Every day we are faced with new innovations and extravagant forward creativity. Technology and information are rampant and seem to give us new found knowledge every day. To be honest, we are still alive and kicking, so the people that came before us must have been doing something right.
Now, asides from the Paleo theory, basically the one that states that our ancestors were meat and vegetable eaters and that we should stay away from anything processed (grains, sugar, etc…) because our bodies are not used to digesting it, in fact most food related diseases started because of the inclusion and increase of grains in our diets; I find it interesting to go a little less far back, yet still quite far and see what ancient civilisations used to eat and what are the healthy takeaways we can learn from them.
What do I base this theory on? Well on the simple fact that these people lived off the land and I’m pretty sure obesity wasn’t as rampant (well, you do see depictions of fat Romans from time to time, but they were known for food and sex orgies, yes, probably at the same time, so best not to take notice of the over indulgers).
All these ingredients have been used by some of the greatest civilizations the world has seen.
These guys built monuments, grand structures and made amazing scientific discoveries, with no computers, they must of been eating something good.
- Quinoa: Before Women’s Health there were the Incas. This was referred to as the mother of all grains. High in protein, iron and calcium, you can almost use it in any application rice can be used in.
- Kiwicha or Amaranth: Surprisingly this can be found here locally in the Philippines, in your local markets. Don’t ask the sellers to name it though; they’ll probably all call it differently. The grains are a little smaller than quinoa and a good complete branched amino acid profile.
- Bison Meat: Unfortunately not available everywhere. Bison meat is probably one of the leanest ones out there and packs a massive protein punch. The flavour is gamey and powerful, just how I like it.
- Reindeer: I know, you probably feel bad for bambi. But in places where there are a lot of reindeer, people actually eat this meat and its quite popular (Vikings are pretty strong). Its tasty, cooks really quickly, is very delicate and is delicious to be honest. Full of protein without too many fats.
- Sweet Potatoes: The better potato. I’ve repeated this many times in the past. This root vegetable is full of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.
- Chia Seeds: Another Hollywood favourite. Chia is very high in protein and fibre, was an energy choice for Aztec warriors (if it’s good for them, it’s probably ok for you), has a lot of omega 3 and is just dense in nutrients out there. I like to take a couple of tablespoons and let them steep in coconut milk until it becomes almost gelatinous and I pour it on my fruits in the morning.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon was used a lot in Ancient Rome for its medicinal properties. People tend to forget that as they dust their vanilla ice creams with it. Cinnamon is a strong antioxidant and has a wide array of medical benefits.
- Barley: Probably one of the best grains out there. It has a low GI and has both good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber. Barley is spoken about in Hebrew in the bible.
- Acai Berry: The secret of most Brazilian athletes. Acai is very popular in brazil and has seen so many by-products in the past years. Try and get it in the frozen berry form or the powder form. Acai, just like any other berries, are full of good for you vitamins and antioxidants.
- Goji Berry: Just like their Brazilian cousins, Goji berries are LOADED with nutrients, vitamins, BCAAs, antioxidants, you name it.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is one of the easiest fats to digest and is full of vitamins. No wonder its been around for so long. Olive Oil is seen as far back as 2000 years BC.
- Kombucha: A fermented tea that has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese. The process I just a little weird, you need to cultivate a little live organism to ferment the tea, and then you can pass it on to your friends so that they can do the same.
- Kefir: considered an ancient elixir. The taste is something to get used to, but the benefits are a long list of wonderful. A fermented, pro biotic drink that’s like a sparkling yogurt.
- Bones: Why do you think soup is so damn good for you? When bones are cooked out into a broth for a long time. All the minerals and nutrients seep into the stock and help replenish your body because it’s so easily digested. We are talking about animal bones here you freak.
- Grass Fed Beef: Self-explanatory. Good meat. Grown the way it should be. We’ve been carnivores/hunters since forever so why change that.
- Maca: Do you know Machu Pichu? Well the Incans built that on Maca. It’s usually sold in a powder like form and is an ingredient that will just revitilize and energize your body. More of a supplement than a food. I know a lot of people who swear by Maca.
- Hemp: No not Marijuana (I wish), Hemp is full of protein (heard of hemp protein supplements?) and has a complete BCAA (amino acid) profile and has a good ratio of omega 3s and 6s.
- Spirulina: An algae that has been around forever. Less nutritional benefits more health benefits for your bodys cells.
- Coconut Oil: I love coconut oil because I can use it on my hair, skin and in my frying pan. Lots of good healthy fats, paleo and full of different claims like weight loss, immunity system boosting, etc.
- Raw Cacao: Cacao is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Don’t grab that snickers bar just yet. This is chocolate in its purest form, not that sweet thing that’s staring at you right now. This was called the food of the goods by the Aztecs.
- Nutritional Yeast: Been used for years and is one of the best sources of B12.
- Green Tea: Also present for thousands of years. Green tea is a concoction of antioxydants.