It can be very hard to narrow down what your health strategy is going to be.
There are so many trends out there that come and go, leaving us unaware of what’s just a temporary craze and what’s going to become a staple in the health scene.
I’ve tried several “approaches” myself: a vegan diet, a mostly paleo diet, a standard American diet, running multiple times a week, not running at all, etc.
Many people go through the same journey of trying different things only to find that none of them are sustainable or suitable enough for that individual.
It can be very frustrating. You don’t know which information to believe, you don’t know what will work for you, and it often ends in disappointment anyway.
So I thought I would share a few of the undeniable truths I have found through my years of looking into this stuff.
These are by no means things you have to do now, but I like referring back to them sometimes just to remember that a lot of health is just about being congruent with our ancestors. We evolved to be the way we are today because our ancestors lived in such a way that bred certain proclivities, reactions, and needs for us today.
Here are four of the staples I have found:
We Have Eaten Animals for a Long Time
Animal food products were the staple of human diets for a very long time. It is only in more recent years that humans have taken a different approach by incorporating more plant foods into the diet.
According to a study done by Tel Aviv University, humans were hyper-carnivorous for about 2 million years, eating primarily the meat of large animals. The article outlining the study states:
As crazy as it sounds, 85,000 years is only a blip of time when compared to the full timeline of human evolution.
Point being, meat has been and still is a very suitable form of nourishment for us and provides a generous array of nutrition.
The fat, protein, B-vitamins, iron, and many other nutrients found in meat give us an incredible bang for our buck because a little meat goes a long way for our bodies.
You Must Move
Our ancestors used to move constantly. Going way back in time, there were no grocery stores to buy food at the least minute, no furniture to lay around on, and no mobile phones to swipe through for hours a day.
There was a lot of work to be done to create a good, secure life. That included hunting and gathering, building and tearing down camps, and traveling by foot.
Movement was life for people at one point.
This is obviously quite different to how we live today. Obesity is highly prevalent in the abundant Western world. It’s not a coincidence either.
To our ancestors, working out at a gym would’ve been a waste of precious energy. To us, the gym is the only place that many people get any activity in.
We are largely missing the point, however. We’re trying to replace consistency with intensity.
What our ancestors did was move for most of the day, every day, but at a moderate pace. Today, we try to make up for 8 hours at a desk by crushing it at the gym until we’re sore because then it feels like we did something.
To give our bodies what they’re looking for, we need to improve our consistency of movement. Here are some ideas to do this in your everyday life.
Whole Foods are Best
Until recently in the human timeline, we’ve only eaten whole foods. This is all there was up until around the 1910’s when processed food first began to enter the market.
So evolutionarily-speaking, we’re only designed to consume whole foods efficiently. This is due to the very short span we’ve had processed foods available to us.
It’s also common knowledge that the processed foods we find at grocery stores are not the healthiest. Some of them, like wheat flour and table salt, have to have nutrients artificially added back into them because they’ve been stripped down so much.
This is why most table salts are “iodized” (iodine is added back in) and wheat flour has niacin (vitamin B3) added back in among others like vitamins B1 and B2. Check the ingredient list on your pasta box if you don’t believe me.
What does provide the most nutritional value, though, is whole food. These are foods that are completely untampered with, but simply harvested for consumption.
This includes fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds, and probably more that I’m forgetting. They’re simple, but effective.
Taking into account allergies and sensitivities, you can hardly go wrong with these options because your body knows exactly how to use them and they feed your body the best.
To maximize your consumption of whole foods and limit temptations of processed food, shop the perimeter of your grocery store. This is my foolproof method for eating healthy, saving money, and keeping it simple.
We Were Never Meant to Consume This Much Sugar
It should be clear at this point that the rampant amount of disease that burdens our population is not right. Heart disease, diabetes, various cancers, and many more plague an astounding number of people in our world today and the numbers are actually getting worse.
There’s more than one reason for this decline in health, despite an abundance of food, is happening.
One thing is for sure though and it a consistent contributor: humans were never meant to eat so much sugar.
Between the amount of different sugars we’ve created, the amount of sugar we put in our foods, and how many foods now have added sugar….we have a problem. Over 60% of food and beverages in American grocery stores contain added sugar.
That’s a crazy fact, being that sugar (especially in large quantities) would be extremely difficult to come by in nature.
This only covers foods that are “processed”, excluding the fruits and vegetables which we have bred to be unnaturally sweet. This makes up most of the produce we consume today.
So we’ve introduced a new, modern staple into our food supply which is an overabundance of sugar and simultaneously, our collective health has suffered tremendously.
I think it’s safe to say that we’d be much better off without all the additional sugar in our diet.