Posts Tagged ancestral eating
I’ve had a fantastic couple of days listening to Sally Fallon and her husband, Geoffrey. Sally Fallon founded the Weston A price foundation and is a world expert on traditional food preparation. Yesterday, we had a great day at the Te Aranga Marae, the site of my nutritional intervention that featured on 60 minutes a couple of years back. Pictured below is Sally and Geoffrey with two good friends of mine, NZ local hero award winner, Henare O’Keefe and Des Ratima. And a picture of us talking after.
Characteristics of Traditional Diets according to the Weston A Price foundation (www.westonaprice.org)
- The diets of healthy, non-industrialized peoples contain no refined or denatured foods or ingredients, such as refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or low fat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils; protein powders; artificial vitamins; or toxic additives and colorings.
- All traditional cultures consume some sort of animal food, such as fish and shellfish; land and water fowl; land and sea mammals; eggs; milk and milk products; reptiles; and insects. The whole animal is consumed–muscle meat, organs, bones and fat, with the organ meats and fats preferred.
- The diets of healthy, non-industrialized peoples contain at least four times the minerals and water-soluble vitamins, and TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins found in animal fats (vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin K2–Price’s “Activator X”) as the average American diet.
- All traditional cultures cooked some of their food but all consumed a portion of their animal foods raw.
- Primitive and traditional diets have a high content of food enzymes and beneficial bacteria from lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, dairy products, meats and condiments.
- Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened to neutralize naturally occurring anti-nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors, tannins and phytic acid.
- Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30 percent to 80 percent of calories but only about 4 percent of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts, fish, animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
- Traditional diets contain nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- All traditional diets contain some salt.
- All traditional cultures make use of animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.
- Traditional cultures make provisions for the health of future generations by providing special nutrient-rich animal foods for parents-to-be, pregnant women and growing children; by proper spacing of children; and by teaching the principles of right diet to the young.
The only supplement that Sally believes we need is cod liver oil. The product she recommends is Green Pastures Blue Ice Fermented Cod liver oil (this can be purchased through the BePure store). I completely agree that we need more Omega 3 in our diet, the modern diet is heavily skewed towards excess omega 6 and maintaining the balance between Omega 3’s and 6’s is essential for control of inflammation (as noted in characteristic #8). Cod liver oil is a great source of fat soluble vitamins A and D and therefore also fits perfectly with characteristic #3 of traditional diets.
We know that traditional cultures were in fact incredibly healthy, many cultures had no words for today’s modern diseases. For example, the Hawaiians had no native words for any chronic diseases. I know, some people say… Well maybe they didn’t know they were dying from a heart attack, sure they might not have a word for ‘heart attack‘ but I’m sure they would have developed a word for ‘sudden pain the chest and then you are dead’! The Maori in New Zealand had no cancer, the early European Doctors were studying them to find out why they were “immune” to cancer. The cure for cancer is known, a clean environment and great nutrition! There’s no doubt, traditional diets were and are the healthiest for sustaining life, it’s been proven through thousands of years.
Unfortunately, and fortunately we live in a very different world to our ancestors….
Modern lifestyle increases need for nutrition….
Traditional lifestyles were more relaxed than today, there’s no doubt they had there fair share of stress. But a good friend of mine who lived with different traditional tribes around the world for 2 years told me that in his experience they basically only work 4 hours a day, in the morning, and sit around under a shady tree all afternoon…sounds great to me! The harder you push your body, the more stress you are under, the more vitamins and minerals your body uses. In time of stress your body uses more B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc just to name a few. I believe most of us in the western world are living beyond our nutritional limits, the evidence of stimulant use like caffeine and refined carbohydrates are good examples of the crutches people are using to deal with the day to day load of stressors. The harder you push your mind and body the more nutrients you need! It makes me wonder where people are getting these nutrients from considering their diets and lack of supplementation.
Modern farming increases need for minerals….
Many of the healthy traditional diets had access to mineral dense foods, whether that was seafood (the ocean is the biggest source of ionic minerals), even healthy inland cultures like the Hunza – had access to minerals, they irrigated their fields with mineral rich glacier water and carried the river bed soils up to their fields. It is well established that modern agriculture is stripping the top soil of essential trace minerals, and nobody is paying the farmers enough to remineralise the soils. Hence, the foods we are eating are becoming more and more deficient in minerals. Minerals are key enzyme cofactors, I see mineral deficiencies as a common factor in many peoples health complaints, from fatigue to depression and sleep issues.
Modern food convenience means we get less nutrients…..
Traditional diets were based on eating fresh or fermented fruits and vegetables (since no refrigeration was available to them). Fresh and fermented foods retain the highest amount of water soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins in fruit and vegetables are very unstable. In fact, as soon as you’ve picked them or unplugged them from the ground they start deteriorating. To the extent that after 4 days after being harvested up to 80% of the water soluble vitamins (B’s and C are lost). With the average age of fruits and vegetables in the supermarket being 2 weeks old, it’s easy to see why people feel better when they take a B vitamin supplement – seeing that they are most likely deficient even when eating lots of fruit and vegetables.
Modern eating eliminates the most nutrient dense foods….
Traditional cultures went out of their way to get nutrient dense foods. Eating organs, glands and special parts of animals, such as the eyes, to maximise nutritional intake. One healthy isolated culture Dr. Price visited in Scotland ate fish heads stuffed with cod liver and oats for breakfast, a far cry from today’s breakfast choices. Organs, particularly the liver, is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, unfortunately many people in the modern world simply cannot stomach eating such foods and are therefore missing out on the incredible nutritional benefits from doing so. For example, eyes are known to be a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants vital to our own eye health due to the fact they protect the eye from UVB radiation. As most modern people are not eating these foods, they need to make sure they are getting these nutrients from other sources.
Environmental toxins increase need for micronutrients….
Traditional peoples lived in a relatively pristine environment. lets face it organic food didn’t exist, because that’s all there was! We know that environmental toxins block enzyme function and increase the need for antioxidants, minerals and vitamins needed by the liver for detoxification of these toxins. The modern world is full of environmental toxin exposure, from PCB’s and Dioxins from plastics to heavy metals mobilised in the soil by acidic fertilisers – they are simply everywhere, you cannot escape them! All you can do is support your body’s system’s for dealing with them, which means more minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Polymorphism of genes means we need more nutrients for enzymes to function optimally….
As our gene expression is diluted by poor nutrition by our parents, physical characteristics change (narrower jaw, nasal passages etc) and internal gene expression become less efficient. For example, I have what is believed to be a genetic (or epigenetic) polymorphism in my liver enzymes meaning they don’t work as efficiently as they should. Therefore, I need to take 40,000% the RDA of B12 to up regulate my enzymes to work at the optimal level to protect me from inflammation and heart disease. This is potentially quite common, but most people simply do not know….
There’s no doubt that an ancestral diet to your own individual macronutrient needs should be the basis of your nutrition. But on top of this, we need to the lay a foundation of broad spectrum supplementation to ensure our micronutrient needs are met. Hence, I recommend nutritional supplementation of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants something like what’s found in found in BePure ONE is perfect. Even research published in the ultra conservative Journal of the American Medical Association recommend that adults should take a multi-vitamin, mineral supplement daily. It’s very difficult to even get the recommended daily allowances from diet alone, let alone the optimal amounts.
The Weston A Price foundation diet is a fantastic basis for nutrition – and they are firmly entrenched in the BePure principles – but to truly have incredible health in the 21st century – there’s so much more to it….
God bless Dr. Price and the Western A Price Foundation for their passion in helping people have healthy lives. And thanks.
In health and happiness
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There’s no doubt that ancestral diets would have been much higher in raw foods than the modern diets we are used to. Having said that our body’s are well adapted to eating cooked foods, but eating raw foods decreases the load on our body and minimises damage done to food through heat exposure.
Let me ask you a question…
Do you get tired right after eating?
If yes, then it can mean the digestive load of that meal is draining your energy – In fact, your energy is being reallocated to your digestive organs, like your pancreas, to up enzyme production to breakdown the food. Tiredness after eating can also be caused by eating too much protein for your macronutrient profile, food intolerances or adrenal fatigue and lower cortisol levels.
Many people just assume that if they eat, then they are going to be able to break down the foods and get the nutrients from it. This is far from the truth. Your body has to work really hard to break down food and it’s an incredibly complex process… If you can’t breakdown your food into it’s smallest constituents then you will not be absorbing it (or it’s nutrients), plus, the undigested proteins and sugars can cause immune reactions that can lead to heightened immune reactions like asthma and autoimmune states like psoriasis or arthritis.
As we get older our own enzyme pathways become less efficient, we also become more deficient in minerals and vitamins as we age. This results in our body’s ability to make enzymes decreasing, which means we have more digestive problems and continue to get less and less minerals and vitamins from our food, decreasing our health and vitality.
One of the best ways to decrease the load on your digestive system is by eating the food raw. Take raw milk for example it still has the enzymes intact and when you eat/drink it your body uses these enzymes to break down the food. The lactase (enzyme in raw milk) breaks down the lactose (milk sugar) enabling your body to digest the milk sugar and lessening the chance of an immune reaction (allergy, intolerance) to the milk sugar.
The trouble is when you cook foods, like milk, at about 50 degrees centigrade you start damaging the enzymes (which are protein structures), these enzymes can no longer function to break down the foods. This is just one of the major problems with pasturised milk.
Other problems that occur when we eat excessive amounts of cooked foods is the fats can get damaged within the food. Fats are extremely heat sensitive and depending on the type of fat, can get easily damaged when cooked. These damaged fats act as free radicals (electron scavengers) and steal electrons from healthy cells, causing cellular damage and aging. Knowing what fats are stable, when, is obviously vitally important, but so is the fact that minimising total damaged fats is vitally important.
Cooking does have some benefits though. Cooking helps break apart the proteins so they are easier to digest, cooking can actually increase the nutrition of foods as it makes nutrients that were locked up in the cellulose of the plant available. For example cooking tomatoes increases lycopene (an important antioxidant that’s been found to protect against prostate cancer) by 20 times. And cooked carrots contain 30 times more beta carotene (a basic form of vitamin A) than it’s raw counterpart. Of course, cooking helps to protect us from bacteria, viruses and parasites that might be present with the food, hence you might want to cook chicken or pork all the way through…
So, like most things in life, eating raw is about finding the right balance. For this reason I advocate people try and eat at least 50% of their calories in their raw form in winter and up to 85% raw in summer.
Bacon and eggs the BePure way… A great way to start the day!
To learn more about Ancestral Eating join the BePure website for free and get the Ancestral Eating Solution programme for free (worth $47).
In Health and Happiness,
People often ask me what I eat and so I thought I’d give you an insight into one of my days…
Woke up at around 5:30am and waited for some break of light. At 6:15 hopped into bed with Isabella, my 3 1/2 year old as she had woken up and was calling. At 6:30 got up, rinsed the soaked quinoa, opened a tin of coconut cream and put it on the stove with a stick of cinnamon. (Click here and log in for free to learn how to cook quinoa).
During the next hour cleared the overnight emails and put the finishing touches on my latest evening seminar, while drinking a cup of black tea. Then ate the cooked quinoa, I added some extra fat in the form of raw cream and had some home bottled peaches for some extra antioxidants. Technically speaking this is slightly too many carbohydrates for my metabolic type, but these days I’m not quite so anal about that, (plus I knew I was going to the gym and that’s the best time to eat too many carbohydrates)
More computer work till 8:45 when I went to Cross Fit. Quick easy workout today only 10 minutes, popped by the office in town then back home for some more food. Usually I’d have my second course at around 9:15am…but today instead I went for a mid morning snack including…
Banana, 6 brazils, gogi berries, and tomato juice with katitai fire (tabasco sauce) and grated raw liver (straight from the freezer).
Back to the computer to answer technical nutritional questions…then it’s lunchtime! Whoopee…
Magic mineral broth with lentils and bacon bones for lunch today – we used Rebecca Katz basic recipe and added lentils and bacon bones to bring up the protein content and make it more of a soup. Watch Rebecca make it here on youtube.
Afternoon – Filmed some new material I’d been researching for the VIP Health Club members…
Early dinner tonight 5:30pm as I’ve my new seminar tonight…Forever Young – The Five Keys to feeling young.
Simple fast dinner… rare rump beef salad on 14 green salad, there’s no recipe for this one simply sear the beef and place on a green leafy salad with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It just so happened that when I started counting the different types of greens Lynda had picked from the garden it was 14. Diversity in your diet is very important, even with leafy greens…. Each one will collect a slightly different mineral profile from the soil and some will retain more vitamins like the all important vitamin K – which raw Kale scores very high in….
Off to present my new seminar…
I hope that gives you an idea of what my diet looks like on a daily basis. I try and get as much diversity into my diet as possible and it is truly seasonal, meaning I predominately eat only foods that are in season. My diet changes in winter from around 40% raw to summer where it might get up to 85% raw and so as spring rolls on we’ll be getting into more salads and raw foods…
All of the food consumed today was a minimum standard of organic which is fairly standard for me.
Happy eating and have a wonderful day!
In health and happiness
P.S I didn’t include the supplements I took as that’s a whole blog in itself…
The Paleolithic diet (paleo), commonly referred to as the caveman diet is one of the most popular diets in the world today. And with good reason, it works!
In the last 100 years human nutrition has changed more than at any other time in history and the results of this change has been dramatic…increases in heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, arthritis to name a few….
Going back to a Caveman diet makes a lot of sense, it eliminates many of today’s food allergens and essentially involves eating only fruit vegetables, and meat – no grains or milk. On the assumption that cavemen were not farmers or had domesticated animals.
I am essentially a fan of the Paleo diet, for anyone eating a western food diet it would be a dramatic improvement in nutrition. However, I also have a number of issues with it….
Firstly, the elimination of whole grains and raw milk. Both grains (when correctly prepared) and raw milk are two of the best sources of nutrition available to humans on the planet. For example, wheat germ, has been shown to reduce cancer tumours in size by over half in 2 weeks. Raw milk is natures best source of glutathione, an antioxidant and detoxifier that helps keep us young and healthy. The health benefits of these two major nutritional players are well documented and should not be over looked providing intolerance’s don’t exist.
Please let me reiterate, milk needs to be raw milk, as pasteurisation destroys much of the B vitamin content, enzymes and significantly reduces glutathione content. And grains, need to be in their whole form (not flour) and soaked prior to cooking or sprouting.
Do we really need to take our diets as far back as to the caveman?
I don’t think so. We don’t all look like cavemen do we? You’ve only got to look around the world to see that our genetics have adapted to our environments. Just take skin colour for example, there is a full spectrum of colours depending on where your ancestors lived.
Have we not learned anything about nutrition in the last 20,000 years?
I think we have. I also believe we should integrate the nutritional knowledge of eons into this base system of fruit, vegetables and meat. Thereby maximising macro and micro nutrients into our diets and cells for a joyful, purpose led life.
Secondly, the Paleolithic diet makes no allowances for genetic individuality.
We now know our gene expression actually changes quite quickly – this is the field of epigentics. For example, using nutrition you can change the gene expression of an animal within one generation.
Our body’s adapt to our environments and have adapted to our nutritional environment. Inuits are better suited to high fat/protein diets as their body’s adapted to living off seals. African tribesmen are better suited to complex carbohydrates as the predominant calories in their diet came in the form of millet.
Therefore, we need to be eating right for our genetics and establish the right macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrate) for us! It can be as simple as thinking about where your genetics come from and mimic the dietary ratios of your ancestors. Therefore, I have termed, it ‘Ancestral Eating’ – meaning you predominately eat what your ancestors have eaten.
At BePure I like to help people fine tune this process even further, so by joining the BePure site for free you’ll get access to my special Macronutrient test which will help you establish where you sit on the genetic continuum. Click here to join for FREE.
In health and happiness