My dad was Polish. Mom was Uruguayan and her parents were Hungarian. Assuming that my grandparents (on both sides) were healthier than people in my generation, it seems that I'd be better off eating eastern European fare and not so much of the coconut oil and some other paleo staples that they wouldn't have eaten.
What do you think? Do you consider your recent lineage in making food choices?
I know my Filipino/Portuguese grandfather ate lots of saturated fat in the form of pork and coconuts. But he also ate a lot of starch in the form of white rice and mangoes. So I more or less eat what he ate. And just for fun, here's the most recent conversation I had with my uncle (who's a nurse):
Uncle: (sees me cooking with coconut oil; meanwhile, my mom is about to cook something up with vegetable oil) You know coconut oil is bad for you right? It has all saturated fat?
Me: Actually, it's not bad for you. Because you know what I don't get? You know how they say keep vegetable oil in a cool dark place so they don't get rancid from the heat? Well, our body's temperature is like 98.6* right? So won't the vegetable oil get rancid when it gets inside our body? Meanwhile, saturated fat is solid at room temperature and stable at high temperatures.
Uncle: (shrugs) You know what your grandfather used to cook everything with?
Me: My mom told me he cooked in pork fat.
Uncle: Haha yeah!
Me: And he lived to be how old?
If I were eating what my great grandparents ate I'd be eating bread, potatoes and dumplings. Sure they were homemade but still probably not good for you.
My grandparents were born in the US and ate Tastee-kakes and other garbage, drank whiskey and smoked several cases of Marlboro reds weekly. They both lived into their 90s with very few health problems.
So no, I'm eating nothing like them.
No, my grandparents were basically still Russian peasants. They lived on vodka, more vodka, potatoes, buckwheat, beets, cabbage soup, dumplings, tea with sugar. To which they added more sugar. And then for dessert they had more potatoes.
Needless to say, both my grandparents were enormous and very ill. My grandfather was probably an alcoholic, altho' Russian people traditionally drink waaaaaay more than what Americans think is sane.
Eating like this is bad for everyone, I think it's safe to say.
Actually this has been an idea i have been thinking of for a long time. I am especially thinking of my grandparents from the country side. I am 100% Romanian and my grandparents have traced the genes to be 100% Romanian for a couple of hundreds of years. What they ate: You see for breakfast (except for in the summer) they ate a good (3 cm or more thick) piece of pork fat (either bacon or lard) on a slice of bread with garlic usually to "burn" the fat.In the summer they would have cheese instead of lard. For lunch they ate the same 2-3 things every day: - Polenta (a soft corn bread like thing) - Fresh cheese w/o cream
Dinner was always something light, in the winter some compot (boiled fruit from summer in lots of sugar) or jam and bread.
These two grandparents never brushed their teeth, never used chemicals to wash except for their home-made soap(an acid with pork fat). They did work heavily in their garden and on the land, taking care of their animals. Winter was easy and just cleaning around the house, nothing much considering what they did in summer. They never had to go to the doctor until their 75's ( i'll mention later why) and had perfect teeth, eyes, hearing, everything. Even with eating bread, white bread actually, and jams, and sugars. My grandmother made awesome pies. To be fair they didn't make them often, maybe once a week or on special occasions.
You know what happened after they became 75? My family finally reached a better financial situation so we started bringing them stuff like ice-creams, sodas and other "treats". My grandfather wasn't a sweet-tooth guy so he didn't eat much of these things. My grandmother on the other hand loved it so much that she started buying her own stuff. (They never spent money on food). Result? My grandmother's health went downwards really quick in 5-8 years(dementia, blind, can't walk - probably undiagnosed diabetes) and my grandfather now is still ok (except like the person with the Russian heritage mentioned, he also drinks way too much for any standards). They never made the connection. Really Never. Talk about silent killer...
But still strange that they ate a lot of carbs with every meal, even carbs and fats that are thought of as bad (white bread, sugar, sunflower oil) and had a perfect health until they started buying food.
Sorry for the long post but i have one more thing i wanted to say. I've been low carbing for more then 6 months and adapted things to paleo for 3. I live in North Europe now. My results have been slow to invisible most of the time. I go to Romania for 2 weeks and i lose a ton of weight and i feel awesome. How weird is that?!
My mother's family is German and French, and my father's is British. Only three of them ever lived to meet me, but my great-grandparents seemed to be generally much healthier than the people in my generation (I'm young enough that I have to go back to my great-grands to find people who eat traditional whole foods). I remember walking into my great-grandma's pantry and seeing all the stuff she'd canned and pickled herself (at age 95+!) and feeling like I'd stumbled on a delicious treasure trove. I do eat like my they ate, in the sense that I eat whole foods and not freaky processed crap that comes out of a package. I don't make any special effort to eat German/French/British food though.
I understand the point of this, but why not take it any further, we should perhaps adjust our diet for where our ancestors evolved as opposed to eating actual cultural fare. My heritage is German and English so I would have never eaten a pineapple in a truly primal world. Perhaps my body is not even well prepared to handle eating certain tropical foods? I think the idea is novel, but if I were to restrict myself to actul German and English food I would be eating a lot of junk that I don't want in my body.
I'm not sure what you are suggesting. Yes I'm sure that they ate less processed crap than recent generations do, but they probably included a fair amount of neolithic food in their diet (I bet they loved a bit of bread).
My diet does resemble that of my Grand-parents, in that every meal seems to be meat and two veg, but that's because there isn't all that much else left when you take away all the processed shit, and not because I'm trying to emulate them.
As I get older I think about my grandparents and try not to eat the way they did. They overate fatty starchy foods, were overweight/obese, and died of stroke/heart problems. I don't want to repeat what worked poorly.
But being half Norwegian I wouldn't think about taking the ancestral dairy and fish out of my diet. Or the coffee.
I have thought about this a lot since my wife is Filipina and I am northern European. Remember that our species was stuck in south Africa for 140,000 years, on the coast. I think that the question that should be asked is: What did your pre-agricultural ancestors eat? This can be very complicated.
I think that the best answer is that we all should be eating according to our own genetic makeup. This cannot be determined with utter precision because even mutations could sneak in since your parent's generation. Paleo is an ideal and guide to what your genetic structure is. I think that it is best to get roughly what we should eat from the paleo ideal, and then work on the details by finding what works for one's self.
We can't know what is exactly our optimal diet from looking backward to our personal ancient ancestors. Not only mutations could sneak in, but damage done by wrong eating since the agricultural revolution and especially since the processed food devolution. So each person has to figure out the details for themselves, with help from others, of course.
I do GREAT with coconuts, but my ancestors have not seen coconuts for at least 25,000 years.
Kinda, as my grandfather ate a lot of honey, milk, bone broth (I eat gelatin though), ice cream, candy, chocolate ... The beer and bread aren't part of my diet though, I replaced them with fruit.
My other grandfather ate tons of bread, his second wife too.
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