Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Ancestral Thought Processes on Nutrition for Health, Wellness, and Longevity


By Joshua Howat, CSCAUK

Whilst we live in a time of abundance here in the USA, we are challenged by rampant diseases. Lifestyle choices are definitely an important part of the cause and the answer. Dr. Weston Price spent 10 years traveling to 14 different countries seeking out the secret to health and wellness. What he found was abundant health found especially in people practicing their indigenous lifestyle and food choices. These people were born with and were able to maintain all their natural dentition, and they were physically strong and vital well into the later stages of their lives. Absent in almost all cases were diseases of the first world like cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and mental illnesses and anxiety disorders.

I would like to share with you some very basic understandings in hope that you can feel empowered to introduce some of these practices back into your lives. The big problem with understanding nutrition is all of the dogma associated with it. This dogma, however, can be reduced dramatically if we remove ourselves from the factory farming paradigm.

The food that I am about to discuss with you has two very important sources that I feel are essential to optimize the characteristics that we are looking for in our healthy diets: organic foods grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides as well as hormone and antibiotic-free meat and dairy. In addition to the foods being organic, our meats and dairy should be pasture fed, free range, and not fed grains.

Why is this important distinction so paramount to this process? Firstly, chemical fertilizers have high levels of NPK, or nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They leave out all the other elements that are essential for us to take into our body for optimal function. Organic fertilizers usually contain the full spectrum of elements in them because they use composted materials.

Pesticides have been found not only on top of, but within foods they are sprayed on, and I would say all of us can appreciate the harmful side effects of ingesting these chemicals.

The second part of this paradigm is choosing meats that have been grazed, not grain fed (including poultry). Grain-fed animals have a completely different chemical profile than pasture fed or free-range beef, poultry, and pork. This is especially prevalent in how these organisms bioaccumulate omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These are some of the most essential fatty acids that we as humans require.

The omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in naturally grazed meats and dairy is 1:3. However, this ratio changes to 1 omega-3 to 14-21 omega-6 in grain-fed animals and, therefore, their meat, milk, and eggs. Although omega-6s are essential to us, they inadvertently cause inflammation in our organs and joints. However omega-3s, reduce inflammation in organs and joints, so when found in naturally occurring ratios, the inflammation is negligible.

Now that these understandings have been stated, we can look at foods that will truly optimize and benefit our lives.

Our ancestors, just like wolves, lions, and bears, consumed their prey by eating all the organ meat first, and only then consuming the muscle meat. Organ meat is high in the essential fats previously discussed. The benefits of which are promoting brain and your neurological function, heart and lung function, and hormone production and bone production to name but a few. In addition to this, most vitamins and minerals are also fat soluble, therefore these high-in-fat organ meats would also contain high levels of these micronutrients.

Foods that would facilitate this would be liver, heart, and of course, chicken skin. Organ meats are also very high in glycine, which is essential in brain function and for brain chemistry, especially in the GABA cycle, which promotes healthy sleep patterns.

Organic free-range eggs are one of the most highly nutritious and beneficial foods for us at all ages of development and life. Within the egg are almost all the nutritional requirements to help the chick realize its full potential. Therefore, consuming eggs will promote health and wellness in all the systems of the body (fish eggs, too, are a great source of similar nutrition). Bone marrow and bone broth are now coming to be known as super foods. Not only are they great sources of protein, but also of collagen and glucosamine, making them very important foods for joint and integument health (including skin health), for memory and for sleep, and amazing immune function and support. Bone broth is very alkaline in comparison to the acidity found in meats, so it can also help balance our pH.

Plant foods are an important source of complex carbohydrates and vitamins for our whole diet.

These foods have been long recognized for their medicinal properties as well as their antioxidant promoting benefits. Dense, leafy greens should be consumed daily with as much variety as possible. Seeking out heirloom varieties will optimize the power of the alkaloids. Folate is another substance found in plant-based foods. Folate, or B9, is essential for DNA synthesis and regeneration, allowing our bodies to accurately regenerate new cells and optimizing our longevity; it is considered one of the most important vitamins for our body’s health. This is not to be confused with folic acid. This is the synthetic version found in most supplements. Foods high in folate include beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, and strangely enough, bone broth.

Fruits contain a huge amount of nutrition too. However, most of our fruit strains today have been selected to optimize the sugar content within. Sugar, whilst good for energy, must be consumed in very limited amounts. 30g per day is more than enough to run your central nervous system.

Gut health has long been neglected, but it is a very important determining factor for overall health and longevity. Years of eating factory foods high in antibiotics have left us in the West highly destitute in the normal profile and abundance of healthy bacteria in our guts. All ancestral people have utilized fermented foods to maintain their gut profile. Adding in real fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, nano, and kombucha can help to promote good bacteria and heal the gut. 70 percent of our serotonin is produced by bacteria in the gut.

Gut bacteria help with proper food breakdown and absorption. This is most important in people with constipation and in diabetes, where the bacteria further breakdown and pre-digest some of the sugars to reduce the stress on the pancreas and therefore the kidneys and heart.

Gut bacteria reduce indigestion and acid reflux problems. A healthy gut biome will also protect an individual from food-borne pathogens that may get past the stomach and into the gut.

Some of the resources my family uses are the following:

  • Jerry Bramier Organic Beef Farms for our beef.
  • Grossman meats for chicken and eggs.
  • Agri-Cultured Foods for our sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
  • We source our produce from the farmers market and organic sections in our grocery stores.

All of these integrity foods can be found at the Davenport farmers market or online.

My wife Amber and I own and operate Big 5 Power Conditioning Gym in Davenport and Divine Nutrition, an organic meal-preparation company offering balanced organic meals in the Quad city area. To order or for more information on our freshly prepared meals, call Divine Nutrition at 563-209-2147, or e-mail me at joshhowat1975@gmail.com.

Photo credit: bit24/AdobeStock, snpolus/AdobeStock, gentelmenit/AdobeStock