I recently watched one of the most profound presentations on health that I have ever seen. It was so to the point, simple, and well… obvious, that it forced me to take a deeper look at my own diet. It was presented by Chris A. Knobbe, MD from the Cure AMD Foundation. The Cure AMD Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization, dedicated to saving vision from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but what was so interesting about the talk was how Dr. Knobbe laid out not only the root cause of AMD, but also Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and others. Staying healthy is our number one investment in ourselves and our family; once we lose our health not much else matters. It’s the most important thing we take for granted every day.
I recently reached out to Dr. Knobbe and he kindly gave me permission to show you some of the charts and heat maps he displayed during his lecture. In this post I’m just going to give my general takeaway from the lecture; all the text in this article is my interpretation, and all the charts and heat maps were those provided by Dr. Knobbe. If you really want to dig into this data the full video is at the bottom of this post.
The diet of our ancestors
If we went back in time thousands of years we would see that humans could only eat what they could hunt and gather. Some cultures ate a lot of meat with limited vegetables (think Arctic circle) and some cultures many vegetables and limited meat.
The diet we have now
But none of our ancestors ate potato chips, processed grains, vegetable (seed) oils, flour, crops grown with pesticides, or meats with antibiotics and hormones.
Our ancestors also wouldn’t have had access to refined sugars. Sure they would have eaten an apple during the right time of year,,, but an apple has 19 grams of sugar, while a 20 ounce soda has around 70. There was none of the corn syrup which laces our Western diet today. Imagine your ancient ancestor having his apple, but also imagine that he’s outdoors walking, hunting, and working… then imagine us now,,, drinking soda, driving to work, sitting in a chair, staring at screens all day. More sugar and less active; that can’t be a good combination.
Vegetable Oils and Trans Fats
Trans fats only occur in nature in small amounts, but thanks to science we can now hydrogenate seed oils to the point that it makes them solid at room temperature. This means they are great for cooking or making butter alternatives. Unfortunately they are terrible for your insides and raise your bad cholesterol while lowering your good. Trans fats are linked to a host of illnesses and they are something that you should really consider avoiding or eating rarely. Vegetable oils in general should be avoided as they are just heavily processed seed oils that humans didn’t consume in the past.
So if our ancestors ate 0% processed foods… What percentage do we eat? 63%….. Can you believe it? 2/3 of our food is now something humans never ate tens of thousands of years.
Western diseases “were” rare
In the 19th century macular degeneration was incredibly rare. But after we increased the amount of sugar and vegetables in our diet we soon started seeing people with so called, “Age Related” eye problems that were rarely seen before. And this isn’t due to people living longer, these numbers have been studied per capita, per age group.
Here we can see America’s food deserts. As people get farther way from a grocery store they tend to eat more at fast food places or gas stations. Take notice of where people in a food desert are located on this heat map. (The Southeast)
Here is another heat map showing where soft drinks are consumed the most… notice where most are being consumed, the Southeast.
Fruit Consumption (lack of)
Here is yet another heat map showing where people are failing to eat fruits. Notice where people aren’t eating fruit, mostly the Southeast.
Now take a look at where the nation has the most heart disease deaths.
Where does the nation have the highest blood pressure? You guessed it.
Yup… the Southeast again.
Well, lack of it… Where do people not live as long exactly??? The Southeast again? Shocking, I know.
Here’s my takeaway on this:
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible, there is just no doubt that they cause disease in millions of people.
- Avoid wheat / flour. Your body converts it to sugar almost instantly and it’s typically covered in pesticides, particularly glyphosates.
- Avoid all foods that have pesticides or hormones. (Eat organic meats, fruits and veggies)
- Quality organic meats are hard to find. I have no affiliation with this company but we’ve ordered from White Oak Pastures and they ship some of the safest meat in the country right to your door.
- Avoid vegetable oils!
- Drink clean water. We have spring water delivered to our home; you can also find filtered spring water at places like costco or maybe your local grocery store.
- Breathe clean air. We recently purchased this air purifier for our living area and a smaller one for the bedroom we sleep in. Hepa filters remove all sorts of particulates from your air, including toxic mold.
In other words…
Ask yourself if your ancestor 20,000 years ago would be consuming whatever it is you are about to. Would he/she eat a candy bar? impossible! Would he/she drink a soda? Impossible! Would he/she breathe in car exhaust or synthetic air fresheners? Impossible! Would he/she eat canola oil or hydrogenated oils? Impossible! Remember they had to hunt animals and gather plants,,, that’s all there was and that’s what our body is designed to work with.
I would like to thank Chris A. Knobbe, MD and the Cure AMD Foundation for letting me share these valuable slides and videos with my audience. This has just been my quick take on his excellent presentation; I recommend you take some time out to watch his entire lecture.
Featured image by Taylor Harding
C.J. is the blogger behind the Vow of Practicality. “Let’s grow your wealth, increase your productivity, and maximize your happiness.”