Common sense tells me yes. I'm 3/4 german, and the rest is a mix of french, polish, native american, and some english/irish. I've always been interested in focusing on incorporating foods that would've been available to your ancestors (ie: there are probably different foods that are optimal for me vs. a Japanese or African native), but haven't done much research in it. Does anyone else follow this philosophy? Or have any resources on it? Thanks!
asked byDanielle (2944)
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on May 07, 2011
at 12:34 PM
I have often thought along these lines. After all: different races of people are different physiologically as well as in terms of anatomical structure(thicker tendons for some, thicker bones, wider cheek bones, hips, nares, the list goes on.). It is a sound inference to draw that different people became that way through different evolutionary paths under different conditions of evolution(climate, topography, etc. which are causally related to physiological/anatomical variations---foods also play an obvious role). Thus it is my belief that one would be best advised to practice the eating habits of their ancestors, ideally as far back as possible to the point where phylogeny morphed into a state similar to the one you currently embody(ie. when your race 'took root'). Coconut? I'm not phillipino or malaysian and I can digest butter much better. I have found that I instinctively gravitate to foods my ancestors consumed without having known about what they ate(but came to this knowledge later). Scandinavian= fish, organ meat. Therefore...coconut? Maybe not.
on May 07, 2011
at 11:21 AM
I say bring on the wooly mamoth!
But seriously, I don't know how knowing your ethnic background would inform you what to eat - other than perhaps certain groups, such as islanders or coastal dwellers relying more on marine life.
But it may give some information on what not to eat. For example, asians tend to be ill-adapted to dairy.
The problem, as I see it, is that ethnicity such as french/polish/irish is neolithic, not paleolithic.
I think the perfect diet for you would be Kwasniewski's Optimal Bratwurst, Lard, Red Wine, Potatoes and Buffalo Diet. (Okay, I couldn't resist that one!)
on May 07, 2011
at 03:29 PM
Unless you are 100% Australian Aboriginal, no*. For three reasons.
Humans are instinctive migrators. There is no possible way to track what part of the world your ancestors were in for most of the Paleolithic, and odds are they lived in every part of it at one time or another.
Many of the minor physical changes we think of as "racial" traits occurred during the Neolithic. While we should customize our diets to our individual needs and tolerances, it makes much more sense to just experiment and see what works for you then to try to guess based on a genetic heritage that's spent the last ten thousand years settling, traveling, trading, invading, touring and otherwise intermixing with every other part of the accessible world. What our paleo ancestors ate becomes irrelevant at that point.
Many of the region-specific foods available in the paleolithic longer exist in that form. Most of the megafauna are gone. Edible plants have been selectively bred into unrecognizeability. Neolithic humans carried seeds, livestock, pets and pests to every corner of the globe, rapidly and radically changing the distribution of "native" wildlife.
If you want to emulate your much more recent ancestors that's fine, but do it with caution. The whole point of paleo is that we haven't adapted to most neolithic foods.
*And even if you are, point 3 still applies.