What did early humans eat? And what about the answer to that question should we pay attention to when it comes to designing our own, modern, personal diets?
Two of the most popular – and two of my own personal favorite – presentations at last weekends Advanced Nutrition Study Weekend at the McDougall Health and Medical Center – were given by Biological Anthropologist Nathanial Dominy, Phd, Dartmouth College. For several years as a science teacher, the curriculum I taught included evolution of early humans and I’ve always found the whole unfolding of affairs absolutely fascinating. I really tuned in to Dominy’s talks.
Dr. Dominy invested a solid chunk of one presentation demonstrating and illustrating the role of amylase in human survival.
Amylase is the starch-digesting enzyme, which we humans produce a relatively high amount of, compared to other primates. This, Dominy says, can be attributed to the importance of starch in the human diet.
When it comes to the expansion of human brain size, here is what Dominy has to say; this is pulled directly from the video.
There is a surge in brain size of early humans about 2 million years ago.
Because there is not a very strong match between meat consumption and gradual increases in brain size, scientists have looked to other options and given that plant foods are of such importance to modern humans that hunt and gather foods the money is on plant foods and a shift in the kinds of plant foods as being a major driving factor in increasing brain size.
I would say a mixture of plant foods with a large amount of starch coming from tubers and seeds; that’s the fundamental component of the human diet. ~ Nathaniel Dominy, Phd
It’s all in the video. We at the event were lucky to get the extended, long-play version. Which, by the way, you can still access as download at McDougallMedia.com.
Are you a member of Lani’s Success Club yet? The September Teleclass for the Success Club will take a full hour to report to you on highlights from the Advanced Study Weekend. Go HERE NOW to join the Success Club and pick up your Bonus gifts, too!
Wow. Great stuff, and thanks for sharing it with us Lani! I know I feel so much better as vegan (even with my lapses) – and this makes so much sense!
Isn’t it a cool clip? Remember, we got to hear this guy speak for 2 hours and he had amazing film footage, slides, charts…and all from an objective scientist’s view. The clip above was an interview between sessions. He answered several of my questions personally after his first talk and was such a great resource!
I’m not vegan nor vegetarian, but agree that starches are likely what we evolved on. I was reading blog posts about the Ancestral Health Symposium for a bit while I was ill with bronchitis, until I got too irritated with the whole “carbs are bad” crapola. People like to think our early ancestors lived on steak with a side of broccoli or salad, but I doubt it. The cultures that ate mostly meat likely did so because they had to, not because they wanted to, or it was an ideal diet.
Hey Julie, thanks for your comments. You have me laughing out loud with the “side of broccoli or salad” – thanks so much for some good morning humor!
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