I highly believe in the power of an ancestral diet. I’ve only been living this way for a little over a year, but I have already seen the effects of this lifestyle on my body, my mood and my life. Here is one tip I can give you to help you eat more like our ancestors. So listen up…unless you actually want to look like the guy on the right.
Eat real food.
I made the mistake of being vegan once and I will never do it again. I did it partially for the animals and partially for my health. People like T. Colin Campbell, Howard Lyman, Alicia Silverstone, and Neal Barnard did a great job of convincing me that animal products were the enemy of perfect health. Being genetically prone to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, I didn’t want to take any risks. So I swore off meat and traded it in for tofu and pasta.
At first I felt great. I proudly went to the store to buy blocks of tofu and fake meat products. I shared vegan recipes with friends. I had more energy. Though, surprisingly I didn’t lose any weight. In fact, I gained some, but not much. Eventually I became bloated all the time. I had terrible migraines 1-2 times a month. My energy levels were plummeting. I was no longer the picture of health. How could this be? Going vegan was supposed to save my life. I thought swapping chicken wings and bacon for pasta and tofu would make me feel on top of the world. I had no idea what kind of damage I was doing to my body.
I went to the doctor for a routine checkup. It was August. August should be the time of year when your skin glows from all the vitamin D you’re soaking up from the sun. My skin was paler than it’s ever been. Clearly, I did not look healthy. My doctor was quick to note this and ran some blood tests.
The blood tests revealed a vitamin D deficiency as well as severe B-12 deficiency. I was not a dumb vegan. I had done my research. I knew that I would be lacking a good source of B-12 on a vegan diet so I was supplementing with sublingual tablets. I also took a daily vitamin D3 supplement. Why on Earth would my blood tests show that I was deficient in these essential nutrients? On top of that, my cholesterol was pushing 300. Not cool. I had successfully made myself sick while trying to do just the opposite.
So what was to blame? Veganism, gluten, and the lack of healthy fats and key nutrients that are obtained only from animal products. Gluten and soy products were actually blocking the absorption of the vitamin B-12 and D3 in my gut. So supplementing was doing me no good.
I started eating meat again on the same day I had gone back to my doctor for my blood test results. This was early September. By November, I was feeling well again. But still not great. Then I found Mark Sisson, and what he had to say changed my life.
Meat is not the enemy. Eat it (but stick to grass-fed, pasture-raised & wild caught). Eat fat (the healthy kind). And don’t fear it. Eating food-like products that are disguised as real food will kill you eventually. You may not notice its effects as soon as I did. But in the long run, a lack of nutrients only obtained from animal sources paired with a diet full of tofu, gluten and other crap that isn’t real food will compromise your gut and leave you pale, bloated, and depressed.
I now try to follow the diet our ancestors ate. They certainly did not sit around all day grazing on pizza and cookies. If they couldn’t eat it, neither will I. This includes nearly all grains that were cultivated after the agricultural revolution around 10,000 years ago. Did you know that humans who lived prior to the advent of agriculture were actually healthier all around? They had denser bones, better teeth, were taller and were much leaner. Cancer was nonexistent. So was heart disease and diabetes. That’s the kind of life I want. Optimal health is my goal. How am I going to reach optimal health by grazing on noodles and soy beans every day? I’m not, and neither are you.
I believe in the theory of bioindividuality. Don’t get me wrong. But I do believe that certain foods cause more harm than good. And there is a wrong way to eat. There is a right way too eat too. This is specific to your needs. For me, veganism was not the answer but eating like a cave man (or woman) is.