DrolleryMedieval drollery of a knight on a horse
flowery border with man falling
flowery border with man falling

I’ve been working on a “philosophy of food” sort of thing for a few years and trying to really get at something that’s “natural” and maybe is a common rule/concept among most people in the world historically. Basically the idea of fresh, whole foods or naturally preserved foods, interspersed with fasts between a day and maybe half a week.

I’v also been thinking through the idea of seasonal diets. You eat fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer and fall. In the spring lots of greens, shoots, sprouts, etc. Spring through Fall there would be a focus on eggs and fish for protein. In the fall and winter you’d eat high starch roots, fermented/cured foods, and meat. Probably would have most of the fasting in the late winter and early spring.

Obviously this doesn’t apply to all peoples at all times. Inuits have historically subsisted on animal alone. Plenty of others have done the same on fruits or vegetables. The historic Swiss diet was almost exclusively dairy for months on end. So the body is capable of adapting to anything, but I think there are some major hinderances in today’s diets and I think it’s sort of funny that we even have to think about our foods today when even 75 to 100 years ago you didn’t think about your diet, you just ate.

I believe that the mass overeating problem could very well be related to the fact that people are consuming nutritionless foods. Your body signals a need to eat for two reasons primarily, hunger and nutrient needs. If you’re body signals a need for nutrients but your foods are lacking in nutrients, you’ll eat and still be hungry. This is why the two extremes of diets work pretty well for people. It’s hard to eat only animal products and lack nutrients. Likewise, it’s hard to eat strictly plants and lack nutrients. The problem is in the modern-middle where you can consume things that are tantamount to calorically dense air.

The nutrient density problem is partially a problem with the preparation of modern foods. Many foods are heated to such a heat that it destroys the nutrients which are present in it. This is a known problem with dog food, it can last forever but has virtually no micronutrients left because of how it is preserved with heat treatment. The same is true for human foods as well. While I have no evidence of it, I wonder if the preparation of our processed foods contributes to other issues, such as gluten problems. Another friend of mine had said that his family could consume fermented wheat but not unfermented wheat, which is another preparation difference that pervades modern baking.

I’m reading Omnivore’s Dilemma and then will follow that up with In Defense of Food. I’ve been told both books, by Michael Pollan, trace similar trains of thought on food as what I have discussed. I’m interested to see what his take on it is.