Many people are talking about the “Primal Diet” to go back to the foods that humans ate before the industrial and agricultural revolutions. One of the most notable people in the alternative health industry, Mark Sisson, has written several books on the “Primal Blueprint”, “Primal Diet” and “Primal Lifestyle”.
The basic premise is that the agricultural revolution started a time in human history that was never expected. For the majority of the human existence, people were nomadic. They traveled with the food and seasons, constantly on the move to find new sources of food.
When agriculture happened and mobility was no longer needed, creating permanent settlements, villages and civilizations were then possible. With the availability of year-round food, populations exploded.
Discover magazine published an extensive piece about Anthropological studies stating that the human brain has shrunk about 10% since the inception of agriculture.
The point here is that convenience does not usually benefit health. For that reason, the diet plan outlined in this article has the intention of providing you with the nutrients, minerals and compounds found in pre-agricultural foods for optimal health and longevity.
Primal Principle #1: Quality Meats
Cows are actually a product of domestication. While wild game is a preferred and optimal fuel source, it may be unscalable for the masses. In that case, we recommend connecting with a local farmer or rancher by using the website Eat Wild to find US farmers that can provide quality and locally grown animals.
Grass-fed beef is far superior to animals raised in a conventional, corn-fed feedlot. Grass-fed beef is unique in the fact that it contains as much Omega-3 fatty acids as fish. Due to the oceanic pollution and other factors, it’s a much safer and more accessible choice to consume grass-fed beef.
Grass-fed beef is also rich in another type of fatty acid known as Conjugated Linolenic Acid (CLA). CLA is beneficial to fight cancer, burn fat and provide protection against diabetes and immune disorders.
If you’re wanting to take it to the next level with a primal eating plan, beef would not have been a regular item on the menu in the summer. The birth of the new calves would require the parents there to raise and nurse them. Killing the parents for beef would not have been sustainable in a small village or community.
However, game meats include deer and duck would have been plentiful and sustainable for summertime consumption. Chickens for eggs and meat would have been another popular option for villages during the summer months. Pasture-raised animals are always better to seek out when shopping at the grocery or market. Cows and other animals are not designed to eat corn and only do so because it’s the only food option provided.
A great alternative to Beef for protein and CLA is a quality protein such as Hemp FORCE. Hemp FORCE utilizes a rich and complete protein isolated from organic hemp seeds. Containing all of the essential amino acids, all three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), and both essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), the protein profile of hemp seeds makes them one of the most nutritious sources in the plant kingdom.
Primal Principle #2: Leafy Green Vegetables
While many people have the idea in their head that a “Primal” eating style is based on eating pounds and pounds of raw meat, it’s not. Plants were actually a large part of the diet for much of human history.
The diet of humans varied across the planet, but it’s safe to say from anthropological research that a diet consisting of about 65% plants was common. It’s through the introduction of processed foods, french fries and potato chips that we’ve forgotten these staple foods.
Generally the darker green the vegetables are, the more nutrient dense that food is. Two good examples are spinach and kale which are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. When you steam or lightly cook these vegetables, you increase the absorbability of these nutrients and minerals [source].
Magnesium is rich in organically-grown leafy greens and is essential for a healthy functioning nervous system. However, even with dietary consumption of magnesium, many are still deficient due to the depleted health of the soils.
Try Earth Grown Nutrients if you are struggling to get enough greens in your diet. It’s nearly impossible to get an optimal amount of greens into a busy lifestyle, and even harder to get a good enough variety to cover all the potential micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals available from those nutrient-rich sources.
Primal Principle #3: Berries
While many tout the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables, we have to be careful about blanket statements regarding the mass consumption of fruits.
Another aspect of food history that is unique to modern times is the fact that many fruits have been hybridized. The apple of today is much sweeter and contains much more sugar than an apple of the past.
Due to this reality, we must be aware of the sugar content of our fruits.
Luckily, berries have not been significantly altered with genetic manipulation or hybridization. Fruits such as blueberries, cranberries and blackberries are rich in antioxidants (which gives them their dark colors) and phytonutrients. The same compounds that prevent blueberries from drying up in the sun are the same ones that will protect your skin as you eat them.
Primal Principle #4: Clean Spring Water
You might wonder why clean water is on a list of a “Primal Diet Plan”. Many people know the importance of adequate hydration but still fail to follow this fundamental human law.
The Environmental Working Group tested Public Water Supplies in 42 U.S. States and found over 140 unregulated chemicals. “Another 119 regulated chemicals—a total of 260 contaminants altogether—were found by the environmental group in a two-and-a-half-year analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests. The tests, which are required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, were conducted at nearly 40,000 utilities that supply water to 231 million people.”
Until very recently, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and other man-made chemicals were not part of the water supply. Some may argue that the amounts of prescription drugs that are in the water supply are not effective. However, the nature of pharmaceuticals is to create a big result from a very small dose.
While we may not be able to easily fix this issue, we are granted with the ability to purchase higher quality water. Reverse-Osmosis filtered water is a safe choice, but for the natural assortment of minerals and ability to hydrate us well, “Earth-filtered” spring water and carbon filtered water are your best choices.
If you’re unable to get access to Carbon-filtered Spring Water, Reverse-Osmosis water with trace minerals added can be a healthy alternative. Due to the massive waste of water that it takes to produce RO water, it’s not suitable for those off-grid supplying their own water from rain catchment, wells or other more limited sources.
Primal Principle #5: Quality Over Quantity
There are many other foods that can be beneficial to the mind and body, but these foundational ones can give you a great start on the road to better health and happiness. By using diet as a keystone for daily preventative maintenance, you’re insuring your health for the long run.
The important thing to remember when dealing with higher quality foods is that the quality matters more than the quantity. It’s not necessary to eat a 16 oz Ribeye each day, but with locally sourced grass-fed beef, you can make a little go a long way.