6. Discussion Of Human Eating Habits The World Over
Diets vary widely over the face of the globe. We have the Lapps and the Eskimos who live pretty much as carnivores on one end of the spectrum, and we have groups of peoples in the equatorial regions who live as almost total fruitarians at the other end of the spectrum.
6.1 The Origins of Paradises and Edens
Up until relatively recent times in human history, humans have been primarily fruitarians. To this day in Java and other Malaysian islands there are enclosures known as para desas where people live among fruit-bearing trees. (The word paradise derives therefrom.)
All over Europe and much of the Far East there were walled enclosures of heavy stone where people resided and tended orchards. These were called paradises or edens. The walls kept out animals, helped capture and retain the sun's heat and protected against winds and frosts.
Many words with roots of ava, and aval (such as Valhalla and avalon) evolved from terms born of a fruit culture. Valhalla originally meant apple hole or a place where apples were stored. Avalon merely meant the land of apples. The cultivation of fruits had attained scientific status long before formal histories were kept. We know of them through folklore legends and the remains of the incredible stone walls of these edens.
6.2 The Origins of Today's Eating Practices
If humans are natural fruitarians, how have they come to stray from the diet of their physiological adaptation? .
In nature, such animals as gorillas, cattle and horses will die of starvation rather than eat flesh; but chimpanzees and some other fruit-eating animals will rend and eat another animal on occasion.
Humans, in addition to being possessed of a strong survival instinct, possess extraordinary intelligence to employ in support of that instinct. About three to four million years ago humans begin wandering out of their homelands in tropical regions. In time they peopled most of the earth accessible to them. Over the whole globe, according to geological records, climate was hospitable and favored their frugivorous habits. The remains of tropical plants have been found in Alaska and other northerly latitudes.
Due to some cataclysmic event or events that resulted in cold and freezing temperatures and ice ages, humans in northerly climes retreated south. Those that remained had to survive on the fare available to them or perish. For a part, this meant meat and animal products. Humans had to learn providence against the seasons and to survive on the foods available in harsh seasons or disappear from the scene. This led to meat-eating and to the use of non-fruit foods. These dietary perversions, born of necessity, became fixed in many peoples and gradually spread to people who had no necessity to resort to non-fruitarian diets. Despite this, many pockets of people throughout the world never deserted their natural fruit diet and remain fruitarians unto this day.
Even such a harsh seasonal climate as found at the 8,000 foot level in the Himalayas in Northeast Pakistan has a fruitarian culture, that of the Hunzas. While the Hunzas do partake of some pulses and grains, theirs is primarily an ecoculture of orchards, and their dietary consists mostly of apples, apricots and other fruits that thrive in their climate and growing season.
The use of meat and animal products, grains, roots and other non-fruitarian fare has arisen in relatively recent times in human history and undoubtedly originated in the adversity humans faced in certain climates, especially northerly ones. The cultivation of grasses for grain is only a few thousand years old, perhaps less than ten thousand.
6.3 A Look at Some Diets over the World
If you were a Mongolian you'd probably be a nomadic appendage to an animal flock. You'd have some vegetables but, for the most part, you'd fare on meats, cheeses, milks and milk products.
If you were among groups of people in tropical Brazil and other tropical cultures, you might live almost entirely on a banana diet, on breadfruit or on some other fruit. The same might be true if you lived on many Pacific islands or Indian Ocean cultures.
If you lived in Southern China you might adopt a diet heavy in fruits, rice and vegetables, whereas in Northern China you might adopt a diet heavy in fruits, soybeans and vegetables.
Eskimos and Lapplanders live almost exclusively on animal fare. With the exception of some areas where fish is consumed extensively, most Asian cultures are vegetarian and fruitarian. Most Asian countries have what is called a rice economy, though some Asian cultures utilize other grains and legumes as staples.
Europeans, immediate ancestors for most Americans, are heavily into grain culture and make it a substantial part of their diet, though they also partake heavily of fruits and vegetables. Meat and animal products form but a small part of the diets of most Europeans. English-speaking people the world over are the heaviest meat-eaters with the exception of Argentinians and Finlanders.
When we look at the world's healthiest people we observe the Hunzas, Vilcabambians, Abkhasians and other primarily fruitarian cultures. These peoples are healthy for more reasons than just fruit-eating, however. They also live mostly in the outdoors in rather unstressful circumstances.
Wherever you look at cultures and their dietary practices of long standing, you find that people have adopted as foods that which they can most easily cultivate and harvest in their regions. They fare well or poorly in accord with the beneficence or lack of it in their dietary.
6.4 Do Different Dietary Habits Change Human Physiology?
Faculties usually require hundreds of thousands of years to develop. Who knows how many millions of years were required to develop human hands to the present stage? In some of our primate relatives the hands have yet to reach the facile stage which humans have attained.
In physiology changes are equally slow in coming about. Humans may eventually adapt to cooked foods and meats just as jackals and buzzards adapted to the roles of scavengers of dead rotting meats. But we might first become extinct! Many creatures have not survived drastic dietary changes. The weakness and diseased condition of most present-day humans is ample warning that our dietary is incorrect and death-dealing with portents of disaster for that part of humanity that indulges in it. The evolvement of adaptations to new foods may not occur at all or so slowly as to be of no good consequence.
In view of the ecological and health benefits of fruit culture and its ease of cultivation, it behooves humans to stay with the diet that developed them into the magnificent creatures that they were, that some are and all can be. By consuming fruits we'll thrive and, at the same time, place a demand on the marketplace that will spur the development of orchards and even more fruit!
Home > Lesson 5 - Introduction To Nutritional Science
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