Column #315       September 17, 2021Neanderthal Family Unit

We’re all familiar with these taboos: Religion, Politics, and Nutrition. Discussing these topics is now considered bad manners. What’s commonplace is how often we’re admonished for bringing up any one of these topics when in a gathering. Yet it’s blatantly obvious these days that religion, politics, and nutrition are critically important regarding our society’s very survival?

Anthropologists generally believe the earliest form of “writing” started almost 5,500 years ago in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Before that, which may take in more than two millions years, all of the “recorded” knowledge, history, and entertainment came in story form that was told or acted out by elders. The earliest methods of communication were most likely grunts and sign language. But it’s thought that, in order for humans to work together, crude languages did develop very early in man’s development.1 2 3

As language became more sophisticated, instructional stories were recited to teach survival skills such as making items for hunting, defense, shelter, food gathering, and clothing. Then maybe as far back as hundreds of thousands of years ago the conversations around campfires at night, at mealtime, or during celebrations covered more topics such social norms (including rituals, habits, and superstitions), entertainment, wars, hunts, seasonal changes, the best foods, and history.

Like today, some individuals became specialists in hunting, building, clothes making, and other survival skills. As specialists, they also became instructors and passed on their knowledge through stories and examples. But, since people haven’t changed emotionally for millions of years, rules for “better behavior” had to be established to enhance survival and trade. I’m sure that humans recognized early on their violent nature could be their undoing.4

Humans are highly social but extremely territorial. When they perceive threats to their social standings and/or their territory, typically they respond instantly in a rage to confront the offender. Consequently, unlike most other animal species that are social, but not nearly as territorial, humans are more likely to kill their own kind. As Douglas Fields Ph.D. explains, “The problem is that the neural circuits of violence that cause us to explode in rage and violence are deep in the brain beneath the cerebral cortex where consciousness arises. The frontal lobes of the brain can squelch these circuits of rage that we share with other violent mammals, but this “top-down” conscious control of our violent impulses is slower to act than the circuits of explosive violence deep in our brain.”5 6

Our ancestors started discussing politics and religion as a means of buffering mankind’s violent territorial instincts. In more modern times, as people learned to read and write, they still studied and discussed the entire gamut of political and religious philosophies because they impacted their lives and often their survival. Certainly the cavemen did it too. There were always tribal leaders (probably earned by brawn and craftiness more than intelligence) and sometimes “elders” who formed councils to formalize rules, establish police forces, and set punishment to quell violence within tribes. Over time this may have morphed into a religious-like, god-fearing awareness that taught community members to be good people because their god would ultimately judge their actions. That certainly helped in creating a more civilized community.7

As recently as 70 years ago, and certainly before that, when Americans got together they discussed religion, politics, and food. Americans were certainly far more religious in 1950 than today. And because they had stronger religious beliefs, they were not shushed when the topic was brought up. In fact, religious and political affiliations were encouraged because it was known to be extremely important for preserving social unions. Of course, there were ideological differences then but they were not as polarized as they are today.

Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D., says “The institutions most under threat today are the family, the organized practice of religion, and the many organizations that can be classified as “community.” That’s occurred because the structures required for optimizing civilizations have been slipping backwards as technology progressed and woke beliefs seemed to make “old fashioned” structures less appealing and worthwhile.8

When a larger percentage of citizens lived in smaller communities, especially rural ones, there were fewer strangers. Most folks also owned or worked for local businesses and many had some acreage or at least a productive garden. Many necessities were made at home and children were assigned tasks and trained to be responsible at an early age. With seemingly everyone having a stake in commerce and their communities, citizens were very concerned about who passed the laws involving trade, taxes, wars, and policing. Yes, political conversations were lively because politics impacted survival.

Food is as necessary as air and water. It was always on the caveman’s mind because it was required for survival. Yet the caveman never worried about nutrition because his food was consistent with what his ancestors had been eating for all of time. He knew which plants were poisonous, inedible, and edible. He knew that most animals were edible and which ones were best.

Then about 10,000 years ago humans invented farming. In so doing the composition of the diet started changing. Within a few hundred years agricultural methods advanced considerably in terms of crop diversity, volume, size, and sweetness. This caused a rapid change in the chemical composition of the diet and this had consequences. But it wouldn’t be until the 20th century that scientists really started to understand the intricacies of food chemistry and how its variables impacted the human body.

With more carbs and sugar in the diet, people started getting new diseases which inspired many theories about what’s the best foods for health. By the 1960s scores of old theories were very entrenched in the thinking processes. But then various studies started unraveling the theories. It was determined that the caveman’s diet and health outcomes differed from ours. The importance of Omega-3 was revealed and chemical analysis showed exactly how foods differed. The idea that the green leaf was the bottom of the food chain also gained traction.9 10 11

Unfortunately, here we are today and biologists, anthropologists, and nutritional scientists know that mankind requires a diet that is low glycemic, nutrient dense and diverse, with a 1:1 ratio of the important Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Yet the foods people consume the most are anything but. Consequently the incidences of chronic diseases caused by poor nutrition are so numerous that the general population (along with the medical community) just assumes it’s perfectly normal for people to develop chronic diseases as they age. These same sick people demand cheap, processed foods and then complain about the healthcare industry getting 18% of every dollar spent in the nation.

So, if we want a healthy population and a Christian-based government that follows the Constitution as our Founding Fathers intended, the three taboos need to be discussed. We can’t be nullifying history, we must be learning from history. We can’t just sit back and be silent. We have to be activists. That means we write letters to our representatives no matter which party they are affiliated with. We have to discuss religion, politics, and nutrition when we’re with family, friends, and even others.

If instead we sit back and let the socialists, atheists, and proponents of the Standard American Diet hog the stage, then we can’t complain if they get their way.

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. A History of Writing. Where did writing begin? From British Library

2. Homo erectus: Early humans were able to speak and crossed sea on boats, expert claims by Josh Gabbatiss Science Correspondent from Independent

3. Human Language May Have Evolved to Help Our Ancestors Make Tools by Michael Balter from Science Mag

4. Neanderthal Genome Shows Most Humans Are Cavemen by Brandon Keim from Wired

5. Humans Are Genetically Predisposed to Kill Each Other by R. Douglas Fields Ph.D.  From Psychology Today

6. Neanderthals: The First Known Religion from Seeking Spirituality

7. Top 10 Misconceptions About Neanderthals by Jamie Frater from Listverse

8. Why Strong Social Institutions Are Needed to Survive Economic Growth by Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D., at The Heritage Foundation

9. Evolutionary Aspects of Diet: The Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio and the Brain by Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D.

10. Food Analysis: EFA, Protein to Fat, Net Carbs, Sugar, and Nutrient Load by Ted Slanker

11. Man Is an Extension of the Leafy, Green Plant by Ted Slanker