What My Ancestors Ate for Breakfast? (Or who am I and what should I eat?) Part one – the basic golden rules

The third subtitle could also be Oh-Oh! We really messed up didn’t we. Not to worry……

Recently a friend of mine told me of a conversation he had with a senior doctor on the board of trustees of a large city hospital. The abridged version is that the senior Dr quite candidly remarked that it was, “well known in the upper circles of medicine that GP’s needed to get their collective acts together, or within a decade they would be replaced by nutritionists, who would be better equipped to deal with the majority of people who end up in front of the GP”

Wow. This is a full circle moment, particularly considering nutrition was entirely knocked of the medical syllabus less than 50 yrs ago (I don’t know if it has made a return yet or not-answers on a postcard).

Some hundred or so years ago, Dr Weston price discovered that the root of all disease (including dental) in world-wide aboriginal populations could be plotted against the trade with more “developed nations” for the stock commodities. He called these the four white devils. Refined flour, refined salt, refined sugar and pasteurised milk.

Moreover this was no slow degeneration. When these tribes started consuming these products they had no incidence of disease. Within ten years they started getting sick, really sick and oddly (or not) there societies started to rapidly get sick too: Criminality, anti-social behaviour etc, he documented his endeavours extensively and photographically.

To the trained eye, one can then invaluably start to observe the differences in physical development that occur when you consume a western diet, full of the devils, full of nutrient robbing lifeless, substances masquerading as life giving food. The photos do not lie (check them out for yourself http://www.westonaprice.org/about-the-foundation/dr-price-movie or just Google Weston Price images)
The balance of the body and face is disturbed making people look more “Picasso”. The breadth of the eyes and jaw and mouth are restricted, the structure does not develop fully leaving a narrow, weakened frame, often body fat increases in proportion, birth defects and structural problems are frequently evident.

So what does this have to do with breakfasting in civilised societies? I hear you cry. Everything!! These tribes had developed symbiotic relationships with their ancestral homes and continued to follow the wise examples of their forebears, knowing how and when to feed from there environment for maximum benefit to themselves and minimum impact on their environment. This was not Spartan subsistence living, but a garden of Eden existence where your every need was met. Consequently, these tribes thrived and enjoyed rude health and development. Athletic, strong, skilled, wise, cooperative. In short, all the commodities we lack as a society today.

As the saying goes, ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, but, we seem to be moving further and further away from a truly nutritious and healthful start to our day – and for the rest of our meals, to boot. For further support, take a look around city centres anywhere in Britain and you will find a veritable circus of the damned, when you observe with assessing eyes. No judgement is couched in this statement, however, I cannot in all good faith offer a positive assessment of the health of our nation. More than 60% of our brethren of this country now are diagnosed with chronic degenerative disease (all the serious stuff that will kill you – barring accidents). That is a staggering amount and it is increasing at the rate of 4% or so every two years. We are currently screwed. It all begins with what we are eating.

The last capacity animals and humans retain biologically is the ability to reproduce. Once we reach a point where our physiology is so embattled, we lose that too.
It makes no biological sense to reproduce in a non-supportive environment. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Look at the rise in fertility treatments and the difficulty in conceiving many people experience today.

We are standing on the edge of a self elective biological apocalypse. Many of our lemming Brits have already dived over the edge of the cliff, whilst many more edge still closer. Yet we still have signs, maps and tour guides shouting for the rest of the world to follow us. This is cognitive dissonance of the highest order.

So what to do? Well each of these tribes had different diets. All based on what could be found in their near environment, what their ancestors had eaten and thrived on. It was all from land that they had tribally cared for, exchanged blood sweat and tears (and consequently information – genes with). They had a relationship with everything that could be found around them and they stewarded and cared for it rather than owned and consumed from it.

This idea of relationship is not as flimsy or green and fluffy as you may imagine. It has been demonstrated that plants recognise friend and foe. Cleve Baxter did some great work demonstrating that not only did plants register electrical distress when someone removed a leaf, but also showed the same distress when that same person re-entered the room regardless of their intention (check out The Secret Life of Plants if you want to be incredulous).

Think of the epidemic of food intolerance now a firm fixture in our society. What, I ask you, does your immune system do? It is a very expensive system for recognising self from non-self in the body and within the digestive system (where over 60% of your immune system lives- gut associated lymphoid tissue). Simply put, our own immune systems no longer recognise our food as self and friendly and have started to defend us against it. In fact, many of our citizens suffer also from an auto-immune disease where our white blood cells and inflammatory processes can no longer adequately recognise there own cells (which are built from food the body didn’t recognise).

Ok, Ok. I feel my argument is self evident, so I will rein it in before I start to scare the bejeesus out of everything in my environment.

So what do we know? Pretty much everything we are doing at the moment isn’t working out that great so everything needs to be up for review. My first piece of advice would be to find out where your ancestors came from, find out what the diet there consist of and eat as much like that as you can. This has shades of paleo diets but it needs more specificity. If your ancestors lived closer to the equator they would probably eat less meat and more plant material. The further north they were from the more meat and fat would figure in their diet (although this would vary seasonally too). If, like mine they, were coastal dwellers they would include large amounts of seashore scavengings and fish.

There is a basic biochemistry truth. The greater the stress you are under, the greater the turnover of fats and proteins you will have and consequently the more meat and fat you will need to eat. Simple. But what meat I hear you cry? Well, hunters and hunted meats are better than farmed abattoir meats, no matter how good the grass they have been fed is. Hunters would not waste any meat so they would get a balance between the flesh meats and viscera (interestingly the steak meats are frequently the bits given to the pets) man cannot live on steak alone. The nutrient dense super food parts are in the viscera; liver, kidneys, heart etc etc. all have amazing components ranging from minerals to omegas.

Ideally, you would hunt it yourself on your own lands, but unless you are Lord Bath, this is practically very difficult these days. Also, hunters would consume the catch rapidly or the decay/disease of the dead would start to infest the food and then there village rapidly. Most modern hunter tribes don’t tend to hunt every day and most don’t sit down for three squares meals of meat per day. I would suggest that increasing your intake of appropriate meats and fats until you reach a physiologically manageable amount each day is favourite. Too much is not better. If you over consume meats they can start to have a detrimental effect, becoming a further stressor.

So rule number one – Gradually increase your meat and fat intake daily until you reach a point of satiety (you feel full). If you have it right, you will fell energised with balanced energy and no bloating or constipation. If you go past that point reduce the quantities or frequencies.

Vary the meats you eat. Equatorial people do better on small amounts of lighter whiter meats (low purine) whereas northern monkeys like me do better on dark, heavier (high purine) more visceral meats.

Fish and game are best. Viscera are awesome. Eat these as much as possible. If you have to eat farmed foods, they will be lower quality. Pick organic, pick free range, pick local. Avoid too many flesh meats – ie not every day and try to vary the type you pick daily.

Rule number two. Avoid the four white devils.
We can expand this to any processed food. Do some research and you will find it is rank. Eat this minimally, if it’s a treat try and eat organic. So if its in a tin, chuck it in the bin. If it’s in a packet, sack it. If it’s advertised on telly, it will rot holes in your belly. Guaranteed (as a further note DON’T EAT MARGARINE
– ITS BAD!! (See trans fats.) In fact, don’t cook with polyunsaturated fats either for the same reason. Unless of course you would like to volunteer to join the currently running ‘did trans fats give me cancer/heart disease?’ trials. Available in a supermarket near you;)
This rule expands further to cover the intolerances. Somewhere around 50-60% of the uk populace are intolerant to wheat or dairy in that order of popularity. Over half of those have no notable external symptoms (but you are still expending energy and immunoglobulins/inflammatory chemicals in fighting it off). By getting rid off processed foods you have got rid of much of this, but I would further add;
Avoid gluten grains and dairy (cow) produce like the plague. This often produces much anger and resentment when you go “turkey” as these foods stimulate the opiate receptors in the brain (the same ones heroine and morphine target)- think Trainspotting opening sequence but running through the bread or cheese aisle of Morrissons☺
Just this step reduces your intake of daily poisons by about 3000 toxic items. This is life changing in itself.

Rule Three – Eat varied, fresh, local, organic produce, seasonally – wherever possible. The closer your relationship to your food, the better. If you haven’t got a relationship to it, develop one whilst you are selecting it and preparing it. You can reintroduce love to the food even at that late stage. Get passionate about what you are making and delight in its preparation, it will taste better, I guarantee it. Lose the functionality and celebrate the wondrous bounty you have gathered and you will at the very least reduce the level of immune/inflammatory response to it and increased your levels of oxytocin and serotonin (love and happiness hormones) which definitely wont hurt.
As far as you can, grow your own. In pots, in barrels in a tiny corner of your garden. Worth noting here is that plants have within their physiology the capacity to produce both the most healthful substances and also the most poisonous ones too. These can be moved extensively within the plant. Which substances will the plant mobilise if it feels threatened, do you think? Well, I for one will be making firm friends with as many of my food bearing plants as possible.
I have referenced in previous articles to a technique of soaking seeds under the tongue for 9 mins prior to planting, thus delivering salivary RNA to the seed which then goes on to produce the materials your RNA was demanding. This is nuts!! (No pun intended.) Consider the exchange of genetic materials between man and plant, man and animal, man and environment, which takes place over generations of getting stewards’ loving hands in the soils of a consistent environment and all they found in it. Yes they were built out of the same stuff.

This is not the end, more a pause for thought. As a final thought; It’s actually less of a set of rules and more like a recipe: A good dish that you can tweak to suit any taste and requirement. So my challenge to you is to put this into practice.
Make no mistake, it is a challenge as you will realise when you embark on it. You will realise what a massive amount of what you buy from the local supermarket is flown halfway around the world, or simply should not be on our menu, by our own rules.

In the next part of this piece I will see if we can add some practical steps to ease the pathway to bounteous nutrition and never having to think about diet again -other than in reference to how much I enjoy eating it and how grateful I am to have figured out what my ancestors already knew!

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