Let’s try a thought exercise to discover the truth about what we should eat. An idea based on common sense, logical but not technical… a simple perspective.
If you’ve read any of my other posts until the end, you’ll know that I don’t profess to be a doctor, nutritionist or scientist. I’m not a mathematician nor an epidemiologist.
Full disclosure, I’m a simple person. When I say that, I don’t want pity, for the truth is, I’m happy in my simple life. I have my health, my family and friends a good job, and I’m happily satisfied with my position in this world.
Being simple, I look at various aspects of life through my simple lens and let all the clever people do their clever stuff.
You see, the deeper the clever people delve into diet and nutrition, the more complex it seems to get. I’m sure they’re having so much fun rummaging around facts and figures, studies and papers, but is it really necessary to figure out the truth about what we should be eating?
I want to do a simple thought exercise with you…
… let’s take all the dietary and nutritional information that’s been stuffed into our brains.
Now, let’s take all that info, and roll into a ball and throw it… throw it as far away as possible so it’s out of sight.
I want us to have a clean slate, a blank page, an untouched canvas.
Great – now let’s ask the big question…
…What on Earth should we eat?
To help our bodies be as healthy and optimal as possible… what on earth should we eat?
To answer this elusive question, where should we start looking for clues?
We could step outside to find numerous clues such as fast food joints, restaurants and supermarkets.
Hell, we don’t even need to leave our homes, we’ve got gadgets and gizmos and Google at our fingertips. A quick digit dance and in no time we can have someone rocking up with a vindaloo, Singapore chow mien or even a Maccers… Whatever your heart desires.
But this world we live in… this world is a strange world. One that is normal to you and me – it’s all we know – but to our ancestors, it would be beyond their comprehension.
If we had a time machine and grabbed someone from as little as 150 years ago and brought them back here, they would be gobsmacked.
I mean think about it… we didn’t even have light in this world until around 140 years ago, now look at the world we live in.
We live in a world of cars and planes, T.V.s and Smartphones, Amazon and Apple, mass production and – for our sins – processed food.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing, we’re so lucky, but my point is that it’s so far removed from the world our ancestors would recognise.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to consider what we should be shoving in our gobs, I’m gonna disregard anything up to at least 100 years ago. In fact, I’m going to look back much further, before bread first made an appearance.
It’s All About Bog Roll
I know I said I like to keep it simple but this is about to get pretty technical…
I heard somewhere that if we use a toilet roll as a tool for understanding human existence on this earth, the time that bread has been around – 10,000 years give or take – is about one square of toilet roll.
This means that the rest of that roll represents how long we’ve lived on this earth without the first man-made processed food – That just blows… my… mind.
So, I want us to go back to at least the second square and beyond. This is the world that our ancestors would recognise as normal, that Mother Nature would’ve finely tuned and optimized our bodies for living in.
In a world where we there’s no Sainsburys, no Five Guys – and God forbid – no Costa Coffee! I know, it’s gonna be tough, but we can do it.
Imagine this world; I imagine this world would be about living in close-knit communities, being an integral part of a tribe and having a sense of belonging; not spending every waking moment with our eyes transfixed on our phone, eager for just one more ‘like’.
There would’ve been periods filled with worries of where our next meal’s coming from; not struggling to decide if we should have Indian, or Chinese, or pizza, or fish and chips or…
So, what would we have eaten back then?
Seriously, before you read on, have a think about it. What would we have eaten? What would’ve been available when we were hunting and gathering?
To me, this is about as obvious as it gets… meat – it was and still is the most nutrient-rich food on the planet, delivered in the most bio-available package – along with some seasonal fruit and vegetables. And that’s it… there just wouldn’t have been anything else around.
And, I can’t imagine our ancestors cutting off the fat either. In fact, I’m sure they would’ve scoffed it up; coz it tastes damn good and fills us up.
No doubt, we would’ve eaten the whole beast, very little would’ve gone to waste.
I have a hunch that our ancestors would’ve known the value of organ meats to their health and that they would’ve feasted on this nutrient-dense meat first before tucking into the muscle meat.
Just watch wild lions on the African Plains. Take note of what part of the kill they start gorging on first; they ain’t stupid.
We’ve Lost the Emotion
Something else I believe we’ve lost in our modern world; we would’ve had a deeper emotional connection with the food we ate, especially with animals.
I believe there would’ve been a deep appreciation of one life being sacrificed so that ours can live on. Eating would’ve been an emotional and even spiritual event.
We need food for our survival, without it we die. There would’ve been days or even weeks of little to no food at all, desperate for the next kill, the next sacrifice of one life to preserve the life of ours and our fellow tribe members.
We’ve lost that connection with our food and with the circle of life. It’s taken for granted in our modern world because we don’t need to think about it; if we’re hungry we eat what we want when we want.
Everything is pre-packed and bears no resemblance to its original form. There’s no appreciation, we just shove it in our faces without a second thought.
The closest we get to see an appreciation for food in our modern times is on the TV show, ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’.
The celebrities, having been food-deprived, a few pounds lighter than when the show started and finally sitting down to a 3-course menu of their own choice.
As they devour their food, each mouthful is a joyous occasion, their eyes roll to the back of their heads as if that hit of crack is hitting their bloodstream. The silence is filled with blissful murmurs of “oh my God!” and “so good!”.
It’s hard to believe food can have such an effect because we rarely, if ever, get into a situation of starvation.
Having periods of no food would’ve been a common thing. As terrible as it sounds – wondering if and when we would get our next meal – Mother Nature utilised this tough period and turned it into a healthful thing.
What’s now commonly known as fasting – which is essentially mimicking periods of no available food – are periods that our bodies take the opportunity to essentially detox, have a clean up and get rid of any damaged cells.
Many clever people have written about this such as Dr Jason Fung.
The fact that our body can actually do this, and only does this when we’re in the fasted state, tells me that it’s essential for good health. In our modern times, most people never let themselves get to this point, meaning their body will never go through this health-promoting process.
I recommend you check fasting out and see if you can incorporate it into your lifestyle. The realisation that we don’t need to rule our lives by eating at certain times is very liberating.
So, that’s basically it…
We’ve spent a whole roll of toilet paper’s worth of existence – minus one square – eating just nose to tail animals, some fruit and veggies and nothing else with periods of fasting, and in doing so, we thrived.
Mother Nature working her magic and finely tuning our body for this way of life.
The Big Question…
This leaves me with one question… do we honestly think we know better than Mother Nature?
We’ve made some miraculous advances in our modern world. In just one square of toilet paper, our world has changed beyond all recognition. But in all this progress, I can’t help but think we’ve lost our way when it comes to our food. For example:
• Red meat is bad for us? Even though we’ve been eating it for millennia.
• Animal fat is bad for us? Even though it’s been our main source of energy from day one.
• Our diet should consist of at least 30% of processed carbohydrates? Even though we’ve never consumed this level of carbs or processed food previously in our existence.
• We should consume manmade – highly processed – vegetable and seed oils and spreads? Even though there’s no solid scientific evidence proving they serve any health benefit with lots of evidence suggesting the opposite.
Come on, let’s use a little common sense here.
We’ve got more obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many other metabolic diseases in this world than ever before. And, that’s despite many managing to stick to the dietary guidelines set out.
We go along with the advice that to get healthier we should be cutting more calories and exercising more… then beat ourselves up when we can’t maintain this… it’s a grim existence.
Yet, we don’t think to question if this is the real issue, do we?
I didn’t… I just carried on pounding the treadmill of life, following the advice like a lemming whilst struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome for years. I had all but given up hope, resigning to my fate of a life of progressive misery.
Why Would we Question the Advice?
Why would we question the advice of our doctors and the government? These people have dedicated hours upon hours with their heads in books earning their degrees and PHDs.
They must know right from wrong… who are we to question them?
I remember having a conversation with a friend some time ago. I was telling him about how I’ve been learning that vegetable and seed oils are not as healthy as we’ve been lead to believe and that in fact, they could be doing our health a mischief.
His response stuck with me ever since. He said, “well if it’s really that bad, the government wouldn’t allow it to be sold”.
Wow! We have such faith and confidence in what we’re told and advised.
Take smoking for an example. When I was a kid, chemists sold cigarettes. They were regarded as medicinal. Sounds silly now but it took many years for smoking to be accepted as unhealthy.
Who’s to say this would never happen again?
In fact, it’s happening right now with the food we’re told we should eat. Did you know there’s not one study that proves without a shadow of a doubt that saturated fat causes heart disease or any other ailment for that matter?
It’s all based on hypothesise that have been actioned in the confidence that it’ll be later studied and proven. But no study has been able to justify the claims.
Sure, there’s loads of associations, but associations don’t mean diddly until proven.
I’ll show you proof…
…Look outside, look at all the people… How many look healthy and well and as if they’re enjoying life? That’s your proof.
Yet, still we carry on blaming ourselves, don’t we?
We never question the advice or guidelines. Instead, we hope we’ll find some miracle cure or magical diet.
I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve struggled. I’ve dug into the deepest depths of Google trying to find that secret that’ll free me from my suffering.
For me, serendipity smacked me around the chops and showed me the fat.
When researching statins after my GP advised I should be taking them following the diagnosis of a blocked artery in my leg, I discovered the likes of Dr Zoe Harcombe, who then lead me onto Ivor Cummins and Dr Malcolm Kendrick and many other real-life heroes, and eventually found the low carb high fat (real food) diet.
Since then, my struggles have dissipated, my blindness was cured for I could see the obvious simple truth.
The Simple Truth…
Remember the acronym from school, K.I.S.S..? Keep it simple stupid!
Eat real food, food that we would’ve eaten before this crazy modern world existed.
Work with Mother Nature, don’t question her or think we know better than her… we don’t!
I don’t care how clever these clever people think they are, or how many letters they have after their name, Mother Nature has been around for many, many more squares of toilet paper than them…
…I know who I’m putting my faith in.
Have a nutritious day!
There you have it! Just a reminder that I’m no doctor, dietitian or any other profession for that matter. I’m simply a bearer of information for you to do what you want with; question it, research it, erase it from your mind, you are in charge of you.
P.S. Another crumb for pondering… If fat is so bad, so evil that our health would see dramatic benefit if purged from our world, why would our bodies have evolved to develop an exquisite fat storage system?