This seems to be universally accepted by people who have read the first edition of this book. Depending on your age this might be great grandparents or great great. But you get my drift. Now I like to be optimistic about these things, but to be fair, its much harder than you might think. On the other hand its also really easy. Because of my age, I like to pinpoint a time, more so than a generational thing. If I had to pick a time it would be around 1950 to 1970. Some of the timing will depend on where you live but I will give you as many reasons why I pick that time, and some of the reasons I am wrong too.
I guess the biggest most important thing about that time period is that it is postwar and food (calories) electricity and water abundance became commonplace in the west. Medicine was advancing rapidly, but widespread vaccination was not common, and neither were antibiotics. Probably the biggest thing, apart from calories, was that the food industry had not discovered oodles of new chemicals or ways they could “cheat” the system. Food was basically what it had been for “hundreds??” of years and preservatives and packaging was still in its infancy as was transportation and refrigeration and freezing was new and rare. (Not that freezing per se has any great problems). There were a few very notable exceptions to this and I will quickly describe a few that I know of.
Processed cheese was invented in 1915 by the Kraft Brothers. The Kraft brothers were cheese sellers but the cheese often went rotten before it could be sold and they were looking for ways to extend the shelf life. It took years but basically they incorporated whey (formerly a waste product fed to pigs and cattle) into the pasteurised milk and added sodium phosphate to kill off the bacteria in the cheese and preserve it, almost indefinitely, in a can. In fact in the 40s there was a push to label this cheese as a cheese-like substance, rather than cheese, which is probably accurate. Probably 90% of the cheese we eat today is processed cheese. For most people its 100%. Is this bad? I don’t know but its not natural. Even the rennet culture that is used today to give cheese its unique characteristics is made from genetically modified material. You will see on most cheeses today, “made with non-animal rennet” Rennett used to be made from part of the 4th stomach lining of a very young calf. Yes I understand its brutal, but a lot of life and food is. You had better get over it, its what makes humans so successful on the planet. You might be a vegetarian, but your parents weren’t, or even if they were, their parents weren’t. Anyway, don’t let me go down that rabbit hole again. The point is cheese as with numerous others is an exception to this eat what your grandparents ate rule, and there are others.
All these seed oils were only introduced in the 70s and 80s. A lot of this is tied up in WW2 history as well. Research it if you want. The thing is our parents cooked with and ate mainly animal fat and saturated fat. I have written about the virtues of saturated fat elsewhere, so I will only touch on it here. Mothers milk contains mostly saturated fat and cholesterol. Do you think nature would have allowed mothers milk to be loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol if it was poisoning the baby? It doesn’t sound like a sustainable model to me. That’s not what I wanted to talk about. There was an oil introduced in the diet many years ago called Crisco. Since Crisco we have been all singing the praises of unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. All I am saying is that they are new to the diet. The great white hope of Canola oil did not even exist 50 years ago. The canola plant did not exist 50 years ago. Sunflower safflower, soya oil barely existed until 70 years ago. These may be things your grandparents ate, but they are new. How often do you think your grandparents ate hot chips. (French fries for amenricans) Almost never or never. French fries as the name implies are French. They were originally cooked in goose fat (mostly saturated fat). Mcdonalds fries were originally cooked in tallow with 5% cottonseed oil. During the 80s a campaign was launched to stop McDonalds using saturated fats. It succeeded. It took McDonalds 70 experiments to find an oil that would give a similar or acceptable taste to their fries. Small blind tests have confirmed that most people still prefer the taste of the tallow cooked fries. Generally your tastebuds should be your guide. (except perhaps with sugar) There is a book called the French paradox, that shows that the French have a very high intake of saturated fat but low levels of heart disease and obesity. Who has the best pastries in the world. The French. Why? Because they use butter instead of other oils in their pastry. The French also have a dairy herd that is almost exclusively A2 producing cattle. This is a big subject in itself and I wont go further with it here. Again, your grandparents may have eaten these oils, but they are ubiquitous in the diet today. See if you can get two fresh croissants, one made with butter and one with margarine, and compare them. Maybe you will work it out for yourself.
There is a major difference between grass fed and grain fed animals. It has to do with that fat profile. Grass is the natural diet of cattle. Grain is basically what they eat when they are forced to. It also makes them grow faster and fatter. Your grandparents probably ate some grain fed meat, but today grass fed meat is the exception, you must look for it and its more expensive. Yes your grandparents ate meat, but they probably enjoyed the fattier cuts, and it was mostly grass fed.
A huge subject. I remember when homogenised milk came in in the 70s. As a kid I liked it, but I rarely use it today. Homogenisation is the process of stirring the cream into the milk, at thousands of RPM. The fat globules break into much smaller particles. Some people say that the fat globules are so small they leak through the gut wall into the bloodstream. I don’t know. There is also a factor in terms of surface area. The surface area of the fat globules are now tiny. Does that overwhelm the enzyme system? Again I don’t know. Just like with meat (above) homogenised milk used to be the exception, now it is the rule. Is this the cause of the huge increase in dairy allergies, I don’t know. Yes your grandparents drank milk, but it wasn’t todays milk.
Most bread today is not bread. It’s a bread like substance. Bread should take 24 to 48 hours to make. Today it can be done in hours. That’s only because of the huge amounts of commercial yeasts that are added and other substances like analyse and the extremely fine grind of the flour. All commercial flours also have folic acid added, a synthetic form of vitamin B9. Yes your grandparents ate bread, but not this bread-like substance. Near us is a pizza store rated no.4 in Australia. They must be doing something right. It takes 3 days to make your pizza! I mean your pizza base began its life 3 days ago, and the toppings are mostly fermented. Sydney has a bakery that has lines of customers and sells out every day. The bread is made the old way, and that’s why. Wheat today is nothing like wheat that your grandparents ate. Todays wheat is related to wheat of the 1950’s like a poodle is related to a dalmatian. They are both dogs.
Vegetables and salad.
Did you think these things would escape? No way. I suggest most lettuce is now hydroponically grown. Is that bad? I don’t know. The farmer must balance flavour with growth factors. The farmer wants the quickest turnaround he can get at the cheapest price. I don’t blame him. Don’t we all want to maximise our profit? Is he willing to sacrifice flavour and nutrition for growth and profit? Probably, and understandably. Are there any tomatoes on the shelves that are not GMO? I don’t know the answer, but there are not many. Are the tomatoes picked and delivered at their peak ripeness? Of course not. They are picked when they have the greatest chance of looking good in the supermarket shelves.
I clearly remember when Zucchini came into the Australian diet. It was when KFC introduced the Zucchini salad in about 1975. Before that I had never even heard of a zucchini. In Germany they eat lots of potatoes. They never eat a boiled potato or mashed potato. They have all sorts of convoluted methods of preparing potatoes like Bratkartofflen and Kloser. Believe me its complex. What does this do? It reduces the lectin content of the potato and increases its resistant starch content (feeds bacteria). I mean did the Germans know this, no. They just knew that unless they prepared potatoes this way, it didn’t sit right, made it hard to digest. When I cook mashed potato now I peel and soak the potatoes in salt water for a few hours-like my mother did. Then I throw that water away and boil them in salty water. Then I throw that water away and rinse them. Then I mash them with real butter or cream and more salt. They taste completely different to the ones I used to make from the same ingredients. Cooking and preparation methods matter too.
I have read but cannot confirm that oranges of today have less than half the vitamin C content that they used to. Oranges are picked for their size and colour and sugar content and when the harvester is ready or the supermarket is ready, this has little to do with your nutrition.
The point is I could go on and on and you don’t want to be paranoid about this stuff. I, like you have eaten more hot chips than I care to mention and heaps of grain fed meat and plenty of bread-like sandwiches, and I am still alive.
How does this play out for depressed people? Again, I don’t know, but is this tsunami of chemicals and modern processes contributing to your depression, not to mention the obesity epidemic? I suggest that the best you can do to find out, is just to do what you can for a while at least, or for a lifetime and find out. It will certainly not do you any harm to eat like your grandparents.
I have heard this so many times, it has to be true. Numerous people have reported to me that they have gluten allergies or all sorts of inexplicable allergies from food in Australia, or usually its their children. Then they travel to Europe for a holiday, and their kids eat anything they want and have no problems. Croissants in France, pastries, beer in Germany, cheese anywhere in Europe, sugary sweets. How could this be? Its because European food is much more traditionally prepared and the rules are stricter. I even heard a great story from Dr Gundry who wrote the Plant paradox amongst others that his French hotel waiter would not possibly serve him yesterday’s croissants for his very early breakfast, that would be sacrilege. Croissants must be eaten fresh. What happens after that? My theory is that they oxidise and that makes them old and the fats rancid, but its only a theory. We on the other hand eat Croissants from the supermarket bakery that are days old and made with margarine. Whenever I stay in Germany, the woman of the house goes to the bakery each morning at 6am to get fresh baked rolls for breakfast. Leftover rolls are never eaten. She would not dream of serving her guests one day old bread rolls. I could regularly eat 6 small breadrolls with eggs and cheeses and ham for breakfast for weeks, and not put on weight. My theory is that the rolls are properly made and predigested by the rising process. Why are they no good tomorrow? I don’t know but oxidation springs to mind.
Tea and coffee.
Thought these were immune too? I don’t drink coffee. Well rarely, but most people I know do. Now most coffee drinkers have eschewed instant coffee these days, but what have they replaced it with. Lets say cappuccino or espresso. Both these coffees are made with steam infused coffee beans. Is that natural? Is that what your grandparents drank? No way. If they were really coffee lovers, they would have brewed up ground coffee in a pot by boiling it for a while. They didn’t have a $5000 machine to do it. What does that do? Probably it allows less coffee to be used and gives the effect of putting in more work and effort. It may even taste the best, I don’t know that answer, its just that its not what your grandparents did. I don’t want you to stop if you love that coffee, I am just saying its far less natural than you think, far more energy intensive (greenies?) and simply just not what your forebears did.
I love tea. I drink it by the bucketload. That’s my gig and I am not wanting to persuade you to change if you love coffee. I became lazy maybe 20 or more years ago and started using teabags. The stuff in those bags is not really tea, its tea dust, but lets forget that for a minute.
What is the te bag made from? Well its mostly paper usually. But paper falls apart in water, so what they do is infuse the tea bag with plastic. Usually its called. Epichlorohydrin. Its closely related to bisphenol A, you know BPA, that nasty stuff everyone is trying to avoid because its an endocrine disrupter or something. Well its quite likely your teabags are coated with it. This might not matter at 25degrees, but it likely matters a lot at 100 degrees. What Ive been doing lately is brewing the tea the old way, by tearing the bags open. All I can say is that it tastes differently, and I would say better, but that could be wishful thinking who knows? Anyway, there are companies that say that their string is from non GMO cotton. Does that matter? Again I don’t know. Some bags have no string. They are glued around the edges. Whats that glue made from? Its not flour and water I can tell you that. Some makers make their bags from Hemp and some from a phillipino banana like paper that resists tearing. Is this just marketing hype, or is it real? I mean given the option of drinking plastic particles or not drinking them, which do you choose? Obviously given the option of using tea or tea bags, you should choose tea, but given the option of tea bags or nothing, what do you do. You choose the teabag because you know from experience that it wont kill you. Now if you live in the real world like me, you just cant go around being paranoid about everything, I mean you will be branded a kook and it would be true.
All I am saying is that all of these things are worth a tiny bit of thought. If you want to eat like your grandparents ate, I think it’s a good thing, not that I have any evidence it is depression busting, but its harder than you might think.
My dog is a great experimental vehicle. If my dog wont eat it, then there must be a reason. I recently tried this with cream. The dog loved the cream, but one day it wouldn’t eat it, even though the expiry date was still a few days off. In the container which is not fully sealed, the cream oxidises. I tasted it, and I agree with the dog. It still smelled fine though to me, but dogs noses are way more sensitive.
Top 10 vitamins.
Vitamin D from the sun
Vitamin D from food and cod liver oil
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin A E K.
Vitamin B12 from food.
Vitamin B12 from methylcobablamin
Real folate from food or 5 MTHF
Bones as a calcium source.
In particular with older women today, osteoporosis is a big issue. Is there anything that could be missing in a womans diet that causes this. Well first of all we know that calcium is important, so dairy products are recommended. What about bone. Bones are made out of bone. Why not eat bone? Well in the olden days, they ate bone or chewed on bone. I mean bone broth is a new superfood apparently. You get some bones with marrow and a bit of leftover meat and fat and then you boil the crap out of it. Bone broth is THE superfood today, but you don’t have to buy it, you can make it yourself. Im not going to tell you how to do it. Look it up, there are 100s of recipes out there.
How much people spend on food. USA 8%. Europe 25% Africa 70%. Do you know what happens. The less you spend on food, the more you spend on medicine. It’s a pretty simple equation.
Chemicals are much cheaper than nature. Sugar vs Nutra sweet.