Nutritional Anthropology

The Bond Effect
The science and art of living the way nature intended

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Nutritional Anthropology: 
Eating in harmony with our genetic programming




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General Principles

Our Pleistocene ancestors were not following any feeding strategies. They just followed what was there, and followed their instincts. Their eating patterns would have changed from day to day according to the hazards of foraging. From season to season they would have changed according to the availability of flora and fauna in the environment. Even so, the possible variations would have fallen within quite close limits.


Today, ‘what is there’ is mostly artificial, and our instincts are readily traduced by the divorce of taste from nutritional quality. The artful food manufacturers are masters at giving us taste without food value at all. The fluctuations of ‘what is there’ fall within much, much, wider limits. There is virtually no external discipline of what, and how much, we eat. So we have to have strategies!


In this chapter we look at typical models for realizing the Natural Eating Pattern. The objective is to give an example of the thought processes, the questioning and the discipline that it is necessary to adopt. Do not get fixated on the patterns described here. Within the boundaries of the Natural Eating precepts there is an infinity of permutations by which you can organize your eating day. Use the examples given here to limber up the brain and get your thought processes working in a new paradigm.


Morning Time

You are being asked to eat a lot of low glycemic fruit. (see appendix)

You are being asked to eat fruit on an empty stomach.

You are being asked to eat little but often.

You are being asked to eat plenty of low glycemic plant food (see appendix)


Strategy a) Eat low glycemic fruit in the morning (Table 1, Appendix)

A good time to eat fruit is a little while after waking up in the morning. Your stomach is empty (or should be unless you have eaten a really badly combined meal). You can then eat portions of fruit all through the morning until lunch time.


Suppress any prejudices you may have about the desirability of eating a heavy breakfast. It is desirable! Your body has just woken up from an exhausting night of internal house cleaning. In the morning it is in a mode for eliminating wastes from that process. It welcomes a gradual introduction to the new day with some light tasks such as digesting fruits. Our Pleistocene ancestors knew about that, they didn’t start feeding until mid-morning. Don’t worry about hunger cravings- there won’t be any unless you are a chronic hyper­insulinemic.


You will get to feel a little empty as the morning progresses, so you will then eat another portion of fruit. You eat until the feeling of emptiness is gone. You may have eaten a little or a lot. It doesn’t matter nobody is counting. Listen to your body. Don’t eat just because it is time to eat. Eat at the time you feel like it and eat the quantity you feel like. That is the way our Pleistocene ancestors ate. It is the way our bodies are designed, and it is, after all, the way our brains are programmed.


Remember that an important part of feeling sated and satisfied is to do with putting our eating apparatus to work. That is, feeling the fruit on the lips and teeth. Ttearing a bite out, chomping it, grinding it in our mouths and feeling the sensation against our tongues, gums and mouth linings.


There is an added bonus: mouth hygiene is vastly improved due to an improved saliva composition and the mechanical scouring action of the chewing process.


Strategy b) Eat low glycemic plant food (Table 1, Appendix 1)

An alternative that is practised in many parts of the world is to start the day with a vegetable stir-fry. This is what many societies in Asia do.


Just take a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and cook it in a saucepan using the ‘oil and water’ method. That is, you put ¼ inch of water in the pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil, put in the vegetables, cover and cook fast on a high heat. Stir periodically to break up the frozen vegetables and to avoid sticking. After about four minutes, the vegetables are cooked through and the water is drying out. Stir vigorously until all the water is gone and the surface of the vegetables have achieved a golden brown coating.


This system works well with fresh vegetables too. This is the best option if you have the time.


Don’t forget, you are using large quantities – at least 1lb per person. If you want, you can add a few shrimps.


Strategy c) eggs any style.

Yes, omega-3 rich, free range eggs any style are fine to start the day. Make a hearty vegetable filled omelette, or grill some tomatoes and mushrooms. Don’t forget that the plant-food should form the major part of the meal, and no backsliding – definitely no bread!


Strategy d) salad

Yes, this runs counter to our Western cultural programming, but again, it something that many societies do, notably in Africa . A copious mixed salad with some avocado, tuna flakes or shrimp makes a great start to the day. Again, make it a large portion – at least 1lb per person.


Strategy e) Old fashioned breakfast


Many people are old enough to remember the days when we used to eat a nice piece of poached haddock or devilled kidneys for breakfast accompanied by lashings of sautéed onion, grilled tomatoes, and mushrooms.



You can continue eating your fruits. Or you can shift to something else temporarily; an avocado pear, a handful of raw, unsalted nuts or a big bowl of vegetable soup. Get used to making extra large quantities of everything so that the fridge/freezer has a ready supply of easily accessed foods.


Now it is Lunch time and Afternoon:


You are being asked to eat lots of vegetables

You are being asked not to eat starch.

You are being asked to eat protein modestly.

You are being asked to eat little but often.


A suitable choice might be a mixed salad. An appropriate quantity will be 12 oz. Measure it until you are used to eyeballing the quantities – it’s larger than you are used to! Get in the habit of thinking that a salad is often in two parts. There will, on the one hand, be the salad vegetables proper, comprised uniquely of foods from Table 1 - Good Foods to be Eaten in Bulk. On the other hand there can be some additions of protein.


Tuna, chicken breast, example can be either added to the salad or eaten as a side dish.


Take care to avoid the bad combination of both protein and starch. A protein dominated dish like salad Niçoise[1] for example is best without the potato. You are eating 12 oz of salad, plus about 3 oz of proteins. (Remember that Acid/Alkali Balance in Chapter Five?) Potato is part of the recipe. You are in charge of the meal, so get into good habits. Leave the potato out.


Again get used to the quantities of the protein. This time they are smaller than you think. See Table 2: Good Foods to be Eaten in Controlled Quantities in Appendix 1.


Use the standard homemade salad dressing, consisting of canola oil plus a dash of lemon juice or vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. If you have time, a clove of crushed garlic is good.

Preferably, eat the salad before the side dish. This fast-tracks the vegetables through the gateway of the antrum. That way your appetite will be more readily satisfied on the healthiest part of the meal. Eating the low density plant food takes time. This allows the satiety reflex time to catch up and make you feel satisfied. The side dishes can then take their time in the stomach’s acid bath.


Through the afternoon, you may begin to feel hungry. For example, you will have, ready prepared in your fridge, some raw broccoli, cauliflower and baby carrots. You will also have some pots of preservative-free dips such as guacamole and salsa. That’s it - a raw vegetable dip.


Get used to taking your fuel with you when you are away from home for several hours. Above all, overcome any inhibitions you may have about pulling it out and eating it when the occasion calls.


Get used to taking your fuel with you when away from home.



Come Dinner Time, Then What?

It’s the same decision-making process as at lunchtime. This time you decide to do some cooking. Maybe 16 oz. of stir-fried vegetables accompanied by a two egg omelette. (Eggs can be eaten at any time of the day, not just breakfast!)  Or a grilled trout with a head of steamed broccoli. It’s as easy as that. The stir-fry can be ready frozen, but throw away any accompanying sauce and season with garlic, herbs and a dash of soy sauce. Note that we are escaping the tyranny of the starter, main course, dessert, regimen. Just the one course. As ever, try to eat the vegetables before anything else.


If you fancy it, a glass of dry, red wine is OK.


Now it’s close to bed-time and you feel like some supper.

Believe it or not, there is quite a choice. If there is a sufficient gap after the last meal (see the Golden Rules). It could be a low glycemic fruit (as much as you like). If not, it could be 2 oz of nuts; almonds are good, or even the remains of the stir-fry. Avoid bad carbohydrates this late in the day. The hormonal reaction is inimical to a good night’s sleep, but worse, it interferes with the body’s night time repair processes.


Bad carbohydrates before bedtime interfere with night time cell renewal, you wake up tired to boot.


If you fancy it, have a mug of cocoa (100% cocoa powder) made with water and sweetened with artificial sweetener. Definitely avoid any “hot chocolate” drinks. You only have to read the fine print. to see how little cocoa and how much junk and filler is in them.


It is even possible to have 1 oz of that dark, bitter European chocolate. It should have the highest percentage of cocoa possible. Read the fine print. If cocoa comes before sugar on the list, then this is already acceptable. Really good varieties will give the percentage of cocoa indicated. e.g. “cocoa solids 75%” and even more.


Be prepared to think unconventionally

 and have the courage of your convictions!


Eating Away From Home

It is one thing to be organised at home for eating naturally but it is quite another matter when away from home. However, by planning ahead, being assertive and being prepared, it is quite possible to stay close to the ideal regimen.



In reasonable quality restaurants it is relatively simple to find items on the menu which can form the basis of a meal. “Form the basis” because there will still be clarifications and negotiations to be conducted with the waiter.


Then you start the questions, “What exactly does the salad have in it? I don’t want any croutons, pasta, rice, fruit... or, I don’t want any cheese, or fruit. Then you ask,

“What is the salad dressing?”

Waiter “Ranch”

You:    “What is in it?”

Waiter:         “I don’t know, it comes out of a big jar.”

You:    “In that case I would like the oil and vinegar cruet, thank you very much.”


So it goes on, until you have selected the starter, main course and dessert.


You will have paid close attention to the vegetables that accompany the main course. You will refuse potatoes, French fries, rice which are often offered as “vegetables.” You will ascertain that green beans, or broccoli, or spinach or any other green vegetable is available and you will ask for double portions.


 You will not eat any of the bread from the bread basket. You will leave at the side of the plate any sweet corn that may have intruded in spite of the negotiations. Either way, most of the desserts will be off limits.


 However, water sorbet could be fine. So is chocolate mousse. Ask about the ingredients. There is usually sugar, so eat just a modest amount. (There is a recipe for an extraordinary, conforming, chocolate mousse in Chapter 12.)


One type of fruit that can safely be eaten by most people after a meal are the red berry fruits, strawberry and raspberry.


When you have finished such a meal you can congratulate yourself. You have eaten healthily and within the margins of tolerance.


Fast Food Outlets

Eating in fast food restaurants is just the same only harder.


Resign yourself to ordering the burger and throwing away the bun. Find a salad if you can. Some keen practitioners carry a bottle of their own salad dressing.


Or, eat the all-day breakfast, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms. Avoid the sausage, steak, French fries, baked potato, hash-browns, rice, toast, waffles, corn syrup or muffins.

Many fast food restaurants have salad bars. This is good news and with care one can eat reasonably correctly. They do tend to drench the salads in sweetened dressings. Often they mix in fruit, or combine starches and proteins. Be selective. Pick out and put aside the offending ingredients. Be suspicious of the salad dressings. They are invariably made with low quality ingredients, fillers and dosed with sugars. Do the best you can. You are only one meal away from redressing the imbalance!


Dinner Parties

In some ways this is the hardest situation to manage. You don’t want to put your hosts under pressure, you want to be invited another day.


If you know your hosts well, it is all right to call in advance and mention that you have special dietary requirements. Say you prefer fish over red meat. (Today this is no longer an exceptional request). Say you don’t like to eat fruit after a meal. Say you like green salads. Say you like lots of green vegetables.


Then tuck into your meal and enjoy it for what it is. You will certainly have to compromise, but then your basic eating habits are natural and healthy and the occasional lapse is not going to be the end of the world. The main priority is to avoid eating in a way that you know, from your own experience, will upset you.


If you don’t know your hosts well, or the dinner party is a set menu, then it is best to act defensively. You don’t want to go hungry and you don’t want to be churlish. So before setting off, eat a light meal of low glycemic vegetable matter (salad, vegetable, nuts or whatever). Then, when you get to your dinner eat lightly. Enough to preserve appearances and to flatter the cook. The “allergy excuse” is always accepted when you want to leave a significant portion on your plate. People also understand if you are watching your waist-line and don’t want to eat much of the dessert. You will find that you escape from this challenge in pretty good order.


How to Get Your Priorities Right

The next chapter is the ‘Ten Steps to Success’. It sets out the actions to concentrate on step by step. Remember that the objective is to get your body operating at optimum health and efficiency. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, just good enough. Once you have reached this stage, it will be able to support more ‘lapses’.


This is where you can decide to indulge in some ‘minor sins’. For example, you can have a half bottle of wine with your dinner; eat a steak from time to time, or have a piece of key-lime pie on Sundays. On various feast days like Thanksgiving and Christmas you don’t have to refuse the pumpkin pie or the plum pudding and custard. After all this is what you have been saving up for. Just don’t overdo it!


You can even indulge in the really bad carbohydrate from time to time (like waffles and maple syrup, or ice-cream sundae). But do be very careful and disciplined. Bad carbohydrate is an addictive drug and it is very easy to end up at the bottom of the slippery slope.


Bad carbohydrate is an addictive drug.

It is too easy to end up at the bottom of the slippery slope!


 Do listen to your body. It will surely protest if you overstep its tolerance level. Allergies will reappear, weight will come back on, you will be troubled by digestive troubles. And, of course, you will never know to what extent you are jeopardising your long term health.


You will be surprised to find that, after a while on this programme, your tastes change. Steaks are unimportant or even repulsive, and you will contemplate a defrosted supermarket chocolate cake with the same enthusiasm as you would a cockroach floating in your soup.


Trust those hard won reflexes! Don’t force your way past them and back into the zone of bad habits.


How to Survive in the Real World


The foregoing guidelines are a counsel of perfection. In the real world compromises have to be made.


Have the courage of your convictions in restaurants. Ask exactly what goes into the various dishes. Have them leave out unwanted matter. Cheese for example intrudes into almost everything. Exchange the hash browns for extra green vegetables or a salad.


You really do have to discipline yourself not to be tempted by really bad combinations and junk ingredients such as hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas and fish ’n’ chips.


There will be other ‘lapses’- bad combinations, junk food etc. Save them for when you don’t want to embarrass the host at a dinner party. Or when you want to have a treat, say, once a week. Monitor how they affect your health and digestion.


Some faulty combinations are ‘minor sins’”, like eggs on toast (protein/starch); macaroni cheese (starch/protein). Just don’t overdo it. Monitor what they do to your digestion and weight. Apart from potentially causing digestive difficulties, they are fattening combinations.


Starch/protein combinations are fattening.


The consumption of alcohol is deprecated. In the real world a sugarless alcohol (see table in the Obesity/Overweight section of Chapter 8) such as dry wine, can be drunk in moderation as the meal progresses. Beer, cocktails and liqueurs, being loaded with free sugars, are to be avoided. Dry spirits may be drunk frugally on a full stomach.


Avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. If you are caught unawares with an early cocktail, line your stomach with a non-starch nibble (nuts, olives). Or, better still, if they have a vegetable dip eat the vegetable, be suspicious of the dip.

[1] Salade Niçoise of France combines lettuce with green beans, diced cold potato, olives, tuna, tomatoes, and anchovies, all dressed with olive oil and vinegar.


Chapter 8

Chapter 10

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