This is a Christian Blog. Christians are not Gnostics who discount the body at the expense of the ephemeral. We are commanded to be responsible stewards of our bodies: Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2Cor. 7.1 NIV). While Paul is specifically speaking about unclean partnerships (see 2Cor. 6.16-18), the logic of body stewardship is that the Spirit of the Lord indwells us, that is, our physical bodies. Additionally, another biblical concept that reflects care of the Christian’s physical body is when Paul asserts: For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1Tim. 4.8 NIV). Of course, training in godliness is more important, but the fact still holds, physical training is beneficial, especially in this age of labor-saving conveniences.
The Paleo Diet failed, historically, while farmers and herders performed better and displaced or transformed the Hunter/Gatherers. Obesity is more the result of over-eating, emotional eating, and consuming overly processed foods, which fail to provide necessary nutrients, resulting in cravings. These factors, along with an unbalanced diet, I believe, has caused a very large proportion of the world’s population to be afflicted with unnecessary diseases.
My Dietary Theory
Disclaimer: These are just my ideas. I have, however, successfully improved my physiological health, personal bodily functioning, and performance. I feel better than I did 25 years ago when I followed the typical Standard American Diet (SAD).
Also, I am not subscribing to everything McDougall says in this video. Hunger pangs can fool people since they are conditioned upon bodily response to digestion. That is, the secretion of digestion agents occurs in a physiological cycle about 24 hours after a significant meal. The body is conditioning itself for more of the same type of digestion. This fact alone argues for general consistency of mealtimes and similar food items. I also believe portion control can be helpful as a body discipline to prevent over-eating. I’ve heard McDougall (in another video) say, “The problem is gluttony.” Most doctors, I believe, are too afraid to say this, not wanting to offend our self-affirming culture, all to society’s detriment.
I believe McDougall is Vegan, but I don’t know for sure as I am not in his program. I am not Vegan, but whole grains, such as wheat berries (Farro, Einkorn, hard and soft wheat), legumes, fruits and vegetables are the bulk of my diet, which gives me lots of energy. Nuts provide most of my fats along with olive oil. In my yearly testing at the doctor’s office, all my numbers have improved from the time of my previous diet. My new regime has given me the energy needed to be active, which also factors in better annual test results.
In my opinion, the craving for snack foods is the result of inadequate salt and fats in home-cooked meals. Fats and salt are too often minimized or even excluded in home preparation. This minimization is the result of media messages advocating less salt and fats. A better way to prepare home-cooked meals is to use whole foods and add sea salt (not Himalayan) and high-quality fats instead of preprocessed foods that contain too much salt and cheap fats. Sea salt has less heavy metals and radiation than Himalayan salt products which are not standardized. The human body, and all organisms, it seems, requires adequate salt and nutrients, including vitamins A and E, available mostly in fat-based foods.
For the Birds
One of the main factors that caused my change of thinking was bird-keeping advice from specialists in aviculture. For about half my life, either I or my family, have kept exotic birds. While doing research on keeping various species, a new concept was introduced to me. In choosing food, it was suggested that only fresh seed should be given. The test for freshness was to sprout the seeds to see if they were still “living,” indicating they had preserved all their necessary nutrition to grow a new plant. The purpose of seeds is the reproduction of itself. I figured God, in His design, had created a way of storing food nutrients by protecting it with the natural husk and seed coats. I could be sure my birds were eating wholesome foods if the seeds sprouted. Personally, I do not trust pelleted bird food which claims to provide items missing in a seed diet. They never inform what items are missing. Salt is the missing ingredient since a good variety of grains and seeds supplies all the other necessary nutrients. A little salt, after all, can be sprinkled on seeds for the same dietary solution. Also, a seed’s design inhibits oxidation which fact really can’t be claimed for processed pellets.
The various millets, canary seeds, and other grains I give my birds, are generally considered mostly starch. Hence, my birds have a starch-based diet. They also eat some of my wheat berries, sprinkled with a little salt and doused with extra-virgin olive oil. My birds are very healthy and active and I am able to sustain them past the projected average lifespans. At one point, knowing this about “living grains,” I wondered, “Why don’t I have the same criterion for my diet?” Though it was costing me more money, I was eating worse foods than my animal friends. It made sense that viable foods preserved all their original nutrient components. I, therefore, changed my diet, and have hardly looked back, despite all the clamor around me concerning Atkins and Paleo diets.
McDougall has historical evidence of a starch-based diet. History is on his side. Having studied the civilizations of the Mid-East Fertile Crescent, I know that wheat, in their case, was the staff of life that enabled these cultures to perform successfully. The farming technology that developed in the Mediterranean Area enabled enormous population increases compared to previous gathering cultures. Obviously, people found these practices more reliable and forsook their former way of life.
Hunter/Gatherer cultures, in history, have been displaced or changed with developing farming practices. Over-processing, removing components where the product is no longer whole, seems to be the culprit for modern obesity and not the farming practices themselves. Too much of a good thing is probably an additional factor in people not flourishing today. Traditional and emotional attachments to food may be another reason why people’s food consumption is not tailored to their body’s needs. Also, birds don’t overeat or they won’t be able to fly. If humans had to depend on physical performance for their existence, not many would be overweight. Perhaps, humans can learn lessons from the birds.