Column #249

What’s your focus when it comes to eating? Do you seek pleasure or is survival your primary objective?

Holidays, similar to Memorial Day, give me an opportunity to witness and experience (minimally) what others eat. For most of my early life I never gave food much of a thought. I believed that my body could synthesize whatever it needed from whatever I ate.

Wow, was I ignorant or what? The meaning of the word “essential” hadn’t fully registered!1

My beliefs were not supported by my mother. She was a disciple of the USDA food pyramid which was almost identical to today’s My Plate. I thought she was a little ridiculous about her diet because I couldn’t see any relative differences in the health of my parents and others. In addition my mother had a long-list of chronic diseases and the talk was our parents’ plight would soon be ours, just as my parents’ plights followed in the footsteps of their parents.

It turns out that was just more ignorance. The genetic tendencies for chronic disease to repeat generation after generation isn’t expressed when the diet is correct.2

It was in 1999 when my light turned on about the chemistry of food. Oddly, for years I had been more concerned about what my livestock ate than what I ate. Also, at 55 years of age I was starting to hit the wall. I weighed 200 pounds and was developing a growing list of health concerns that plagued others I knew who were my age. I was even thinking about getting annual checkups like my pals were doing because I was probably going to need some drugs to keep it all together.

Was I happy with what I ate back then? You bet I was. Everything tasted good, was convenient, every social occasion was a banquet, and every restaurant was fair game. What a life!

But the more I learned about food chemistry and human biology the more I realized that my survival depended on changing what I was eating, not in going to the doctor. So I changed my diet and soon forgot about annual checkups because I quickly lost 50 pounds and the health issues that were developing, or had developed, disappeared.3

My new diet was very basic. Everything had to be low glycemic, nutrient dense and nutrient diverse, with an equal balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). That cut out a very large percentage of the foods I used to eat! All forms of sugar, carbohydrates, and high Omega-6 foods were banned.

As you can see, there’s a big difference between a diet based on pleasure and a diet focused on survival. Over the past two decades I’ve witnessed many people who reversed their chronic diseases with the same approach. They literally gained more years of drug-free, pain-free, stress-free life. To me that’s surviving in spades.

In this COVID-19 age the importance of immunity can’t be overemphasized. From early on the CDC reported that nearly 90% of all COVID-19 hospitalized patients had one or more underlying chronic diseases. Immunity and overall good health go hand in hand because they are directly related. Inflammation, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and even cancer are all related to diet because food chemistry plays a huge role in our existence. That’s why switching from pleasure eating to focusing on survival eating is so critical. It can literally mean survival.4

Before the invention of farming about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, humans ate only for survival, never for pleasure. Their pleasure came from living. Survival eating was easy because just about everything they ate was grass-fed meats, wild-caught seafood, green leafy vegetables, and little else. All those options were relatively plentiful. Seeds, nuts, flowers, and gourds were very seasonal—therefore rarely eaten. Because the foundation food for all animal life was the green leaf (the primary source of the 1:1 EFA balance), prehistoric people could not develop an Omega-3 deficiency.5 6 7 8

Today, pleasure and convenience is the standard for dining. That’s a problem for us survivalists. Because, when it comes to holiday events or simple socials, unless we bring our own food there’s nothing for us to eat. This past Memorial Day I did sample a few outlier dishes and there was no way to avoid hydrogenated oils, sugar, carbohydrates, nutritional deficiencies, and skewed EFA balances. It was like tiptoeing through a mine field without any open spaces.

The next day my body let me know it wasn’t all that happy about the experience. Of course the folks who regularly dine on the foods I avoid think I’m nuts. They noticed no differences in their weight, how they felt, or their energy levels. So to them my complaints are all in my head.

Ignorance has always been bliss.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

1. Metabolism and Food Chemistry by Ted Slanker

2. Are Chronic Diseases Hereditary? by Ted Slanker

3. New Food Analysis Tables by Ted Slanker

4. Coronavirus, Diabetes, Obesity and Other Underlying Conditions: Which Patients Are Most at Risk? by Karina Zaiets and Ramon Padilla from USA Today

5. Essential Fatty Acids Balancing Omega 3 and 6 Fats Gives Better Health by Bill Land

6. The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases by A. P. Simopoulos, PhD

7. Omega 3 Test use slanker as an offer code and save

8. Ted Slanker's Omega-3 Blood Test