit and healthy into old age. This is also apparent in the few hunter gatherer populations that exist today that still follow traditional diet and lifestyles.
It makes sense to me that each species has developed and evolved to eat a certain way. Some animals eat grass and thrive on it. Some animals eat only meat. Humans can do well on a wide variety of foods as we have evolved to eat both plants and animals. Perhaps we can survive eating only plant based foods and perhaps it is possible to eat only meat and fish. Or perhaps, as I believe, we do better eating an omnivorous diet.
It is this ability to adapt to our environments and circumstances that has enabled hunter gatherers to develop a wide range of traditional diets. From the traditional high fat Inuit diets of mostly fish or seal to the diets of the Kiavan islanders that are based mostly on carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes.
These traditional hunter gatherer diets are all very different and yet it is known that hunter gatherers were lean and healthy. And all this without the benefits of modern medicine.
So, why is it that in the modernised world we have rising rates of obesity, heart disease and cancer. I believe one factor is the amount of processed foods that are consumed. We only have to walk down the aisles of the local supermarket to be overwhelmed by the amount of packaged and processed foods.
Real food doesn’t come from a box or a bag. Real food is something that our distant ancestors would also recognise.
When we don’t eat the foods that our bodies need we can become depleted in essential nutrients and slowly decline. But worse, if we replace real food with processed and factory produced foods such as refined flour, sugar and industrially produced cooking oils our bodies become inflamed and diseased. And over time our bodies succumb to those modern diseases. The degenerative diseases that rob us of our ability to live a relatively active old age.
Modern processed foods also change the balance of bacteria in our bodies. They lack the fermentable fibres or prebiotics that our good bacteria need to thrive. And this can predispose to bacterial dysbiosis, an imbalance of the species of gut bacteria. For optimum health we need to support good gut health.
When we eat real food, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts or seeds, we supply our body with the foods that it inherently recognises. The nutrients that our bodies need. And that our bodies can utilise to maintain, fuel and sustain us. In effect we hit the reset button for our body. When we eat the foods we are adapted to eat, we are following a template laid down for thousands of generations. This is healthy eating from an ancestral perspective.
If you want to know which foods promote your optimum health, and which to avoid completely, you can download my free Body Reset Diet plan. By following these guidelines you will be providing your body with fresh, nutrient dense healthy foods that reset your body so that you can achieve your optimum health and vitality.