Returning to An Ancestral Diet – Introduction

Almost every day in my clinic, someone asks me “what should I eat to improve my health?”  Answering this question, wanting to help my patients, and myself, choose a healthy diet has been a personal passion and an occasional challenge for over 20 years.  My passion comes from the astounding results people experience, who actually eat the way that they need to.  Which is almost always how their ancestors ate.   The challenge, occasionally, comes from all of the conflicting ideas in the “healthy diet” marketplace. Ideas that have driven our understanding of food and health since the 1950′s.  This book is the result of many years of trial and error, of steep learning curves and humbling failures.  It is also the result of me wanting to express my understanding and experience; and to help my patients follow some tried and true advice. Continue reading

What is an Ancestral Diet?

Smoking Salmon the Old Way

An Ancestral diet is a way of preparing and enjoying food that reflects the proportions of nutrients like fats, proteins and carbohydrates that our ancestors enjoyed for most of our history as a species.  For many of us, at first, this is a big shift in what we shop for, how we cook and how often we take some time to enjoy some food.  But, over a couple of months, most people who chose to eat this way notice profound changes in their health.  They also experience some unexpected changes to food cravings, meal sizes and enjoyment of the natural flavors in their meals.

The biggest changes that this diet encourages are eating less grains and beans, being careful with seeds and nuts and eating more healthy fats and oils.  We will also want to change how we cook meats to ensure that we get the most out of them.  One of the more interesting opportunities with this way of eating is in fermenting and preserving foods in ways that actually make them more digestible and nutritious.  And, perhaps, the most important change is that we will (hopefully) not waste any part of the food we buy.  Sounds serious and challenging, but is actually pretty easy, and luckily delicious.

An Ancestral diet is a diet that is rich in flavors, colors, textures and most importantly nutrients.  It is a seasonal diet that is centered around plants, roots and local fruits, high in animal proteins and abundant in healthy fats and oils.