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Issue 13: So Easy...Our Ancestors Ate Them!

So Easy . . . Our Ancestors Ate Them

When food comes to us, it is still in a form that our body cannot use until it goes through the digestive process. Food is made up of large, complex molecules, which the digestive system breaks down into smaller, simple molecules that can be absorbed into the body’s bloodstream for use in the body’s growth, repair, and energy.

One principle for optimal digestive health is that humans must take in food in the form of “organic matter” so that the body is able to digest and assimilate what it takes in. When these kinds of whole foods are ingested, the body coordinates the various steps of digestion so that the process proceeds smoothly and the cells obtain a steady supply of nutrients and energy.

Healthy human intestines contain billions of microorganisms, more than 400 species, both good and bad. The good ones help our digestive systems. Whole, unprocessed foods in their natural state contain essential, synergistic nutrients that foster complete nutrition and offer a way to get those good microorganisms. Please note that whole foods are foods in the form they were designed to be eaten. Whole foods contain all the nutritional factors (vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.) needed to digest and use that food. So far, more than 25,000 different phytonutrients have been discovered in whole fruits and vegetables. Researchers are now discovering that these chemicals in whole foods work in concert, orchestrating natural harmony in body systems.

Unfortunately, whole foods are not typically what our diets consist of; our diets are full of processed or fast foods—loaded with an unhealthy amount of carbohydrates, sugar, sodium, fats, preservatives, etc. We are putting in what our bodies were not designed for; it is no wonder that our digestive systems are rebelling.

The Modern Diet vs. the Primitive Diet

Our modern diets are nothing like the diets of our ancestors—the primitive diet our bodies crave. We are designed to eat a primitive “whole foods” diet that is low in carbohydrates and contains nutrient-dense foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and essential fats.

By contrast to the modern diet, the primitive diet is moderately low in carbohydrates. The modern diet is rich in calories, depleted of nutrients, and overburdened with unhealthy kinds of fat. It includes an unprecedented amount of carbohydrates, mostly in the form of simple sugars. The modern diet is a recipe for disaster and is the foundation of many modern illnesses, including digestive disorders.

Here is a brief comparison of the modern diet vs. the primitive diet:

  • About 70 percent of the calories that the average person eats in modern times come from foods that were unavailable in primitive times. Primitive people did not eat refined sugar, large amounts of cereal grains, or starchy vegetables such as potatoes like we do today.  
     
  • The primitive diet comprised 30 to 40 percent protein, 20 to 30 percent carbohydrates, and 30 to 50 percent healthy fat. By comparison, the modern diet comprises roughly 15 percent protein, 50 percent carbohydrates, and 35 percent unhealthy fat.  
     
  • The majority of the fat in the primitive diet came from healthy omega-3 fats and saturated fats. Most of the fat in the modern diet comes from omega-6 fats, hydrogenated oils loaded with trans fats, and unhealthy saturated fats.  
     
  • Primitive people obtained their carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—not from refined grains. Consequently, the amount of fiber in their diet was considerably higher than the amount in ours.  
     
  • No refined food is found in the primitive diet. That means no canned food, pasteurized products, white flour, refined sugar, or hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Here’s the bottom line: The gastrointestinal tract still needs the food it used to eat and digest—the types of foods our ancestors ate. If our ancestors could eat like that, we can, too.

 

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.


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