If you really want to understand health you cannot escape looking back at our evolutionary history. Although modern living conditions and quality of life are better than ever before, there are many health challenges today. As humans, we have not yet been able to adapt physically, psychologically and socially to the rapid changes of the last 12,000 years.
Today we live drastically different from our distant ancestors. Hunting and gathering was the basis of food (and life) for nearly 99% of human history. In fact, it wasn't until 12,000 years ago that humans began domesticating plants and animals.
Our current lifestyle and diet were created on the basis of culture rather than nature. Of course culture is an important pillar for human development but how far can it be stretched? The further we drift from what was once the norm for millions of years the greater the problems become.
Man is unique in that we are the only species that can manipulate his ecological environment or modify his habitat. However, this unique ability also comes with disadvantages, not only for humans but also for nature in general.
Until fairly recently, our ancestors were completely dependent on nature. The availability of plants and animals in the environment provided food for survival. The diet of prehistoric people was determined by the seasons, the availability of resources, climatic conditions and the biotope in which they lived.
Physiologically, the motile lifestyle and natural eating habits were perfectly adapted to the needs of the human organism. Hunter-gatherers were robust, healthy and had a well-developed musculoskeletal system. Today this is all different and you see it, you feel it and you know it!
Therefore, always try to look at health from an evolutionary perspective. Not only for the (lasting) result but precisely to better understand yourself as a human being. This relates not only to your diet but also your living environment, exercise, technology uses, etc..
Our hunter-gatherer-era ancestors, and even many generations after them, ate much more organ meats than we do today in addition to local plant products. This was because of their heavy reliance on animal foods. They always ate the animal from nose to tail: that is, they consumed the whole animal, including skin, sinews and organs. Organs are absolutely the most nutrient-rich sources on Earth. You can get over 100 times more nutrients from organs than from lean muscle meat! Organs contain everything your body needs to thrive: vitamins, minerals, peptides, proteins and growth factors.
Whether they were sea creatures or land creatures or a combination of both: eating from nose to tail was the norm! The traditional belief was that eating the organs supported and supplied the same organs in the body with the right nutrients! That is why our ancestors were strong and vital and survived generation after generation in the harshest environments in the world.
Some of these nutrients include:
- Vitamin B12 (liver, seafood, red meat)
- Choline (eggs, liver)
- Heme iron (red meat, liver)
- Omega-3 fatty acids (cold water fatty fish)
- Vitamin K2 (grass-fed butter, eggs)
- Selenium (fish)
- Preformed vitamin A (liver)
- High-quality protein (meat, eggs, dairy)
In prehistoric times, eating only lean muscle meat, without the fats, organs, glands and collagen tissues would not have been enough to thrive, or even survive.
In the modern world, we generally eat mostly lean muscle meat. We gave up eating nose-to-tail decades ago. Collagen-rich meat or organs are not preferred today to the more lean and tender meat. So the difference between historical and modern daily consumption is striking. Based on a paleo perspective, which promotes the nose-to-tail eating concept, it is extremely important to eat enough organ meat.
Grass-fed meat, organ meats, free-range eggs, seafood, dairy and other animal products are nature's multivitamins! Not only are they the most whole foods of animal origin, but they are also the most bioavailable nutrients, with a very wide range of nutrients beyond the vitamins and minerals we know!
When we eat nose to tail, we don't just get a specific set of micronutrients. We get a whole evolutionary package of other nutrients to go with it. For example, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, carnitine, carnosine and phospholipids. And often a wide range and variations of these nutrients as well. This is what the basics of healthy eating look like, and you can take advantage of it today!