Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are we wrong about fruit and veggies?

Many scientific findings never see the light of day. One reason? When they go up against the prevailing wisdom of the day. The powers that be obviously don't want to upset the apple cart or admit they might have been wrong.

In this case, here's an immense and scholarly new book which questions the need for fruit and veggies in our daily diets (yes, I know!).

Here we go...
"Harvard anthropologist-turned-Arctic- explorer V Stefansson, who was concerned with the overall healthfulness of the diet...he had spent a decade eating nothing but meat among the Inuit (Eskimos) of northern Canada and Alaska. The [Eskimos], as well as the visiting explorers and traders who lived on this diet were among the healthiest if not the most vigorous populations imaginable.

"Among the peoples with whom Stefansson lived and traveled, the diet was primarily caribou meat, "with perhaps 30 percent fish, 10 percent seal meat, and 5 or 10 percent made up of polar bear, rabbits, birds and eggs."

"The Inuit Eskimos considered vegetables and fruit 'not proper human food,' Stefansson wrote...

"The Canadian anthropologist Diamond Jenness, who spent two years living in...Canada's Arctic coast, described the typical diet during one three-month stretch as "no fruit, no vegetables; morning and night nothing but seal meat washed down with ice-cold water or hot broth."

"(The ability to thrive on such a vegetable-and fruit-free diet was also noted by the lawyer and abolitionist Richard Henry Danna, Jr, in his 1840 memoirs of life on a sailing ship...For sixteen months, Dana wrote, "we lived upon almost nothing but fresh beef; fried beefsteaks, three times a day...in perfect health, and without ailings and failings.")
Author Gary Taubes comments:
"It is still common to assume that a meat-rich, plant-poor diet will result in nutritional deficiencies." -Good Calories, Bad Calories. Gary Taubes, 2007.
If that assumption turns out to be false today, what should we eat then, for optimal health?

Suggestions welcome. I will make one manana.

The content for the above post came from an advanced university course, "Comparative Dietary Approaches" taught by Dr. Heidi Dulay in Northern CA. Meet Dr. Heidi here and here.


Robin Plan said...

This is just wrong and so shocking! I hope my 9 year-old-son doesn't read this.

What did the caribou,fish, seal, polar bear, rabbits, and birds eat?
Maybe the meat was better there than the feedlot meat we have today. Maybe the animals eat a lot of vegetation so the people actually were getting the benefit of veggies. I don't have a clue and I thank Dr. Heidi bring such a deep subject to us.

I would die without veggies. I don't eat much meat at all. All I can say is as long as fruits and veggies are around I will eat them and get them in my whole food supplement.



Kim Klaver said...

Robin, I love your attitude:

You write: "this is just wrong...!"
Yet, "I don't have a clue and I thank Dr. Heidi bring such a deep subject to us."

Notice the guy doesn't say no fruit and veggies without conditions:

The conditions were:

"...a MEAT-RICH plant-poor diet" didn't result in nutritional deficiencies." They were instead the healthiest and most vigorous people he'd seen. And

"we lived upon almost nothing but fresh beef; fried beefsteaks, three times a day...in perfect health, and without ailings and failings."

This fresh meat-only regime was followed by active people who ate virgin meat - non-polluted, non-processed nature-raised meat, beef, chicken or fish or eggs, it obviously contained all of the nutrients the body needed, according to the anthropologial research.

Where is there such non-processed, non-polluted meat today? Except from local farmers who raise grass-fed beef and other stock?

So the keyword is that a diet of fresh, non-processed meats and fish was enough for these people.

If your diet is not that, and includes lots of carbs, etc. you will need the fruits and veggies.

FYI, after hearing about these reports, I'm going to try an all meat-fish-chicken regime starting in about 3 days.

And will give up my beloved fruits, veggies and fresh garden salads.

Will report back...


Robin Plan said...

Yes Kim you do your test about eating just meat and let us know how it goes. I could not do it, I would starve because meat and I don't have a friendly relationship. I don't like meat, never have.


Paul Eilers said...

A few years ago, I read a book titled, "The Metabolic Typing Diet" by William L. Wolcott and found it to be highly informative.

Because of hereditary reasons, we are all unique, from our fingerprints to our DNA. Wolcott study on cutting-edge research shows that no single way of eating works well for everyone. That's why the very same foods that keep your best friend slim may keep you overweight and feeling unhealthy and fatigued.

For example, people who live near the Equator do not eat the same way as those in the Arctic, and vice versa, because they do not have the same body chemistry. Consequently, they are able to derive their nutrition needs from totally different sources. In this case, the people in warm climates do well on a diet primarily consisting of fruits and vegetables, while the Eskimos can thrive on whale meat, fish and eggs.

The problems occur, according to the book, when people move from one climate to another. They then eventually adapt the local eating habits and customs, which is not suited for their body type and chemistry.

Paul Eilers

David Brown said...

Paul makes a good point about metabolic variation. For more on this I suggest Biochemical Individuality by Roger J. Williams, PhD. Another excellent book is Nutrition and Your Mind by George Watson, PhD.

David Brown
Nutrition Education Project