I have just spent a lovely week with the family in Bali for a wedding and like all holidays I read a book. I do love a good non-fiction book every now and then, but I am a sucker for a good textbook too! This trip it was more of the later, with a book I was recommended by a colleague called ‘Deep Nutrition: Why your genes need traditional food’ by Catherine Shanahan. It was well worth the read. It’s based around a Doctors research into tribal diets and the four main things every diet should have to reduce disease and keep your genes healthy. The word used is ‘epigenetics’. Epigenetics in a nutshell is the latest buzzword based on evidence that your genes are not locked or unchangeable structures passed down from your parents. Genes are dynamic and everything you do (food, stress, environment etc) can dramatically change the way your genes behave. This is really powerful news. She believes although our life expectancy is longer than 20 years ago by a few years, we are actually less healthy, with diseases occurring at younger ages. The increase in life expectancy is due to improved medicines, not improved health. Interesting?
So the four food requirements Dr Shanahan found that were the same across healthy tribal cultures worldwide are below:
1) Meat: The more fatty cuts. Cooked as rare as you can eat it or slow cooked. Always on the bone.
2) Offal: If you can stomach organs, they are super rich in every mineral known to man.
3) Raw Milk and Dairy (inc. Butter): You can buy this, although its not allowed for consumption due to Australian laws. I bought some this week and it tastes, looks and drinks like normal milk. Long story short, when you pasteurise and homogenise milk you break the fat cells membrane, making it near impossible for your body to digest. Dr Shanahan actually thinks this is the reason for lactose intolerances. I was super nerdy the other day and made my own butter (blog to follow).
4) Fermented and sprouted foods: I’m still getting my head around this point, but will keep you posted on my progress. I just bought sprouted bread twice last week. Once from the organic markets near me on a Sunday (Frenches Forest) and the other from my home delivery shop (The Organic Food Network). Both were yummy!
The final points are NO sugar, one piece of fruit a day only, NO vegetable oils.
The book goes right into the science of it all and also looks into maternal nutrition, conceiving and birth. Some interesting concepts are raised about western mothers having babies super close together and the problems that maybe associated with this. All theories, but quite believable. Hope you get to read this book!