In this article I am going to give you a weight loss tip that is so obvious – that you are going to go, “duhhhh”. What is this tip? Copy a traditional diet. A what? A traditional diet.
Look, Dr Weston A Price was one of the earliest researchers to study traditional diets. He was the Cleveland Dentist, who in the early 1930's travelled the world to study isolated groups of people living on a traditional diet and compare their health to those people living on the foods of commerce.
He studied people in "sequestered villages in Switzerland, Gaelic communities in the Outer Hebrides, Eskimos and Indians of North America, Melanesian and Polynesian South Sea Islanders, African tribes, Australian Aborigines, New Zealand Maori and the Indians of South America".
What he found was compelling. Those people living on a traditional diet had less than 1% tooth decay, did not suffer from degenerative diseases like cancer or heart disease, the women had no difficulty in childbirth, and members of the group were not only well proportioned but shared similar physical and facial features.
That means that brothers and sisters looked like brothers and sisters. They looked like their parents and they looked like their cousins.
Sadly today, so many children don’t even look like their parents, let alone their siblings. Anyway if you want to lose weight, improve your health and bring up strong healthy children then one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to copy the diet of a traditional group.
But which group do you copy? Well the easiest thing to do is to look around at people who are well proportioned and ask them what they ate as a child, and what their parents ate.
On one occasion I was talking to a young Australian man. He was really well built so I asked him what he ate as a child. He said that he was brought up on a farm. When the cholesterol scare was in full swing his mother got his dad to go have a cholesterol check. Guess what? The results were absolutely normal.
What did he eat? Sausages and eggs for breakfast. A few vegies and no fruit at all. In addition he smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol.
This young man told me that all of the men and women out in the bush were well proportioned like him – yet he went he came to the City he found that most of the young men and women were fat.
Now on the Gold Coast here in Australia I see a lot of Asian men and women. Most of the first generation Asians to Australia are well proportioned, especially the Malaysians, the Japanese and the Philippinos.
The Thai generally are pretty good too. The Chinese have a varied diet, some did not get enough to eat and are a bit skinny and some are fat, so the Chinese diet is not a good one to follow.
Some Koreans have great bodies but then some have buckled teeth, so their diet is not so reliable. But as I said the Malaysians, Japanese and Philipinos all look pretty good to me.
Typically you will see an Asian mother who is well proportioned but her daughter who was brought up on an Australian diet is twice her size and fat. What does this tell you?
That the diet is responsible for the shape of the body – not genetics. So if you want to lose weight. If you want your children to grow up with a strong healthy body would you eat what the Asian mother ate as a child or the Western diet she is now feeding her child?
Some years ago I read a letter in the Weston A Price Foundation Newsletter. It was written by an American woman who travelled to China for a working holiday. She was fat, and she took heaps of chocolate bars as gifts to her Chinese friends.
Did they welcome the chocolate? No, they graciously and politely refused the chocolate bars saying that they found it to be sickly sweet. The American woman was there for three months.
She did her best to convert the well proportioned Chinese to the American diet but they steadfastly refused.
Slowly the American woman came to realise that she had it back to front, and that the SAD diet – that is the standard American diet was wrong, and could only result in poor health and obesity.
As she slowly shifted her diet to a more traditional foods diet she lost weight and her health improved.
I make it a habit to ask people what they ate as a child. When I ask a Japanese person what they ate, typically they tell me that they ate organ meat. What? Organ meat.
I met a man who came from the Island of Okinawa – you know they wrote a book about that island and claimed they all ate heaps of soy. Well they do eat some soy but they usually have it with fatty pork.
If you want to find out what any traditional group really ate just go to Google and type in the name of the people followed by organ meat. For example, Mediterranean diet organ meat, Japanese organ meat, Okinawa organ meat.
What is missing from the standard Western diet? Organ meat. Hmmm? What does that tell you?
Anyway one day I asked a well proportioned Brazilian woman what she ate as a child. She was working behind the counter in a health food shop. She looked slightly embarrassed and replied, “Funny meat”.
I said, “What is funny meat.” She looked around to make sure none of the politically correct food expert naturopaths were in ear shot and she said, “Organ meat like liver and kidney”.
But don’t take my word for it – do your own research. Google is there for everyone to use.
Now look at me? Am I fat? I don’t think so. But then it could be genetic? Well one of my brothers weighs 107kg. What does he eat? WheatBix and sugar for breakfast. Take away food, chocolate bars, coca cola. Heaps of bread. You get the idea. I don’t eat any of those foods.
What do I eat? Do I eat an Asian diet? No, I go for a diet which matches my English background and genetics. Breakfast is usually 100grams raw beef liver blended into a pate with tahini, pepita paste, avocado, chia seed, garlic, kelp powder, turmeric, coriander and ginger.
And then I have grated carrot, beetroot, some greens, onion. And I round it off with brown rice. Other times I will have rare roast beef.
For lunch I have pickled herrings with salad and a piece of sourdough bread.
Dinner is either wild fish like mullet, braised lamb shanks or curried beef mince, with chicken broth. The vegetables are usually sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage and broccoli. Occasionally I will have beans. My diet is very simple.
Do I experience food cravings? No. Do I eat any sugary foods, chocolate bars, candy bars, soft drinks, alcohol? No? Why not? Well apart from the fact that they are all bad for the health, I have no desire to eat them. Why? Because I get all the nutrition I need from my nutrient dense diet – which fulfils me and it can fulfil you too.
There is an article on my website which explores the myths and facts around the Mediterranean Diet which will give you some insights into what the long lived people actually ate. It might surprise you. Hopefully it surprises you all the way to good health.