How do you keep a wild animal healthy?
Say that you’re a zoo-keeper in a zoo, and your job is to keep the animals happy and healthy — what would you do? Put them all in the same pen and feed them all dog chow? No. You would replicate each animal’s natural habitat as closely as possible, and feed them the diet that they would naturally eat in the wild. Feed raw meat to the lions, rodents to the snakes, and bamboo to the pandas. Give the monkeys trees to climb and give the birds space to fly. Make the penguin house cold, and the reptile house hot. Animals thrive in their natural habitat. They are healthier, often live longer, and fall sick less frequently. And the same general principle applies to human beings: to be happy and healthy, we should eat, move, and live in ways that resemble our ancestral habitat.
Re-creating the natural human habitat
But what is the natural human habitat? For most of human history on this earth, humans lived as hunter-gatherers in the wild. Wild humans, living in the wild. And we were good at it. We survived on flat grassy savannahs and on the sides of steep mountains, in parched deserts and in drenched rain forests, next to the sea and far inland, on the hot equator and in the eternal winter of the Arctic.
We accomplished all this without the help of domesticated plants and animals — just using language, smarts, tools, and a little teamwork. But ten thousand years ago, we started to tame the wilderness: the Agricultural Revolution. The Agricultural Revolution ushered in a new set of foods into the human diet that previously had no place. We domesticated wild grains, turning them into wheat, corn, and rice. We domesticated wolves into loyal companions, and bred wild animals and raised them for their meat and milk. And at the same time that human civilization began to flourish, individual human health began to worsen.
Hunter-gatherers were healthy…Read More By John Durant