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Nutritional Anthropology's Bible:
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.
‘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!
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.
are being asked to eat a lot of low glycemic fruit. (see appendix)
are being asked to eat fruit on an empty stomach.
are being asked to eat little but often.
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)
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.
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.
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
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
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.
b) Eat low glycemic plant food (Table 1, Appendix 1)
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
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.
system works well with fresh vegetables too. This is the best option if
you have the time.
forget, you are using large quantities – at least 1lb per person. If
you want, you can add a few shrimps.
c) eggs any style.
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!
this runs counter to our Western cultural programming, but again, it
something that many societies do, notably in
e) Old fashioned breakfast
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.
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
it is Lunch time and Afternoon:
are being asked to eat lots of vegetables
are being asked not to eat starch.
are being asked to eat protein modestly.
are being asked to eat little but often.
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
chicken breast, example can be either added to the salad or eaten as a
care to avoid the bad combination of both protein and starch. A protein
dominated dish like salad Niçoise
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dinner Time, Then What?
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 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.
you fancy it, a glass of dry, red wine is OK.
it’s close to bed-time and you feel like some supper.
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.
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.
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.
Away From Home
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.
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.
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,
is the salad dressing?”
“What is in it?”
“I don’t know, it comes out of a big jar.”
“In that case I would like the oil and vinegar cruet, thank you
it goes on, until you have selected the starter, main course and
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.
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.
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
type of fruit that can safely be eaten by most people after a meal are
the red berry fruits, strawberry and raspberry.
you have finished such a meal you can congratulate yourself. You have
eaten healthily and within the margins of tolerance.
in fast food restaurants is just the same only harder.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
to Get Your Priorities Right
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’.
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!
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.
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.
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.
those hard won reflexes! Don’t force your way past them and back into
the zone of bad habits.
to Survive in the Real World
foregoing guidelines are a counsel of perfection. In the real world
compromises have to be made.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.