August 3, 2018

Brief Notes on Ancestral Health Symposium 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 12:39 am

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Spent last week at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Bozeman, Montana and listened to some amazing insight and intellect from around the globe. It was mostly a review of things I’ve gathered from studying these subjects for several years now, but here are some of the major takeaways in Reader’s Digest form:

  • Like it or not, humans evolved to eat lots of meat. We are apex predators on this planet. Name a primitive culture that didn’t eat meat…There are NONE. It does not coincide with human existence.
  • Adopting a diet that is based on 100s or even 1000s of generations of our ancestors is optimal (rather than this “novel” diet that the USDA has pushed for only the last generation or two). The staples of corn, wheat and soy that make up the processed food most Americans eat was just not part of our diets more than 150years ago.
  • Your gut health and mental health are inextricably tied. Gut health means no processed food and sugar, and lots of meat, liver, fermented foods, fish, and eggs.
  • Your eyesight is tied to your diet. The more processed food you eat, the faster your eyesight deteriorates. Maps of the U.S. showing rates of metabolic syndrome, processed food consumption, and rates of macular degeneration basically coincide. Also, macular degeneration was almost unheard of prior to the 1900s, when the population began to have access to processed foods.
  • Sustainable and ethical food sources DO NOT mean a push towards less meat. All food sources have an impact on the planet. Arguably, a vegetarian diet is more harmful and less sustainable than raising animals for food. A field of corporate farm crops displaces an entire ecosystem and many animals, great and small. A single cow raised, versus hundreds or thousands of mice, rats, snakes, birds, predators etc. destroyed by a row crop. Who’s to say the lives of many small animals is worth less than a bigger animal?
  • Avoiding sunlight is harmful, but so is allowing yourself to get sunburned. The healthiest thing to do is get regular, chronic exposure to sunlight. A good guideline is enough to maintain a slight tan throughout the year. Tanning beds are OK in a pinch, but make sure you strictly limit their use to less than 10-12 times per year, during winter months. Yes, you probably still need to supplement with vitamin D.
  • Kids and young adults can thrive on a variety of dietary strategies, but adults past the age of 35-50 years old benefit greatly by a diet that is ancestrally based. This may not be a pre-historic diet, but it is definitely based on things that didn’t compose a major component of our diet prior to the late 1800s. Basically, the older you are the more you benefit from an ancestral diet. And, sometimes food or gut issues that have been present for your entire life will only present themselves later in life. Nope, you can’t eat like a kid your whole life and expect to be healthy.
  • Humans may well have been self-selected for certain mental illnesses due to our heavy reliance on grains and processed foods over the past 5,000+ years. Food sources were controlled by the ruling class, which used food sources as a form of social control.
  • Your blood cholesterol numbers can vary daily, and total cholesterol numbers mean very little. HDL in relation to triglycerides are significant, but LDL levels might indicate several things.
  • Those with very low total cholesterol have a higher rate of mental illnesses.
  • High-fat diets don’t necessarily result in faster weight loss (but, are generally more satiating so free-range humans will eat less by their own volition).
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