What we eat effects our functionality. Here is a brief instruction on what to eat for optimal functionality.
Principle #1: Food is sacred.
Recall the traditional blessing before eating: “Take this and eat it. This is my body….” The body is nourished by what we eat, drink, and even breathe. Nourishment is the foundation of functionality. (By the way, not only is food sacred. Everything else is sacred, too. )
Principle #2: The longer that humans have consumed a particular food, the better the food is for humans.
So, the core of the ancient or paleolithic diet is food that is wild and raw. Note that anything that we have to cook, like beans, was not a primary component of the diet of ancient humans.
In addition to things like wild berries, the primary distinction between the diet of ancient humans and other primates is the eating of wild animals. The high levels of two substances in the diet of certain ancient primates has been identified as the cause of the expanded size of the human brain over that of other primates, as well as the capacity for language and other “higher functions” of humans.
Those two valuable substances are Omega 3 Fatty Acids called EFA and DHA. We need both. The most concentrated natural sources of these substances are wild animals (though some supplements also can provide excellent sources of these and other valuable substances).
In modern life, we can get healthy wild animals either through hunting or out of the water. Also, we can
get food from grass-fed domesticated animals, such as cows or free-range chickens (including eggs). Grass-fed and free-range animals have an abundance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, unlike grain-fed, “conventionally-raised” commercial livestock. Note that among the only creatures designed to consume grains raw are molds and birds, which have evolved specialized organs for digesting raw grains called gizzards.
The Omega 3 called ALA which is found in plants like hemp and flax does provide a fraction of the nutrition of EFA and DHA, but is much more nutritious than most of the fats in vegetable sources. Notably good vegetable sources of fat are coconuts and olives. The less these are processed the better, including heating them (cooking).
Principle #3 Organs are the most nutritionally-sensitive and nutrient-dense tissues.
So eat them. While fat is of great importance, as is protein, the highest concentrations of a wide range of essential nutrients are in the various organs. Again, the organs of wild or grass-fed creatures are the most nutrient-dense foods naturally available to humans, especially when consumed fresh (raw) or fermented.
Principle #4 Mammals are designed to consume raw milk, especially in infancy.
Note that humans may have only consumed the dairy products of other animals for around 10,000 years. Around that same time, humans began cultivating wild grains and sprouting the seeds to eat the much more nutritious sprouts and greens.
Around 100 years ago, the quality of dairy products was falling from modern conventional practices of raising livestock. Pasteurization of dairy products (and fruit juices and alcohol) became popular, as well as fortification with added vitamins and other “remedial steps” to aid in the sale of such substances.
Note that the pasteurizing or cooking or sterilizing of milk has similar effects to the same processes when used for other foods. The first cooking of meats by humans was to dry them out and preserve them as jerky, but primitive humans ate meat raw or only moderately heated (“rare”), starting with the organs and the fat, and then preserved the less desirable excess portions for later consumption or trade.
As for parasites, they can be killed using the modern techniqueof freezing “questionable” meat
Joel Salatin holds a hen during a tour of Polyface Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(such as meat raised in unhealthy conditions like “factory farms”).
Generally, a small portion of fresh high quality meat (no more than moderately heated) is far more nutritious than a bunch of sterilized meat from sickly creatures that require anti-biotics and supplements to survive to adulthood. Similarly, those humans who have unusually low physiological functionalities (and insufficiencies or deficiencies of nutrients) that lead them to value anti-biotics and supplements are the ones who can benefit most from small amounts of the most concentrated nutrients from natural, ancient sources.
Principle #5: Beware of modern things like modern foods and modern medicine.
Avoid carbohydrates and gluten-rich, refined carbohydrates in particular. Avoid low-grade vegetable oils, especially when cooked. Focus on ancient fats from healthy animal sources as well as primitive or traditional sources of vegetable fat like coconut, olives, palm kernels, and avocados.
While the next commentary on modern medicine is not an instruction of what to eat, it is relevant to the subject of promoting health. Modern medicine is well-known for labeling various sets of symptoms as incurable, such as scurvy. Scurvy is just a label for a set of symptoms of the predictable consequences of a lack of VitaminC and the deterioriating of various organs and functions that arise in the absence of Vitamin C (as in the discontinuing of functionalities that depend of the presence of certain amounts of Vitamin C).
Joel Salatin gives a tour of Polyface Farm. Here he stands inside electric netting surrounding a flock of laying hens and their portable coop, dubbed an Eggmobile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Note that the language of modern medicine in diagnosing various physiological states as incurable may be entirely a reflection of the relative comprehension or ignorance of physiology on the part of the one using that language. If someone calls some development incurable, that may simply mean that the person using that language does not understand the physiology and nutrition relevant to that development.
To a fully-trained and licensed practitioner of western medicine, scurvy was functionally “incurable” (relative to the extent of their knowledge and competence). However, to someone moderately competent in the realm of basic nutrition, the panicked diagnostic terminology of “incurable scurvy” or “incurable disease” may be deemed something of a “mental illness” or at least a lack of maturity and competence. While modern doctors may desperately panic about scurvy and other so-called incurable diseases, even not having any idea what is going on and why and just reactively labeling something incurable, western scientists at least as far back as the 1930s have been documenting the deterioration of the health and functionality of modern populations subsequent to the popularizing of modern diets and modern food production.
Modern medications have been popularized for their capacity to interrupt the functioning of the immune system (like cough suppressants). While that result of suppressing coughs and other eliminative functions may be valuable in terms of getting an expendable soldier back on the battlefield or an expendable slave back to work, interrupting the functioning of the immune system does long-term harm (including the poisoning of the symbiotic bacteria in the human guts).
Joel Salatin and pigs at Polyface Farms in Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Modern medicine includes some very short-sighted interventions to suppress secondary eliminative functions of the immune system. It would not improve someone’s health or nutrition to give them poisons that prevent them from having a bowel movements or urinating either. The idea of suppressing the immune system derives from military settings in which the immediate risk to survival is so high that long-term functionality is not a priority. Similarly, in an emergency room of a hospital, people may try interventions that are quite extreme which would be considered negligent if used with more healthy, stable people.
Medical suppression of the human immune system has it’s relevance, but it should not be misunderstood as a replacement for proper nourishment and optimal functionality. Further, when consuming dense sources of nutrients, be aware that suppressed immune functions may be activated. That activating of the immune system does not mean that ancient foods that humans have eaten for thousands or millions of years are poisonous.
An active immune system means that poisons are being eliminated. Those poisons may have been stored in the tissues for years or decades. Simply use moderation in terms of the amount of nutrient-dense foods consumed in any particular period of time. Note that much smaller portions of nutrient-dense foods will be filling than when eating nutrient-deficient substances.
Principle #6 Get very high quality food and consume it conservatively, transitioning gradually toward ancient methods
For instance, if you have never eaten raw wild-caught fish, begin with a small, experimental amount of it. Transition conservatively by raising the quality of your foods and transitioning toward traditional preparation techniques, like marinading flesh in lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar then cooking it, but later marinading and just heating it, and finally eating it at normal temperatures (body temperature or room temperature is more digestible than refrigerator temperatures).
Before transitioning to all wild or all raw, unless you have a dire health emergency, you might first transition through a diet that includes some raw dairy and raw, sprouted grains (or even cooked). Also, if you have weak bones, make bones in to broth and eat that. If you have an issue with a certain organ, eating a healthy organ of the same sort is a great place to start when seeking all of the components of a healthy organ of that type.
Also, if you have been eating much refined sugar, a sudden and total discontinuing of sugar consumption may result in symptoms of withdrawal from the addiction, which may include detoxification headaches. When quitting a substance as addictive as sugar, transition conservatively and consume a lot of high quality water (adding minerals is often very beneficial, even when not addicted to sugar).
Eating a lot of sugar can make someone sick to their stomach. Stopping eating sugar allows for the body to stop dumping sugar in to the fat tissues throughout the body and to begin to eliminate it. The body may respond to a sudden decrease in sugar consumption by dumping internal glucose stored in fat tissues and so a moderate sickness to the stomach may result. When quitting sugar, it is best to be drinking high quality water and you can experiment with consuming at least small amounts of very high quality rich fat, which is one of the most satisfying substances to the human palate.
By transitioning from a carb-based diet and metabolism to a fat-based diet and metabolism, energy levels may rise dramatically. This is due to the higher efficiency of ketosis relative to the aerobic metabolism of sugar (three times more efficient), which is itself about 8 times more efficient than the anaerobic metabolism of sugar.
Fat is the primary fuel for human physiology. Supplying adequate amounts of proper fuel will provide long-term energy. Energy drinks and other less-than-primary sources of fuel will have only a fraction of the long-term benefit (if any long-term net benefit at all) of even small amounts of providing high quality fat for cellular metabolism.
Kara’s video reply about her results and her dietary changes:
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