The final installment of our three part blog! This one addresses the question, “What foods can satisfy my body’s nutritional needs?”
This is an incredibly complex, nuanced, and difficult question to answer. Frankly, I do not have a direct answer; in fact, I don’t think anyone does. What I would like to do here instead is focus on several points that I believe are crucial to any attempt at figuring out how to meet our body’s biological needs. We will continue to focus on and flesh out these points more fully in future blogs. But, for the time being I wanted to offer a “mind dump” to get the wheels spinning!
Key Points to Consider for Optimal Diet
Impact of our Ancestors
- Today we inhabit 300,000 year old bodies with essentially the same digestive tracts and nutritional needs and our ancestors possessed then
- Our ancestors were not surviving, or even subsisting. They were crushing it! Their ability to extract increasing diverse and nutrient dense resources from their environment and develop technologies to transform those raw ingredients into their safest, most nutrient dense and bioavailable forms is what fueled our body and brain growth and created us modern day Homo sapiens!
- Animal based foods are safer, more nutrient dense and more bioavailable than any plant based food on the planet.
Technology’s Impact on our Nutrition
- As a result of millions of year of technological innovation we have essentially outgrown our digestive tracts and require technological assistance to safely and efficiently obtain nourishment from the foods that we eat
- We are omnivores because of technology, not by design
- As a result of millions of years of evolutionary pressure, we have coevolved with our technologically driven dietary changes and all of our senses are hardwired to be able to figure out how to nourish our bodies properly. That is, if we are in tune with our senses and are faced with nourishing foods. Truly nourishing foods are delicious and satiating.
- The focus of our ancestral technologies was on making foods as safe and nourishing as possible. Today most food related technologies are focused on making other people a lot of money (increasing shelf life, uniformity, ability to ship with damage, sweeter, etc) AT THE EXPENSE of nutrient density and bioavailability.
- Most prehistoric technologies that assisted in including animals in the diet were focused on overcoming our physical limitations and allowing us to capture the animal (spear, atlatls, bows, boomerangs and throwing sticks, traps, nets, fishing hooks, etc.). Once you had the animal you had access to an incredible amount of safe, nutrient dense, and bioavailable nourishment requiring nothing more than a sharp edge to access.
- Most prehistoric technologies that assisted in including plants in the diet were focused on how to detoxify the plants and make the nutrients they did contain actually accessible to our bodies.
So What can I Do?
- To adequately answer this question we must focus on the “how” we eat as much as the “what!” I address this in my book, Eat Like a Human. Check it out to see a deep dive into this topic.
- Books, documentaries, podcasts and classes are fantastic places to begin to answer this question. But, there is no substitute for actually connecting with your food directly in your kitchens and around your table. That is where the real, genuine, life changing education begins.