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Re: A Lot of Good Suggestions, But...
 

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Published: 13 years ago
 
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Re: A Lot of Good Suggestions, But...


A key thing to understand with respect to diet is the selective pressures which shaped our human physiology over the last 2.6 million years. ALL of us, regardless of our ethnic backgrounds, ideology or blood type are fundamentally hunter-gatherers....meaning a diet quite high in protein, fat and some plant matter. We also need to keep in mind that our genetics are nearly 100% identical to that of persons alive 40,000 years ago or more. For all but about 10% of the last 500,000 years, alone, we've (in the Northern hemisphere) been locked in mostly snow, ice and permafrost(via the Ice Age). During this time even in temperate regions like Africa, wildfires and drought consumed the landscapes and edible plant foods would have been more scarce. Many wild plant foods, in fact, harbor a good deal more toxicity than their modern cultivated counterparts and would likely have been consumed only sparingly before the advent of fire used for cooking (which is thought to have become universal only about 50,000 years ago...even though sporadic evidence of its use existed prior to that over about 300,000 years). Cooking helps neutralize many anti-nutrients (naturally occurring toxins) found in plants and helps break down cellolose, making the healthy nutrients contained therein much more digestible.

All the available evidence from fossil records of humans and hominids dating back to our earliest "upright" beginnings suggests we have always been meat eaters and only lesser varying degrees of plant eaters (wild game and grass fed meat is much less acid-forming, by the way, than feedlot meat). Fat soluble nutrients were 10-times richer in primitive diets as compared what modern diets contain. There are no records of primitive "vegetarian" societies. Also, starchy carbohydrates in wild plant foods are mostly (with few exceptions) extremely riddled with toxic alkaloids and were unlikely to have ever been a significant part of human diets (we prabably weren't eating baked potatoes with our wooly mammoth burgers). In other words, we are all ill suited to diets rich in what can be termed "utilizable" carbohydrates and are infinitely better designed for the indigestible form of carbohydrates found in more fibrous vegetables and greens. Even wild fruit is considerably smaller, more tart and fibrous than our modern day cultivated counterparts and would only have been consumed "in season", as available. As a species before this modern era, we have never needed to develop an emergency physiological need to LOWER blood Sugar via insulin....We are ill suited for this and our pancreas is less than 1% devoted to insulin production. Grains are an incredibly new food to the human species (also predominantly composed of starch and only small amounts of mostly incomplete protein, phytates and other antinutrients)to which we are also largely ill-adapted. Many areas of Europe didn't begin the cultivation of grain until about 2,000 years ago. Most geneticists agree that it takes anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 years for a species to genetically adapt to major changes....and the agricultural revolution was one major change we were forced to make that has actually cost our species in terms of health, birth defects, brain size, bone density and longevity (as compared to our more paleolithic ancestors). It is conservatively estimated that one in 200 individuals in our culture has celiac disease---and the number may be much closer to one in 30. Roughly 80-85% of individuals have some degree of food sensitivity to gluten containing grains. One thing is for sure...NO ONE has a requirement for dietary grains or starch (despite the USDA's economically driven admonition that we need 11 servings of the stuff per day). Some simply tolerate it better than others (or believe they do). Many should not have them at all and I believe most all would be better off without them entirely. What is also true is that some individuals seem to have a greater need for and do better with a higher percentage of their diet coming from vegetables and greens than others. No one is designed to eat more than about 20% of their diet as starchy foods, however. Of all the major macro nutrients, which include protein, fat,carbohydrates and water...the only one for which there is no actual human dietary requirement is, in fact, carbohydrate. We can all manufacture all the glucose we need from a combination of protein and fat in the diet. We did just this for hundreds of thousands of years as a species during the Ice Age. No one NEEDS starch or Sugar in their diet. This is not to say no one should ever, ever have any....but the consequences of diets rich in these foods is abundantly clear...and these foods are best relegated to the realm of "occasional indulgence". It is not what we do once in a while that matters the most in the scheme of things...but what we do consistently. That's the message here. Despite the truth of "biochemical individuality", we are physiologically all much more alike than unalike and certain general principles prevail. We are ALL genetically and physiologically hunter-gatherers.

Atkins had the generally right idea---though he mistakenly equated things like nitrate-laden bacon or bologna with grass fed beef. NOT the same thing. Toward the end of his life he came around to understanding that there were important issues concerning the quality of protein and fat choices. He wrongly advocated, however, the use of processed foods as "carb substitutes" and marketed a lot of junk and soy-based alternatives (to which we are also ill-suited) to his followers. In the end, he hurt his own cause by neglecting to educate people about the differences between healthy and non-healthy sources of protein and fat. He also advocated a mostly "one size fits all" approach which failed to take into account enough biochemical individuality to make his principles universally sustainable.

I'm on this soap box because it is our modern misconceptions about diets and diets excessively laden with simple/starchy carbohydrate-rich and processed foods---together with constant stressors and pollutants that have led us to vulnerability to pathogens of all kinds and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and even mental illness. Pathogenic organisms thrive and depend upon a fermentative (carb rich) environment. The number one substance upon which all cancer depends is glucose. Cancererous/prokaryotic cells are all fermentatively/"sugar" based. Fats are oxidatively based and not problematic, in this regard. Omega-6 fats (from grain fed beef and vegetable oils) are mainly pro-inflammatory (with the primary exception of GLA and some secondary metabolites of arachadonic acid...most, not all of which are inflammatory). Naturally saturated fat is neutral and protective of polyunsaturated fats. Artificially saturated fats (trans-fats, hydrogenated fats) are pro-inflammatory and have opposite effects on the body from naturally saturated fats. All commercial canola and soybean oil--all of it--by the way, is partially hydrogenated as part of its deodorization process and should not be consumed by anyone. Monounsaturates (olive oil) are also essentially neutral in their pro vs anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Omega-3's (now the single most deficient nutrient in modern diets)--particularly preformed EPA/DHA-- are our source of raw materials for anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and play a needed role in insulin sensitivity and neurotransmitter function.

With all respect to Jim Humble, he is neither educated nor trained in issues of health. The man is a metallurgist and chemist...not (very plainly) a nutritionist. I can appreciate him for the good work he has done with Miracle-Mineral-Supplement and his fundamentally humanitarian orientation and motives. I cringe listening to him talk at any length about diet or nutrition, however. We need to understand that his expertise has its respective limits.


I do believe our modern circumstances put a new spin on these concepts. Our ancient ancestors never had heavy metal toxicity or air and water pollution to contend with, nor EMF contamination of their surrounding environment or super strains of pathogens. Our requirements for plant and animal-based antioxidants have never been higher (or lower in the food supply). Our need for hydration as a means of assisting detoxification and countering dehydrating foods, medications and beverages have also likely increased substantially. --Where our ancestors probably didn't need to drink half their body weight in ounces of water per day we really do. Where they didn't need gym memberships, we most certainly need supplemental activity to supercharge our lymphatic flow and assist in maintaining insulin sensitivity and bone density. Where our ancestors may not have needed a super oxidizing pathogen destroyer such as Miracle-Mineral-Supplement ...we certainly do today. We also have less room for error in our dietary indulgences, as a result of all our current environmental challenges, and need more than ever to pay attention to our evolutionary roots to aid our survival into the future as individuals...and as a species.

WHEW!

Once again, I've deviated from our main topic, but felt compeled to do so. I hope it has been helpful and intend to keep my future postings here much briefer and on-topic. Thanks.

~EM

 

 
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