"..a bardy view!"

Back to the Stone Age…..

StoneageI have been concerned of late about the amount of salt in the western diet, and how difficult it is to avoid in the food we buy.

There is no question that salt is a contributor to heart disease, hypertension and anxiety, and that saturated fats and refined sugars clog up the arteries or lead to obesity.

In combination they are the curse of the western world, and responsible for most of modern man's ailments.

Whilst we have an easy choice to reduce our alcohol intake, or stop smoking – both factors in poor health – few of us are able to cut down on salt without analysing the content in the food we purchase. Food manufacturers lace their products with most of the things which are bad for us, but salt is one of the most damaging substances they inflict.

The recommended daily allowance of salt should be no more than 6g, yet in the USA and elsewhere in the western world we consume twice as much if not more. 6g is still too much, and it doesn't help if we add salt to our cooking or keep the condiment ready to hand on the dining table.

My concerns led me to research on the internet, where I discovered that through sheer chance I have been eating a stone-age diet for the last few years. Well, at least something similar. What I didn't know was how much food manufacturers were working against me, and that even when I thought I was eating healthily – a *tin of tuna for example – I was in fact blinded by the perception and hype as opposed to the reality.

Before I continue I must state that I am not a health freak (my recent photographs can testify to that) but I have always been conscious about healthy eating, and when a man reaches middle-age, he becomes more aware of his torso and interior mechanics. Today in our tech jargon world we could regard it as the symbiotic relationship between hardware and software.

My hardware has taken some physical knocks over the years and has naturally suffered due to unavoidable exposure to the elements, and the software could do with some upgrading.

Both however have been blueprints for hominids which survived for 2.5 million years. It is this DNA make-up and metabolism which eventually created us – you and me. Yet, at some point 10,000 years ago man discovered agriculture, farming and animal husbandry. This permitted an expansion of the species, freed up the brain and created civilisation. The rest is history. When man discovered that he no longer required to hunt every day to survive, his brain got bigger, his tools became greater, and he could build. He became the lord of all he surveyed.

Wonderful, you may think. This happened 10,000 years ago and it was a major shift. A mere 300 generations ago and in millennia terms it was the equivalent of leaving a cave one day and landing on the moon the next.

Yet that hasn't been long enough to adapt to changing diets. Where once man was eating what he could hunt and forage, where grain and wheat and mass produced food was inconceivable, where starch and high carbohydrate, high fat, high salt and low protein was as distant as a MacDonald’s drive-in, it is reasonable to suppose that this all came as a sudden shock to the system, and today we are far from recovering – indeed we are suffering and there is worse to come.

The health problems we experience today are ticking time bombs. Medical science may have controlled the viruses and killer bacteria which plagued us in the past, but the enemy within is what's already in our body, and what we feed it with. Obesity, heart disease, diabetis, stroke, liver and bowel disease, cancers, osteoporosis, etc are the scourge of modern man, and yet there is no evidence that our stone age ancestors suffered from any of them. They were taller, fitter, leaner and stronger.

As Loren Cordain writes in his book The Paleo Diet "we are Stone Agers living in the Space Age". And as he said, he didn't create this diet, it's been there for 2.5million years and we just forgot about it.

Obviously there are billions more of us than in Palaeolithic  times, and the billions need feeding. The question is, do we have to accept the mass cheap food produced by the big conglomerates. They are not in the business to be philanthropic, they are in the business for profit. The legal bottom line, with the poorest quality, with the cheapest ingredients and preservatives, additives and unhealthy oils fuel the pharmaceutical multinationals who produce the medicine to ease the ailments. It's almost as if they have us all wrapped up to control at their will. One would not survive without the other.

Yet, can they be blamed totally? Surely there needs to be a cultural and educational change. Do our modern high velocity lifestyles encourage the fast food mentality? Are we unable to find the time to source quality food and cook it? And even if we had the time, could we afford it? People on low incomes with a family to feed are targeted to buy processed food, but I believe that with education they can source healthy cheap food, because if the mind-set isn't changed the future is very grim, and the proverbial time-bomb continues to tick.

Young people today are the unhealthiest of any previous generation. Their parents are equally so. Sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise may play a part, but the evidence is that all the exercise in the world is meaningless if the body does not get the right fuel.

You can take your Lamborghini out for a spin, polish it, show off with it, but if it doesn't get the right fuel or oil then it will regularly be in a garage for servicing, and one day, sooner than expected, it will just conk out!

*Canned Tuna: Tuna is cooked at high temperature, then sealed in a can with salt, vegetable oil, water or all three. It removes 99% of vitamin A, 97% of vitamin B1, 86% of B2, 45% of niacin, and 59% of B6. It increases the oxidized cholesterol in the fish. Packed in oil it produces high omega 6 fatty acids. It is a most unhealthy "healthy" food.


June 27, 2012 - Posted by | Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Diet, Education, History, Science, United Kingdom, USA | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Fascinating read as always. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who ladle salt on everything, afore even I taste my cooked food. Albeit, I seldom if ever eat junk food. I’m partial to a bit of tuna though.


    Comment by Spook Moor | June 28, 2012 | Reply

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