By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
In our modern world, prescriptions, procedures and doctor visits are the norm. In fact, according to the CDC:
• 1.2 billion annual visits to physician’s offices, outpatient and hospitals are made each year
• Almost 49% of Americans are using at least one prescription drug
• 75% of doctor visits involve drug therapy
But it wasn’t always this way.
Looking back less than 100 years ago chronic disease and prescription drug use were rare.
And while our society has advanced in many ways, some “advancements” have come at a high cost – namely, our collective health.
Ancestral Genetics Versus Modern Food
Ask many people the reason for an increase in chronic disease and they will tell you it’s our genes. They’re partly right. Our genes have changed. But most of the negative consequences we face are the repercussions of a modern diet on ancestral genes.
And while we may be genetically predisposed to chronic diseases – like diabetes, heart disease and cancer – it’s our environment and our dietary choices that turn latent risk into reality.
In her book, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, Dr. Catherine Shanahan, MD states that two modern ingredients are wreaking the most havoc on our genes – vegetable oil and sugar.
In looking at traditional cultures versus modern ones, Deep Nutrition makes the connection between the common consumption of these foods - coupled with an absence of traditional foods in the diet - and a wide number of disorders including:
• Birth Defects
• Heart Disease
• Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction
• Hormone Imbalance
• Joint Problems
• Cellulite and many more.
While avoiding sugar and vegetable oil are imperative for optimal health, it is equally important that we return to the ancestral foods that promote optimal genetic expression.
Reprogram Your Health With These 4 Pillars
This begins with consuming the native fats our ancestors enjoyed.
Tallow, lard, duck fat, grass-fed cheese and butter, and of course, naturally-raised meats are all excellent sources of saturated fats and cholesterol that provide a variety of health benefits including: increasing the absorption of lipid-soluble vitamins, reducing inflammation and free radicals, promoting healthy blood sugar balance and keeping the brain nourished and growing – from conception to old age.
In addition to returning to these health-giving fats, Deep Nutrition points to the “Four Pillars of World Cuisine.” These are the foods that promote bulletproof health in traditional and primitive cultures like the Hunzas and the Maasai. Despite the culinary and geographical differences in the various cultures studied, these groups of people shared superior health and a pattern of dietary consumption that included the following four foods:
#1 - Meat on the Bone
Not only does cooking meat on the bone make for a deliciously-flavored meal, it also provides more nutrients, thanks to the inclusion of fat, bone, marrow, skin and other connective tissue.
As meat on the bone cooks, it releases a special family of nutrients called glycosaminoglycans which promote joint and cellular health and restoration.
When choosing meat on the bone – from bone-in chicken breasts and drumsticks, to French ribeye, T-bone and bone-in roasts of all varieties - be sure to keep it moist and do not overcook or char your meats. This can creates harmful heat by-products and reduces the nutrient value too.
#2 - Organ Meats
The “off fall” – or all of the pieces of the animal excluding muscle meats – was highly prized in traditional cultures. But unfortunately in today’s fare, these bits are typically discarded.
By avoiding these parts of the animal, we not only miss out on their rich flavors, but also some of the most nutrient dense superfoods on the planet!
For optimal health, be sure to include organ meats – including liver, heart, kidney, tripe, tongue, thymus and others - in your diet.
#3 – Fermented & Sprouted Foods
Fermenting and sprouting liberates nutrients and neutralizes compounds that can be harmful or problematic. It also increases the bioavailability of vitamins and provides important probiotics that are needed for digestive and immune health and which are sorely lacking in our diets.
Include a serving of fermented or sprouted foods in your diet daily. Try lacto-fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and raw cultured dairy.
#4 – Fresh & Raw Foods
Eating greens, herbs and spices, picked at the peak of freshness, as well as raw milk made from grass-fed cows, is the final pillar of health. These foods provide a wealth of antioxidant nutrients that work in synergy with each other to produce a wide range of health benefits.
No matter where you are today with your health, no matter what genetic predispositions or “risk factors” you may have, following these four pillars of nutrition will help to imbue your body with the “genetic wealth” that confers powerful protection from chronic illness and age-related decline.
If you haven’t already started following the principles of ancestral health – now is the time. In addition to regular exercise and restorative sleep, these four pillars won’t just make you feel better, but they’ll keep you looking young to boot!
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
1. Shanahan, Catherine MD., Shanahan, Luke. Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. Big Box Books. 2009
2. CDC, Ambulatory Care Use and Physician office visits
3. CDC, Therapeutic Drug Use