Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stone Soup


What’s for dinner? That is one of the hardest questions to answer. Stone Age women had no choice but to make do with whatever food their men brought back to the cave after a hard day's hunting. Me? I have to sort through recipes, diets, allergies and picky kids. It just might have been easier to drag things around by the hair, hunt with clubs and skin game with my fingernails.


Wilma and Betty were robust and could live long lives if the odds against accident, infection and malnutrition were beaten. (not to mention Methuselah and Noah who reportedly lived to the ripe old age of a few 100 years). Inheriting a slow metabolism was a blessing… a genetic gift. Think about it. A slow metabolism is the reason why all kinds of animals, like bears, survive. It would make since that a slow metabolism led to the survival of the human race through a couple thousand years when counting calories was more difficult or more easy, depending on how you look at it. (difficult because you had to work harder to eat… and easier because there were fewer calories to count).

History is littered with the forgotten bodies of countless Twiggy’s who had fast metabolism while those of us with a slow metabolism have been given a bum wrap. In today’s smorgasbord of numberless morsels, and while consuming a diet of high-calorie, low nutrient foods it’s tough for my slow metabolism to keep up.

I have inherited a slow metabolism from Mother Eve. I need to learn how to take advantage of my gift. I no longer need to fight it, but embrace it. My genes may be from the Stone Age, but I’m trying to maintain a healthy 21st century easy life where I no longer need to hunt or gather for the family meals. All this abundance is killing me. I reckon that my body is still programmed to burn food like a Neanderthal. This means that consuming all these modern meals has just been piling on the pounds.

The small human digestive tract is unique among primates. We have only one stomach and a relatively short large intestine. We are more suited to digesting and extracting nutrients from vegetables, fruit, soaked nuts or grains, and some meat.

This is particularly interesting to me since I am allergic to wheat and milk. If I can’t digest those items, maybe there are other items I can’t digest and just don’t know it... Notice that plants come first in this pyramid.

I recognize that I need to center on foods that are nutrient dense.

My shopping this week took a different focus. I first hit the produce section. Fresh vegetables and fruits nestled in the shopping cart next to nuts and dried fruit (without sugar added) made the cart look full. Fruit and vegetable consumption has been shown in numerous studies to offer strong protection against various cancers. Fruits have been discovered to have unique qualities in preventing aging due to being rich in antioxidants, vitamins, mineral, and fiber. Filling up on fruits and vegetables, “in its season”, is vital to my health and well being.

The rules for eating are simple. Eat nothing that can’t be found in nature. Eat only when I am hungry, even if it was every two hours. And eat only enough to satisfy my hunger. No gorging.

Sure wish I could find a Mother Eve Cookbook.

Ever since Eve plucked the apple from the tree, the cavewoman rubbed sticks together to roast the bear, grandma strung a string bean, the Irish boiled the potato, or the Koreans pickled a cabbage, we’ve all had to put effort into having a healthy diet. Modern, successful hipster that I am, I cannot escape this reality just because I can order Chinese takeout or $5 Buck pizza.

I need to invest in a few things to help with my quest to be a salad master. Rabbit food, here I come!

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