December 4th, 2010
Why would something so simple as nutrition lead to such controversy and struggle? Should the Old Saying become: Don’t Discuss Religion or Politics or Nutrition? Mention coffee, organic, artificial sweeteners or High fructose Corn Syrup and your bound to have an argument. Vegan, vegetarians, lacto-ovos, gluten intolerance, Paleo and God forgive diabetics, why is it all such a volatile issue?
You’re not fat, you’re just (…..fill in the blank …..)
Ah, come on Paleo Guy, you’re a bummer this morning! No, no you are not fat, this is irrelevant, but you see what I mean? As soon as we start to talk about food the first thing that comes up is self-image/self worth. Food gets personal in your face, and it shouldn’t be!!!! It’s about health and having a long productive pain free life to see our children and children’s children blossom. Fat is not fat anyway, it is only stored energy.
Fat is only stored energy.
Yep, it’s that simple. You are not fat, you are just storing energy, but this is not the subject of this posting, we are going to talk about labor pains. Christmas is coming and family reunions will abound, better be ready we don’t want it to be nasty (Stephen put down that gravy!).
Thank God for Cellulose!!! (not cellulite)
Yes, thank God for cellulose! You see Cellulose is a form of sugar, or carbohydrate if you prefer, that we can’t digest. Trees are made up of cellulose! I think these beautifull pillars of life would all be gone by now if humans could have eaten them! Our planet would be bare of all trees as Telly Savalas iconic shiny “Who loves ya’, baby? head is bare of hair.
You see Modern Man has been stuffing himself with basically anything and everything he can gets his hands on and that fits in his mouth! Doesn’t mean it’s good for him, and that’s the point of this post. How do you know what to put in your mouth or not???
It’s the Egyptian’s fault!
No it’s not, all they did is build pyramids (actually it’s the slaves who did the work, as in the sugar trade…Hmmm…something in common here…) Anyway there is this thing now called a food pyramid, but where does it come from? Where does government recommendations stems from? Again this is not the subject of this post, but part of the reflection on the birth of nutrition. Suffice to say that for thousands of years the driving force behind agriculture was economics, not public health. Historically Empires and Kingdoms were borne out of the accumulation of wealth resulting from agriculture and the domestication of animals. It makes for a fascinating read as some authors have written the history of different foods and how they shaped the world we live in. This website is going to give you a vertigo sense of foods: http://www.foodtimeline.org/
Here comes Galileo Galilei
Well not really, our story starts a few centuries later, in 1863, with the publication of a booklet called Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. When you are publicly denounced and vilified, like Galilei was in his days, you know that William Banting was on to something. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Banting. You can download it and read it for yourself here: http://archive.supermarketguru.com/page.cfm/27551. Cool Gotta love history and the Internet!! And here it is in it’s original format: http://www.archive.org/details/letteroncorpulen00bant Cool Cool Gotta really love history and the Internet!!
You can also find a short history of what I call the gestation period of nutrition here: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/md66.htm
Another stepping stone of major importance is Weston Price. In 1939 he published Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, a book that details a series of ethnographic nutritional studies performed by him across diverse cultures. In the book he claimed that various diseases endemic to Western cultures of the 1920s and 30s – from dental caries to tuberculosis – were rarely present in non-Western cultures. He argued that as non-Western groups abandoned indigenous diets and adopted Western patterns of living they also showed increases in typically Western diseases, and concluded that Western methods of commercially preparing and storing foods stripped away vitamins and minerals necessary to prevent these diseases. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston_Price
Snap, Crackle and Pop
In 1944, Crick and Watson anounced to the world the discovery of the DNA. Slap that baby, this is when the science of nutrition was born.
Many scientists were on track studying nutrition, but one stands out as he dared publish along his scientific research two books for the lay public, as Banting did, and so was vilified for it. HeIs name is John Yudkin and the books are: ”The slimming business” and ”Pure, white and deadly” (UK), ”Sweet and dangerous” (US). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Yudkin.
Monsanto and al.
Do you know the history of the United Fruit Company? You’ve heard of Monsanto most likely, and of Genetically Modified Organism. How about Import taxes, Protectionism and Free trade? How about Agriculture Programs imposed by the World Bank? Factory farming for the animals and Sugarcane workers conditions? Pesticides, Antibiotics and growth hormones? How about governement subsidies? Each of these, and other economical forces have been at the base for the make-up of our much criticized food pyramid.
Personaly I wouldn’t blame any of these above for the state of our health today, they are there to make money, it’s simply called capitalism. When I started to eat Vegan (I didn’t become ”A Vegan”, that’s another labelling problem) I basically rejected all of these. So you see, we are yet to eat according to the findings from the science of nutrition. In 2010 we are still SADly (Standard American Diet) eating for the benefits of the above cited, and their shareholders.
From Vegan to Raw Meat
Everyone was taken aback when I started to eat meat again, and the raw meat, you should have seen the looks in their eyes!! What happened? How could I do this? Is this yet another crazy phase? Well what happened was that some of the new knowledge from the science of nutrition became the basis for my eating habits, as opposed to economics. The science of nutrition is still very young, but it is science, and could only have taken shape in the last decades. Discoveries are still made today on an ongoing basis.
So even though I moved away from veganism towards a more Paleo approach, I still rejected the conventional SAD food pyramid. In a way my nutrition hasn’t changed, just the category of foods I choose from have changed. My main interest is still the health of my family.
Up, up and away!
So where are we today? Well, those of you who are parents remember well when children turns into preteens, it’s magical and confusing, beautifull and scary at the same time. And then nostalgia sets in, how they used to be soooo nice and quaint and how you wish they would never change… Well that’s exactly where we are today.
The old ways, the old foods are soooo recomforting, soooo non-threatening, and the new ideas, well, they are new, tentative, wonderfull and scary. Eating as a hunter-gatherer sounds poetic, but giving up grains, come on, we’ve been eating them for centuries!!! How can I give up my comfort food!!! Atkins, Zone, Low-Carb, Paleo and, it’s all new, and only time will tell which of them, if any, will bring us closer to our full potential as human beings.
So do I apply a Vegan approach? or a Paleo approach? Honestly I don’t care, I’ve chosen the scientific approach… What will little Jimmy be when he grows up? An Astronaut? A Firefighter? A Politician? An Activist? How about an Artist? Maybe little Jane will become a superhero like Mega Mindy? Who knows? We just love them!
So stick around folks, and follow our families great adventures in nutrition on Guy the Healthy Paleo Guy Blog!