The first food pyramid came out in 1992, with the basic advice that people should consume a diet high in complex carbohydrates (bread, cereal, pasta, rice, etc), and low in fats. Not long after the pyramid was introduced, more and more research began showing that the food pyramid provided misleading nutritional guidance for the general public.
The reality was, the 1992 food pyramid over simplified the human diet. Even nutritionists knew that good fats, such as omega3’s where important for good health, yet it still rose to the top of the food pyramid with the recommendation that less is better. The real reason behind this was the fear of high cholesterol, which is associated with a high risk of coronary heart disease. In order to avoid people developing high cholesterol levels, the recommendation was to lower their saturated fat intake, which is not only found in some oils, but red meat as well; the body’s favorite protein, so it also appeared higher up in the food pyramid.
In the early 1990’s though, research began showing that fat is indeed important for good health, so in 2005 a new food pyramid was designed. The main difference within the food pyramids was the promotion of daily exercise, a slight decline in the recommendation of grains and the higher importance placed on including fat within the diet. In addition, a website (www.mypyramid.gov) was designed to obtain a food pyramid recommendation for your personal age, gender and activity levels. Although this provided improvements upon the 1992 food pyramid, it still placed a high emphasis on the importance of whole grains and dairy, and these two food sources are extremely detrimental towards our health.
Grains and dairy products, on the most part have become so processed that they are no longer good for our health. In traditional cultures such as in places such as Africa, Ethiopia and India, grains are fermented for days if not weeks before being prepared into a meal, the quality of grains in these cultures are far from being at the same level of quality that the grains we purchase in a plastic bag at the supermarket are.
Grains contain anti-nutrients, gluten and lectins, all which are harmful to our health. Gluten allergies are one of the most under-diagnosed, yet chronic diseases in society at the moment and is continually on the rise. Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease, which means that your immune system starts attacking itself, this can affect many parts of your body, including muscles, nerves, hormones and the digestive system.
Although coeliac disease is extremely common, around 4 out of 5 people who do have coeliac disease don’t know they have it. In Australia, around 1 in 100 people have coeliac disease, in America it’s estimated to be around the same.
A similar problem is occurring within our dairy products; dairy is now being over processed and includes many non-human friendly substances, such as growth hormones. If you’re buying milk from a supermarket in a carton, chances are it has been pasteurised which means that the milk is now far from the quality it was when it first came from the cow’s tit. The milk now has been destroyed, the milks protein structure is denatured, the active enzymes and beneficial bacteria have been killed off and the vitamin content has been dramatically reduced.
Oh, and no, dairy is not the only source of calcium, in-fact, it’s probably one of the worst sources of calcium you can consume due to the fact it’s so over processed. Sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, green leafy vegetables and salmon are some foods high in good quality calcium for the body.
Most grain and dairy products are not suited for our genetic composition; our bodies aren’t designed to recognise foods which are processed far from their original form. So how are these foods good for our health and quality of life? Especially if we eat the recommended 8-14 serves every single day of both grains and dairy combined!
The food pyramid emphasises a lot in including these modern day foods, maybe it’s because the billion dollar grain industry created the food pyramid that is why grains are pronounced as such importance towards our health, or maybe it’s just a sheer misunderstanding of nutrition…. Our food pyramid should really run off what we should eat as humans to obtain good health, and what our body needs in order to stay healthy.
This now brings me to the food pyramid for health; it is based off a paleolithic diet.
The paleolithic diet is simple; eat what was available to the hunter gatherer, In other words, eat meat (chicken, beef, etc), fish and seafood, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Research has shown that hunter-gatherers consumed their energy source in a ratio of 65% animal and 35% plant.
These foods are what our bodies have been designed to eat and digest for over fifty thousand years, they are food sources which are available to us without needing to cook or process them. Animal meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds have been our main food source since day one, even before we knew how to create a fire. These are the foods our body strives for, If our bodies where meant to live healthy on a diet full of artificial sugars and chemicals, then nature would have provided that in our food sources, nature didn’t decide to wait thousands of years for our technology to be superior enough to alter food sources, for them to suddenly become healthy.
There are many health benefits associated with a paleolithic diet confirmed by scientific research, including some of the following: