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Dr. Linda Frassetto, MD has been experimenting with Humanity’s pre-historic, Paleolithic diet in a genetic context, and her research intimately affects diabetics, as diabetes is not a natural occurrence; if we eat food that speaks-a-language which our body understands as bringing Health for us, that is another strategy that helps us Heal, and the special salsa or guacamole recipe below is filled with magnesium, a mineral which Type 1 diabetics and Type 2 diabetics really need, and whose amount is not limited when eaten as food.
Also: It’s important to read the magnesium nutritional science in part 1A at:
First, I’d like to discuss Paleolithic and Traditional Foods diets briefly, and then finish with a new salsa / guacamole recipe for a good magnesium boost.
Dr. Linda Frassetto, MD works at the University of California School of Medicine, in San Francisco, and she has been scientifically assessing the multi-disciplinary revolution started by other professors like Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD of Colorado State University and Dr. S. Boyd Eaton, an anthropologist, whose research on Paleolithic and Stone-Age diets has enlightened the way to our natural, foundational diet as Humans. The premise is when we veer away from the foods required and programmed by our genetic make-up, we open ourselves to disease. Dr. Frassetto says,
“An organism best fits the environment described by its genes, an environment that prevailed during the time period (millions of years) when evolution naturally selected the genes of its ancestors – those who survived to pass on their genes.
When an organism’s current environment differs from its ancestral one, the environment’s mismatch with the organism’s genome may result in functional disadvantages for the organism.
The genetically conditioned nutritional requirements of human beings established themselves over millions of years in which ancestral hominins, living as hunter-gatherers, ate a diet markedly different from that of agriculturally dependent contemporary human beings. “
So, what have Drs. Frassetto, Cordain and Eaton found, and do we see real-world evidence, that if we return to Humanity’s food-roots, that our Health will change dramatically?
Frassetto’s study particularly targeted potassium food use, but magnesium is often found in the same foods, and is used for many of the same physiologic reasons, so, as I started my series with magnesium, I’m bringing the concepts in here. I will discuss more of the scientific results of her potassium study when I write about that necessary alkaline mineral as part of this series, soon.
Dr. Frassetto studied 159 retrojected Stone Age diets, and found that modern diets are really inferior sources for the alkaline power-house nutrients that pre-historic peoples ate, and which nourished our species well enough for the healthiest of us to survive and propogate our genes through the epochs and millennia. Will modern humans survive? Not if we persist in the current calorically-dense, nutrient-lacking SAD modern, manufactured diet, for sure.
The over-acidification from this improper diet is destroying our bodies from the inside out. Dr. Robert O. Young, PhD, research scientist says, “Our body is alkaline by design”; most modern manufactured foods create acidity instead.
Dr. Frassetto also raises the question as whether what we regard as “normal levels” of these vital alkaline minerals, when lab tests are done, is even credible, as these lab norms do NOT reflect our physiologic heritage, and likely our bodies real need. Therefore, I think she would argue that “normal” levels give us false confidence in our Health status.
Dr. S. Boyd Eaton is professor of Anthropology and Radiology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and his salient point is that we live in a Stone-Age body, even though we are called “Modern Humans”, Homo sapiens sapiens.
Our bodies remain adapted to the life and dietary needs that existed for Humankind about 100,000 years ago, and that is NOT enough time for any meaningful genetically adaptive change to have occurred in our body. Physiologically, we ARE Stone-Age people.
Bottomline: we need to eat a Paleolithic Diet, and even a Stone-Age dietary pattern for best Health. We need to use the play-book we will call ”Stone-Age Diet, Rules!” (c). Here are some.
___ Dr. Eaton says that Paleolithic diet is composed of 35% fats (27.5% as monosaturated and unsaturated fat; 7.5% as saturated fat from lean, grass fed animals or from fish and NO trans-fats – which are a totally un-natural, man-made mess).
Omega 6 (unsaturated – from corn, soy, safflower, peanut, “vegetable” oil, nuts) ratio to Omega-3 (from cold-water fish and grass-fed animals and certain seeds like flax and hemp) was 2 parts of Omega 6 to one part of Omega 3, that is 2:1 whereas, in our crazy “modern” diet, this ratio is very unbalanced at 10:1 yes, it’s that much out of whack!
Regular meats do not qualify, as these animals, even if range-fed (which most are not), still get “finished” in feed-lots where they are fed grain (which is NOT a natural food for mammals of any sort — especially cows) and when fed grain, the animals’ fat profile changes to being very unhealthy.
___ The next macronutrient in the Stone-Age / Paleolithic Diet is protein at about 30% of calories, and again, we are talking about grass-fed only, free-range, lean, organic animals or healthy-sourced fish from pristine waters (not farmed!), along with any of their eggs and NO dairy!
The only meat that qualifies as being properly organic and totally grass-fed, free-range anywhere near me that I know about, in the Western USA, is Eel River Ranch www.eelriverorganicbeef.com .
Many others range-feed and then finish off by forcing grain into animals in feed-lots, and that undoes all the good. So, ask your butcher to get precise answers; insist on them or call the company to get their answer in writing. Keep current; their procedures change, especially as the economy worsens.
Painted Hills, Brandt, Nieman Ranch and Coleman Ranch and others in the West tout themselves as “natural” and even as “organic” beef, and yet that’s not the whole story. The additional requirements I expect are not met. They mess-up by feeding grain at the last important step and produce a way less-than perfect fat profile in the meat, than what would have been there if it was only grass-fed as Nature intends.
You cannot get the optimal, healthy, Paleolithic meat if you feed it any grain at all. And, when properly done, the nutritional profile of grass-fed, organic meat is actually pro-actively heart-healthy, not just ‘OK’.
Most bison (buffalo) IS produced as only totally grass-fed animals, and therefore is a proper product, with an excellent lipid profile for us, as the animals only eat their original, natural diet.
___ Lastly, Paleolithic Diet levels of carbohydrate weigh in at 35% of calories, which is very close to the disciplined use of the Zone Diet (but within this diet’s structure we still need to talk about actual food choices — which is not done in the Zone dietary program to the degree I think it should be).
For carbohydrates, our ancestors ate mostly vegetables, including seaweeds and other sea vegetables, that they gathered and added some fruit in season, along with some raw honey as their only treat. NO grains were eaten at this time in our history! No simple, isolated sugars were eaten except for the rare times honey was found, and even then, it was likely also used topically as medicine, as tribes do now. Honey comprised only 2 – 3% of calories, instead of the 15% , minimum, that empty, health-robbing sugars do in our modern diet!
Fiber (roughage) levels were high, as this was RAW, unprocessed vegetable material. Cooking was not really happening. Vitamin, mineral and phytochemical intake was 1 1/2 to 8 times as much as we eat today! This is where we return to the concerns for our Health written in the magnesium story, Part 1. We are killing ourselves because our nutrition is SO poor. We have choices at each meal to turn-this-around.
Another problem helping to prevent our return to our best Stone-Age Human Diet, is that Humankind has experimented with plants since the advent of Farming 10,000 years ago. This is when humans began eating the non-mammal food we call “grains” and drinking the incorrectly-profiled “milk” of other mammals. These travesties were very damaging, and resulted in a new blood type being created from the original Type O to become Type A, which was better able to “handle” these new assaults. But, A was still not completely capatible with the physiologic problems grain and dairy create in our bodies, either, and so A’s have susceptibility to the diseases these non-foods create. Blood Type O’s still should not eat grains or dairy at all. All Native Americans, before any intermarriage with Caucasians, were Blood Type O, so those who still are (a large percentage of native people, mixed parentage or not) should not eat grains or dairy, at all. The consequences of eating modern, inapropriate foods weighs much more heavily on the health of native peoples. See the history of the Pima, below. The Eskimos and Aleuts and Athabascans are presently also suffering for the same reasons.
As time went by, especially in the last century, hybrization of plant “foods” increased at a rapid rate, and in addition to the scary prospect of lessening our food-crops’ genetic biodiversity and having our major crops depend on hybrids (which either cannot replicate themselves properly or even at all), we also risk ingesting incomplete or incorrect nutritional profiles. Compare the botanical “original” banana pictured above to what you get now as a banana. Even just a visual check shows huge differences.
So, what happens when we return to eating our traditional foods?
Well, as a current example, we profile the Pima (and Papago, Tohono O’odham and Maricopa) tribe/s of Native Americans in Arizona which has the dubious honor of being the people most plagued by diabetes in the world. A little over a century ago, that was not the case. Then, Pima were still able to farm in their traditional ways and eat their traditional foods – including squash, tepary beans, prickly pear, cholla cactus buds and okra. They were healthy, strong, invincible, as their genetic cousins in Mexico still are, with almost no diabetes on their traditional diet, so this is why the Pima are the best example of the huge gap between Traditional and Modern diets.
But when Anglo-white society / US Government rigged laws that let Caucasian farmers upstream take almost all of the Pima’s vital water sources a century ago, then the Pima could no longer farm their land – and were left to become destitute and, in their case, to even starve. It is a national disgrace, repeated still on many other Native American “reservations”.
The New York Times recently reported that the Pima and nearby tribes like the Tohono O’odham just won in forcing a Government settlement, after more than 30 years of trying to get a small portion of their water returned to them, and the monies from Congress, announced in 2004, are finally coming to help with canal-building and earth-moving to bring back traditional water-conserving agricultural production on as many as 35,000 acres now, and later to 150,000 acres. Previously, the most acreage the Pima could farm in good years was 15,000 acres. Immediately, the Gila River band of the Pima tribe has started test gardens to relearn how to farm traditional foods in traditional water-conserving ways.
I drove by their Sonoran desert area this May, and only with water can people expect to farm that land. That is why they lived just mostly next to the few rivers in the region which flowed on their traditional lands. Water IS Life. The desert reclaims everything in just a short distance from any water source; only traditional water-conservation farming techniques, when the water finally arrives, will let the people farm there in any decent acreage.
The Scandinavian physician who came to help the Pima decades ago correctly assessed the need for those traditional foods as the only and best way to save the people from diabetes. More than 50% of the Pima people have diabetes, and numbers are still rising! Other medical interventions / treatments (like the ones you are being given) just have not worked, and community diabetes rates and individually poor-outcomes were on a constant surge, even with complete compliance to the usual medical protocols – medication, official Diabetes Association diets and exercise for those who have not lost limbs already.
Many generations of Pima have been lost to the ravages of diabetes, but now there is hope. As the new generation is born, they will eat their traditional foods, at home and in school and at community celebrations on their tribal lands. Old recipes will be passed down. No more white-man’s food: white flour, white sugar, white fats or canned foods shipped in by the Government, as the only choice, to the “reservation” where not even a grocery chain has set-up shop to help with other healthier choices, for the 20,000 people who live on tribal lands there. Flour, sugar and lard / fake fat were not used by Pima before this crisis. They caused the crisis.
Native foods that heal and prevent diabetes for the Pima are: brown or white tepary beans, cholla buds, prickly pear (Opuntia species) and others. We’ll talk more about these foods another time, and have some recipes in that post.
These same native foods may help you, too, as they interact well in our body to maintain normal blood sugar, especially prickly pear. I was able to buy some of all of them when I was in Arizona last May. You can also buy some of them online, from tocaonline or through Native Seed Search. See links below.
Margaret’s Green Goddess Guacamole or Salsa
I’ve known Margaret forever, it seems, and she’s an inventive cook. Here’s a recipe-in-progress, one that is evolving each time she sees what’s in the refrigerator. This is the original version, but as she makes others, I may post one’s I like. The purpose behind this recipe is to make a tasty, potent magnesium food source for quick, anyday use.
This recipe works well for salsa, as it is written. You could also turn it into a dip, as explained below. For guacamole, make the changes at the end of the recipe.
Margaret’s Green Goddess Guacamole / Salsa (salsa version)
Place in a food processor or blender:
1/3 English cucumber, washed, quartered and sliced in 1/2″ chunks
1 large handful spicy sprouts, washed and shaken “dry”
2 large handfuls organic spinach leaves, washed and shaken “dry”
juice of 1 – 2 limes
1 medium-large organic avocado, peeled and chunked
1/2t kelp granules*
1/4 t garlic powder (add more as needed)
several shakes cayenne pepper (optional)
sprinkle Celtic sea salt (optional)
* (optional, but recommended for magnesium) (buy at health store or below)
Whizz it all in the processor and adjust seasoning. The cucumber’s wateriness dilutes the spices, so that is why the spices are approximate and to taste.
You can serve the salsa with chips or fresh veggies to dip (in this case, maybe add a little dairy or soy yoghurt, if you want to “smooth” it out and extend it) or use the salsa as center of a meal or with broiled or poached fish.
(Notes for GUACAMOLE: add a second medium-to-large avocado, use the 2nd lime, 1-2 Tablespoons diced red onion and double your other spicing; if you like it spicy, add a few drops of Tabasco sauce.
Margaret’s Green Goddess Guacamole / Salsa (c) 2008 MLS
Some in my family don’t like spicy food, so I made Margaret’s Salsa without cayenne, served it to my less adventurous eaters and then added the cayenne to my own, (so that’s also why you need technique and ingredient suggestions, not amounts).
I started the meal with fresh red organic grapes, which as fruit, for optimal digestion, needs to be eaten 20 minutes before any other food. So, in that 20 minutes, it was easy to make the salsa / guacamole. I used this salsa as open-face, bruschetta-style sandwich filling on whole-wheat sourdough bread, (baguette shape). It covered 4 french bread rounds generously.
I served it with 2 hard-boiled free-range, organic Omega-3 egg halves and finger food — lots of other pre-washed and cut fresh veggies — and for dessert, we had a small sourdough cake slice, made with whole spelt flour and agave. For vegans, this meal could have substituted beans, nuts and / or seeds for the egg. Otherwise, this is an easy and relatively inexpensive vegetarian meal.
To raise the protein level, if you want or need to, use a quick squirt of Bragg’s Aminos and make sure you do not have anything else that tastes “salty” in the salsa (Bragg’s tastes salty but is not high in sodium; that’s all that “counts”) OR include some steamed edamame (whole fresh soybeans) in your veggie plate selection.
As you know, I limit grain use, but the sourdough is an acceptable way to use grains, periodically, as it “pre-processes” them and destroys many of the harmful phytates that cause problems for people. However, those with Blood Type O, should experiment carefully to see if they can tolerate even sourdough-processed grains without upset.
Please note: my mentor, Dr. Robert O. Young, PhD, research microbiologist and founder of the New Biology’s pH Miracle approach to diet, disagrees with using yeast in anything or with using the foods made by fermentation. Sourdough still does use wild yeasts and a fermentation process. This is why we use very little and as infrequently as we can, even with a more natural sour-dough approach, but if you want to use grains regularly, then sour-dough is much more beneficial.
As you know by now, I encourage people to buy organic produce as much as they can afford. In this case, if you need to make financial choices, buy regular avocados (as a crop, they are sprayed with pesticides less than the other foods here, and you remove the tough outer skin, which provides a lot of protection from the sprays, too). The grapes and the spinach MUST be organic, as these ARE heavily sprayed crops when commercially grown.
Also, please investigate the full archive at the Titles Tab on the upper Navigation Bar. I think you will find other useful reading.
Have a great week-end, and for all those displaced from New Orleans and Houston and Galveston by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, our prayers are with you, as they are for those in other cities later in the storm’s path. Stay safe, and we hope your lives will be normal again, soon.
Thanks to Margaret for sharing her recipe!
Best to all — Em
Kelp Granules: Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Milled Veggies section www.seaveg.com These are the best! There are many other great products there, too. I have bought them for years, long before there was a public-access internet; you are lucky now, as not every health store carries these, but buy online.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/us/31diabetes.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin - there’s a video to see there, too
Dr. Cordain: http://www.thepaleodiet.com/aboutus/profile.shtml www.thepaleodiet.com
avocado – www.bcnh.co.uk
original banana – www.humanflowerproject.com
Gila River Tribal field: Monica Almeida, New York Times
(c)2008 Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
If you desire to use my article or quote from it, please respect my copyright and include the full copyright citation and website address in the reference section of your article or blog post. Thanks!
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