Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Eating with the ancestors

During my rapture party to celebrate the world not ending on Friday (it was meant to be the apocolypse) I was asked a couple of nutrition questions by two different guests.

It's not unusual for me to be asked nutrition questions at any time and I'm always happy to answer them even when everyone around me is partying! But I thought I'd share these both with you also as they were both interesting questions and had related answers.

The first question was 'Do you think adults should drink milk?' and the second was 'Is it good for you to eat tropical fruit?'

Milk is very much a part of the British and American diet so it may seem odd to think we shouldn't drink it, but that's very much my opinion. Firstly non-organic milk can contain all sorts of antibiotic and hormone residues due to the nature of modern day farming, and secondly it clearly isn't meant for adult consumption.

Milk is mother natures amazing way of feeding babies on a nutritious easy to digest liquid diet. But once you're too old for breast feeding you're too old for milk - your digestive system changes to deal with solids, meaning alot of adults are lactose intolerant without even realising. And that's just human milk, if we're not able to cope with that then we clearly shouldn't be drinking the milk of another animal.

Just think of your ancestors - they may well have spent time and energy hunting an animal, but once they caught it do you think they'd start breast feeding from it? Ewww, clearly not!

Thinking of what your ancestors wouldn't have eaten is a good way to logically work out which foods we should be eating less of. Certainly processed foods, fizzy drinks, artificial sweeteners and sugar, other than sugars found naturally in fruit, would all be off the menu. But even within fruit there are types we would and wouldn't have eaten.

If you have ancestors from a tropical climate they would have eaten and been suited to plenty of tropical fruit, but our ancestors here in the UK wouldn't have been eating papayas and mangos. They would have eaten wild fruits such as blackberries, wild strawberries and damsons and more recently orchard fruit such as plums, apples, pears and cherries.

These are all much lower in sugar than tropical fruit so we're not as predisposed to digest sweeter fruit as our caribbean counterparts. This also applies to dealing with any sugars as we wouldn't have had sugar cane, which means an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria and yeasts such as candida is pretty common in the UK.

In short, yes in an ideal diet we wouldn't eat any milk/dairy products or tropical fruit, amongst other things. But that's not to say you can never have them - sticking to the 80/20 rule means not having them 80 per cent of the time and then 20 per cent of the time eating whatever you fancy regardless of what your ancestors would have eaten. Which is why, having answered these questions, I promptly tucked into the cheese board!

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