Eat Like Apes With a Raw Food Diet
Some people say that a raw food diet is not right for anyone. The argument is that we were designed to eat meat therefore we should eat a lot of it. However, according to evolutionary biology we know that we have a lot in common with the great apes. In fact, in comparing our DNA with the apes, scientists are continually finding identical genes. There are differences of course but we still share about 99% of our DNA with the great apes. So it makes sense that following a diet similar to what they eat can be quite healthy for us.
All of the great apes including chimps, baboons, orangutans and gorillas, eat a raw food diet which is rich in raw fruit, raw leaves, shoots, insects and nuts. The concept of eating cooked foods and a wide variety of grains is unique to humans. Many experts that include dieticians, doctors, and scientists believe that if we eat a diet that is similar to that of our ape relatives, we would see major benefits to our overall health. After all, it is the diet we are best adapted to. The diet of the great apes, however, does have some important limitations and we need to be aware of these limitations so we can compensate for it.
Where is the B12
A raw food diet lacks a source for B12. The apes have evolved to compensate for this by eating insects along with the fruits, shoots, leaves and nuts. Chimpanzees collect and eat termites, and they are high in vitamin B12. If you know anything about a vegan diet you know that insects are definitely not on the menu! Bacteria is the source of Vitamin B12, so you can go ahead an pas on the insect snacks. I’m sure you’re not at all disappointed by that fact! You can simply get B12 from commercial fortified foods and supplements.
Exposure to sunlight is very important and that is a source of vitamin D. The modern human tends to remain indoors a great deal, especially during the winter. So, while our ape relatives bask in the African sun, we need to be sure to get our vitamin D from foods fortified with the vegan form of Vitamin D which is known as D2 (Ergocalciferol). Taking this Vitamin D supplement will make up for our limited light exposure. Another way to compensate is to take a trip to a sunnier place during the winter to get your vitamin D naturally. Children have a lot of bone growth going on in their bodies so they need plenty of vitamin D. Breast feeding can be one of the best ways to insure infants get enough vitamin D. But, that only works if the mother has enough vitamin D in her diet.
Processing food, which includes cooking, has led to big changes in how our digestive systems work in comparison with the great apes. Some argue that we have adapted to rely on processed foods. In some cases, cooking and other processes are good. Cooking can eliminate some foods natural toxins, and release some nutrients. The best way to cook foods are steaming food or boiling it. This way of cooking improve some nutrients, while do only minimal destruction to others.
One food group to try to avoid are the refined grains. There has been a lot of research to support the assertion that grains may increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Some people are allergic to gluten, which is in found in many grains and the worst one is wheat. If you want more information about why wheat is not good for you check out the Wheat Belly book. Whole grain rice is a grain that you can eat and is very nutritious.
How to Eat Like an Ape
While we may have some differences from our ape relatives, following a raw food diet similar to theirs can be nutritious, beneficial, and require little to no cooking. If you try this type of diet make sure you get adequate vitamins, and avoid anything you might be allergic to, but the overall long-term health benefits are outstanding.