Our Western Diet is based on foods of convenience—the fast food items we buy at the local corner shop or supermarket. These products are gross distortions of the REAL foods which human beings have eaten throughout history...foods to which our bodies remain genetically adapted. Our ancestors did not have bread, sugar, junk fats and all the other nutritionally depleted pre-packaged, pre-cooked stuff that we do. They ate fresh wholesome foods. Palaeolithic man’s diet was high in wholesome fats, moderate in proteins, and rich in fiber, thanks to whatever vegetables and simple fruits they could gather.
CHEAP AND NASTY
The modern convenience foods on which we now feed depleted of natural fiber and filled with chemicals. They are manufactured from grain-based carbs, and altered milk products then riddled sugar and dangerous trans-fatty acids—oils which have been separated out from the foods from which they are taken, then chemically altered by solvents and heat processing.
FOODS CAUSE ADDICTION
Apart from the destructive power of GMO foods, which are not only destroying human health but the health of the planet, another major change has taken place: Today we also swallow a kaleidoscope of colorants, flavorings, additives and ‘enhancers’, not to mention pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, which our ancestors could never have imagined in their wildest dreams. We slurp down chemical pollutants with each sip of our diet cola, and every bite of our pre-cooked meals. Quite simply, this is the fast food diet that 95% of the Western world now lives on. And, next time you upbraid yourself for what you perceive to be your lack of willpower as you reach for yet another biscuit and feel guilty about it, let the guilt go. It does not belong to you. The denatured, degraded, food we eat bears the lion's share of blame, not only for the plague of obesity worldwide, but for food addictions and cravings that lead to illness and weight gain, the development of potentially fatal degenerative diseases, from heart disease and cancer to metabolic syndrome; Alzheimer’s disease; diabetes, and dozens more.
It was Weston Price, early on in the century, who first brought the scientific community's attention to the devastating effects the rise of processed foods and the destructive ways in which they damage human health. Price, a dentist, traveled the world recording the changes in the shape of the jaw and teeth which take place slowly but inevitably as each culture discards its traditional dietary practices, based on real food, in favor of our more ‘civilized’ Western fare. Price's many studies—each of which lasted between 20 and 40 years—carefully plotted the onset of degenerative diseases. It is not surprising that, after living on a diet of simple whole plant foods rich in natural fiber and a health-giving synergy of nutrients and micro-nutrients throughout evolution, the human body continues to this day find the foods we eat now anathema to health. Our genes have been attuned to naturally grown, unprocessed foods for more than a million years. Our metabolic biochemistry as human beings is designed for it.
Sir Robert McCarrison—brilliant British doctor also charted the relationship between food and health. More recently, two more British doctors, Dennis Burkitt and Hugh Trowell, carried out their own extensive studies, taking Price and McCarrison’s work a step further. They carefully documented the exact sequence of events which takes place when a people's diet changes from simple, primitive, real food to packaged fast foodstuffs.
Stage One: The primitive, unprocessed diet of hunter-gatherers, complete with plenty of healthy fats, good quality proteins, plus vegetable and fruit-based carbohydrate is eaten. Degenerative diseases do not exist.
Stage Two: Western diet is introduced. Obesity and diabetes become common among privileged groups able to afford foods of commerce, and degenerative diseases begin to appear.
Stage Three: A culture's diet becomes “moderately Westernized”. Obesity becomes more widespread, as does constipation, haemorrhoids, varicose veins and appendicitis.
Stage Four: Westernized diet is now widespread. Overweight and obesity are common in all social groups. So is heart disease, high blood pressure, diverticular disease, hiatus hernia, cancer and other Western diseases.
Like our soils, the industrially manufactured foods we eat today—from biscuits and pasta to pre-cooked convenience meals—have quite literally been taken to pieces. High-tech food production works something like this: To create a great variety of palatable foods from raw materials, you have to reduce the foodstuffs—grains and seeds, vegetables and legumes—to simple, malleable ‘nuts and bolts’ that lend themselves to whatever manipulations you want to perform on them. Take soya beans for instance. They were once considered an excellent source of complete protein as valuable as meat or eggs—more valuable in many ways, since they are so cheap. Nowadays more than 95% of soybeans grown worldwide are genetically modified.
Food manufacturers still take whole soya beans, in which 30% of each bean is protein, and process them physically and chemically to extract this protein and make it ready to accept dyes and flavorings. hen they alter its texture through more processing until eventually it becomes ersatz meat. This end product—from which soy-based foods from tofu to soya milk are made—is a long way from the natural soya bean. In the course of such manipulations the little soya bean, which, pre-GMO devastation and high processing, once offered asynergy of nutrients, complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and fiber. By now however it has now been turned into a highly concentrated artificial material. During the operation, vitamins and minerals are destroyed. The soya bean's proteins and natural fatty acids have been denatured and chemically altered into new forms, many of which are not usable by the body. The soya has also lost most of its fiber too—a vital part of any food's health-promoting wholeness, and something absolutely essential for protection from degenerative diseases and obesity. To this artificial “food”, manufacturers then add a lot of phoney colors and flavors. Canadian expert in food science, Ross Hume Hall, puts it rather well when he says: "The product contains the same number of calories as the original soya protein, but it now consists of a set of naked molecules completely divorced from any natural context." The same is true of the way in which cereals and grains are processed.
From milk to meat to garden peas—whatever food is involved—processing destroys nutrients. According to official government handbooks, 50-70% of vitamin B6 is lost when meats are processed. 50-90% of folic acid—a vitamin of particular importance to the functioning of nerves and the actions of hormones, especially in the female body—is shed when grains are milled, while more than 80% of the mineral magnesium disappears in the same process.
The multi-national food industry covers the packaging of its products with endless ‘nutritional’ information, which would have you believe that any goodness lost in processing can be made up for by ‘enriching’. Enriching is just another chemical whereby a few cheap vitamins and minerals in synthetic form are pumped back into the now fragmented food. It is categorically impossible to restore the health-giving power of wholeness to any food which has been fragmented in this way.
Similar nutrient losses happen during other phases of food handling—artificial ripening, transport and storage. Store asparagus for a week and it loses 90% of its vitamin C. Keep grapes for the same time, and they shed 30% of their B vitamins. Freeze meats and you can lose as much as 50% of two important B vitamins— riboflavin and thiamine. These are just a few examples of nutrient losses which occur every day. They are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways in which modern food handling and manufacturing processes have created highly concentrated, calorie-dense foods filled with masses of sugar (more about this in future entries) which are dangerously destructive of health, and promote both weight gain and rapid degeneration of body and mind.
REAL FOOD CREATES REAL HEALTH
OK, so where do you go from here? It is easy to change your food-buying habits once you clear your cupboards of the manufactured rubbish we all collect. You’ll find the healthiest, freshest, and most natural foods for lasting health at the outside edges of your local supermarket. These include crunchy fresh vegetables and fruit, fresh game and meats, seafoods and eggs. Skirt the edges, steer clear of the middle, and you’ve got the secret to becoming a successful modern-day hunter-gatherer.
Remember this: Natural wholesome foods are perishable. They have to be replaced often, unlike the ready-in-a-minute, pre-made stuff that you find in the inner aisles. You will be shopping “at the edge” in another way too: You’ll be looking for foods as close as possible to those that our ancestors ate—with a wide variety of crunchy, living vegetables, especially bright-colored ones.
Foods with a long shelf life don’t belong in your body. Processed high-carb foods often have a very long shelf life. This makes them great sales material for food manufacturers and retailers, since they can sit on the shelves for a long time, and are cheap to produce with high profit margins. Virtually all convenience foods and fast foods have been whipped up out of processed grains and cereals, masses of sugar in all forms, junk fats, chemical additives. Avoid them for your sake, as well as the sake of your family. You’ll be able to turn your lives around in short order. Find our for yourself. Try it.