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Hunter Gatherer Lifestyle—Two Million Years In The Making
A Letter From Founder Herbert Salim
Learning about the Hunter Gatherer lifestyle is the simplest way to improve our health.
I used to wonder why becoming overweight is such a common problem in our society. Many of us are constantly battling obesity, along with immune system weaknesses such as flu, cough, sore throat and serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and celiac disease. Before stumbling upon the Hunter Gatherer lifestyle, I had personally experienced constant weight gain over a period of 10 years despite of my best efforts to “eat healthy” and lifting weights regularly.
Hunter Gatherer lifestyle is not another diet fad, but what our ancestors have been practicing for millions of years before the advent of agriculture. During that time they had the best physical condition and health ever possible.
Humans like us have been around for more than 2 million years. Back in the Hunter Gatherer era, our lifestyle was completely different from what we have in the modern world today. Hunting and gathering were the main activities that made us very healthy. We did plenty of low level activities like walking, climbing, foraging and occasional sprinting when we chased animals for dinner or avoided danger. We also had plenty of exposure to sunlight, sleep and play. Our health was robust; we had lean and strong bodies from eating all kinds of wild animals, plenty of various vegetables, some seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds and tubers. We ate plenty of healthy fats as our main fuel, and very limited carbohydrates simply because carbs in the form of grains and legumes were not available in abundance at that time. These are the foods that have been supporting human evolution for millions of years, and make up 99.9% of the genes that has been passed down to us.
Unfortunately, most of the foods we consume today have a completely different composition. Our typical meal in a so-called ‘balanced’ proportion consists of mainly empty carbohydrates with not much nutritional value. Little wonder, since we learn from young to follow the “classic” food pyramid you see here.
Fig 1. “Classic” food pyramid where carbohydrates form the base our of meals, published by U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992. Note that this food pyramid was scrapped in 2005. Seems like 6-11 servings of grains per day is not solving the obesity epidemic.
This diagram suggest that our meal should be based on processed carbohydrates, which are basically sugar since all kinds of starch will eventually be converted into glucose (blood sugar) after we digest them. Note that fat is shown at the top.
The following food pyramid is completely different, taken from www.marksdailyapple.com.
Fig 2. Primal Blueprint food pyramid, where nutrition dense, natural whole-foods forms the base of our meal.
This was constructed partly based on collected studies of more than 200 hunter-gatherer populations that survived into the 20th century and can be viewed as surrogates for our Paleolithic, Stone Age ancestors. This is roughly what our ancestor’s diet looks like for millions of years before we started agriculture. Very minimum carbohydrates/sugar from seasonal fruits & tubers, and the main bulk of calories are from animals, or Fat and Protein in various composition.
To learn more details on Primal Blueprint food pyramid and determine how much Carbs, Protein and Fat our body actually need to be naturally lean and healthy, go to here.
This book, Death By Food Pyramid by Denise Minger, is an excellent guide for anyone who wants to learn about how the 1992 USDA food pyramid started in the first place, why is it impossible to be healthy if you follow Conventional Wisdom about ‘healthy eating’, and finally how to reverse the damage by choosing the right foods.
Confusing and mind blowing, that was first my reaction. So I continued my research, cross checking about hunter gatherer lifestyle and read articles daily from many reliable sources for the next 3 years, which finally allow me to make an informed decision for myself and my family.
After adjusting our foods we saw amazing result in just 3 months. Our body become lean effortlessly while eating plenty of delicious foods that we used to avoid, we don’t fall sick easily anymore, and we have lots of energy from morning to midnight.
Many friends asked me where should anyone start if they want to improve their health? Short answer is focus on things that will make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort and pain, which is our foods:
- Limit sugar in any forms, including the “hidden” source from starch like rice, potatoes, noodle, bread etc.
- Knows the good and bad fats.
- Eat foods that we are suppose to eat.
At The Hunters’ Kitchenette®, we invite you to find the truth about foods touted as the “answer” to good health. Read on for more details.
Each person has different requirements depend on their existing health condition, goals and activities. However, in general everybody will benefit from limiting sugar consumption.
Carbohydrates in the form of grains and legumes have never been consumed in abundance in 99% of our entire evolution history, until we started agriculture around 10,000 years ago. Our body is designed to run on fat most of the time, and not carbs/sugar. We can store kilos of fat in our body worth tens of thousands calories, but only a few hundred grams of sugar in our liver, muscle and blood. There is a good reason why is it so.
How do carbs affect your human body? In a simple way, they drive insulin production and as the result drive your fat storing mechanism.
This was a perfect system during the Hunter Gatherer era, when food was scarce and we had to rely on our body-fat storage to be burned off as fuel to survive for a long period of time without food. But nowadays, most of us have access to plenty of foods three times a day in which carbohydrates are the base of our meals, providing more sugar than our body ever needs.
With this condition, we can only maintain or reduce our existing body fat by consistently doing plenty of exercise to keep “burning the calories”. If we reduce our exercise routine, we can see that we gain fat easily in a fairly short time. Does this sounds familiar to you?
I always thought that to burn body-fat we must work out even harder and more often, eat less calories and choose low fat food. These are the common knowledge, right? Well, I was very surprised when I found this carbohydrate curve created by Mark Sisson, which shows how carbohydrate or sugar consumption affects our fat-burning mechanism.
Fat does not make us fat, sugar does. If you are avoiding fat, then you must consume much more carbs to make up the loss of good calories from Fat and satisfy your hunger.
Aside from hidden sugar in starchy foods, we cannot run away from the obvious sugar too, the sweet stuff, which appears almost everywhere in food and beverage products, whether they are in natural or artificial laboratory-made forms. Some sugar substitutes that are so harmful are even recommended for diabetics!
Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils and Saturated Fat
Refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils are marketed as the “healthy” alternative to the good animal fat and other saturated fats like virgin coconut oil, grass fed butter and ghee.
I’m sure everybody has heard and ‘know’ that saturated fat is bad, because it will give you high cholesterol which then will cause heart disease. Saturated Fat and Cholesterol is probably two topic that everybody thinks they know about, but actually they have no clue at all about the truth. See below reliable links if you wish to learn about saturated fat:
- Check out The Truth About Saturated Fat by Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS.
- Why human body need Saturated Fat by Dr. Joseph Mercola.
- Here is Definitive Guide to Saturated Fat from Mark Sisson.
- The most comprehensive information on Saturated Fat by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD. This is THE big picture on why saturated fat has been demonized in the last few decades.
- Watch this video from Peter Attia, MD to learn quickly on how did we come to believe that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol are bad for us.
Back to polyunsaturated vegetable oils, since being promoted few decades ago these “healthy oils” have spread to all modernized places on earth and being used as cooking oils when they are potentially toxic. Having a “vegetable” in its name can be so deceiving when they are actually derived from genetically modified (GMO) seeds without any trace of vegetables. What’s more, these industrial oils are so heavily processed with chemicals through refining, bleaching and deodorizing process (RBD) in extreme temperature, that destroy their fatty acids before we even use them for cooking.
Do you know that vegetable oils and its most dangerous forms i.e. Trans-Fat or Hydrogenated Fat, can be found in virtually all per-packaged foods like commercial cookies, ice cream, non-diary creamer (all 3 in 1 coffees), Milo, peanut butters and most bread spread etc, including baby’s formula milk and baby’s foods?
I won’t touch on monounsaturated fat since this type of fat is generally accepted as beneficial for our health.
Foods That Support Our Evolution
All animals and including human have been evolving for millions of years with the support of certain foods and environment. Lions are carnivores and meant to eat meat. Cows are herbivores meant to eat grass and other plants alike. Chicken are meant to eat bugs, insect, worms, frogs etc along with seeds and greens, so they are omnivores and not herbivores (ever come across ‘vegetarian fed’ chickens and eggs that are claimed to be ‘healthier’?). All these animals are supposed to move around, get plenty of sunlight, and has their own foods category in a certain composition as nature has intended.
Do you know what most industrial farmers nowadays feed their livestock with? Grains, soy, soybean oils, corn and sugar, which most likely (but not always) are genetically modified, especially when they are not certified organic. These are cheap animal fed and clearly are not natural foods for the animals. A lot of industrial farms don’t provide enough sunlight and space for the animals to move around. With the wrong foods and unnatural living condition they get sick and fat, and need antibiotics to stay alive until slaughter day. Whatever the animals eat eventually will be transferred onto your plate.
As for humans we have been evolving through omnivorous diet eating plants and animals for millions of years too, and there was no obesity epidemic until the last few decades. There is no such thing called ‘balanced’ diet of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat that we always hear, especially those that refers to the 1992 USDA food pyramid above.
When we eat the wrong foods and become sedentary in our modern lifestyle, we will get many kind of modern lifestyle sicknesses.
Apart from excessive carbohydrates and vegetable oils, we now also consume plenty of processed foods that contains harmful chemicals like preservatives, coloring, artificial flavoring, stabilizer, etc. If you look around the supermarket, you will find a lot of our “foods” today simply have not existed before! They are so highly processed we can’t even call them food. Our body cannot recognize and is not designed to digest them.
Check out ingredient list of any commercial prepackage foods and you will likely see things that you don’t even know what they are. Armed yourself with the knowledge to decode them, and avoid toxic at all cost. Find out about which are the best foods we should consume to achieve our maximum health potential, which are the acceptable ones , and which are completely toxic that will damage our health sooner or later.
There is no drugs that can cure without giving negative impact, since drugs are synthetic and just addressing symptoms instead of dealing with the root cause. Real foods from Mother Nature that are meant for human will be able to undo the damage better than any drugs.
Take Control of Your Own Health
The above are just some references that will hopefully encourage you in making the right choices. If you are not getting the body composition you want, look at the type of foods you are eating, it determines 80% of your body composition. Just by eating the correct foods and doing the right activities alone will allow you to pretty much control your health completely, drugs-free.
Hunter Gatherer lifestyle is the big picture that The Hunters’ Kitchenette® would like to share with our customers, just like what we do at home with our family and friends.
Through simple, basic food like nut butters, we would like to give a message that you can control your health completely through foods.
- Understand the right foods that humans have been designed to eat through evolution. Sugar drives insulin which in turn drives fat storage.
When you buy prepackaged foods, always read the ingredient label. Every single ingredients must be recognizable and made from unadulterated whole foods. AVOID vegetable oils, polyunsaturated oils (soybean oil, palm, canola, corn, sunflower, grape seed, rapeseed, rice bran oils), preservatives, coloring, flavoring, MSG and any chemicals. NEVER consume margarine, hydrogenated oils, , shortening.
Avoid these Healthy foods. Learn in details about the Principles of Healthy Diets from traditional people around the world that has been supporting human’s health for thousands of years, by Weston A,. Price Foundation.
Stop counting calories! With the right foods your body will automatically tells you when you are hungry and satiated, and you can be lean without even trying. Wrong foods makes us fat, sick and most of the time both, regardless how low is the calories we eat. Check out The Calorie Myth video here for more information.
Choose foods that have plenty of nutrients and do not create negative impact on your body. For example, a combination of fresh organic vegetables with meat from clean animals, are far superior nutrition sources than vegetables with grains which contain a lot of sugar, gluten and lectin. Choose berries over other sweet fruits like oranges, mangoes, watermelon etc so you get plenty of antioxidant and vitamins but only minimal sugar.
Know where your foods are coming from and how they are being grown, raised, made or cooked, as well as what ingredients that goes into it. For example, cooking with vegetable oils will turn your food harmful, while using grass fed butter, virgin coconut oil and ghee support our health. Choose grass-fed beef or lamb instead of grain-fed. Grain-fed animals may contain higher amount of pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acid with no Omega 3 to balance it off, plus added hormones and antibiotics. But the grass-fed ones has more anti-inflammatory Omega 3, much more nutritious and most of the time cleaner without drugs.
Whenever possible, choose local produce that are grown without pesticide instead of imported organic ones. Imported produce have mostly been irradiated, and too much fuel is burned to transport them to your table. Buying local not only gives you the freshest produce full of nutrition, but it also supports your local farmers and better for the planet.
Remember that organic does not always means healthy. Organic is important for vegetables and fruits which we eat the skins like berries and apples, but not for bananas, avocado and non-essential or sugar-loaded processed foods like grains, juices, crackers, and so on. Spend your money on essential stuff.
That’s It! Through The Hunters’ Kitchenette® we would like to spread awareness of eating clean and living primal just like our hunter gatherer ancestors.
All the nut butters we deliver are the very same we would serve on our dining table to our families. It is really simple and delicious to achieve a lean, healthy body.
Love from our family to yours,