Diets are a topic that is always discussed, a LOT. And while it used to be a gender unbalanced topic (mostly women were seen as always being on a diet) now it is becoming more and more equal on the gender playing field..
Because of this, the internet is full of information (some right, some wrong...) about the newest diets. There is the whole 30, keto, paleo, Atkins.. honestly the list is endless... to that, we should add diets which are not embraced for the weight loss effects (or muscle building, or in general for personal gains) but are ‘environment friendly’. As I discussed before, people are choosing to eliminate meat, or maybe just fish, in an attempt to be sustainable. Some are eliminating all kinds of animal products from their lives. Others argue that eating meat can be done sustainably. A new ‘world diet’ which looks at sustsinsble eating depending on where you live has come out (I do like this concept, and believe local is very important!). Of course, one could argue that there are many benefits supporting Veganism, while on the other end of the spectrum there are benefits to eating meat too. And I will not discuss these here, as this is not the aim, but please try to make up your mind by reading many different sources and even some that you don’t think to agree with. Try see all the points, then decide.
Now, it’s time to finally come to the point of my post.
I am always struck by the paleo diet, and particularly by claims that that is how we used to eat, how human were designed and so how we should eat. But has anyone ever thought of evolution?
I am not saying that ‘Paleo’ doesn’t work, albeit to me it’s pretty similar to things like ‘Atkins’ and other diets that work on low-carbs principles. So probably it has nothing to do with body design, and more to do with the fact that eating processed food and high sugar is not the optimal thing, but hey, even a kid knows that!
Let’s try to gain some insights into Omnivory.
We are omnivores, and what does it mean?
Well the definition of Omnivory is ‘ a consumption classification for animals that have the ability to obtain chemical energy and nutrients from materials originating from plant and animal sources. Often omnivores have the ability to consume and incorporate sources from algae, funghi and bacteria.’
Taking a look at other omnivores in the animal kingdom, one might think of insects. Yes, some insects are omnivores, as I learnt observing wasps in Croatia assaulting our nearly empty plate of ćevapčići and flying away with a crumb of the meaty sausage way too big for their body..
Another insect that is an omnivore is the ant.
During the British ecological society annual meeting, I encountered a really interesting topic on what drives ant carnivore behaviour. And the key seemed to be salt! In salt-poor systems, ant incorporate more meat in their diets compared to those in salt rich environments.
Which sparked some thoughts, just hypothesis (maybe there have been studies with human done that I am not aware of? If so please share.... and if you are a researcher working on it, I am curious to see the results), so far very up in the air, and I’d love a discussion.
1- the Mediterranean diet is well known for having greater amount of plant based sources compared to animal based. Mediterranean plants are also a lot ‘tastier’ (just to me?). Compare a tomato brown in the Netherlands or in the uk to an Italian tomato. Eat it raw, no condiments, notice a difference? Now do the same for a range of veg. Even cabbage stuff, heck even potatoes (notoriously grown a lot in northern part). Without adding anything, do you think the Mediterranean ones are saltier ? And do you think that may be why historically the two ‘diets’ arose, beside the fact that is easier to cultivate in the South?
2- in all of these diets, should we privilege ingredients source? I am not saying only organic vs not, but should we consider soil qualities and properties ? Would that be better for our overall health? This may mean stop mass production where quantity is more important than quality.
3- if salt is so important, and can even drive what type of date we are craving (needing) should we also consider what types of salt we are using and it’s quality?
Hope to have given you enough food (for thought) - please comment to get a discussion started!
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