This perception might be a result of my imagination, or the increasing age of my family and friends, or the downturned economy. These perceptions may also be a result of comparing them with people living in Tanzania, eating local food, whom, all else being equal are in fact quite strong.
A lot of people in the US were complaining of chronic stomach and digestive ailments, vague types of immune-deficiency diseases not HIV, weak bones and cartilage, mental disorders of their children at an early age, and lack of reproductive success. As much as corporations and even much of the US government want to deny it, these chronic weird unusual-tilnow ailments have a strong probability of being related to the poor quality diet and the gazillion pounds of pesticides that get sprayed over everything.
It is not easy right now in the United States if you want to be a polite guest, go to a restaurant, or travel, to find a completely GMOfree diet. It is no wonder that people’s concern about the quality of the food is increasing. This concern was evidenced in at least three ways: 1/The first thing people seemed to want to talk about was the Paleolithic Diet – many were practicing it, 2/ the increasing numbers of Farmer’s Markets, 3/ more products in the supermarkets labeled “Organic” or GMO-free. Let me first describe the Paleolithic Diet.
The Paleo Diet is based on the presumed diet that human beings and our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic era— the Stone Age, a period of about 2.5 million years that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. The “Paleolithic diet” refers to the actual ancestral human diet of wild plants and animals.
Modern human beings are genetically adapted to the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors; human genetics have scarcely changed since agriculture began. According to S. Boyd Eaton, a proponent of the diet, “we are the heirs of inherited characteristics accrued over millions of years; the vast majority of our biochemistry and physiology are tuned to life conditions that existed before the advent of agriculture some 10,000 years ago.
Genetically our bodies are virtually the same as they were at the end of the Paleolithic era some 20,000 years ago.” It follows therefore that an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet. The Paleolithic diet consists of foods that can be hunted and fished, such as meat and seafood, and can be gathered, such as eggs, insects, fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, mushrooms, honey, herbs and spices.
The diet was high in lean protein, polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial phytochemicals. Historical and anthropological studies show hunter gatherers were generally healthy, fit, and free of the degenerative diseases common in modern societies.
Archaelogical evidence shows in many parts of the world that a decline in human health occurred with the adoption of agriculture. Associated with the introduction of domesticated and processed plant foods in the human diet, are a general decrease in body size and an increase in dental caries. Although some supporters of the Paleo Diet accept butter, cheese, yogurt, oils such as olive, macadamia, and sunflower, and a bit of natural alcohol, most supporters exclude grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
More than 70% of the total daily energy consumed by all people in the United States comes from foods such as dairy products, grains, refined sugars, processed vegetable oils and alcohol. Accumulating evidence suggests that this mismatch between the modern diet and lifestyle and our Paleolithic genome is playing a substantial role in the current epidemic levels of obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer found in North America.
People are thinking that adopting the diet and lifestyle that mimic the beneficial characteristics of the preagricultural environment may be an effective strategy to reduce the risk of chronic degenerative diseases. The Paleo Diet is a delicious way to eat, as my friends and relatives showed me.
The Paleo Diet is becoming so popular in reaction to the fear that food has come to induce in North America – when you put something in your mouth, instead of feeling comforted you become anxious about the high probability you are feeding yourself poisons in the forms of residual pesticides, GMOs, and cancer causing additives. It didn’t used to be like this but now it is.