Diseases of Affulence

Lets take a little trip back in time together. Relax, disconnect from your handheld device or keyboard (but not the screen) and lets go back at least 500 generations, maybe even 1000. Now I know thats a bit tough to imagine but we will work together on this.

I think its safe to say there would be no roads, no buildings, lights, bottled water, toilets and unfortunately no weightlifting shoes. There was probably lots of open space, kinda like the wilderness, and lots of reasons for fight or flight.

When it came to food, ‘what am I going to eat?’  was probably on our mind from sun up to sun down. Now depending on where in the world we are, there would be a variety of plants, nuts and seeds that we could forage on, but on average there was a much higher calorie content available from animals then there was from food. Basically we were mostly carnivorous with some occasional roots, nuts, seeds and leaves on the side.

As life got easier the smart ones learned how to keep food on supply so groups and communities could grow. In time we learned animal husbandry and agriculture. With this brought greater supplies of food, greater diversity in food and even experimentation with foods. Now a lot of good things came about because of this like education, civilization, the arts and with a healthy food supply came wealth and better living…maybe not.

As people started to see the benefits of food storing, they took on new innovations.  For example, our friends along the Nile were the first to develop some milling and baking practices with an easily farmed grass. Enter wheat, grains, breads and the like. Once foods began having some shelf life there was no stopping it. The grass grew almost year round, you could store it, you could produce it almost indefinitely and you could feed armies to fight for you and slaves to build you big temples to die in.

It is around this time that we begin seeing some of the first signs of the metabolic issues that are much more common today. Ironically these ailments were thought of as ‘diseases of affluence’ because hunter gatherers just dont consume the calorie content and more specifically macro-nutrient ratios needed to develop these diseases. Fast forward a few millennia and no longer is it a disease of affluence but a chronic disease.

Don’t worry we are not gonna ask you to burn all of your money and start killing things to survive, in fact its the exact opposite. Lets think more about where we put our money. Imagine what percentage of our ancestors work and energy went into feeding themselves and their families… I bet its safe to say for many it was 100% and beyond. That means every minute of their efforts and work went into nourishing their bodies and their families. Now how much do you think we commit to nourishing ours?  I know today its all about being frugal and smart with our money but we gotta think a little more about what we are feeding this machine you call you.

Starting this Sunday we are going to take a dozen people back in time for dinner. We will clean out our closets of high fructose corn syrup and grain products. We will nourish our bodies on a variety of all natural meats and animal products. We will be aware of where our food comes from and purchase locally when at all possible and in the end we are going to be healthier and we will be doing our part to improve the world. If you are interested in participating  in this paleo challenge please sign up in the gym. For more details on what is offered, please read the Paleo 4.0 section of our nutrition page and check out Wikipedias Paleo Diet page.