Eat wild. There is a certain logic to eating things that nature put in your environment. Your ancestors grew up in nature, where one hundred percent of the food they ate were connected to the ground on which they stood. Over millions of years, animals and plants that are always in close proximity to one another grow to depend on one another for different things. On first glance it seems incredibly fortunate that bees make honey from so many plants that depend upon the bee to create the next generation of plant. From the perspective of the participants, though, they are doing what has always worked. No thinking is involved, just the work of experience over a vast period of time.
Modern man is confronted with a very unique problem, in that more and more his food does not come from his environment. Man and the microbes that reside in him are fed things which are new to the universe. There are now compounds available to us that we nor our parasitic guests have ever encountered. Nature will not be denied, though so if we do not use the energy it contains, there will be a microbe that does. In addition to that modern problem, people these days are confronting natural things, like fruit juices, in unnatural concentrations. When Johnny Appleseed was getting his fruit on, it was a difficult thing to eat fruit just in juice form. Crushed and strained apple juice did not stay juice for more that a couple of days. Without refrigeration, that juice quickly became cider or ‘Apple Jack’, an apple based whiskey. The same is true of grape juice, which would quickly become wine or vinegar just a few generations ago. The only way to get fruit juice was to eat fruit.
The idea of eating whole foods is appealing because it takes us back closer to the times when we could not over eat fruit or grain. Our bodies would not have to worry about excessive energy from our foods, because it took so much energy to get those foods. With everything except plowing and hauling done by hand, with cooking involving hauling wood or shoveling coal, then later disposing of ashes, with the daily chores of living taking all day, with planning for the winter’s meals involving storing away the summer’s bounty, our forebears were not fat because they had to work every minute of the day to live.
Today’s society throws away forty percent of the food that comes off the field. How that compares to a time when there was no refrigeration or modern distribution of food, I don’t have an answer for. However, throwing away forty percent of the crop in a society that DOES have modern distribution and refrigeration says a great deal about the way we create food these days. If it took you all day today to get ready to eat tomorrow, you would not throw half of that food away. Think about it, if your food cost you something more than just money, if it were all of YOUR work you were throwing out, you would think twice. It is just easy to throw that money away instead. Toss half a frozen pizza? No problem, it sucked anyway!
Even as concerned about my health and my diet as I am, I am not proscribing that we start plowing our yards up by hand. I don’t think I will be selling my refrigerator, or raising my own dairy cow. I will continue to get food that is delivered to my grocer for me. As beneficial as it would be to me to chop my own wood or make my own charcoal, I will take advantage of the convenient electricity and natural gas in my home. However, I can look for natural beef (I have a friend that raises them in Kansas), natural eggs at the City Market, natural pork at Paradise Meats nearby, and whole fruits and vegetables at Price Chopper. I can cook just what I need, and I can store my leftover foods in mason jars. I can buy foods to can this summer while they are plentiful. There is no need for me to find foods that are shipped from the other half of the globe and harvested at less than peak flavor because it takes the food weeks to get to me from there.
If you want lots of information about eating wild, I have found a great site that collects lots of that information for us. Jo Robinson’s site “Eat Wild” is a great place to start your journey of looking for a way to give your body, your family and your microbiome the foods that they expect to find, just like they always did, throughout all of history. Pick a little thing that sounds easy to do, do that thing, make it a habit. Then change one more little thing. Evolve.