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Why You Need to Embrace Eating Like Your Ancestors

Why You Need to Embrace Eating Like Your Ancestors

Before you assume we’re advocating a paleo diet, let me assure you that we’re not. This isn’t about your protein/fat/carb balance. Rather, this is about some simple rules that will make sure your foods resemble the nutritional profile of what your great-great-grandparents ate. A regular store-bought egg at the grocery store barely resembles an egg from a hundred years ago. The nutritional profile is dramatically different now, and so too are the toxins present in the egg. The same goes for many foods – from meat and dairy to fruit and vegetables. We are what we eat, and we’re also what our food eats. That means we need to eat real food that eats real food!

Poor diet and poor health in an animal are reflected in the quality of its byproducts, or meat. For fruits and vegetables, the quality of soil, nutrients, and pesticides impact the quality of what we consume. Fortunately, over the past decade there has been an increased understanding of and focus on the sorry state of the average household diet, as well as our nutrient-depleted foods.

Even if you practice eating healthy, avoiding fast food, dessert, and fried cuisine, you may be ignoring the sourcing of your foods, and their nutritional value may be very low. Additionally, your food may contain harmful toxins.

Here are six ways to eat more like our ancestors, achieve better nutrient balance, and avoid many chemicals that inhabit modern food. It goes without saying that some of these options are more expensive. Much of the food industry has evolved to make food in the most cost-effective way. This meant using cheaper ingredients, cheaper feed for animals, and genetically modifying organisms to be more resistant to nature. Food has changed from the way nature intended for it to be grown and raised. 

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    1. Focus on grass-fed beef, butter, and milk. Most cattle today are fed, at best, a mix of grains (or even lower-quality sludge). Until the modern industrial agricultural complex took hold, however, we ate cattle that roamed free and ate grass. Most grain-based feeds – which primarily contain corn and soy – are designed to put excess fat on the animal. Furthermore, these cows are often given hormones and other drugs to fatten them up even more before they reach our plates. So what does this mean nutritionally? Grass-fed cows have less fat than grain-fed cows, and the fat they do have is superior.

      They have five times as much omega-3 fatty acids, and twice as much conjugated linoleic acid. Grass-fed beef also contains more vitamin A, vitamin E, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, and sodium. As you might have guessed, these disparities in nutritional density extend to anything the cattle produces, such as butter and milk. We don’t have a favorite purveyor of grass-fed beef, but our favorite grass-fed butter is Kerrygold Grass-Fed Butter.
      2.  Indulge in pasture-raised eggs. In the same way that our beef has been tampered with, so has our poultry. Firstly, pasture-raised eggs and organic eggs are not synonymous. Similarly, pasture-raised is not the same as cage-free, free-range or vegetarian. While these varieties are all better than the traditional white eggs you’ll find at most supermarkets, pasture-raised are far superior. Cage-free chickens can still live in densely-packed farms (just not in cages). Free-range simply means that the chickens are given access to an outdoor area – which may be small and overcrowded. Only pasture-raised necessitates that the chickens be given significant space in green pasture, so that they may fill their natural omnivore diet with a healthy plethora of bugs. The health benefits of pasture-raised eggs are very impressive: they have one-third less cholesterol, one-quarter less fat, two-thirds more vitamin A, twice as much omega-3 fatty acids, three times as much vitamin E, seven times as much beta carotene and five times as much vitamin D. The nutritional differences between pasture-raised and typical eggs are so vast it’s hard to believe they are considered the same food.                                                                            smoked salmon with dill3.  Avoid farm-raised fish – especially salmon. Sensing a trend yet? Wild salmon have thirty percent fewer calories and less than half the fat, similar levels of protein, magnesium and cholesterol, and have more calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.                              4.  Get good salt. Salt has been vilified a great deal over the past decade, but it is essential to optimal functioning. With that being said, standard table salt is an incredibly poor, processed form of salt, bereft of the rich mineral density that makes salt so important to our health. Natural and organically-sourced salt is loaded with as many as 84 trace minerals that play integral roles in the regulation of our bodies’ many systems. We need to reframe how we think about salt, and differentiate sodium chloride, or table salt, from naturally mined salt. One of our favorites is the Himalayan Sea Salt sold by Onnit.                                                                                        wooden bowl of nuts5.  Eat lots of nuts. Nuts are loaded with healthy fats and protein, can lower cholesterol, aid healthy weight management and provide a slew of other benefits. The one thing to be wary of is that nuts are susceptible to microscopic mold growth. The mold is generally far too small to be seen but can have a negative impact. There are some things you can do to prevent mold. Generally, heat and light make nuts go rancid and increase the chance of mold growth. Different nuts require different forms of storage, so it’s important to do your homework. As a rule, you can get more shelf life from nuts by storing them in your freezer. One of the best nuts for you are almonds, and one of our favorites are the organically grown almonds from Briden Wilson Farm.                                                                    6.  Buy certified organic vegetables and fruit. This also goes for anything that is a product of vegetables or fruit. There are some fruits, particularly those with which you don’t eat the skin, where this need not be such a hard-and-fast rule. However, generally avoiding toxic pesticides and other compounds (and genetically-modified strains of vegetables and fruits) is associated with more nutrient density and uptake. 
To learn more about the customized nutritional solutions that WellPath provides click here. 

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