In quest of a more natural diet

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How do you eat better?

When I was 21 I was and living in Alice Springs and I made good friends with a Botanist. My knowledge of the science of Botany was zilch, my experience as a field naturalist, about the same.

I met an English guy in the same hostel as I was living. He had had little education, but was a very smart guy. He had come to Australia when he was sixteen, as an indentured migrant. He was committed to work on an outback station for two years to pay back his debt to our Government, I suppose. He had plenty of pluck, could see no advantage where he was summarily plonked, and took himself off to the Territory. To improve his education I suppose again.

I don’t remember finding much more about his past. In conversation I knew he had spent time with aborigines, and I suggested to my Botanist mate that they should get together. They got on like a house on fire. Talked for hours in technical terms and left me way behind. I learnt nothing, but my Botanist friend was astonished at this mans understanding of Aboriginal bush-tucker and his intimate knowledge of food and nutritious plants and herbs in the Northern Territory.

What does this have to do with the Practical Issues of Cancer? Just that our Aboriginal people were an exceptionally healthy lot, eating a well balanced diet, across the breadth of Australia in all it’s vast ecological niche areas. Many white men starved amidst aboriginal plenty. Burke and Wills spring to mind. We still would starve today. Unfortunately a lot of present day aboriginals would too. Now they have our diet and all our western degenerative diseases, and in bigger loads.

Here is an inspiring article on how to be healthy. Traditional Foods – The Aboriginal Diet http://tamingthemonkeymind.com/writings/Nature%20Care%20Stuff/Nutrition/... They did it and we can’t follow it then or now, but it’s a good starting point to wonder why we have cancer and suggests ways we might change our lives, even a bit, to live and eat more naturally. I was surprised when I perused the references of this article to see mention of P Latz in two places. Peter was another Botanist, or maybe a Zoologist, and a friend and fellow student of my friend at Adelaide Uni. Together with athird scientist we went on many field trips in my beaten up VW and sometimes in Peters more beaten up VW. Peter was virtually a native, having grown up on Hermannsburg mission south of the Alice. He was quite a bushman, and I am pleased to find him sharing his knowledge and it being shared in turn. That way we all learn.

And while your at it check out this site "Resistant starch"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistant_starch on a source of dietary fibre I had never heard of until I chatted to this guy in the chemo room in the neighbouring chair.

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Sailor
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Re: In quest of a more natural diet

G'day Borderline

The myth of the noble savage, very powerful and dominant in the romantic writings of the 18th and 19th centuries, especially in the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The idealised person whop was unencumbered by civilisation, was healthy and had a natural diet. Unfortunately there is very little evidence to support this. Life expectancy in classical Greece and Rome was about the same as in paleolithic times at about 28 years. In pre-Columbian North America, i.e. before discovery of North America by europeans it was 25-30 years. There is little objective evidence on life expectancy of the Australian indigenous population pre-european settlement and observations that elderly people were seen looking after children tells us nothing about average life expectancy. We have no reason to claim that they were any different to other hunter gatherer societies.

Hunter gatherer societies have. over time, developed enormous knowledge of local plants, animal habits etc, all of which was needed for survival. However, the amount of land needed to sustain is quite large. The number of indigenous people living in Australia at the time of European settlement was less than 1 million, variously estimated as between 350,000 and 750,000. They were largely hunter-gatherers and like other hunter gather societies need a large area of land to sustain sufficient food. Domestication of staple crops enabled early settled societies but also a large increase in the number of people that could be sustained from a given area of land.

To try to go back to a diet that relies on undomesticated plants and animals may sound great, but is just not sustainable. We also have to remember that we now, in Australia, someone born in 2010 can expect to live until they're eigthy plus, a huge increase from the 40-45 years at the beginning of the 20th century. It must be something to do with our general health!

Cheers

Sailor

As we live a life of ease
Every one of us has all we need
Sky of blue, and sea green
In our yellow submarine.
Beatles, Yellow Submarine

borderline (not verified)
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Re: In quest of a more natural diet

You have demonstrated my point well
@ "Re: A Sense of Despair Posted by borderline - 1 Oct 2010” http://www.cancerconnections.com.au/blog/sense-despair

Bon appétit
Borderline

If you keep rephrasing the question, it gradually becomes the answer. ~Robert Brault

Vicki Anne
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Re: In quest of a more natural diet

The topic comes to the top of the list on the side and you think , oh good, somewhere has added to this, then to come in and its some person just posting some junk spam etc. Logo design, who cares.

harker
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Re: In quest of a more natural diet

so lets not get put off by the spam...we can deal with cancer, spam is a minor irritant

what a fascinating story borderline, and what a good comment sailor.

Whatever narrative surrounds eating, we do need to eat well. The extraordinary incidence of kidney disease in the indigenous population says something about the impact of a foreign diet. But I don't extrapolate from that to a broader point about what's good or bad food. Not without data.

Anyway, I prefer to make things up.

H

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