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Creative Commons License photo credit: jerryfletcher

Since writing an article on The Best Diet for You, it has come to my attention that perhaps I should be a little clearer regarding what I mean when I say there is a single best diet for you. So I thought I would post a quick update to expand a little on what exactly it is I’m on about regarding what it means to eat a healthy diet.

When I say eat what your ancient ancestors ate I don’t intend for say someone who’s ancestors who ate whale meat and blubber to try to find and eat that exact same food. Instead what I’m suggesting is that we eat the same proportions of protein, fat and carbohydrates in our diets as each of our ancient ancestors did. You could also seek out the closest analogue to the traditional foods that is available.

In terms of how far back into history you should investigate – for me I went as far back as I needed to before I struck what was the standard diet based upon food availability in tune with the changing seasons. I was trying to find my ancestral diet that had remained relatively unchanged for a long time. This is going to be different for different peoples. Even if you only go back to early farming in the land of your heritage that is a good start as they would have begun cultivation with the foods that were already at hand and not imports. Please remember though that the advent of farming did change diets substantially once it got into full swing.

There is one thing that I always find interesting regarding the advent of farming. When farming first started, and even in some places in the world today, to produce and prepare a crop for eating took as much if not more energy then what the foodstuff, when eaten, gave to the body. I watched a travel show recently where they were in Africa. They were filming local women preparing grain for dinner. It literally took them all day to prepare the grain to be cooked. It started with pounding the grain with heavy lumps of wood then they spent more hours on their feet squatting down sifting the grain, followed by more hours of pounding. All before they even began to cook the food. Compare such a situation with our modern world where we sit all day and can buy highly processed grain in the form of sandwiches from the shop whenever we feel hungry. Pre-farming our ancestors would have gotten very little energy from the seeds of plants (grain). Even post-farming, for a long time, producing and preparing that grain was so energy demanding that those people would not have had problems with obesity.

Obviously to work out what is specifically the best diet for you based upon what I’ve laid out will take time and effort in terms of research and thinking for yourself. It’s a bit more involved then buying some diet book (of which there are thousands, many conflicting) and read about a diet that worked for the author or a specific set of test subjects. If all those diet books worked for everyone obesity would be a thing of the past. Instead the opposite is obviously happening.

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