Over the years, the eons actually, what foods have we been eating?
What food does YOUR body-mind best thrive on?
- What’s the best food for your human brain?
- your lungs?
- your heart?
- your stomach?
- your hormones?
What’s Our Ancestral Diet?
Can we look at what we ate in ages past?
No, because fruit & vegetables turn into compost! Only bones remain. If we ate fruit and veg long long ago, the fossil record will not show it.
Can we look at the diet of our nearest genetic relatives — the great apes?
No. Chimps, gorillas, orangutans, and other foli-frugivores are hindgut fermenters. They’ve adapted to leafy greens. They have a big cecum (a pouch where your small intestine meets your colon) and large colon, where copious microbes help them digest all that fiber in leafy greens.
We humans don’t have that. We boast long, convoluted small intestines, and a far tinier cecum and colon.
So where do we look for our ideal diet?
Inside your human body!
Powered By Plants
At last, one nutritionist has done just that… Don Matesz, M.A., M.S., L.Ac., in his brilliant book Powered By Plants: Natural Selection & Human Nutrition (#ad).
Don’s book is a shining light in the nutritional literature, along with Dr. Richard Oppenlander’s Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work (#ad).
Powered By Plants (#ad) is a must-own book for your library 🙂
It turns out the “eat-meat” paleo diet is nothing more than armchair philosophy. My social anthropology lecturer warned us about such philosophers — the ones who sit in armchairs and hypothesize about other cultures, instead of getting out into the field and living with the people you’re studying.
Why are the paleo gurus:
- who urge you to eat more protein & fat from animals, birds and fish because
- they claim we were hunter gatherers and ate a lot of meat in the paleolithic period before agriculture,
why are they a bunch of armchair philosophers? Whom my anthropology lecturer would kick right out the door.
Because they totally ignore all the epidemiological, experimental and clinical data that we humans have built up over the past TWO HUNDRED YEARS of nutritional research!
- Epidemiological is the study of living populations.
- Experimental is studies done in the lab.
- Clinical is the experience of doctors who help patients to heal (with nutrition).
ALL of this 200-year research is ignored by the paleo writers! Don, on the other hand, uses well-established human nutritional research to shed light on our evolutionary diet.
His book is a meta-analysis of the research, with more than 800 footnotes and a 20-page bibliography.
Don proves to us: The Carnivorous Caveman Has No Clothes.
What do the paleo’s look at, for their armchair ideas? The weak evidence of a fossil record where fruit & veg have decomposed. And the diets of contemporary hunter-gatherers, whose food choices are restricted by the environments they’ve landed up in.
Does the paleo diet look at how YOUR actual body works? No!
Responsible Doctors & Ann Wigmore
Now for a little truth that will blow your mind…
- The foods that the late Dr. Ann Wigmore taught us, and
- The foods that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine teaches us to eat today,
turn out to be the very same food our bodies evolved to thrive on!
Proving that Ann Wigmore and the responsible physicians have been correct all along.
Don Matesz surveys human biology from head-to-toe, and shows that:
In every single system of your body, we humans are Frugi-Folivores — not carnivores, not omnivores.
- Your *Nervous & Sensory* systems — brain, nerves, senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch)
- Your *Skeletal, Muscular & Locomotive* systems — bones, muscles, movement,
- Your *Digestive* system — mouth, teeth, stomach, intestines, liver, gall bladder, pancreas,
- Your *Reproductive* system — sex organs,
- Your *Cardiovascular* system — heart, blood, arteries, veins,
- Your *Immune* system — thymus, bone marrow, spleen, tonsils, lymph, adenoids,
- Your *Endocrine* system — hormones,
- Your *Excretory* system — bladder, colon,
- Your *Integumentary* system — skin, hair, nails, sweat, and
- Your *Respiratory* system — lungs, trachea, oxygen needs,
are ALL adapted to a plant-strong diet. NOT ONE system in your body has adapted to eating meat!
Don challenges the claim that “meat-eating made us human” and we humans are “meant to eat meat.” He shows that:
- Our anatomy, physiology and biochemistry — yes all three! — have evolved to forage for and digest whole plant foods, while
- We lack all features needed to eat meat, which true meat-eaters have.
Eating animal products promotes disease because it conflicts with your basic human biology.
We Humans Are Frugi-Folivores
You recall that chimps and other primates — our nearest relatives — are hindgut fermenters? Microbes in their colon (their hindgut) digest the tough cellulose in leafy greens.
Cellulose is that lump of fiber you feel in your mouth when you chew on a handful of grass.
Ruminants — animals who feed on grass, like goats and cows — are foregut fermenters. They have multi-chambered stomachs (their foregut) teaming with microbes that digest the fiber in grass.
We humans are MIDGUT fermenters. We secrete ENZYMES into our long small intestine (our midgut) to digest the sugars, starches, proteins, and fats found in botanical fruits — or similar foods, such as starchy tubers and roots.
A BOTANICAL fruit refers to the SEEDS of all plants. It includes all the fruits we know, plus vegetable fruits (like cucumber and squash), nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains.
Yes you have microbes in your colon and intestines. I hope you’re eating fermented foods, like sauerkraut and almond cream, to grow and feed healthy colonies of gut flora.
But your chief digestive tool is enzymes. Our enzymes make us a Frugivore — an animal that specializes in eating high-energy botanical fruits.
Do you have an edible garden? Then you’ve seen the miracle of a fruit. First the plant grows a flower to attract pollinators. The flower is a plant’s sex organs. Botanists need a photo of the flower, to catalog the plant.
After pollination, the flower dies and a fruit grows. Sometimes it’s hundreds of fruits, such as all the seeds from a single lettuce. Sometimes just one where the flower was, like a sweet pepper or tomato.
The fruit is what a plant uses to spread its seeds. Nuts, seeds, beans and grains are all fruits of a plant. They’re seeds you can plant in the ground and grow.
Botanical fruits have the GERM OF LIFE in them! I can’t stress enough how critical it is for your health to eat LIVING foods, food that’s growing when you eat it, or has the potential to grow.
This is why my beloved Dr. Ann Wigmore taught us to eat sprouted grains and beans. The LIFE FORCE is the Healing Miracle. Without life, you have nothing.
Frugivores — botanical fruit eaters — often eat vegetables too, out in the wild. That’s any edible part of a plant, such as roots, shoots and stems.
But hang on, we’re a Frugi-Folivore. A Folivore feeds on leaves. We humans have been picking leaves for as long as we’ve been picking fruits! But we don’t have that many microbes to digest leafy greens. That’s why we blend and juice them!
Yes, I know we never blended them 100,000 years ago. It’s only in today’s high-stress, nutrient-depleting world, that we need to eat far more greens than we ever ate in the wild.
You can’t sit and chew greens all day like a mountain gorilla! But you NEED those phytochemicals in leafy greens. The leaf is the plant’s food factory, that’s where it makes all those yummy nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, proteins, sugars (carbs), and even healthy Omega-3 fats.
Don quotes in his book all the nutritional research proving that our anatomy, physiology and biochemistry are Frugi-Folivore. We humans thrive best on botanical fruits and leafy greens!
Anatomy studies the structure of body parts and their relationships. Physiology studies their function. Biochemistry studies their chemical processes.
Next time you hear someone say, “we humans are meant to eat meat,” just whip out a copy of Don’s book (#ad) and reply, “Read this!”
Ann Wigmore Guidelines
The Frugi-Folivore way — botanical fruits and leafy greens — is exactly what the late Dr. Ann Wigmore taught.
See my Ann Wigmore chart of Foods to Eat and Avoid, adapted from her 1983 book, The Hippocrates Diet and Health Program (#ad).
To heal from my hopeless addictions and toothaches, I followed this chart — along with eating a bunch of junk. I was an addict!
While healing, I ate a wide variety of:
- Sprouted grain crackers, and cooked whole grains
- Sprouted beans, and cooked beans (mostly lightly steamed sprouted starchy beans like garbanzo)
- Microgreens like sprouted sunflower greens, wheatgrass juice, and broccoli and alfalfa sprouts
- Mature greens like lettuce, kale, collards (raw and steamed)
- Sweet fruits, and vegetable fruits (squashes, sweet peppers, cucumber)
- Nut & Seed milks, and fermented nuts & seeds (like almond cream, my favorite).
The Frugi-Folivore way saved my life. Now Don proves in his book it’s the very way we humans have evolved, in every cell of our body.
Guidance of Medical Doctors
Take a look at the Power Plate which The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine advises us to eat.
You’ll see it consists of fruits, grains, legumes and vegetables. Click on their link What about Nuts and Seeds? They recommend a handful of these too (an ounce or so daily).
Think about it, these doctors,
- with a combined hundreds of years experience working directly with patients,
- plus their knowledge of the latest research,
advise us to eat the Frugi-Folivore way!
Healing the Frugi-Folivore Way
Isn’t it so cool? For more than a century we humans have been healing our body-minds from every type of disease, by embracing the Frugi-Folivore way.
Or shall we simply say, the plant-strong way?
It all began in 1822 when Dr. Isaac Jennings, a Yale MD graduate, discovered that no medical drug could heal a woman with typhus fever. When he switched to Nature’s way, fasting with fresh spring water, she completely recovered.
Since then countless medical doctors (such as all PCRM.org members) and naturopathic doctors (such as the late Dr. Ann Wigmore) have guided their patients to health and freedom:
Simply by changing their diet to the very diet that Don Matesz proves in his book is our true evolutionary diet 🙂
Don also points to evidence that human control of fire and consumption of USOs (underground storage organs like tubers) probably played a major role in human evolution.
This means we are biologically adapted to cooked starch, like healthy sweet potatoes — a truth I’ve experienced for years! Wikipedia too points out here:
“Recent understanding of the human genome has shown that modern humans typically have many copies of the AMY1 gene for starch digestion — suggesting widespread evolutionary adaptation to starch consumption by humans.
..Starchy plants are a main source of resistant starch — a dietary fiber with strong prebiotic properties. …Resistant starch consumption has been shown to improve intestinal/colonic health, blood sugar, glucose tolerance, insulin-sensitivity and satiety.”
Cooking is not the devil. It’s that devilish junk made by machines, like donuts and french fries, that kill you.
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