There’s little denying that our collective health seems doomed. Diabetes and cancer are rampant, health care costs are increasingly crippling our economy, and 8-year-old children are weighing in at 300 pounds. Clearly, something isn’t working.
We don’t need to go back millennia to witness a startling decline in health and increase in obesity. We really can just look back a generation or two.
Our grandmothers knew that processed foods, namely carbohydrates like grains, starch, and sugar, make us fat.
And when our grandmothers bought food, it was usually local, organic, and free of most chemicals… Not by choice, mind you, but by default. Once upon a time, food was food.
Alas, those days have passed.
As Alfred Newman quipped, “We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” Grim indeed.
Paleo has a PR Problem
Quite recently, “Paleo” has become synonymous with this particular set of dietary recommendations: avoid processed food, don’t be afraid of fat, and watch your carbs.
And it’s no secret that I’m a fan of Paleo – I love the people, the community, and the message.
But the word “Paleo” itself is problematic, and “Primal” isn’t much better.
Why? When newbies (or the media) hear “Paleo Diet,” they think of Barney Rubble stuffing his face with steak, binging on bacon (ok, that part might be fair), and bloodletting parties. That’s not what this is about, but it scares people away just the same.
The Paleo or Caveman Diet also sounds like a reenactment. And you don’t need to live like a caveman to eat like one.
Truth be told – my approach has always been more flexible than Paleo. It’s no secret that I’m a dairy fiend and even enjoy sprouted grains and legumes when I’m in the mood.
That is why I now refer to my nutritional approach as “The Wild Diet.”
… I think someone just threw a nightshade.
What is The Wild Diet?
Simply, The Wild Diet suggests that we take a deep breath and start eating real food again.
We once had access to an immense variety of seasonal foods from small, local sources. Now we have access to very few varieties of very few foods from a massive industrial system often thousands of miles from where we live.
It’s important to note the few staples of the Standard American Diet – namely corn, wheat, and soy – are not produced in such massive quantities because they’re healthy. They’re produced because they make money for rich people.
Modern food manufacturers have overwhelmed grocery store shelves with foods that are nutrient poor, rotten, spoiled, dead, old, and contaminated with antibiotics, chemicals, and growth hormones.
GMO’s are creepy, artificial flavors are horrifying, and selective breeding has unleashed some freakish foodstuffs upon the general public. If selective breeding can do this to a wolf, imagine what they can do to a tomato.
Monoculture is raping the land, generating obscene wealth for a select few, and producing “foods” that make us fat and sick. We need to return to a system that works with the land, with nature, and with our own physiology and spirit.
Sure, it takes work to make (or find) fresh, wild, natural food these days. But the benefits for the health of our bodies and the land we inhabit are undeniable.
Here’s a small example of what you eat when you don’t pay attention…
Think you’re better off eating foods with “natural flavor”? Chew on this: secretions from the anal glands of beavers produce a bitter, smelly, orange-brown substance known as castoreum that is used extensively in vanilla and raspberry flavoring. It’s legally labeled as “natural flavoring.” – The Wild Diet
This is the state of affairs when you trust food manufacturers, my friends. I hope you like beaver butt.
The Wild Diet is a Paradigm for Making Healthy Decisions
The Wild Diet is not a dietary bootcamp; it is a template for making healthy eating and lifestyle decisions. But as a rule, the closer you can get to eating plants and animals that would thrive in their wild and natural habitat, the better.
Eat plants and animals that were recently alive and well. Heirloom and heritage plants and animals are in themselves healthier as a result more nutritious then their industrial counterparts. Imagine grain is expensive, hard physical work is necessary, and sweets are a treat.
And don’t be afraid to get some dirt under your fingernails. It’s good for you.
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