It's so easy, even a Hunter Gatherer can do it!

Before the era of the “Herdsman and the Grower” or better known as the Agrarian Era (began 10-12,000 years ago), was the era of the “Hunter and Gatherer”.

Yes, there actually was a good period of time in our history when we hunted for our meat and gathered our fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. Most healthy cultures even today consume foods that would have been hunted for or gathered, and even if these tribes/societies nutrition comes from the herdsman and/or growers the food is still highly nutritious and has little to no refinement (a strong foundation of the Hunter-Gatherer diet).

Think about this, what would you be consuming right now if you HAD to hunt and gather?

Would you be able to stay in one area all year around and still meet your dietary needs?

Or, would you need to move from area/climate to area/climate to make sure you had enough food to make it through the more difficult seasons? You see, it wasn’t that long ago that the focus was on survival or self-preservation concerning our nutritional regimen, not “I eat what tastes good” or “I just eat what I want”, and because of that, groups that could find enough nutrition throughout the year clearly thrived. I mean, let’s be honest, PROPER AMOUNTS of sunlight, exercise, and foods loaded with nutrients will almost ALWAYS lead to optimal health. If you are interested in optimal health, it is clear that we can learn a thing or two from the mostly roaming Hunter/Gatherer.

Now, hopefully you are asking yourself a couple questions:

If I view consuming food as a Hunter Gatherer as the most beneficial approach why would I ever consume dairy, even in its raw form (from healthy grass-fed cows and goats, obviously)? This is a great question and one of great controversy. You are going to have a difficult time proving that animals (goats, antelope, cows, etc.) were domesticated before the Agrarian period began plus milked on a consistent basis. This is why most experts believe we have all sorts of intolerances and allergies concerning milk (casein, lactose, etc.); we are just not ready physiologically to break this food down properly. To be fair though, a good number of people who struggle with digesting pasteurized and homogenized dairy have no problems with raw dairy.

When would have the Hunter Gatherers started consuming sea salt? Also, isn’t it true that some of these tribes would have never even come across sea salt because of the location of their roaming community? It’s debatable. But I will say that all of the tribes studied in my research on traditional foods used and consumed sea salt. You can make a strong argument that table salt is damaging our health today, but you are going to be hard pressed to find literature condemning unprocessed sea salt. A good quality sea salt is loaded with all sorts of trace minerals and is excellent for preservation of food products, so I can see a real need for roaming communities to implement this into their nutritional regimen as soon as possible.

Are you saying that there is no way that a Hunter Gatherer would consume the quantity of the grains that we do? Also, to be truthful, how much wheat, barley, rye, and soy would have they ever come across, it seem like the consumption of roots/tubers would have been much more plausible? Yes, there is NO WAY that any Hunter Gatherer would EVER consume the amount of grains that we have been led to believe we are to consume to be healthy…EVER! Also, wheat, barley, and rye, and the way they are harvested today is a relatively new phenomenon, and soy, IS a new phenomenon. So, don’t take it for granted that your body can just break these foods down because these foods may actually be detrimental to your health (gluten, phytic acid, etc.), not beneficial.

4. So what was the diet of the Hunter Gatherer, was it high-carbohydrate, high-protein or low-fat? Well for one thing, it was NOT vegetarian, so let’s get that straight now. If the culture had meat available... THEY ATE IT! The question is this, was the majority of the protein consumed very lean or was it relatively fatty. It depended upon what type of animal it was, what that animal’s diet was and what time of year the animal was killed. Concerning new phenomenon’s, the concept of feeding an animal the same diet, even a healthy one, year round is relatively new, because before domestication, these animals would only be eating what was available to them as well. So, in the colder months you could expect fattier meats and in the warmer months you could expect leaner meats. Not overly complicated, but it makes sense, and is something I tell my clients, you want to increase your fattier meat intake during the colder months and increase your leaner protein intake during the warmer months (excellent for stress and honestly, this is just what we have adapted to).

Next time you go shopping, take a look at what ends up in your grocery cart. If less than 80% of the food in your cart would be that of a Hunter Gatherer, you probably don’t have to look much further into your concerns for you health, because their sits the problem!