If you truly want to understand health, you cannot avoid looking back at our evolutionary history. Despite modern living conditions and life quality being better than ever before, today we face numerous health challenges. As humans, we haven't been able to adapt physically, psychologically, and socially to the rapid changes of the last 12,000 years.
We now live drastically differently from our distant ancestors. While hunting and gathering constituted the basis of nutrition (and life) for almost 99% of human history, people only started domesticating plants and animals 12,000 years ago.
Our current lifestyle and diet are based on culture rather than nature. While culture plays a crucial role in human development, we must ask ourselves: how far can we go? The further we drift from what was the norm for millions of years, the greater the problems become.
What makes us unique as humans is our ability to manipulate our ecological environment. However, this unique skill comes with disadvantages, not only for us but also for nature. Until recently, our ancestors were entirely dependent on nature. Food came from the plants and animals in their environment, determined by seasons, availability, climate, and habitat.
Physiologically, their active lifestyle and natural eating behavior were perfectly adapted to the needs of the human organism. Hunter-gatherers were robust, healthy, and had well-developed musculoskeletal systems. Today, everything is different, and you can see it, feel it, and know it.
Evolutionary Perspective on Nutrition
To understand health, we must always view it from an evolutionary perspective. Not only for lasting results but also to better understand ourselves as humans. This involves not only nutrition but also the environment we live in, movement, and the use of technology.
Meat, regardless of its origin, contains essential nutrients. Cattle that eat various pasture plants concentrate healthy phytonutrients in their meat, such as terpenoids, phenols, carotenoids, and antioxidants. This is important to know because meat is rarely considered a good source of these plant substances, especially in intensive farming compared to pasture-raised meat.
Paleo Nutrition and the Role of Meat
Humans and their ancestors have been consuming meat for over 3 million years. Historically, meat was scarce, and consumption was determined by availability. Meat was cherished as nutritious and symbolic food.
Ancestors not only ate local plant products but also meat, especially organ meat. They consumed the entire animal, including skin, tendons, and organs, from nose to tail.
Organ meat is the most nutrient-rich source on earth. You can get over 100 times more nutrients from organs than from lean muscle meat! Organ meat contains everything the body needs to thrive: vitamins, minerals, peptides, proteins, and growth factors.
In prehistory, eating only lean muscle meat would not have been enough to thrive. However, in the modern world, we primarily eat lean muscle meat and have given up the practice of nose-to-tail eating.
Collagen-rich meat or organs are no longer preferred over lean and tender meats today. The difference between historical and modern-day consumption is striking. From a paleo perspective, where the nose-to-tail concept is emphasized, it is crucial to eat enough organ meat.
Grass-fed meat, organ meat, free-range eggs, seafood, fermented dairy, and other animal products are nature's multivitamins! They are not only the most complex foods of animal origin but also contain the most biologically available nutrients.
Eating from nose to tail means not only getting a specific set of micronutrients but also an entire evolutionary package of other nutrients. This is the basis of healthy nutrition, and you can benefit from it today!