Our Bodies are in sync with the Earth's Seasons
Eating like Our Ancestors
Our bodies are in-sync with the earth’s seasons more than we realize, like the Earth, our bodies have seasons and if we are in tune with our bodies, our eating preferences follow suit. We can feel these subtle changes as our seasons change even if we live in environments where the changes are very subtle as in desert climates.
There are theories that our body’s needs are not very different from our hunter-gatherer ancestors and our metabolism mirrors their metabolisms.
For example, during the summer we feel more motivated to physical activities. The daylight hours are longer and we are ready to take advantage. Our ancestors used this time for hunting and gathering to store for winter. Later this season became the time to maintain the crops because after a long winter they were still sustaining themselves on last year’s harvest. Most of the meals were small and light and they ate several times a day. Our society has established the ‘three times a day’ norm.
Summer is a time for finger foods, vegetables, fruits and grains. It is a time for many small meals containing light menu items rather than larger filling meals. Learning to listen to our body’s needs and eating foods appropriate to the season actually gives us more energy and vitality as we are eating the way we were designed to eat.
Then the weather cools and daylight hours are shorter. The summer’s crops and hunts have been harvested and stored. It’s during this time that we begin to feel more lethargic and it becomes a chore to get our daily exercise. As winter approaches we find ourselves craving heavier meals with more carbohydrates and protein. Weight gain is common but not necessarily due to the holidays. Our metabolism slows to conserve our energy. Our ancestors did little during this time of year since the crops were in, most mammals were hibernating and game birds had flown south so food was scarce. It makes sense that the metabolism slows in order to conserve energy and lessen the requirement for calories.
Various Diet Theories
The theories that abound such as the Paleolithic Diet and The Evolutionary Appropriate Diet suggest that our bodies are not designed for the rich diets that we consume. This is becoming obvious due to the rise in obesity rates. However, aside from the weight concern is wellness. In Thayer White’s book ‘Finding your Soul in the Spirituality Maze’ he makes reference to hunter-gatherer fitness. By this he is referring to the lack of activity in our daily lives as compared to our ancestors. In Chapter 9 he states: “A sedentary overweight couch-potato life goes against our genes and our heritage. Moreover, it really screws up our body chemistry.” Mr. White further asserts that our experiences with depression and lethargy are directly related to living against our body’s heritage.
What we eat and how we exercise has just as much impact on our well being as it does on our weight. Being thin does not necessarily mean one is well. Eating as our ancestors did and being in tune with our body’s language help our entire being to be well not just the outer shell. Having a well balanced mind, body and spirit is essential to survive in today’s economy and the upheavals we are experiencing.
These theories are an intense and interesting study. It may not be realistic to eat exactly what our ancestors ate since our palates and tastes have changed but in principle they make sense. These theories also suggest that we are more like our animal counterparts that we realize. The animals instinctively know the seasons and act accordingly. Many hibernating animals eat much during the summer to carry them over through the winter. Humans have instincts as well the challenge being the ability listen to these instincts after many years of ignoring them.
As a result of returning to instinctive behavior where our diet is concerned may prove to be beneficial and a positive side effect will be a healthy weight…not necessarily the weight dictated by society.
Animals’ instincts help them survive and ours can too.
Sources on Paleolithic Diet
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