Eating and Your Ancestry

file000114053890So back to ‘what should I eat?’ Firstly, if you are eating a diet comprised of mostly processed foods and sugary and salty snacks then switching to a clean foods diet is the best start you can give yourself. What does this look like? Fresh fruits and vegetables (or lightly steamed/roasted), nuts, seeds, organic meats if possible, but unprocessed, uncanned meats for certain. Limit your consumption of dairy to greek yoghurt, cottage cheese and the occasional treat. If you eat breads I would highly suggest consuming whole grain breads, preferably wheat and grain that is not genetically modified such as Ezekiel bread (more about this another time).

How do you know if food is processed? Well as they say: ‘if your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it—that is something to consider.’ Next, read the labels and packaging. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients they are a chemical *%$ storm and will make you fat, bloated, sick and moody.

My other suggestion would be to get your hands on the book “The Metabolic Typing Diet” by researcher William Wolcott. This diet is based on seventy years of nutritional research. Dentist, Weston Price was the grandfather of this diet. In the 1930’s he did expeditions around the globe and realized there was no ideal ‘one size fits all diet’. He discovered that genetics, ethnicity, climate, local produce and environment all influenced the ‘ideal diet and health’.

This concept that what is good for one may be unhealthy for another is only logical. Let’s face it we all have different genes and some of these genes and our ‘make-up’ are a result of hundreds or thousands of years of evolution which is linked to the climate in which our ancestors lived, what was available for them to eat during particular seasons and what our overall physical lifestyle would have been. Dairy might be healthy for you, but a friend of mine has a casein allergy (milk protein). As a result she had ulceration and inflammation in her intestine (AKA – Colitis). Having removed casein she is 100% healed!! (Removing one allergen is not necessarily a cure for everyone.)

Up until the early 1900’s the Inuits were reported and studied because of the non-existence of cancer in their society. Heart disease and diabetes was also unheard of even though they consumed a high protein, high fat diet (whale blubber) and ate very little vegetables and virtually no grains. The cancer, heart disease and diabetes statistics changed within a few decades with the introduction of sugar, refined flours and alcohol. In contrast, people living in tropical climates usually had a higher vegetable and fruit intake and lower protein intake and yet they were just as healthy as the Inuit because they as well were eating right for their ‘Type’. Their genetics had adapted and evolved to the climate and the food it provided over the course of hundreds or thousands of years. Therefore, some of the foods from a traditional Inuit diet might be so foreign to someone who is let’s say African, that they might experience an auto-immune response because the immune system might perceive this ‘food’ as a toxin or foreign substance.

I know you might think well maybe the answer is simply eating clean. All of these cultures ate clean, organic food right? This is true and eating clean is by far the best start possible but it’s not the only factor. Lactose intolerance is a perfect example of this. Individuals of North European descent and some people from certain areas of Africa tend to have a much lower rate of lactose intolerance because they tended to be from herding cultures. Asians on the other hand who didn’t traditionally consume dairy have much higher rates of lactose intolerance.

Likewise, the high incidence of diabetes and alcoholism among Native Americans is linked to far more than a social problem. ‘Hidden’ food allergies, meaning not anaphylactic or presenting as a serious skin rash, plays a huge role. Before contact with Europeans, Native Americans had never consumed such grains as wheat, barley and oats. As a result their body is more likely to struggle to regulate their blood sugar levels from the continuous consumption of grains that their descendants had never been exposed to since they lived mostly off corn, beans, squash, wild game and nuts.

Not only does this explain the high incidence of diabetes among Native populations but new research is showing that what you crave the most may in fact be what you are allergic to. After repeated exposure to an allergen what follows are cravings and addiction. The symptoms of withdrawal is your body craving another adrenaline rush. Adrenaline is secreted to deal with the foreign substance or allergen and while the allergen hurts your body, your brain loves the adrenaline rush. Also interesting to note is that alcoholism is lowest in countries where grains have been consumed for thousands of years (Italy, Greece and Africa). So in that sense one could have a genetic predisposition to diabetes or alcoholism but only because they are essentially eating poison as far as one’s body and ethnic-genetic make-up is concerned.

You don’t have to a rocket scientist or a nutritionist 🙂 to know that someone from say Asia eating a Canadian diet might face certain health problems because their genetics had evolved to digest and metabolize foods that are traditional to the regions in which their ancestors lived for thousands of years. This certainly gives ‘culture shock’ a whole new meaning.

More in the next post about how to determine your ‘Type’ and what to eat.

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