This essay not only explains why our food system is flawed, but points out which foods all humans should eat to optimize body function, lose weight, and address chronic diseases. The answers will surprise you. This essay just touches the tip of the iceberg about what is well known in scientific circles and it begins and ends by helping you understand what all the fuss is about regarding Omega-3 fatty acids. For more about what is and is not proper food for man -- and why -- please check out some of the other essays listed above.
Best and Worst Foods
I've analyzed the recommendations of many of the more popular nutritionists. By far too many of them follow the government's lead, which has already influenced the thinking of the masses. Therefore their “safe” common knowledge approach is readily accepted as practical and proper by the masses, most educators, the popular press and, of course, is supported by Big Business who serve the masses who vote with their dollars. It's also the approach most physicians use because common knowledge is backed by USDA guidelines, therefore it's the "safe" way to discuss nutrition even if it doesn't work.
Other nutritionists are supplement-oriented rather than food-oriented. They believe all foods (and it doesn't matter in what combination) lack the nutrient mix man requires. They also tend to believe that most foods are contaminated with toxic compounds. These anti-food types are easy to identify because they tell you to eat no fat, little meat, and little of anything else except tofu. They are the driving force behind our nation's low-fat craze. They also recommend a whole host of supplements for curing this and that and for “balancing” one's diet of crummy food. These misguided types actually believe they can “prescribe” the right supplements to perfectly match your body's requirements -- and do a far better job of it than God's old-fashioned provisions which are real foods.
Still other nutritionists are quite scientifically based. They expound on the fatty acids, antioxidants, glycemic indexes, calories, protein, and more. Yet they still want you to eat “lean meat” in moderation which is no more than three ounces per day. That's because they fear meat unless it's fish or wild game. Of course, the livestock products they fear come from grain-fed livestock, and sad to say, they do not realize there are folks raising grass-fed livestock whose total nutrient profiles replicate that of wild critters.
Only a very small handful of nutritionists and dietitians today have the Big Picture well in mind. They are scientifically oriented. They understand that the nutritional needs of all animal life on our planet are nearly the same. They know which foods are foreign to man and all animal life, which are concocted, and which are loaded with harmful substances that take their toll on our health over time. These professionals tell us America's huge food machine has deviated far afield in its quest for cheap, convenient, and tasty food. If the powers that be listened to these folks, nearly the entire American food production system would have to change. The cost would be enormous and very disruptive to the economy if it took only a decade to make the change. So, even if our countrymen started listening to the professional scientific minority and wanted to change, it would still be many decades before our country would once again produce real food for the masses.
The Cradle of Life
What are real foods? Is there “one” foundation food that all animal life requires for optimal health? For some background, let's review a few selected excerpts from “Exploring the Secrets of the Sea” by William J. Cromie, an oceanographer, that was published in 1962.
“The ocean was the cradle of life.”
“Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen make up 99% of all living matter. Hence, at the very moment of its formation, the ocean contained all the ingredients of living substance.”
“There are on earth today certain green and purple bacteria (sometimes called ‘microbes’ or ‘germs’) which are capable of using the sun's energy to help them break down organic matter. These are probably decedents of the first organisms that increased their efficiency in this way. But organisms such as these only decreased the amount of ready-made organic material still further, while the amount of carbon dioxide released as a waste product rapidly increased. Before the organic material was completely used up, however, certain green colored cells evolved a way to make their own food from the carbon dioxide, water, and some of the inorganic materials in the oceanic soup. They did this by using energy from the sun together with the chemical action of the green pigment. This pigment is known as chlorophyll (‘green leaf’) and the process of making organic material as photosynthesis (‘putting together by light’).
“This was a tremendous step forward. For the first time the organisms no longer had to depend on the food supply of the ocean: they could make their own. These first green cells were the ancestors of all the prolific forests and the grasslands that Charles Darwin marveled at on his trip around the world. Indeed, they were the ancestors of all the plant kingdom.”
Cromie reemphasized the importance of green plants with this quote: “Diatoms and other one-celled plants are the ‘grasses’ of the sea. They take the place of prairies and rich pastures on land, and are grazed on by all marine vegetarians.”
Knowing that leafy green plants, not grain, are the foundation foods for all animals in the sea and on land is wisdom indeed. We must keep this in mind as we develop our list of good and bad foods. Additionally, we must respect the anthropologist's view of events. He has studied early man, and from careful analysis of bones, discards from around their campsites, and environmental factors has been able to piece together what man ate for millions of years before the invention of agriculture (grain growing and domestic livestock), events which occurred between 4,000 and 10,000 years ago. In the Big Picture that is only yesterday!
The Good Foods
One of the world's most renowned scientists doing research in this field is Loren Cordain, Ph.D., a professor in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Colorado State University. In his book, “The Paleo Diet,” he does an outstanding job of pointing out the good foods and the bad foods. His Website is very educational. Here are the high points of his lists.
Wild animal food products dominated Paleolithic diets or as some people refer to it, the Caveman diet or the Hunter Gatherer diet. For millions of years those foods consistently provided the same balance of fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, the protein diets of early man were quite high compared to modern standards.
Virtually all of the carbohydrates Paleolithic people ate came from non starchy, wild fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber. (They help prevent heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.)
Early man ate some nuts, which are a rich source of mono unsaturated fats, but they were seasonal. That means he ate them rarely, not frequently. (The best nuts are macadamia nuts yet those and all other nuts are not worth eating other than for a rare treat.)
A mix of these foods (meats, eggs, and fish from grass/plankton eaters or eaters of the animals that ate grass/plankton, plus vegetables, some tart fruits sparingly and seasonally, and very rarely if ever some nuts) without a doubt provided nearly 100% of early man's nutrient intake.
The Bad Foods
Paleolithic people ate no dairy products, hardly ever ate cereal grains, didn't salt their food, didn't have refined sugar, and sporadically ate honey -- when they found it. They did not eat legumes (soybeans, all other beans, black-eyed peas, tofu, peanuts, etc.). They did not eat processed foods with grain additives (i.e., high-fructose corn syrup), partially hydrogenated oils (trans fatty acids), nor did they cook with processed vegetable, fruit, or nut oils. And they did not eat high-starch foods such as potatoes and yams!
Modern Americans use a lot of vegetable oils. Early man did not. Consequently, nearly all of these oils should be avoided altogether. Among the worst are coconut, corn, soybean, safflower, wheat germ, olive, avocado, walnut, canola, and cottonseed. Only a few oils are safe in moderation. The best are flaxseed and fish. In all cases oils are major doses of fat and that in itself is questionable. Maybe the best fat of all is grass-fed animal fat!
Change Is Required
Most of America's food is not real. All livestock products come from grain-fed critters. Most concocted (processed) foods have grain additives as a sweetener for flavor and/or as a filler to lower the cost of the processed foods. Most packaged and many canned foods have partially hydrogenated oils added to them to “preserve freshness,” extend shelf life, and create convenience -- all of which keeps food cheap. Our nation is hooked on soft drinks (from colas and “aids” to “juices”), which are loaded with corn syrup. And Americans love deep-fat-fried foods (including potatoes) -- especially those cooked with all the wrong oils.
Except for improving the quality and freshness of fruits and vegetables (more locally produced fruits and vegetables), nearly every other aspect of America's huge food machine faces major change if it is to provide truly nutritional food to the American consumer. This transition to real food will cost trillions of dollars and will take at least several generations before it can be completed. Consequently, if you want to live to a ripe old age in good health without drugs and operations, you must take matters into your own hands. The system won't help you. It still relies on the USDA's 50-year-old Food Pyramid or its modern derivatives that say we should eat lots of grain and grain products, some fruits and vegetables, and a dab of meat and dairy products.
Modern-Day Real Foods
You can eat real food today. Wild fish is available. Wild game is replicated by the meats and eggs of grass-fed domestic critters, which are readily available. Most of us can raise our own fruits and vegetables, purchase fresh frozen, or find stores that specialize in fresh fruits and vegetables. The list of processed real foods is quite short, but there's enough if we aren't too demanding. We can easily avoid foods with additives of grain and/or partially hydrogenated oils by simply reading ingredient labels. We can easily change cooking and salad oils, cut back on salt, and cut way back on refined sugar, potatoes, and legumes.
If our diet was restricted to grass-fed livestock products, wild fish, vegetables, some tart fruit, and just a few nuts a year in that order, we'd quickly learn that these real foods supplied 100% of all of our body's nutrient requirements in exactly the proper proportions except for vitamin D. To get our vitamin D we'd have to spend 15 minutes or so outside. (Our skin absorbs vitamin D from the sun's rays.)
Is the change to the "best food" worth the effort? Well, peer-reviewed nutritional research indicates a balanced diet of real foods dramatically decreases the incidence of ulcerative colitis, ADHD, arthritis, asthma, autism, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, stroke, bipolar, osteoporosis, hay fever, allergies, gout, autoimmune disorders, thyroditis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythmematosus, acne, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Crohn's and a whole host of other body failings. Is that worth the “price” of change? Or should we ask if we are up to the task? Are you? Most folks aren't. They could be dying from a chronic disease that could be cured by diet and they'll refuse to change. That's where most American's are. Instead of change they'd rather gripe and die miserably with a mouth full of "traditional" food.
Below are two totally different "food pyramids." The first is from the USDA. Yes, they've updated it, but basically the thinking behind the new one is the same as the old one. The second one we put together. The USDA's list of "good foods" is bad for your health. The second pyramid, representing The Real Diet of Man, will improve your health the more you eat because it recommends only real foods. Remember, the foundation food for all animal life is the green leaf. When your nutrient stream strays away from the green-leaf base body failure is the result. Eating proper foods not only prevents disease, but can cure many chronic diseases! For more about that check out True Health Stories.
Here's the USDA's Old Food Pyramid.
Here's our Caveman Food Pyramid.
Slanker Grass-Fed Meat