What To Eat cover

AWARD WINNER

Should I eat like a caveman?

What To Eat cover

AWARD WINNER

One of the strongest and most publicised proponents of the caveman or Paleo-diet is Professor Loren Cordain.

Can we reverse millenia? Sometimes impractical, the caveman diet does give clues that are helpful to the modern diet.

I found the paleo-diet useful in looking at the type of oil in my diet, ending up with rapeseed oil and olive oil as basic cooking oils. I use nut oils – English cobnut is a homegrown treat – as well as posh olive oils for dressings.

Omega-3 fats in fish are especially interesting and seem to be part of what we evolved to eat.

Richard Wrangham, Professor of Biological anthropology at Harvard University, shows how unhealthy fast foods push our evolutionary buttons and his book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human shows how it is the bioavailabity of nutrients – how we digest foods – that matters, not just calories.

Biodiversity in our world and in our diet is one of the secrets to good eating. Kew Gardens is a centre for research. It has the Millenium Seed Bank and is part of the Global Crop Diversity Trust that promote biodiversity and food security.

The charity Living Medicine also promotes the potency of plants and the importance to maintaining them and their eco-systems.

One way to tap into this is to forage for wild foods. Richard Mabey’s Food for Free and Euell Gibbons’ books, starting with Stalking the Wild Asparagus, are foundations of today’s eco hunter-gatherers.

Abundance projects, started in Sheffield and spreading, gather unused fruit from urban trees to make community jams, jellies and pickles.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a strong proponent of traditional diets, including raw milk, animal fats, unprocessed foods and meat broths and makes many interesting points that challenge healthy eating othodoxies.

Fermentation and other microbiological processes are at the heart of many traditional foods, be it yoghurt, chocolate or air-cured hams. Sandor Ellix Katz is one of a number of food writers encouraging us to get back to beneficial bugs.

MY JOURNEY WENT…

From looking at the Stone Age diet in the Space Age to…

…working out what oil to use in cooking to

… a plate of noodles from the point of view of a cavewoman to

…the workings of omega-3 fats and what fish to eat to

…how my body is related to rocks to

…talking to one Professor who ate chimp food and another who has acorns for breakfast to

…wild foods close to home, be they blackberries, nettles or brazil nuts to

…fermentation at the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cooking.