We no longer live in the African savanna. We’ve gotten more innovative, more urbanized, and technologically advanced.
Having said that, we’re still designed for a specific way of eating. And the nutrients our bodies need are based on the foods grown during different seasons.
To get a better understanding, here’s a deeper look at “the human diet”:
- Seasonality and Self-Control
- Winter Is Coming
- More Sugar, Please
- No More Added Sugar, Please
- Why Is Seasonality Crucial?
- How Can You Follow Seasonality?
“This is the time for giving your body the things that it really needs,” says nutrition expert Eric Edmeades. And what it truly needs is to return to its natural, primal, seasonal diet.
Seasonality and Self-Control
Eric Edmeades, the founder of WILDFIT and trainer of the Mindvalley quest of the same name, explains the human body evolved to survive and thrive in particular seasonal fluctuations.
For example, in spring, when there’s an abundance of rain and hunting, our ancestors would focus largely on plant food and animal food sources. This would kickstart their pancreas to produce glucagon that stimulates fat burning.
And in the summer season, more carbs in the form of berries and fruit become available, so they would increase their intake of carbs. And the pancreas would, instead, produce insulin to process the sugars for energy and then store it when there’s enough.
It stores it in the form of glycogen that turns into fat.
And in autumn, when there’s even more fruit and vegetables, the body produces even more insulin. So they would eat more of it to prepare themselves for the winter.
“Our body is a fascinatingly smart machine,” Eric says. “As they would eat more carbs, they would want to eat even more, so that the body could convert it into stored energy and eventually into fat.“
In other words, the consumption of carbohydrates used to be an evolutionary design to help you survive the coming winter.
No wonder when you eat carbs, you feel like eating more and more.
Winter Is Coming
The winter was a long, dry drought-laden time, so it was essential for the human body to store energy and hydration in the form of fat.
To make this mission more possible, nature itself enforced calorie restrictions by making your body reluctant to release fat.
This is why when you go on low-calorie diets, your body holds on to fat until you entirely run out of energy. In other words, if you don’t do it long enough, your stubborn fat will become even more stubborn to release.
It’s also a time when a cleansing process happens in the body.
Eric explains that as your body decides to burn protein, it first burns old, diseased protein. It’s an essential part of body functionality.
In today’s world, the same cleansing process occurs when you do fasting.
Once winter is over, our ancestors would go back to glucagon production in the spring season, when there’s plenty of hunting and rain again.
More Sugar, Please
Sugar is very addictive. It’s addictive by evolutionary design.
Numerous studies have shown that mammals choose to eat sugar over other foods. Moreover, they will choose sugar and eat it until they die.
We have a powerful craving for it because it was vital for us from the vitamin and mineral perspective, and it was scarce in nature.
Remember that fruit used to be only available during summer and autumn. When the fruit came to season, people would hunt them down.
Like other mammals, humans would keep eating sugar when they had some fruit, even when they were full.
This is why the human stomach is designed to be expandable as it allows us to eat as much fruit as possible. So our ancestors would go back to the tree and eat some more.
The population that consumed the most calories was the one best able to stave off starvation and pass on their genes. These genetic mutations that caused some of our ancestors to crave sugary foods ultimately allowed them to flourish.
That explains this innate craving for sugar, and we can’t resist it because it’s in our DNA that directs us to eat as much sugar as possible when it’s available.
No More Added Sugar, Please
So sugar isn’t bad in itself. It’s even healthy when consumed in moderate amounts and its natural form – in fruit and sweet vegetables.
The bad part has to do with its all-year-round availability, like nowadays when sugar is everywhere and accessible all the time.
Billions of calories per acre are available for you 24/7, and you don’t even have to leave your home to get it.
Why Is Seasonality Crucial?
The seasonal rotation of your fruit, vegetables, and other whole foods is vital for your immune system and optimal health. Understanding the principles of seasonality is also essential for weight loss and your nutritional requirements.
So the idea of the daily nutritional requirements is nonsensical because it’s impossible to meet all of them with three meals a day.
Eric explains, “What we have is more annual requirements except for the water that our body needs every single day.”
For example, our body can store B12 for up to 6-18 months. This means that we need vitamins and minerals on a seasonal rotation because some foods conflict with each other.
Eating cruciferous vegetables regularly for too long can interrupt your body’s magnesium uptake, so it can affect your sleep and cause leg cramps.
So make sure you don’t eat the same plant-based foods every day for too long. Why? Plants have anti-nutrients, enzyme blockers, hormone triggers, and lectins that are designed to protect them from being eaten and digested.
How Can You Follow Seasonality?
If you’ve been trying to use your willpower to implement changes in your eating habits, consider other options.
Your willpower is a short-term muscle that can help you correct something in a moment, but it cannot help you change your lifestyle.
It’s like trying to hold your breath using your willpower — your body will override your willpower to hold your breath even if you are underwater.
That’s how strong your will to survive is.
So you want to make adjustments to your lifestyle by taking one step at a time.
Eric says, “Changing your relationship with food doesn’t imply giving up something that you want. But WILDFIT can change what you want, and it’s going to be much easier.”
In other words, instead of looking for a perfectly working diet and sticking to it, you can create a lifestyle that will stick to you.
This lifestyle will give you real freedom – the freedom to eat whatever you want and whenever you want without feeling guilty.
Most importantly, it will give you the freedom to say no to foods that you shouldn’t be eating.