A New Take on the “Old Ways” of Eating.
How looking back at our History can Help us Become Healthier

 
For 200,000 years, nature was the ultimate provider, supplying  us with the highest quality, and most nutritious (not to mention delicious!) foods . As man evolved however, people started to cook and process their foods. Of course these developments led to great improvement in our daily lives, but the impact on our bodies and health may not have been so positive.

As humans, we were born gatherers and hunters. Our 25,000 human genes were molded and adapted by 200,000 years of the Paleolithic era. During this time, our ancestors lived easily and comfortably on the rich ingredients and animals in their surroundings.  Not too long ago (about 10,000 years to be precise), three major culinary milestones happened that transformed the way we think about and deal with food.

First, our hunter-gatherer  ancestors became farmer and settled down in the first villages. Second, we learned to tame and breed animals, and to use them for things like animal milk. Third, man started to use fire to cook and CHEFS WERE BORN!!!

Although these changes led to significant improvements in everyday life, our genes and enzymes have struggled to adapt and assimilate to these new type of nutrients and food treatments.  There is no doubt that the resilient human body will eventually become accustomed to the new “modern” diet, but in the meantime, natural selection is quite severe and people are paying  a big cost in the form of obesity, diabetes, rheumatism, and other diseases. These illnesses and ailment are what happens when our Paleolithic genes and the "modern” diet collide (which shouldn’t surprise anyone). 

The quality of the molecules that make us  (structural proteins) and molecules that make our bodies function (carbohydrates and fats) dictate the quality of our entire living body and therefore our health.   Plants and animals produce carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, that we cannot produce ourselves. The problem and challenge lies in when we try to supplement these natural elements with chemical and artificial structures like aspartame, artificial flavors and colors. In doing so, we short-circuit million of years of natural evolution and play a risky game which is bound to deteriorate our health.

Here are some common examples of the modern diet that have proven harmful to humans according to research and worldwide trends:

• Today’s cereal selections are essentially mutated wheat that has been genetically  modified by tripling their number of chromosomes coding  into non-digestible proteins  like gluten and GMO Corn (which have been linked to appearance of  tumors).

• Excessive consumption of animal milk . Only 15% of the world population can digest milk sugar (Lactose) beyond the seventh year.

• Overcooking fragile molecules produced by nature at high temperatures, including vitamins which are destroyed by heat.

Of course I’m not suggesting that we stop evolving and modernizing. However, there should be limits to our domestication of nature, and our manipulation of its core ingredients. That’s why we must carefully choose our food and that’s why many scientists, nutritionists and chefs today have banded together to speak out against unhealthy practices. Today, we need to take a step back and look at our ancestral diets for answers and insights.

In my next article, I will discuss how we can build a new “old” diet to protect ourselves against the industrialization of food and the modern day philosophy of “produce more, sell more and waste more.” In the meantime, please feel free to email me with any questions at info@sufrati.com.

Until next time,
Warm wishes from the heart of the Holy City,

Chef Ali Benali