How to eat.
I stumble upon a picture often these days in health articles and books about nutrition and health.
A picture of Maasai people,
The Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, but the people have continued their age-old customs.
Recently, Oxfam has claimed that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to produce food in deserts and scrublands.”
Most of Maasai look like warriors from some recent epic Hollywood movie, or fit models, or elite runners.
Slender bodies, proportional faces, shining skin, healthy white teeth.
They definitely look healthy, fit and full of energy! And so beautiful with the power shining from within.
And I bet most of them never heard the words diet, fitness, HIIT, crossfit etc.
Many people ask me how to stick to a healthy diet for life, how to have lean body similar to mine, how to have 6-pack abs and flat stomach, how to have a lot of energy, how not to crave “bad” foods etc.
The deeper I get into nutrition, actually into ancient food wisdom combining it with the knowledge our nutrition, health, genetics sciences accumulated, the more I’m in awe of all the deep wisdom rooted in our food traditions, deep understanding of the workings of our bodies, without deep molecular and genetics knowledge, without the need for a microscope.
I bet, if you ask a Maasai person, how they eat to look and feel that great, they would have no idea what you are talking about.
Health, vitality, extraordinary fitness abundant physical and mental energy is our default state. And joy and happiness that comes with it.
We, as a society, for years and generations have tried to understand how to make our food supply faster, better, more convenient, providing at the same time everything we need for healthy happy living.
We managed to do everything, except for the most important — we forgot that the whole point of food supply enhancements was to provide more health, not steal it for the sake of good business.
I get more and more simple with my food, enhancing it my own way.
I don’t count calories anymore.
I rarely take supplements — and still not sure they do much, when I do.
Instead I’m on a hunt for the most nutritious whole foods our planet has to offer — fatty fish like mackerel and sardines, wild salmon and herring — you look at the vitamin and mineral content of those foods, you’d be blown away how poor compared to those foods most of your menu is!
Or bone broth? — from healthy animals, organ meats, vegetables and herbs — that will beat all your smoothies, with nutrition value and benefits, in no f*ing time! I’m not even kidding! Plus no excess sugars that our body does not like at all!
Or fermented and sprouted foods? Like kimchi, like sauerkraut, sprouted nuts and seeds, sprouted grains for making bread. Those bacteria, fermenting foods, are some genius creations of nature, able to transform not edible to us starches and nasty sugars into amino acids, vitamins and minerals we can’t live without! I don’t see any nutrition lab getting such amazing work done, that provides benefits anywhere close to that!
Or organ meats of animals?
You think the leanest cut of a healthy animal is the best part?
Believe it or not, the most precious and nutritious part of a chicken is NOT a chicken breast, but chicken livers, stomachs, brains, bones (chicken stomachs with green beans and whole eggs cooked with coconut oil — I’d die for it!)
Cows tongues or livers? Hearts? Brains?
That where nutrition is in animal kingdom!
Muscles, the leanest cuts, steaks — it’s just the stuff that keeps animal moving, animals don’t accumulate much nutrition there, and despite what you are used to think, it’s not all about protein at all! It’s all the healthy fats we can’t survive without, and all the minerals and vitamins in organs and bones.
When it comes to plants?
Green, vegetables are my champions — steamed broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach — I can eat a couple of pounds easily.
Nuts and seeds of great quality and not poisoned by roasting in vegetable oils — my favorite treat.
And pure (100%) premium chocolate, of course.
These days, eating closer and closer to the diet of our ancestors, when we didn’t have food business, that sabotaged all our healthy eating wisdom, I feel my best.
And it’s actually getting cheaper, since I don’t need that much at all.
…I remember growing up, going to my grandmas’ farms, one is in the South of Ukraine, one is in the South of Russian Siberia. My favorite eating rituals were sneaking into the garden (called “ogorod”) to eat off the ground right there ripe tomatoes, green peas and beans, strawberry and raspberry, cucumbers and carrots, greens, that tasted good, my grandma would get mad at me sometimes, because I’d eat it out of order (There was some system, according to which, we were supposed to pick up vegetables in a certain order, at certain times), and I’d leave it all messy.
Then I’d sneak into another “fruit garden” to eat some wild apples, that were the size of an American strawberry, wild, very tart cherries, wild pears.
And then I’m off to play!
Till lunch, when I was told to eat my soup most importantly, made from chickens or cows my grandma had, all that fat floating in the soup — I wasn’t that enthusiastic about organ meat and fat in my soup back then, or some fish soup made from the fish, brought by my uncle the day before.
And then dinner, I didn’t have much appetite for the main course of potatoes, vegetables, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables, all kinds of fish and meats, but I did love my milk, that my grandma would get right before dinner from her cows, that would graze on the freshest grasses the whole day with their friends cows — all the villagers’ cows grazed together and there was a local shepherd watching them.
That warm milk, the freshest you’ll ever get, the fattiest you’ll ever get, with some cream and freshly baked bread in the old style handmade oven — my grandma used to make jokes about me, “Where all this food goes in such a small girl?” I was skinny growing up. She’d ask me to leave some food for others jokingly.
I never felt better…
It might not be possible for all of us to get farms and grandmas like that ever.
But maybe we can learn how to help nature to make the best food for us, the best it’s capable of?
Maybe instead of trying to forget all the old food cultures, wisdom, traditions, we learn from them and try to make them better without losing the essence?
Maybe it’s time to stop working on GMO’s projects, supplements, fast and convenient foods, trying to “hack” nature and food supply? Look where it got us.
Maybe it’s time to stop and learn, to improve THE ESSENCE of food? Not business models.
Maybe it’s time to step on the shoulders of food wisdom making it better, instead of denying it, thinking we are too smart for it, we don’t have time for it and we know better, thinking science is better than ancient wisdom and it will fix everything.
Maybe the things designed by nature have more wisdom and exist the way they do for a reason we might not ever be able to comprehend fully? Even with all the AI, machine learning and computational power?
How to eat?
I guess I’m getting back to my childhood. The best way I can — whole, organic, local, seasonal, the most nutritious parts, quality over quantity, wild is best, eating only when I’m hungry, eating to live and play.
There is too much to say in one sentence. To fit in all I’ve accumulated for over 2 decades, all my experience and knowledge, my deep understanding soaked up with that warm milk and food off the ground.
That’s why I’ll be teaching courses about it, speaking, reviving the wisdom, spreading the knowledge. Stay TUNED!
Eat food. Calories are for lab rats.
You don’t get healthy and stay healthy.
HEALTH is a DAILY PRACTICE. One bite at a time.
Daily Bite of Health