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Simple Diets

DDK

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Sep 16, 2017
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It seems that until recently (last 100 years or so) all people ate simple diets dictated by their geographic location. Food couldn't be shipped around the globe, so you had to rely on what foods were available to you locally. People in the tropics ate fruit, fish and sweet potatoes or pork, fruit, vegetables and taro. People in Europe ate milk, meat, bread and potatoes. Africans had milk, meat and corn. People in freezing climates (Russia, Alaska) ate cold water fish, meat and whole milk. It would have been impossible to get pineapples and mangoes in Russia.

This got me thinking if a lot of problems people have with food can be chalked up to the insane variation that most modernized people have.

Also it got me thinking about all 4 of my grandparents. They all lived past 95 years of age, and they all ate simple diets. Grandma 1 ate: milk, ice cream, eggs & vegetables; Grandma 2 ate: fruits, vegetables, eggs & potatoes; Grandpa 1 ate: meat, fish, bread (homemade), & coffee; Grandpa 2 ate: meat, vegetables & potatoes. This is all they ate for like the last 70 years of their lives. Not one of my grandparents took drugs, vitamins, minerals, hormones, supplements, remedies, potions/tinctures, super foods; nor did they do any crazy dieting, fasting, liver flushing, enemas, etc... They also never went to the dentist or doctor.

Just got me thinking if simplifying your diet wouldn't be a smart thing for most people to try. Just try to find one animal protein you tolerate well. Whether it be fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, meat. Find one starch you tolerate well such as: potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, wheat, rice, corn, oats. Then supplement with one plant food such as: fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, coffee, cocoa, etc... Just try to keep your diet to 3-5 food items and nothing more.
 
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Peatful

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Love this thoughtful post....
 

Xisca

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I do eat such a simple diet, and it is more varied than most, just because I have an incredible amount of herbs. I can make some meals with up to 20 different plants, especially salads with flowers. I also have things that do not travel well and you would not see in the market.

I think we can simplify but the variation is automatic with seasons. Also, with the risk of cultivation failure, you need to plan different things, just in case.

And for your grand parents, important was also the regularity, and I think our digestive systems are used to certain food and we have specific flora that settles, and if from birth, maybe better? I have a scotish neighbout of 70, and she has been there for some years, but she can still not eat many mediterranean food. She does good with oat poridge and milk from her goat!

For me the big point is to cook from scratch with real food, and veeeery important is the right way to prepare food, like the recent post about sour dough bred better when properly fermented. You would need to prepare pulses properly too.
 

DDK

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I can make some meals with up to 20 different plants, especially salads with flowers. I also have things that do not travel well and you would not see in the market.

I think you missed the point of my post. Using large quantities of herbs with their effects really unknown to the body, as well as meals with "20 different plants" is anything but simple. That was my point to remove all of this complexity and just eat simple foods. There were days my one grandpa would just eat white bread and meat, nothing else.

I think we can simplify but the variation is automatic with seasons. Also, with the risk of cultivation failure, you need to plan different things, just in case.

In my 4 examples of my grandparents there were no variations with seasons, they ate the foods I mentioned year round, 24/7.

I have a scotish neighbout of 70, and she has been there for some years, but she can still not eat many mediterranean food. She does good with oat poridge and milk from her goat!

That was more my point, you can live on just milk & oats or bread & meat. Now, if you get on Cronometer these may seem like deficient diets; but the body is very good at conserving nutrients depending on the diet.
 

Xisca

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It seems that until recently (last 100 years or so) all people ate simple diets dictated by their geographic location. Food couldn't be shipped around the globe, so you had to rely on what foods were available to you locally. People in the tropics ate fruit, fish and sweet potatoes or pork, fruit, vegetables and taro. People in Europe ate milk, meat, bread and potatoes. Africans had milk, meat and corn. People in freezing climates (Russia, Alaska) ate cold water fish, meat and whole milk. It would have been impossible to get pineapples and mangoes in Russia.
Well, I was inspired by this part of your post! Those people around the world ate more things that we can think of. There is also an analysis that was done from a frozen prehistoric man who still had his last meal in the stomach, and there was the adn of 20 plants or like this!

So I am not sure that this was the main good part of their diet. I mean, it proves that it is not ncessary to vary if your diet is ok for you, but it does not prove that it is a must for health.

I agree I missed your point in my answer, by calling my diet a simple diet as you were stating! I should say my cooking is simple and my ingredients are very natural, and simple. lol just read a processed food list of ingredients!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

paymanz

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Jan 6, 2015
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Good observation,

And I also know that in some of cold climaxes people used to choke animals to avoid bleeding, so they can use the nutrient the nutrients in from blood.

Glucose, sodium,calcium,....
 

DaveFoster

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Jul 23, 2015
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Spokane, Washington
It seems that until recently (last 100 years or so) all people ate simple diets dictated by their geographic location. Food couldn't be shipped around the globe, so you had to rely on what foods were available to you locally. People in the tropics ate fruit, fish and sweet potatoes or pork, fruit, vegetables and taro. People in Europe ate milk, meat, bread and potatoes. Africans had milk, meat and corn. People in freezing climates (Russia, Alaska) ate cold water fish, meat and whole milk. It would have been impossible to get pineapples and mangoes in Russia.

This got me thinking if a lot of problems people have with food can be chalked up to the insane variation that most modernized people have.

Also it got me thinking about all 4 of my grandparents. They all lived past 95 years of age, and they all ate simple diets. Grandma 1 ate: milk, ice cream, eggs & vegetables; Grandma 2 ate: fruits, vegetables, eggs & potatoes; Grandpa 1 ate: meat, fish, bread (homemade), & coffee; Grandpa 2 ate: meat, vegetables & potatoes. This is all they ate for like the last 70 years of their lives. Not one of my grandparents took drugs, vitamins, minerals, hormones, supplements, remedies, potions/tinctures, super foods; nor did they do any crazy dieting, fasting, liver flushing, enemas, etc... They also never went to the dentist or doctor.

Just got me thinking if simplifying your diet wouldn't be a smart thing for most people to try. Just try to find one animal protein you tolerate well. Whether it be fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, meat. Find one starch you tolerate well such as: potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, wheat, rice, corn, oats. Then supplement with one plant food such as: fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, coffee, cocoa, etc... Just try to keep your diet to 3-5 food items and nothing more.
They ate fruit as well, as with apples and stone fruits including peaches, plums, and so forth.
 

DDK

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They ate fruit as well, as with apples and stone fruits including peaches, plums, and so forth.

Whom are you referring to? I don't care to squabble over minor details of specifically what "this group" or "that group" ate; I was just trying to make the point of complexity of diet being a modern problem.
 
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B

Braveheart

Guest
It seems that until recently (last 100 years or so) all people ate simple diets dictated by their geographic location. Food couldn't be shipped around the globe, so you had to rely on what foods were available to you locally. People in the tropics ate fruit, fish and sweet potatoes or pork, fruit, vegetables and taro. People in Europe ate milk, meat, bread and potatoes. Africans had milk, meat and corn. People in freezing climates (Russia, Alaska) ate cold water fish, meat and whole milk. It would have been impossible to get pineapples and mangoes in Russia.

This got me thinking if a lot of problems people have with food can be chalked up to the insane variation that most modernized people have.

Also it got me thinking about all 4 of my grandparents. They all lived past 95 years of age, and they all ate simple diets. Grandma 1 ate: milk, ice cream, eggs & vegetables; Grandma 2 ate: fruits, vegetables, eggs & potatoes; Grandpa 1 ate: meat, fish, bread (homemade), & coffee; Grandpa 2 ate: meat, vegetables & potatoes. This is all they ate for like the last 70 years of their lives. Not one of my grandparents took drugs, vitamins, minerals, hormones, supplements, remedies, potions/tinctures, super foods; nor did they do any crazy dieting, fasting, liver flushing, enemas, etc... They also never went to the dentist or doctor.

Just got me thinking if simplifying your diet wouldn't be a smart thing for most people to try. Just try to find one animal protein you tolerate well. Whether it be fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, meat. Find one starch you tolerate well such as: potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, wheat, rice, corn, oats. Then supplement with one plant food such as: fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, coffee, cocoa, etc... Just try to keep your diet to 3-5 food items and nothing more.
:thumbsup: YES
 

Djukami

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Just got me thinking if simplifying your diet wouldn't be a smart thing for most people to try. Just try to find one animal protein you tolerate well. Whether it be fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, meat. Find one starch you tolerate well such as: potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, wheat, rice, corn, oats. Then supplement with one plant food such as: fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, coffee, cocoa, etc... Just try to keep your diet to 3-5 food items and nothing more.
I completely agree with you, but it's easier said than done.
Just an example: I seem to do well with oranges. One day, I started re drinking milk just to see how it went. All seemed well. The next day, I drank some OJ. I had a terrible diarrhea. Obvious and simple conclusion: I am intolerant to oranges. But is that so...? Of course not. Correlation doesn't mean causation. The fact I had dairy in my digestive system made me "intolerant" to oranges.

What I am trying to say with this example is if you have an intolerance to a certain food, the last food you ate may seem what triggered the allergic symptom, but that may not be true. That's why finding what one person is intolerant is very hard. And I am only talking about foods. What about environment? The time you eat the foods? There are so many confounding variables that it makes basically impossible to track everything.

It is always worth a try though.
 

DaveFoster

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Whom are you referring to? I don't care to squabble over minor details of specifically what "this group" or "that group" ate; I was just trying to make the point of complexity of diet being a modern problem.
I agree with your critique of the modern idolization of variety, or rather "moderation in all things." There's really nothing to argue about.

I did see something recently on a vegetarian blog, where the author cherry picked certain groups and emphasized their consumption of one food over another. For example, she talked about the vegetarian Hunza diet, but she completely neglected their consumption of cream, butter, cheese, and milk. Similarly, those in the Paleo crowd tend to swing to the other side and emphasize starch and meat, while they neglect the adaptations to dairy, and those in the "primal" Paleo crowd ignore the abundance of fruit (as well as honey) in many ancestral diets.
 
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DDK

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I did see something recently on a vegetarian blog, where the author cherry picked certain groups and emphasized their consumption of one food over another. For example, she talked about the vegetarian Hunza diet, but she completely neglected their consumption of cream, butter, cheese, and milk. Similarly, those in the Paleo crowd tend to swing to the other side and emphasize starch and meat, while they neglect the adaptations to dairy, and also the presence of abundant fruit (as well as honey) in many ancestral diets.

Dr. Mcdougall, who pushes a starch based vegan diet, has said that the Aztecs ate corn, it was their dietary staple, so you should eat corn because all civilizations based their diet on starch. However, he leaves out that they ate meat, organs, hearts and were even cannibals. Doesn't really have anything to do with my post, but I have noticed this as well in regards to cherry picking to support whatever dietary dogma the person is pushing.
 

DDK

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I completely agree with you, but it's easier said than done.
Just an example: I seem to do well with oranges. One day, I started re drinking milk just to see how it went. All seemed well. The next day, I drank some OJ. I had a terrible diarrhea. Obvious and simple conclusion: I am intolerant to oranges. But is that so...? Of course not. Correlation doesn't mean causation. The fact I had dairy in my digestive system made me "intolerant" to oranges.

What I am trying to say with this example is if you have an intolerance to a certain food, the last food you ate may seem what triggered the allergic symptom, but that may not be true. That's why finding what one person is intolerant is very hard. And I am only talking about foods. What about environment? The time you eat the foods? There are so many confounding variables that it makes basically impossible to track everything.

It is always worth a try though.

I don't think this is difficult at all, it's actually very simple to do. I didn't say that you would figure it all out immediately. It will take some time for your body to adjust and for you to figure out what is going on and what combinations of foods you can tolerate. You learned you can't tolerate Orange/Milk combo, so move on. Eventually you will find some basic, simple foods you can tolerate consistently. Talking about all these variables, environment, etc... again just misses the point of what I'm saying. You need to SIMPLIFY, and quit worrying about all of these little things.

Also, why would you think dairy made you intolerant of oranges? Can you tolerate dairy when not eating fruit? Maybe you just can't tolerate dairy. So move on and continue trying things, don't think about it too much, just find simple foods you can eat. I'm sure you could easily tolerate a diet of meat & potatoes, or fish & rice. Then add a couple more items to round it out.
 

Djukami

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I don't think this is difficult at all, it's actually very simple to do. I didn't say that you would figure it all out immediately. It will take some time for your body to adjust and for you to figure out what is going on and what combinations of foods you can tolerate. You learned you can't tolerate Orange/Milk combo, so move on. Eventually you will find some basic, simple foods you can tolerate consistently. Talking about all these variables, environment, etc... again just misses the point of what I'm saying. You need to SIMPLIFY, and quit worrying about all of these little things.

Also, why would you think dairy made you intolerant of oranges? Can you tolerate dairy when not eating fruit? Maybe you just can't tolerate dairy. So move on and continue trying things, don't think about it too much, just find simple foods you can eat. I'm sure you could easily tolerate a diet of meat & potatoes, or fish & rice. Then add a couple more items to round it out.
Milk/Orange didn't work that day. But I have eaten dairy and orange in the past without issues. And I bet if I do it again, I may have a different result.

Yeah, I don't do well with dairy, but that's because now I know that. I could be doing Apple/Milk, Banana/Milk, Kiwi/Milk, etc combos and blindly not removing milk. Let's say I don't do well with onions. I constantly eat meals with onion. I may think I am intolerant to a certain food of that meal, but it's actually onions. Or if I don't do well with olive oil. Well, but I put olive oil in most of my meals.
The variety of combinations are infinite, that's what I am trying to say. And to find the trigger is a quite difficult.

I understand what you are saying and I don't want to sound pessimistic nor that I am complicating things too much. But, again, it's not that easy. Do you think Joseph Cohen from Selfhacked made this list below - Self-Improvements - Selfhacked - in one, two, three years? I don't think so.

  • Gluten,
  • All grains
  • All potatoes
  • All nuts
  • All dairy
  • All legumes (except tempeh)
  • Yeast (in all breads)
  • Some fish
  • Eggs
  • Squash
  • Carrots
  • Some fruits
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Various food additives
  • Mildly sensitive to seeds
 

DDK

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Milk/Orange didn't work that day. But I have eaten dairy and orange in the past without issues. And I bet if I do it again, I may have a different result.

Yeah, I don't do well with dairy, but that's because now I know that. I could be doing Apple/Milk, Banana/Milk, Kiwi/Milk, etc combos and blindly not removing milk. Let's say I don't do well with onions. I constantly eat meals with onion. I may think I am intolerant to a certain food of that meal, but it's actually onions. Or if I don't do well with olive oil. Well, but I put olive oil in most of my meals.
The variety of combinations are infinite, that's what I am trying to say. And to find the trigger is a quite difficult.

I understand what you are saying and I don't want to sound pessimistic nor that I am complicating things too much. But, again, it's not that easy. Do you think Joseph Cohen from Selfhacked made this list below - Self-Improvements - Selfhacked - in one, two, three years? I don't think so.

  • Gluten,
  • All grains
  • All potatoes
  • All nuts
  • All dairy
  • All legumes (except tempeh)
  • Yeast (in all breads)
  • Some fish
  • Eggs
  • Squash
  • Carrots
  • Some fruits
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Various food additives
  • Mildly sensitive to seeds

Look at the way you are talking about foods, I think you are overthinking it. Talking about this food or that food, or this combination and that combination is a little neurotic. Did you try what I recommended of just eating rice & fish, or meat & potatoes; then adding more foods later? Again, I think you missed the point of my post. BTW, that guy Joseph Cohen looks like a neurotic mess. My advice probably wouldn't be helpful to him. I was just talking about people who are doing themselves a disservice by overthinking/over complicating their diet and the fact that if they simplified their approach they may have much better outcomes.
 

Xisca

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I should say my cooking is simple and my ingredients are very natural, and simple. lol just read a processed food list of ingredients!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These long lists are for me the main problem to start with, to adopt a simple diet.
One piece of prepacked food containing more different ingredients than your grand parents ever ate in their lifes!!!!!!!!!!!

Then simple cooking and not worriying about what we should eat. it works better when you just go on and have never been ill! When you recover, we should not bother either. But what? Nobody, no doctor helps, so we have to do a snailspeed job... and it sucks.
 

Djukami

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Messages
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Look at the way you are talking about foods, I think you are overthinking it. Talking about this food or that food, or this combination and that combination is a little neurotic. Did you try what I recommended of just eating rice & fish, or meat & potatoes; then adding more foods later? Again, I think you missed the point of my post. BTW, that guy Joseph Cohen looks like a neurotic mess. My advice probably wouldn't be helpful to him. I was just talking about people who are doing themselves a disservice by overthinking/over complicating their diet and the fact that if they simplified their approach they may have much better outcomes.
Again, things aren't that simple. All my life, I never thought what should I eat or not. I always had lots of "random" issues and I thought "Well, this is who I am" . But, guess what, things start changing when I restricted some foods. Then I was like "Interesting: some foods affect me differently than others."
Sometimes it not even about combinations. For instance, if you don't have a bowel movement for 6 days, do you really think what you eat 5 days ago will affect you in the same way on the 6th day of not going to the bathroom?
Joseph Cohen sounds neurotic? Maybe. But put yourself in his position: 25 years old, still unemployed and feel completely illiterate, you have to step up and be bold about things. And he seems to have success in what he is doing, so maybe his neuroticism has helped other people and wasn't to no avail.
You're supposing things. Don't you think I have already tried what you have said? Only rice meat. Only rice fish. Only eat potatoes.
But things aren't that easy. Seriously, don't take me wrong, I wish they were! Even if I want to simplify things, when you have problems, you will always be a little neurotic about it. Especially in this fast paced modern world. And as @Xisca said "Nobody, no doctor helps, so we have to do a snailspeed job... and it sucks."
And that's why these forums exist. That's why Ray Peat exist. That's why people are willing to try something different to overcome their problems. Etc.
Then simple cooking and not worriying about what we should eat. it works better when you just go on and have never been ill! When you recover, we should not bother either.
That's what I am trying to say. People who don't have issues, can eat whatever they want.

But if that's works for you @DDK , you have my full support to continue doing what you are doing.
 
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Soundios

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Aug 22, 2017
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This echoes exactly what I've been thinking myself for the past few weeks. Most people throughout the world subsisted off a handful of dietary staples from childhood to old age. They didn't worry if their magnesium intake was only 85% of the RDA, their bodies would have been extremely efficient at extracting/converting the necessary nutrients as needed from what was available from their diet.
Even bodybuilder Stan Efferding said that if you want to increase your metabolism, simply eat the same selection of food everyday, gradually increasing calories as your body becomes more efficient as digesting those foods.
I think their is a lot to be said about this topic in regards to digestive/overall health.
 

Pompadour

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It would have been impossible to get pineapples and mangoes in Russia.

Yes, but there is plenty of berries full of vitamins - like seabuckthorn, blueberries , cranberries etc - and this berries were often preserved for winter times. Also sauerkraut was often made with cranberries and lingonberries. And it was awailable the whole winter! Apples were also preserved...

I think if we will analyse carefully traditional diets we will actually find out that they were quite rich of varied food. Wild herbs were extremely popular - in Russia and Scandinavian countries people used to eat early nettle and fiddlehead fern...and plenty of different mushrooms of course! they drink birch juice and so on and so on.
Basically all things that are not poison were eaten!
 

kayumochi

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It's been 30 years since I have eaten SAD, and after these decades I can't give anyone any advice really, other than saying, yeah, keep your diet simple and what you don't eat is more important than what you do it.
 

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