5

votes

Are you eating like your grandparents ate?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 19, 2012 at 3:45 PM

My dad was Polish. Mom was Uruguayan and her parents were Hungarian. Assuming that my grandparents (on both sides) were healthier than people in my generation, it seems that I'd be better off eating eastern European fare and not so much of the coconut oil and some other paleo staples that they wouldn't have eaten.

What do you think? Do you consider your recent lineage in making food choices?

Da681d976130df15aac3984013aaad6d

(720)

on June 21, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Yeah I lucked out with the good genes, my grandmother on my mom's side just died at 96 and no serious health issues either so I've got longevity on both sides, though I personally have a bevy of annoying health issues. Staying paleo is probably helping me though so I'm keeping at it...

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 20, 2012
at 11:11 PM

Sounds like the diet of a winner. Although it's considered gauche to drink a G&T and Scotch at the same time. Country Club lunch for the win, though...

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on June 20, 2012
at 11:08 PM

I think your right, the problem might be getting the fresh meats and veggies that your grandparents ate. Think about it.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 20, 2012
at 05:18 PM

Maybe she'll eat paleo and those great genes will let her live to 110.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 20, 2012
at 04:18 AM

I used to, then I went paleo. From what I hear my gradma ate a LOT of ice cream and was obese. All other grandparents passed away before I was born.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 20, 2012
at 02:04 AM

90 and no health problems. Why WOULDN'T you eat it? It sounds like an alternate road to success for you, and less expensive than paleo. Maybe it worked because it made them feel good even if it wasn't optimal. Stress kills just as surely as Marlboros.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:56 PM

And then there are all the folks in your bloodline that weren't talked about a few generations back. Supposedly 60% of "whites" in the Southern US have some African ancestry. How do you know or figure that in? My granddaughter is 1/4 African American with blonde hair and blue eyes. 2-3 generations ago and she would have "passed" and no one would know she wasn't all northern european. We're all mutts, we all originated in Africa, and apparently we all descend from one woman who lived about 200,000 years ago. Who knows where our ancestors were from otherwise?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:47 PM

But before that? There's a decent chance there were some Vikings way back in the Irish family - that's easy to guess by a look in the mirror or at my relatives. So a few more hundred years back. But where from there? Hair and skin color, nose and jaw shapes all change pretty fast, especially considering how much humans move about. Most of my matrilineal line (based on genome studies) probably lived in Northern Europe back to several thousand years ago, but the male line (going by genomes in that area and statistical chance) were probably from the Mideast.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:42 PM

This. I know what my ancestors back to several hundred years ago were eating (more or less) since they were mostly northern European - Irish, English, Scots and French. It doesn't really matter though since a lot of those people were mostly eating anything to survive and emigrated to N America to get away from those conditions. I may have inherited my genetic tendency to insulin resistance (very helpful to surviving famine). I'm sure not going to try to survive on what they were forced to eat.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:31 PM

+1 And then for dessert they had more potatoes.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:28 PM

The real shame of that is that they raised their own steers, vegetables and fruits (made into jams and jellies), so it isn't like some seriously good food wasn't available. She majored in home ec in the late 1920's when it was considered necessary to cook food to death.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:26 PM

My grandmother cooked meat until it turned gray, vegetables until they fell apart and loved wonder bread, velveeta, sugar flakes and her twice a day coca cola break. So not so much.

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18 Answers

11
Medium avatar

(10663)

on June 19, 2012
at 08:27 PM

I know my Filipino/Portuguese grandfather ate lots of saturated fat in the form of pork and coconuts. But he also ate a lot of starch in the form of white rice and mangoes. So I more or less eat what he ate. And just for fun, here's the most recent conversation I had with my uncle (who's a nurse):

Uncle: (sees me cooking with coconut oil; meanwhile, my mom is about to cook something up with vegetable oil) You know coconut oil is bad for you right? It has all saturated fat?
Me: Actually, it's not bad for you. Because you know what I don't get? You know how they say keep vegetable oil in a cool dark place so they don't get rancid from the heat? Well, our body's temperature is like 98.6* right? So won't the vegetable oil get rancid when it gets inside our body? Meanwhile, saturated fat is solid at room temperature and stable at high temperatures.
Uncle: (shrugs) You know what your grandfather used to cook everything with?
Me: My mom told me he cooked in pork fat.
Uncle: Haha yeah!
Me: And he lived to be how old?
Uncle: .........90.
Me: Exactly.

6
Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

on June 19, 2012
at 07:16 PM

No, my grandparents were basically still Russian peasants. They lived on vodka, more vodka, potatoes, buckwheat, beets, cabbage soup, dumplings, tea with sugar. To which they added more sugar. And then for dessert they had more potatoes.

Needless to say, both my grandparents were enormous and very ill. My grandfather was probably an alcoholic, altho' Russian people traditionally drink waaaaaay more than what Americans think is sane.

Eating like this is bad for everyone, I think it's safe to say.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:31 PM

+1 And then for dessert they had more potatoes.

6
Da681d976130df15aac3984013aaad6d

on June 19, 2012
at 06:42 PM

If I were eating what my great grandparents ate I'd be eating bread, potatoes and dumplings. Sure they were homemade but still probably not good for you.

My grandparents were born in the US and ate Tastee-kakes and other garbage, drank whiskey and smoked several cases of Marlboro reds weekly. They both lived into their 90s with very few health problems.

Go figure.

So no, I'm eating nothing like them.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 20, 2012
at 02:04 AM

90 and no health problems. Why WOULDN'T you eat it? It sounds like an alternate road to success for you, and less expensive than paleo. Maybe it worked because it made them feel good even if it wasn't optimal. Stress kills just as surely as Marlboros.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 20, 2012
at 05:18 PM

Maybe she'll eat paleo and those great genes will let her live to 110.

Da681d976130df15aac3984013aaad6d

(720)

on June 21, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Yeah I lucked out with the good genes, my grandmother on my mom's side just died at 96 and no serious health issues either so I've got longevity on both sides, though I personally have a bevy of annoying health issues. Staying paleo is probably helping me though so I'm keeping at it...

5
1f9527e79d0378418c6db93384e3d929

(154)

on June 20, 2012
at 10:23 AM

Actually this has been an idea i have been thinking of for a long time. I am especially thinking of my grandparents from the country side. I am 100% Romanian and my grandparents have traced the genes to be 100% Romanian for a couple of hundreds of years. What they ate: You see for breakfast (except for in the summer) they ate a good (3 cm or more thick) piece of pork fat (either bacon or lard) on a slice of bread with garlic usually to "burn" the fat.In the summer they would have cheese instead of lard. For lunch they ate the same 2-3 things every day: - Polenta (a soft corn bread like thing) - Fresh cheese w/o cream

  • Bors (a soup soured with a homemade thing, basically a probiotic) with potatoes or rice, almost always meat with organs (raised by them) and lots of seasonal vegetables. In winter they had canned vegetables and greens instead.
  • A potatoes meal (boiled potatoes, meat, some vegetables, lots and lots of fat, tomatoes or tomato juice (made by them by fermenting tomatoes) Sometimes this was eaten with a salad, but always with lots of bread or more polenta.

Dinner was always something light, in the winter some compot (boiled fruit from summer in lots of sugar) or jam and bread.

These two grandparents never brushed their teeth, never used chemicals to wash except for their home-made soap(an acid with pork fat). They did work heavily in their garden and on the land, taking care of their animals. Winter was easy and just cleaning around the house, nothing much considering what they did in summer. They never had to go to the doctor until their 75's ( i'll mention later why) and had perfect teeth, eyes, hearing, everything. Even with eating bread, white bread actually, and jams, and sugars. My grandmother made awesome pies. To be fair they didn't make them often, maybe once a week or on special occasions.

You know what happened after they became 75? My family finally reached a better financial situation so we started bringing them stuff like ice-creams, sodas and other "treats". My grandfather wasn't a sweet-tooth guy so he didn't eat much of these things. My grandmother on the other hand loved it so much that she started buying her own stuff. (They never spent money on food). Result? My grandmother's health went downwards really quick in 5-8 years(dementia, blind, can't walk - probably undiagnosed diabetes) and my grandfather now is still ok (except like the person with the Russian heritage mentioned, he also drinks way too much for any standards). They never made the connection. Really Never. Talk about silent killer...

But still strange that they ate a lot of carbs with every meal, even carbs and fats that are thought of as bad (white bread, sugar, sunflower oil) and had a perfect health until they started buying food.

Sorry for the long post but i have one more thing i wanted to say. I've been low carbing for more then 6 months and adapted things to paleo for 3. I live in North Europe now. My results have been slow to invisible most of the time. I go to Romania for 2 weeks and i lose a ton of weight and i feel awesome. How weird is that?!

4
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 19, 2012
at 05:53 PM

I'm not sure what you are suggesting. Yes I'm sure that they ate less processed crap than recent generations do, but they probably included a fair amount of neolithic food in their diet (I bet they loved a bit of bread).

My diet does resemble that of my Grand-parents, in that every meal seems to be meat and two veg, but that's because there isn't all that much else left when you take away all the processed shit, and not because I'm trying to emulate them.

4
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on June 19, 2012
at 05:27 PM

I understand the point of this, but why not take it any further, we should perhaps adjust our diet for where our ancestors evolved as opposed to eating actual cultural fare. My heritage is German and English so I would have never eaten a pineapple in a truly primal world. Perhaps my body is not even well prepared to handle eating certain tropical foods? I think the idea is novel, but if I were to restrict myself to actul German and English food I would be eating a lot of junk that I don't want in my body.

4
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:06 PM

My mother's family is German and French, and my father's is British. Only three of them ever lived to meet me, but my great-grandparents seemed to be generally much healthier than the people in my generation (I'm young enough that I have to go back to my great-grands to find people who eat traditional whole foods). I remember walking into my great-grandma's pantry and seeing all the stuff she'd canned and pickled herself (at age 95+!) and feeling like I'd stumbled on a delicious treasure trove. I do eat like my they ate, in the sense that I eat whole foods and not freaky processed crap that comes out of a package. I don't make any special effort to eat German/French/British food though.

3
F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

on June 19, 2012
at 08:43 PM

I have thought about this a lot since my wife is Filipina and I am northern European. Remember that our species was stuck in south Africa for 140,000 years, on the coast. I think that the question that should be asked is: What did your pre-agricultural ancestors eat? This can be very complicated.

I think that the best answer is that we all should be eating according to our own genetic makeup. This cannot be determined with utter precision because even mutations could sneak in since your parent's generation. Paleo is an ideal and guide to what your genetic structure is. I think that it is best to get roughly what we should eat from the paleo ideal, and then work on the details by finding what works for one's self.

We can't know what is exactly our optimal diet from looking backward to our personal ancient ancestors. Not only mutations could sneak in, but damage done by wrong eating since the agricultural revolution and especially since the processed food devolution. So each person has to figure out the details for themselves, with help from others, of course.

I do GREAT with coconuts, but my ancestors have not seen coconuts for at least 25,000 years.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:42 PM

This. I know what my ancestors back to several hundred years ago were eating (more or less) since they were mostly northern European - Irish, English, Scots and French. It doesn't really matter though since a lot of those people were mostly eating anything to survive and emigrated to N America to get away from those conditions. I may have inherited my genetic tendency to insulin resistance (very helpful to surviving famine). I'm sure not going to try to survive on what they were forced to eat.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:56 PM

And then there are all the folks in your bloodline that weren't talked about a few generations back. Supposedly 60% of "whites" in the Southern US have some African ancestry. How do you know or figure that in? My granddaughter is 1/4 African American with blonde hair and blue eyes. 2-3 generations ago and she would have "passed" and no one would know she wasn't all northern european. We're all mutts, we all originated in Africa, and apparently we all descend from one woman who lived about 200,000 years ago. Who knows where our ancestors were from otherwise?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 09:47 PM

But before that? There's a decent chance there were some Vikings way back in the Irish family - that's easy to guess by a look in the mirror or at my relatives. So a few more hundred years back. But where from there? Hair and skin color, nose and jaw shapes all change pretty fast, especially considering how much humans move about. Most of my matrilineal line (based on genome studies) probably lived in Northern Europe back to several thousand years ago, but the male line (going by genomes in that area and statistical chance) were probably from the Mideast.

3
Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 19, 2012
at 07:42 PM

As I get older I think about my grandparents and try not to eat the way they did. They overate fatty starchy foods, were overweight/obese, and died of stroke/heart problems. I don't want to repeat what worked poorly.

But being half Norwegian I wouldn't think about taking the ancestral dairy and fish out of my diet. Or the coffee.

2
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 20, 2012
at 06:56 PM

grits, corn on the cob, creamed corn, corn casserole, corn pudding, boiled corn, grilled corn, corn and pea salad

Paired with pinto beans, Lima beans, kidney beans, black beans, pork and beans, baked beans, 3-bean salad, chili beans, butter beans, navy beans

And lots of fatback.

Kinda what you'd expect if Bubba Gump was a corn farmer instead of a shrimp fisherman.

No, I don't eat like my grandparents.

2
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on June 20, 2012
at 04:04 PM

No. Scotch, club sandwiches, and G&Ts are not conducive to my goals.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 20, 2012
at 11:11 PM

Sounds like the diet of a winner. Although it's considered gauche to drink a G&T and Scotch at the same time. Country Club lunch for the win, though...

2
B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 19, 2012
at 07:07 PM

Kinda, as my grandfather ate a lot of honey, milk, bone broth (I eat gelatin though), ice cream, candy, chocolate ... The beer and bread aren't part of my diet though, I replaced them with fruit.

My other grandfather ate tons of bread, his second wife too.

1
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 20, 2012
at 10:46 PM

No, but I did eat my Grandparents.

Bit to high in Omega6s, and the old people smell was kind of off putting, but I reckon that cannabalism still pretty Paleo: if you can't eat like your ancestors, just eat your ancestors instead.

1
153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on June 20, 2012
at 02:45 PM

I'm a scandinavian with some sami blood, and I really don't feel well with non leavened barley bread, meat, meat, meat and fish, some veggies (very few in the winter), berries, some milk etc.

I feel good with coconut stuff, coconut milk and fat, tropical fruit etc. the only nod I give towards my grandparents diet is reindeer meat which I love, and also dairy.

But I have to say that my grandparents, and their parents were exceptionally healthy, living to a hundred with wide palates, and no mental decline when they aged, so maybe it's a good diet, I just don't care about it that much, and I don't care about stuff that doesn't make me feel 100% when there are better options even if in theory I should eat like my ancestors.

I would also like to live in a sunny place, I love the sun and the sea, even though I have all the adaptations for living in a northern climate. Sometimes the stillness of winter in lapland is lovely, the aurora etc., but I would never like it more than a sunny beach in a hot climate.

1
C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

on June 20, 2012
at 11:47 AM

My dad's parents had a sugary dessert every night. Mom-mom specialized in pound cake and rice pudding. Her parents (or maybe his) owned a candy store at one point and were very fat. I don't know if they're the same ones who owned a saloon. That might have been another set of great grandparents.

On my mom's side, I can't remember much about what my grandparents ate, though my Mimi just died 18 months ago at the age of 94. I do remember, however, going over their house about twenty years ago. My sister was picking at a bowl of popcorn on the counter, and my grandmother said "Don't eat too much of that. That's your Pop-Pop's dinner."

So, yeah, I guess what I'm saying is that I don't even have any idea what my eating heritage would be.

1
F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

on June 20, 2012
at 04:03 AM

My grandparents were my age in the late 50s. I do NOT want to eat like them.

1
F5a8a14fc6a4d33c2563d0dd3066698a

(714)

on June 20, 2012
at 03:52 AM

This is precisely the rationale I use when drinking keffir.

0
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on June 19, 2012
at 07:56 PM

Certainly not. All my family (back to my great grandparents) have eaten a fairly standard British diet: meat (little), couple of veg (not very much) and potatoes, with bread at the other two meals; next to no junk. This hasn't worked out for any-one that I know who eats this way (which is most people I know).

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