I talk a lot about ancestral nutrition and how far away we have moved away from it in our current society. I often make the point that instead of there being a “natural food” section in the grocery stores, there should be a section for “processed, unhealthy food” instead. The natural foods should take up the bulk of the store and the man-made, processed foods should be the smallest section. Real food, whole food, food that has not been altered by man should be the default! After all, at one point in time, ALL food was organic.
What do I mean by ancestral nutrition? If you look at the chart below, I have listed what ancestral or traditional diets typically look like and how it compares to today’s modern diets.
|TRADITIONAL DIETS||MODERN DIETS|
|Food grown in fertile soil||Food grown in depleted soil|
|Natural, pollinated seeds||GMO/Hybridized Seeds|
|Pure, clean, spring or filtered water||Chlorinated, polluted, tap water|
|Organic, local fruits/vegetables||Pesticide-laden produce shipped from hundreds/thousands of miles|
|Whole, sprouted, cracked, or soaked/fermented grains||Refined grains|
|Fats extracted from natural plant and animal sources||Fats unnaturally extracted (vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, etc.)|
|Naturally raised animals (pastured, grass-fed beef, free range chicken, etc.)||Unnaturally raised animals (confinement, unnatural feed, vaccines, antibiotics, etc)|
|Full fat raw dairy (milk, cheese, butter)/ fermented dairy (kefir, amasai(||Skimmed, Industralized dairy (pasteurized, homogenized, antibiotics, steroids, hormones) + margarine (man-made, synthetic)|
|Vitamins/Minerals found naturally in food (Nutrient Communion)||Synthetic vitamins/minerals added to foods.|
|Minimal use of natural sweeteners||Overuse of all sweeteners, especially refined sweeteners/artificial sweeteners|
|Lacto-fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, relish, etc)||Canned or frozen vegetables|
|Unrefined salt (sea salt, mined salt)||Refined, iodized salt|
|Natural herbs, spices||MSG, artificial flavors, additives|
|Generous amounts of raw, living foods||Overabundance of ultra-processed, non-nutritious, dead food|
|Cook with fire, oven, stove, smokehouse||Cook with microwave, fry in damaged oils|
|Food used for sustenance, little waste||Food overeaten, and overindulged in|
|Moderate to high physical activity||Little to no physical activity|
I always mention the work of Weston Price – Nutrition Explorer when discussing this topic. Weston Price was a dentist from Cleveland. He embarked on a quest to investigate the health of isolated people, untouched by western civilization in the 1930’s.
He traveled for 10 years looking to discover the secrets to dental health. One of his discoveries was that nutritional deficiencies were the root cause of deformed dental arches and crowded, crooked teeth and not due to genetic defects. He traveled to villages in Switzerland, Gaelic communities in the Outer Hebrides, indigenous peoples of North and South America, Melanesian and Polynesian South Sea Islanders, African tribes, Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maori. His observations were that these people had beautiful, white, straight teeth but there was more…they also had good physiques and were void of disease.
One of his most dramatic discoveries was that, when compared to the Standard American Diet, the diets of these groups of people provided at least four times the amount of water-soluble vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins, from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, organ meats, eggs and animal fats. Remarkably, these are the very foods that are constantly under attack by many western nutrition “experts”. As these people were acting innately, it has been proven that these fat-soluble vitamins, vitamins A, D, and K2 (Dr. Price called it “Activator X) act as catalysts with regard to mineral absorption and protein utilization. In other words, minerals cannot be absorbed properly without them. Without them, we cannot absorb minerals, no matter how abundant they may be in our food.
- No refined sugars or corn syrup, white flour, canned foods, pasteurized, homogenized skim or lowfat milk, hydrogenated oils, or additives/colorings
- Consume animal protein and fats
- Some animal products are eaten raw
- Have a high enzyme content in food
- Seeds and grains are soaked, sprouted, fermented to neutralize naturally occurring anti-nutrients in these foods, such as phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, tannins and complex carbohydrates.
- Fat content ranges from 30-80% and mostly saturated fats.
- Equal balance of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Diets contain some salt.
- Consume animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.
The Weston Price Foundation has been at the helm when it comes to promoting the consumption of saturated fats, raw milk and discouraging the use of soy products.
“Every creed today vaguely seeks a utopia; all have visualized a common controlling force or deity as the most potent force in all human affairs. Yes, man’s place is most exalted when he obeys Mother Nature’s laws.” –Weston A. Price, DDS
I also have to refer to the work of Sally Fallon who wrote one of my favorite nutrition books of all time, Nourishing Traditions because it gives great insight into ancestral nutrition and contains a plethora of recipes. This book was my first motivation to write my own nutrition and recipe book, Maximized Living Nutrition Plans.
You will also find many recipes on this blog that contain the foods that our ancestors ate.
In her book, Sally Fallon states, “Twentieth-century men and women, faced with a dazzling array of modern food products, are naturally tempted by their convenience and glitz. They would prefer not to worry about how their foods are processed or what they contain; they would prefer not to spend time in food preparation the way their ancestors did. But the inevitable consequence of this insouciance is the host of the debilitating diseases now endemic in our society. With traditions forgotten, the tool that allows modern men and women to regain their health and vitality is knowledge-knowledge of the fruits of honest scientific inquiry as well as renewed familiarity with culinary customs of times past. The cook, the food provider and parents of young children can no longer afford to be misled by what passes for nutritional wisdom in the popular press, especially as so much orthodox advice-magnified, simplified and twisted by publicity for processed foods- is partially or totally wrong. We urge you to keep abreast of research conducted by independent researchers and holistic doctors, especially as it sheds light on the nourishing traditions of our ancestors”.
This excerpt is so full of wisdom and truth. It brings to mind another favorite quote of mine:
“Our ancestors had one invaluable aid in their diets: the absence of choice.” S. Subramanian
It is time to take back our food supply, to take back our health and to glorify God by choosing to fuel our bodies which are the temple of the holy spirit. As my tagline on this blog states, “Start Eating to LIVE rather than Living to Eat” .
I do a monthly Nutrition 101. If interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the next one.
Be well my friends.