How do we eat? (Part 2)
In Part 1 of this blog post we described in broad terms the eating principles that ancestral cultures shared across time and geographic region. Now we’ll talk about how we apply them in the Godwin household.
We do our best to imitate these principles and adapt them to the unique needs of our modern environment. Unfortunately the situation is a bit more complicated for us today than it was for our ancestors. The hard part of eating for ancestral cultures was in producing the food in the first place. Because it was so labor intensive they gratefully consumed everything in its natural state and, in so doing reaped dramatic nutritional benefits. Industrialized food production has made many “food products” available to us that ancestral cultures didn’t have access to. Many of these “food products” have ultimately turned out to be nutrient depleted at best, toxic at worst, and and many of us have been injured by eating unscrupulously marketed substances not fit for human consumption.
For the first time in history our problem is not “tilling the earth and making bread by the sweat of our brow” but rather nervously wiping the sweat off our brow as we navigate the shelves grocery stores have filled with food products that look like bread, smell like bread, but are actually industrial waste laced with drugs (sugar).
Applying ancestral wisdom in today's environment involves reintroducing beneficial foods that we've lost, and navigating away from the drug-laced imitation foods that sparkle and glitter all around us. It is also something we approach as a process.
Our goal isn't to beat ourselves up for failing to adhere to some strict rule system, but rather to take gradual steps forward by making choices every day that include more and more of the good stuff in our lives.
Here's a summary of what that looks like for us:
We eat lots of animal fat from wild-caught fish, game, and sustainably-farmed, pasture-raised livestock along with lots of pasture raised eggs. This is the only place in creation where the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, and K2) can be found in a form that is able to be absorbed efficiently by our bodies. Animal fat makes up close to 80% of our caloric intake.
We eat all parts of the animal. In today's world it's become common practice to eat “choice cuts” to the exclusion of other parts and as such organ meat and bones and many other nutritious parts of the animal go to waste. Modern science has given us the insight that the powerful vitamins present in animal products are best absorbed when the whole animal is consumed, and eating all parts of the animal reduces waste which is a huge problem in industrialized culture. This includes consuming full fat dairy products.
Speaking of dairy - because our family’s genetic lineage comes from Western Europe and Scandinavia -- where dairy was a huge component of our ancestors’ diet - we tolerate dairy foods very well and we eat unpasteurized dairy in large quantities.
We stay away from industrially refined or denatured foods and ingredients. These were not present in ancestral diets and many degenerative diseases and birth defects have become commonplace since the introduction of such food products. Nature has provided carefully balanced nutrient delivery packages in the form of plants and animals and this balance is almost always disrupted and damaged through excessive refinement or molecular deconstruction usually resulting in diminished nutritional value and toxicity which promotes disease. We seek to consume whole plants and animals in as close to their original form as we can.
We avoid sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates which are widely considered to be as addictive - if not more addictive than illegal drugs. The industrial food complex usually include sugar in large quantities in their "food-like products" to mask toxic ingredients which would otherwise taste disgusting.
Because of the scheduling demands of modern life - we generally avoid grains and legumes at this point in time for a couple reasons. First, proper preparation of these foods is very time-consuming and there aren't many places to buy these foods correctly prepared. The second reason is that our personal history of consuming industrial food products has caused damage to our family’s digestive systems, making us abnormally sensitive to these foods which are already more difficult to digest in the first place. While we love grains and legumes and look forward to a time in the future when we can begin to incorporate them into our diet, for now our digestive tracts need some more time to rest and heal.
We try to eat seasonal and local produce whenever available and we always eat fruits and vegetables alongside animal foods to amplify the complimentary digestive properties of both.
We steer clear of genetically modified plants and animals. The jury's out on the safety of these products, but to paraphrase the words of Joel Salatin, "I'm pretty sure they aren't genetically modifying these organisms to make them more nutritious."
We eat a lot of unpasteurized fermented and cultured foods, including kombucha, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, home-made wine, (very occasionally sourdough bread as a special treat because Chance loves it sooo much), and LOTS of cheese!!
That's how we eat in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed getting a broad overview and we look forward to showing you how each of these specific things can be easily incorporated into a modern life!
-Chance and Sallie