Discover more from Super Sally’s Newsletter
Ideal Human Diet
How we return to robust health
I start with the belief that evolution has selected the strongest and best human beings to go forward. We may have derailed that slightly in the past 220 years or so, by taking care of our ill so well, that they have the chance to go on to have children and families.
Despite that, I believe in the wisdom of nature. That human bodies are made so well, so beautifully, that all we have to do is support them in the way that nature designed them. This combines optimal nutrition, physical activity, a clean environment, and social support; because we humans owe our very survival to our strong drive to build and nurture our communities. Oh my, we have slipped up, haven’t we, in the last 30 years, most particularly in the last 18 months?
It’s not too late. If we allow mother nature to work her magic. If we step away from industrialized life, at least in part by addressing our nutrition and exposure to chemicals; agricultural, pharmaceutical, and industrial, maybe we can return to robust health.
I start with the concept of a human appropriate diet. It is not that which has escalated our obesity and poor health over the past 50 years, nearly all of my life: when convenience, fast fixes, and loads of flavored, processed carbs and seed oils, have moved us very far from our evolution. Further, mother nature is not gentle. Life in the wild favors survival only of the fittest. The end for those who lose fitness is slow starvation, or rapid violent death at the hands of other animals. Thus, we should not feel guilt if we nurture animals well, give them a safe life, and grant them, finally, a rapid death.
Humans mostly evolved in a low nutrient environment, where we both scavenged and depended on our brains, and community to hunt and gather food. Food was not available every day, and we had huge seasonal variability ranging from periods of plenty, to extended periods with little. Ironically, this taught us to be smart survivors.
Originally, we humans survived mostly on animals we scavenged or caught, and what we could dig from the ground or collect from seasonal plants. There were fruits, but these were seasonal and unrecognizable in the large, sweet, juicy versions we see today. Original bananas, before human cultivation were puny, small, and full of seeds; they wanted to be consumed and passed out in nutrient dense fertilizing feces so that their progeny could also prosper.
Then we discovered agriculture and cultivation of seeds and grains. Interesting that the bones and bodies of the ancient Egyptians who survived well, at least in their youth, on a diet of grains, olives and grapes; suffered the same lifestyle diseases of modern humans, if surviving evidence is anything to go by.
So, what is a human appropriate diet in today’s world? It is devoid of grains, except in very small amounts. It also eliminates all added sugars, which never would have received GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status had they been evaluated today, even in the lax environment that allows new products to be tested on unaware consumers, and only withdrawn when damage is overwhelming. It is also devoid of seeds oils and processed fats, which are heavily processed to mask their rancidity.
A human appropriate diet is high in protein and fat, which usually, necessarily, come from animal sources: animals who can efficiently convert plants into body mass and fat with the help of bacteria and well developed cecum, which humans do not have. It includes seasonal and local plants: plants which can also offer vitamins and minerals. Note, though, that sweet fruit do not offer any benefit compared to their non-sweet compatriots and are not essential in the diet. Further, many modern humans, with guts disrupted by pharmacological interventions, no longer tolerate plant foods very well, and for them a diet focusing on animal-based foods may offer their best health.
The push towards plant-based diets is misconceived, in my opinion, as plants cannot provide complete human nutrition without vitamin B and other supplementation. Veganism is the refuge of the rich with access to supplements and wide food variety; those who do not adopt it with much access to wide food variety, supplements, and education may not live to healthy old age. Simply research the health implications of strict veganism in poor communities in countries such as India. It is not pretty. Nature does not make vitamin pills! Nature provides complete foods packaged via the bodies of other animals. We should gratefully accept her bounty, and not waste what she provides, even while being respectful and kind enough to provide a quality life and a rapid end to those creatures who nourish us.
The ideal adult human diet is scanty, nutrient dense with only enough food to stave off hunger; no need for 3 meals a day and snacks. In today’s modern world, how do we manage this? The prevailing narrative of plant based, processed and frequent consumption of processed foods must be rejected. Replace with low carb, unprocessed, animal based, and only eat when hungry. Experiment with fasting; many thrive on a single meal a day, or two. See what works for you. I am sure you will find it liberating to step away from the necessity of constant eating, planning, and thinking about food.
Where you can, grow your own foods. Where you can, try to link within your local community, to mutually provide requirements and support. Buy local. The more we build local resources, community, and community food resilience the better our species survival prospects will be. The community garden movement is inspiring and engenders hope.
Please explore these ideas, my friends. The time is now! The opportunity is now to improve your life, your health, and your communities!