Primitive Nutrition in the Modern WorldApr 18
There’s a lot of buzz right now about eating and cooking like our ancient ancestors. From paleo to raw, a lot of these diets seem restrictive, and instead of thinking about what we can’t or shouldn’t eat, it may be more positive to simply explore and learn about the way our ancestors did eat, so we can learn a few tricks for our modern kitchens.
1) Ancient diets were hyperlocal and seasonal.
In the daily hustle and bustle, we easily get caught up in the convenience of fast food and instant meals. If you were to draw a timeline of the human diet from the beginning of humanity until now, you’ll notice how the access and diversity in local and seasonal foods has declined.
Until agriculture was developed around 10,000 years ago, humans got their food by hunting, gathering, and fishing. Their diet consisted of fish and meat and unrefined vegetables, fruits, and nuts. In an interesting National Geographic article, anthropologists have claimed that because foods such as dairy, beans, and grains didn’t exist yet, our genes weren’t fit to adapt to farmed foods.
As man became more dependent on farmland and crops, their diet became less diverse than their hunter-gatherer diets. It disrupted opportunities to venture out into new land to forage thus, unable to combine different foods to create varying diets.
Take a look at the video below as it goes through the hunter-gatherer mentality and how we can incorporate more conscientious choices.
2) Primitive cooking methods were simple.
Just how did our ancestors prepare their meals without the modern kitchens we have today? Few of the common techniques were heating rocks as a grill, using large leaves instead of foil for steaming, and broiling with sticks rather than a pan.
As the weather is getting warmer, it’s the perfect time to try out some of these techniques. Not only is it a fun way to get outdoors, it’s something new and adventurous you can try with loved ones. You’ll also save on some money on gas bills!
Check out the video below that shows you how to grill a meal with a rock.
3) Food was a communal activity.
There’s the saying that food brings people together. This meant a whole other level to our ancestors. Not only did they have designated roles for cooking and cleaning, but hunting and gathering. In these societies, people worked collectively to acquire food for their families and tribes.
And many might forget that there are a few hunter gatherer societies still around today, so take a look at Tanzania’s Hadza people collecting food for their families.
4) Primitive cooking was low-waste.
Primitive cultures had uses for all parts of the plants and animals they ate. From using leaves as steaming vessels, to using gourd shells as bowls, to making dishes and utensils out of tooth and bone, everything had a purpose. Are there creative ways you can incorporate into the food you’re consuming? It can be as simple as boiling leftover bones to make soup stock or saving veggie scraps to make broth. Check out Zero-Waste Chef’s creative uses for your food scraps.
The next time you cook, think about how you can bring some primitive traditions into your modern kitchen. From trying a new and simple cooking method to finding a second life for those food scraps, implementing some of the methods of our ancestors will help build a better and healthier lifestyle.