THE ‘WILD HUMAN’ DIET
‘Primal’ advocates say a ‘wild human diet’ mostly consists of meats and vegetables, with the addition of raw dairy. Followers of the ‘Paleo’ camp claim dairy should be avoided. Most people say meat is king, and others espouse seeds. Despite all these different opinions, ALL agree on some basics:
• Grains, potatoes and legumes are out
• Plants, animals, nuts and seeds are in
• Fresh is best
• Eating organic is normal
• Ignore ‘low-fat’
• No vegetarian diets
Examine modern hunter-gatherers (wild humans), such as the Inuit people (that Keys excluded from his studies) that live in subzero polar regions. Over thousands of years of epigenetic adaptation, they survive quite efficiently on a diet consisting of 90% animals and 10% plants. The Australian Aboriginals, from a much warmer environment, survive on diets that are up to 90% plants and only 10% animals. Why? Because that is what is available to them.
Epigenetic adaptation does not mean that a tribe’s gene code changed or is vastly different. That would be impossible; after all, gene codes determine the animal, and we are all the same animal species.
In the two geographically different circumstances, the best chance for survival comes from the passage of gene codes. Generations of nutrient signals either turned on a better metabolism for breaking down meat or turned on a better metabolism for breaking down plants. It is important to remember that even though the ratios of meats to vegetables are vastly different, at no stage do these wild humans completely change their food source.
Today, because of aero-technology, we can jump on a plane and establish our lives on the other side of the world. We are more of a mixed racial heritage, and that, when blended with other factors such as emotional and physical stressors, can alter our optimal ratio of plant to animal foods.
That is why Paleo or Primal experts cannot tell you exactly what or how much to eat. They can only give you guidelines based on modern-day hunter-gatherer and Paleolithic data. You need to work out which ratios work best for you. However, you need not panic. If you stick to the basic hunter-gatherer template, your body possesses an innate ability to utilise what you need and discard the rest.
Once you have mastered the basics you will naturally start experimenting with ‘how much, by monitoring how you look, feel and perform.
As trite as it may sound, for the right portion sizes, it is always best to listen to your gut.