Living On Meat & Water

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By Mark Lundegren

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Living on meat and water. It may sound like punishment, akin to bread and water.

But what if I said that a diet exclusively or primarily of meat and water is the exact opposite? In this alternative, which you can easily explore and test yourself, meat and water are not a path of hardship or limitation. Instead, they are a means to new and more optimal natural fitness, flourishing, and even freedom – in our often denaturalized and over-complicated world, and as with modern minimalism or essentialism in general.

To help you understand why this opposite view may be the truth, I will summarize the case for a meat and water diet, and the simpler or more elemental lifestyle this commonly encourages. For this overview, I will approach the topic from six perspectives: nutrition, enjoyment, ecology, ethics, practice, and economics. And let me preface our discussion by saying that I have been living almost entirely on meat and water alone for several months now, after years of exploring many different forms of nutrition, and at the moment cannot imagine going back to any of these other ways of eating.

To clarify and also qualify our exploration of meat and water living, I want to define the term meat before continuing. Here, I will take it to mean the flesh of grass-fed and pasture-raised ruminant and similar vegetarian animals. And when I say flesh, I mean all parts of the animal. This includes protein and fat-rich muscle meats, and nutrient-dense organ meats and bone marrow. But for our discussion, since I primarily want to discuss an essentialist diet of meat and water, dairy products derived from these animals will not be counted as meat, even as many modern self-identified carnivores consume these foods.

Importantly, when ruminant animals – such as cattle, sheep, and buffalo – are pasture raised and thus fed a diet exclusively of grasses, legumes, and other cohabitating plants, this is not only natural in a historical sense, it also is a human system of agriculture that is both perennial or ongoing and polycultural or ecologically diverse. Because of this, it potentially is a fully sustainable form of agriculture as well.

After all, ruminant animals have lived abundantly on grasslands and in forests for tens of millions of years, before and since the rise of our species. And they did this sustainably, or in natural symbiosis or harmony with their environment, and notably in part because of health-promoting predation. In a similar way, wild fish harvesting and naturalized aquaculture also can be understood as natural and potentially sustainable, since this too is a perennial and polycultural food system, and fish harvested this way optionally may be included in my definition of meat. This is especially true when fish eat a natural diet, of course come from unpolluted waters, and are taken low in the marine food chain, since this is a naturally more efficient means of fish harvesting.

Following on this idea of the naturalness and common sustainability of perennial food systems, many other animal products, including ruminants raised unnaturally, can be understood as less desirable or optimal. In the case of omnivore animals, such as pigs and poultry (and bird eggs), this is partly because these food animals are often less nutritious for us than ruminant meat and wild fish overall. But more importantly, these animals normally must be fed human-cultivated grain and legume feeds to be raised at scale. The cultivation of these animals therefore is often indirectly damaging to the environment, in addition to being directly damaging when these animals are concentrated into small areas.

In contrast to perennial and polycultural ranching or fishing, human cultivation of grains and legumes for animal feeds is a system of agriculture that is not only inefficient, since we might eat these grains and legumes directly, but also one that is inherently annual and monocultural. Because of this, it is a form of agriculture not patterned on natural ecology and, unsurprisingly, one that is generally damaging to the environment and unsustainable in time (regardless of who or what eats the annual crops we grow). Let me add that the case against eating many carnivore animals is straightforward as well. Not only are their meats typically less nutritious and often unhealthfully lean as human foods, relative to ruminant meats and fish, but we again often might more simply, directly, and efficiently eat their food animals ourselves.

With this background, let’s consider a diet of meat and water from the six viewpoints I outlined:

> Nutrition – you may not be aware that there are people, including scientists and physicians, who recommend on health grounds not only a human diet that is principally carnivore, but one that is exclusively ruminant meat and water (with a bit of added salts to compensate for the typical lack of blood in modern meat-eating). Crucially, most advocate this approach to eating not as a study in the fact that we can do this, but that we should – if we are to fully optimize, renaturalize, and ancestralize our modern diets, nutrition, and health. Such so-called pure carnivore eating, like carnivory more generally, is of course controversial today, but it is also a way of eating that is almost wholly unstudied as well. And while the approach plainly goes against contemporary nutritional guidelines and social norms, pure carnivores routinely report marked satiety and reduced eating overall, vibrant or unprecedented health and well-being, superior physical fitness, and enhanced psychological calm and clarity, . In my own case, after following a fairly strict pure carnivore diet for several months, I appear to be at a level of general health and fitness unequalled before in my life and with the various nutritional regimes I have tried (including vegan, vegetarian, paleolithic, and omnivore ketogenic). In any case, a diet of grass-fed meat and water, including organ meats and adequate salts, instructively and perhaps tellingly is nutritionally complete, and contains all the essential nutrients that we require as human beings (including Vitamin C).

Enjoyment – a common response to the idea that a meat and water diet is either natural, nutritionally complete, or optimally healthy for us, beyond disbelief, is the idea that the approach seems unbearably dull or monotonous, and leads us to miss out on the many foods and flavors that make eating enjoyable. While I hear this frequently from non-carnivores, notably I rarely hear it from carnivore eaters and have never heard it from a practicing pure carnivore. In my own experience, a meat and water diet is perfectly satisfying and highly satiating, meat is deliciously meat day after day, and I never long for other foods. Importantly, a meat and water diet naturally gives us abundant calories and nutrients in a small amount of food. As a result, we tend to eat less food and less often than non-carnivores – once or twice a day, with no snacking, is common. And in this way, the place of food and eating naturally becomes a less prominent and occupying part of our daily lives. Personally, I average about 30 minutes a day in shopping, cooking, eating, and cleanup, saving perhaps an hour per day compared to other diets, and I relish my newfound time and freedom from both hunger and needless eating. I should add that I also fast regularly and effortlessly, can go days without eating if need be, rarely plan my activities around my need to eat, and overall find this way of eating has opened me to more of life’s pleasures and opportunities. But I still enjoy and even relish my meals, and meat and water eating overall.

> Ecology – I’ve partly covered this topic in my definition of meat and overview of perennial agriculture, which again is a basic approach to food production that is entirely natural, generally ecologically aiding, often regenerative, and potentially fully sustainable. To recap, when ruminant animals are raised via perennial and polycultural agriculture – whether in pastures or forests – this system of agriculture substantially replicates the original natural environment of these animals. This is in contrast to the monocropping of annual plants, whether for human consumption or animal feeds, which comprises a large portion of modern farming and often a majority of the foods we typically eat. Unlike perennial food systems, monocropping is a system of agriculture without analog in nature, one that causes high soil disturbance and erosion, unnatural water runoff, and land aridification and desertification. Instead of this, perennial agricultural systems tend to: 1) increase water retention, 2) preserve and build native soils, 3) increase plant cover and photosynthesis, 4) reduce reflected sunlight and heat doming, 5) eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides, 6) reduce atmospheric carbon and ocean acidification, 7) aid species diversity, 8) promote natural weather patterns, and 9) increase hydrological cooling of the planet. Contrary to popular pronouncements, modern-day ruminants raised on healthy pasture and forest floors naturally sequester rather than release carbon, notably by building new soil, as they have for tens of millions of years. If you would like to explore these ideas, see Design for Planetary Health.

> Ethics – the ethics of meat-eating seem simple and clear-cut to some, often leading to ethics-based veganism today. But as we delve the topic, we quickly find subtlety and ambiguity. For brevity, I will focus on deaths of sentient animals from different forms of human agriculture. As such, I will overlook the mistreatment of animals, which appears categorically unethical and normally is illegal. I also will not consider various hardships inflicted on agricultural workers, which of course appears highest in the case of foods that must be laboriously harvested by hand. To consider relative animal death rates, I will make two instructive comparisons, understanding that others are possible. One comparison is perennial polycultural ranching versus monocrop annual farming, and the second perennial polycultural ranching versus natural or wild conditions. In perennial polycultural ranching, ruminant animals plainly are slaughtered for food, on the order of one animal per year for every two hectares (five acres) of land. In addition, these animals and their handlers are likely to step on or otherwise kill several thousands insects per hectare per year. However, other species, such as birds and small animals, normally are unaffected by perennial ranching, and even may benefit from the increased land fertility and biological diversity it can foster. By contrast, in the case of monocultural farming, the situation is almost completely reversed, good and bad. No livestock are slaughtered fro food, but there is massive displacement of native ecosystems from these agricultural activities, the common use of pesticides, and frequent necessity of other pest control measures. The result is death on the order of scores or hundreds of small animals and birds per hectare per year, along with millions of flying and burrowing insects. Perhaps unintuitively at first, the case of land left natural or wild returns us to conditions quite similar to perennial ranching, since this form of agriculture is so natural. In wild conditions, both larger and smaller animals are subject to natural predation and death, and all animal birth and death rates naturally equalize in time as niches are filled. In addition, these ecosystems often naturally lose biological activity and robustness when top predators are removed or over-hunted. With these ideas in mind, you can see that ruminant meat-eating is ethically on par with wild conditions, and may be morally superior to diets making extensive use of annual monocropping.

> Practice – my photo above may have led you to suspect that meat and water nutrition isn’t only a description of the foods we might eat, but also of how we might cook our foods too. In practice, lightly boiling, blanching, or simmering meat in water offers a number of advantages over other forms of cooking, and also notably over the practice of eating meat raw, as some carnivores do. Lightly boiling or simmering meat: 1) cooks at a relatively low temperature, 2) minimizes nutrient and fat loss (allowing comparable nutrition with less food), 3) at once disinfects and tenderizes meat, 4) in no way impairs the taste of meat (it even improves the flavor of some meats, such as liver), 5) uses minimal energy and equipment, and 6) requires modest clean-up after cooking. If you haven’t tried lightly simmered meat, you should, since it arguably is the best way to prepare meat. Depending on the size and cut of meat, and how deeply you wish to cook it, simmering meat in water takes minutes and is almost foolproof. For a 0.5 kilogram (16 ounce) steak, sliced roast, or marrow bone, three minutes of simmering in a centimeter (half inch) of water on each side will leave the meat very rare, warm throughout, minimally degraded, and very easy to digest. Thin slices of liver, by contrast, normally are cooked in a minute or less on each side. As I said, cooking meats with water in this way is easy and you will quickly learn to cook this way for optimal taste, nutrition, and practicality. And on the topic of water, I drink whenever I am thirsty, and this usually works out to about two liters (65 fluid ounces) per day.

> Economics – I have described the simplicity of cooking meat with water, our typical need to eat only once or twice a day on a meat and water diet. and the unprecedented fitness, vitality, calm, and sense of personal freedom or autonomy that many people report when eating only meat and water. Add to this food costs that are comparable to other forms of health-conscious eating (the meal in the photo cost $10 and was all I ate that day), and our discussion should suggest there may be new economic benefit or freedom waiting in meat and water eating as well. This is a very personal topic, but consider the small size and simplicity of the kitchen you would need to lightly boil meat for yourself and your family, once or twice a day. No elaborate equipment, no oven, perhaps only a small refrigerator, sink, single or double-burner stove, and a pan or two. And with this lesson – and especially feeling strong, naturally complete, and at your best from this essentialized way of eating – consider how many other rooms, and things in them, you might need to live richly and happily. Again, this is quite personal. But the daily lesson of simplicity, essentiality, and freedom that comes from not just surviving but thriving on a diet of meat and water is powerful. You would not be the first person to take this lesson out of their meals and across the totality of their lives.

Whether you are a practicing carnivore today or not, I hope I have inspired and equipped you to experiment with this at once new, old, reliably revitalizing, and profoundly simple way of eating, and then living. The only thing I would add is that the transition to meat and water living is a transition. It is easier if you are generally healthy, and begin from a healthy and especially ketogenic diet. But expect new learning, adjustment, and the need for a bit of persistence at first, and in all cases.

Based on my experience and learning from others following a meat and water diet, it is usually a month of change and challenge, but also of increasing understanding and vitality too. Then, for many, the way is clear to a new, more natural, and more vital personal state of modern health, fitness, ecology, clarity, and life.

Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.

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Our Natural Food Pyramid

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By Mark Lundegren

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You are likely aware that our current state of nutritional science is at best fair, with a growing set of newer studies casting doubt on established nutritional guidelines.

For example, there are new questions about the wisdom of diets high in carbohydrates and even plant fiber. Similarly, researchers have begun to challenge the advisability of widely-adopted eating programs that encourage meals low in fats, low in meats and proteins, accepting of modern vegetable oils, and agnostic toward processed foods.

Supporting this scientific reversal, recent decades have witnessed growing health problems around the world, many likely driven by our current nutritional standards. An obvious list includes runaway obesity and diabetes, increased cancers, elevated autoimmune and neurological disorders, and reduced physical vitality overall. Often less appreciated is the fact that all this comes amid growing ecological problems from the industrial farming that supplies our typical modern diets. Here, direct and crucial effects include deforestation, habitat loss and displacement, soil erosion and desertification, species extinction, and increasing non-renewable agricultural inputs.

Against this backdrop of uncertain science, and flagging personal and ecological health, there has never been a better time to consider our natural or ancestral human diet. After all, since we are a long-evolved natural species, this diet should be generally beneficial for us and the environment, even if modern science might improve upon it, eventually.

The above Natural Food Pyramid infographic summarizes our ancestral diet, and outlines why this overall approach to eating is apt to be quite healthy, and even optimally so, for both us and the planet. As you can see, this renaturalized food pyramid is very different from ones produced by various government agencies and researchers since the 1970s, in its conclusions and also because it puts our most important foods on top!

Since the Natural Food Pyramid graphic contains ideas that may be unfamiliar or controversial, let me offer a few comments to explain its five food categories and key ideas:

> Pastured ruminants, plus wild animals & fish – ruminants are grass-eating and grassland-dwelling animals. Along with other animals and fish, they are our primary ancestral food and calorie source, and instructively provide a nutritionally complete, balanced, and perhaps optimal diet for us. Ruminants such as cattle and sheep often have a bad reputation ecologically. But as an ancient human food source, the truth is that these animals can be pasture-raised in ways that are entirely natural and beneficial. In particular, the approach can be polycultural or ecologically diverse, self-fertilizing, pest resistant, soil improving, water conserving, carbon neutral or sequestering, restorative to stressed grasslands, ecologically sustainable, and beneficial for rural communities.

> Perennial organic fruits & nuts – these are also foods that we ate naturally or ancestrally, though secondarily and often only significantly when meat and fish were unavailable. Reflecting their natural second tier status, fruits and nuts are often nutritious but are not nutritionally complete. In addition, many people can eat only limited amounts of these foods without experiencing inflammation and related metabolic effects – ranging from mild intestinal bloating and discomfort to chronic autoimmune and systemic health issues. Ecologically, since these foods typically are from perennial or regenerating plants and trees, the production and harvesting of these foods normally does not result in soil erosion, though other environmental effects (such as unsustainable water use) will depend on the type of plant and manner in which it is grown. However, since these plants normally are grown in clusters and not integrally in the environment, as with pastured and wild animals, they are often ecologically displacing.

> Annual vegetables & crops – these generally are newer human foods, many of which first entered our diet in the run-up to and during the Agrarian Revolution, 10,000 years ago, though our ancestors plainly ate some amount of vegetables and starchy plants before this (but limited grains and legumes). Nutritionally, these foods are often similar to fruits and nuts, in that they provide incomplete nutrition and bring risks of inflammation and related effects (though these risks may be greater in this category of foods overall). More significant instead are the ecological health differences between the two categories of plant foods. As with modern fruits and nuts, vegetable foods and staple crops are normally grown in large single-species or monoculture tracts, in a practice called monocropping. But unlike both pasture-raised meats and perennial fruit and nut farming, most vegetables and crops are planted and uprooted annually, resulting in compounding soil disturbance. As a result, these foods are generally far less ecologically sustainable than the above pasture, polycultural, wild, and perennial foods. Key ecological issues from annual vegetable and crop farming include soil impairment and erosion, water runoff and aquifer depletion, carbon de-sequestration, use of artificial pesticides and fertilizers, displacement of local species and ecosystems, and homogenization of our food system.

> Annual-fed animals & fish – these animals are ancestral human foods, but ones raised unnaturally on annual and monocrop foods such as soy and corn. Overall, while the resulting human foods are nutritionally complete, they are also often imbalanced (for example, with altered ratios of fatty and amino acids, hormones, and minerals). While these nutritional issues should be of concern, once again the main shortcoming of these foods is ecological. In essence, they at once share and magnify the ecological issues of annual vegetables and crops raised above. This magnification owes to the fact that animals naturally consume much more food than they produce. As such, annual-fed animals and fish are not only ecologically harmful because of their annualized diets, they are ecologically in efficient too, since we might eat at least some of their foods directly (though not necessarily beneficially).

> All processed foods – most of these foods come in a box or container, have been processed or produced in a factory, are derived from annual agriculture, and involve significant unsustainable resource inputs and accumulated wastes. As this description suggests, they also normally are the newest, least natural or ancestral, and least health-certain group of foods in the pyramid. For this reason, they are best broadly avoided.

These proposals may make perfect sense, or they may seem questionable and against what you have been led to believe. In any case, I hope they will provide useful perspective on the ways you do and might eat, and again from both nutritional and ecological vantage points.

However, regardless of your initial views about my infographic, let me close by highlighting that its nutritional proposals are readily tested. With your physician or dietician’s approval, eating primarily or exclusively from the top of the Natural Food Pyramid, even for as little as a month, will often have dramatic restorative effects on our health and well-being – reflecting the naturalness and general optimality of this overall diet.

If you are intrigued, I would encourage you to explore more natural modern eating, and then perhaps, more natural approaches in other areas of modern life too.

Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.

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HumanaNatura Book Conversion

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By Mark Lundegren

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I am pleased to advise that preliminary work has begun on creating a book version of HumanaNatura’s natural health programs.

In the meantime, our comprehensive Personal Health Program and innovative Community Health Program remain accessible at HumanaNatura.

As you may know, I developed the HumanaNatura materials over a twenty-year period of learning, testing, community feedback, and periodic revision. Today, other than some pending changes to the nutritional information, I consider the programs complete, and my interest in converting the materials into a book format reflects this view.

In addition to refining the HumanaNatura programs, I have been writing about health-based life more broadly the last few years, including publication of my Seven Keys of Natural Life. This book of natural health practice is based on core ideas developed during the creation and refinement of HumanaNatura. It shows how key areas of modern life can be approached more naturally and beneficially, via a process I call the Natural Strategy method.

More recently, I have been at work on a companion book, this one almost entirely philosophical and centered on understanding why a health-centered approach to life is naturally superior. The new book is due to be published in 2020, and I am well into final proofreading now.

If you have used and benefited from the HumanaNatura programs, I would enjoy hearing from you with ideas and suggestions, as I plan and then begin work on the book conversion.

You can reach me anytime at marklundegren.com+hn@gmail.com.

Health & best wishes,

Mark

Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.

Tell others about HumanaNatura…give the gift of modern natural life!

Eggs & Oysters Salad Meal

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We might not think of combining eggs and fish in the same meal, but they can be delicious together and one of the healthiest food combinations, especially when we eat the HumanaNatura way and follow HumanaNatura’s OurPlate healthy eating guidelines. Fish is of course high in protein and healthy omega-3 fats, while eggs from naturally-raised hens are packed with fat-soluble vitamins and other micronutrients. Today’s meal shows one way of having your eggs and getting your fish too, in this case using shelled and pre-cooked oysters packed in olive oil. Check out the meal photo and instructions below, and be sure to subscribe to follow our healthy eating and other natural health posts!

Please note that today’s HumanaNatura meal includes shellfish and is proportioned for both ketogenic (very low carb) and OMAD (one meal a day) eating – with about 1800 calories and 70 percent of them from fats. However, options are included in case you are vegetarian, eat non-ketogenically, or have meals more frequently than once a day.

Our sample meal begins by wilting two cups of mixed and shredded cruciferous veggies on medium-low heat in a saute pan, on top of a standard tin’s worth of smoked oysters in olive oil, along with a bit of black pepper and minced or chopped garlic. Once the ingredients are lightly cooked and combined, they are used as the filling for an omelette made with four eggs from pasture-raised hens. As the omelette cooks on medium-high heat and then is allowed to cool in the pan for a minute or two, a generous raw salad is prepared with fresh arugula or another lettuce, a coarsely-diced large avocado, diced cucumber and red bell pepper, and a small scattering of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. When the omelette is done, it is plated as shown, and the whole meal is topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, an optional shake or two of nutritional yeast, and black pepper and parsley flakes. This delicious and extra-healthy meal is of course then served promptly.

Options: If you are vegetarian – HumanaNatura supports lacto-ovo but not vegan diets – or have a shellfish allergy, the oysters can be omitted or replaced with cheese. For a non-ketogenic version of the meal, use a small avocado instead and add berries and/or a bit of cooked potato. If you eat more than once a day, the meal easily can be scaled down for fewer total calories. And if you require more calories and nutrients, the meal can be made larger by adding more of the above foods, or by supplementing it with nuts and celery. In all cases, we hope you try and enjoy this healthy and moth-watering meal!

Learn more about creating naturally delicious and optimally nutritious meals like this via OurPlate, HumanaNatura’s simple natural eating guide for designing optimally healthy modern meals. Experience how this science-based and 100% natural approach to our daily meals can change the way you eat, feel, and live. Sharpen your skills at making delicious and naturally healthy Salad Meals via our Salad Meal Overview. And explore the science and key principles of optimal Natural Eating through HumanaNatura’s comprehensive Personal Health Program.

Once you have begun eating the HumanaNatura way, you can explore your many opportunities for new, more natural, and healthier life between meals – via HumanaNatura’s comprehensive four-part system for modern natural life and health. Check out the overview of our free health programs and resources at About HumanaNatura.

Tell others about HumanaNatura…give the gift of modern natural life!

Natural Truth: Optimizing Proteins

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The goal of optimizing dietary proteins is a recurring theme among health-minded people, including professional health practitioners and those involved in athletics at all levels. In this Natural Truth post, we will consider our need to carefully control or optimize proteins in our diet, and summarize what we believe are the most important and certain guidelines for this practice.

Proteins: The Right Amounts & Types Are Fairly Clear But Often Misunderstood

Today, it is hard to avoid advice to reduce, increase, or change the amounts and types of proteins in our diets. As with the other two major macronutrient groups – fats and carbohydrates – the topic of protein optimization is recurring in news pieces and scientific papers, and common in the counsel of physicians, dieticians, coaches, and well-intentioned friends. Indeed, the three topics of optimizing proteins, fats, and carbs naturally are a central dietary focus. Together, they form an interconnected macronutrient triad, notably where changes or assumptions in one area inevitably impact and inform the other two, especially at constant calorie levels.

However, unlike today’s highly contentious scientific, professional, and popular debates about optimal fat and carb consumption, our ideal intake of proteins, at least in amount, is comparatively uncontroversial – though even here, there is ongoing debate and now new suggestions of empirical uncertainty.  By contrast, the optimal types of proteins is an area that is far less clear and certain to many people, even as science in this area is fairly straightforward and easily summarized. But again, there is also new questioning and seeming uncertainty here too, as we will discuss.

Protein Optimization

When we talk about proteins, we of course mean various protein-rich foods, including fish, meats, poultry, eggs, insects, nuts and seeds, most dairy, edible grains and legumes, and other selected foods. More technically, proteins are chain-shaped molecules made of amino acids, each rich in carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. In general, proteins are broken down into their component amino acids during digestion, and then used in specific ways throughout the body.

Proteins and the amino acids they contain form much of the structure of our bodies, support our physiology and metabolism, and can be used as a fuel source (though sometimes deleteriously, and signalling either excessive protein or inadequate fats or carbs in our diet). Like carbs, but unlike more energy-dense fats and oils, proteins contain 4 calories per gram.

Though hundreds of natural amino acids have been cataloged by scientists, only nine have been demonstrated as essential in our diets, since our bodies naturally and normally can synthesize other required amino acids. Notably, when a dietary protein source contains all nine required amino acids, it is commonly termed a complete protein. Animal-derived foods are broadly protein-rich and normally contain complete proteins. By contrast, plant foods can be relatively protein-poor and frequently do not contain complete proteins in themselves (though their combination can create complete proteins and thus provide all nine essential amino acids).

As highlighted before, our needed minimum amount of daily protein and optimal mix of dietary amino acids are each well understood and uncontroversial in our time. That said, it is important to again emphasize that there exists both ongoing and new questioning of other protein standards, including ideal protein amounts and sources. Notably, much of this effort is led by health scientists and practitioners encouraging ketogenic and/or plant-free diets. Here, it is proposed that elevated proteins and/or fats may be highly desirable, especially when accompanying and enabling reduced or even eliminated carb-rich foods (see the links immediately above to explore this debate – which remains primarily supported by anecdotal data and hypothesis, and is not yet well-researched or empirically decided).

Reflecting broad international consensus across established public health institutions, governmental recommendations for protein intake (see here and here for examples) generally align and frequently cluster today around a daily standard of 0.7-0.8 grams of complete protein per kilogram of body weight (or roughly half this amount for body weight measured in pounds). Additionally, these guidelines typically recommend increased protein intake for active people, including athletes, and reduced protein consumption for those of us who are more sedentary or have selected pathologies or allergies.

Importantly, we want to highlight that many people in the developed world eat well in excess of this recommended amount of protein, whether daily or regularly. Sometimes, this is deliberate and seemingly produces beneficial results, again as in intentional low-carb, low-fiber ketogenic and carnivore eating. Though a safe upper-limit for personal protein consumption is not well-established and even has been hard to approximate, there are a number of potential disadvantages associated with a chronically high protein intake. In addition to potentially increasing food costs, these include risks of high physiological ammonia and urea, liver and kidney stress, increased risks of kidney stones, and the potential for elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular impairment. However, where increased protein is combined with significant carbohydrate reduction, this has been shown in some studies to be effective at reducing excess body weight, blood sugars, circulating insulin, and inflammation markers, all with potential positive benefits (though perhaps less so or less beneficially than increasing dietary fats instead).

By contrast, protein deficiency is a well-understood and recognized form of harmful malnutrition, and a near-certain path to reduced personal health. Key effects include decreased body weight and development, musculoskeletal impairment, mental retardation, emotional disaffection, inactivity and behavioral passivity, altered fat metabolism, increased eating and obesity, increased stress sensitivity, reduced fertility, cardiovascular impairment, and premature death.

Across all of the considerations above, we can see a strong and clear case for consuming sufficient protein, a critical one to avoid insufficient protein intake, and a more uncertain or contentious case for avoiding high protein consumption. Once again, these ideas reflect the relatively high scientific consensus on the minimum amount of complete proteins and range of amino acids we should eat each day, as well as new and now quite strident debate about the optimal mix of proteins, fats, and carbs overall within our natural macronutrient triad.

Looking past these issues to some extent, there is also less institutional, practitioner, and popular consensus on the optimal forms of protein we should eat in any case. This is especially true when the environmental and not only personal health impacts from different forms of protein consumption are considered, and more so still when animal welfare considerations are added to the discussion. As suggested, this latter set of controversies is unfortunate and largely needless, since the environmental and animal welfare effects of different forms of protein foods are quite clear, as summarized below:

> Naturally-raised land animals – protein foods in this category involve land-habitating animals of all kinds raised entirely or substantially in a historically natural manner. Examples include pasture-raised and 100% grass-fed beef and dairy, and forest-raised and foraging poultry and egg production. Overall, these protein and sometimes fat-rich foods appear personally healthy, especially amid a low-carbohydrate and high-fiber diet, though high consumption of red and especially processed meats may be less desirable. Environmentally, this method of generally perennial and polycultural food production is readily made fully sustainable, pesticide and fertilizer-free, carbon-sequestering, soil and groundwater-preserving, native ecosystem-leveraging, and local economy-supporting. While the approach can produce significant methane, a greenhouse gas, this amount is normally no more than natural background or pre-industrial levels – or ones these ecosystems would produce if abandoned – when production is conducted naturally and in a sustainable manner. From an animal rights standpoint, food animals in this mode of production would live a largely natural life and have a roughly natural average expected lifespan – though one achieved via reduced predation and overall mortality at and after birth, in conjunction with intentionally limited longevity and natural senescence.

> Unnaturally-raised land animals – crucially, nearly all the points in the previous section are reversed in this form of food production, which can be defined simply as the raising food animals in wholly or substantially unnatural conditions from a historical standpoint. Often, this will take the form of animals raised in close confines, rely on unnatural and relatively inefficient diets high in unsustainable annual plants grown in erosive monoculture (such as corn and soy), increase natural methane levels and reduce carbon sequestration as a result, employ widespread use of hormones and and feed supplements, require use of antibiotics as a consequence of unnatural animal confinement, and lead to the pooling and unnatural decomposition of animal wastes. The full result of this can be inferior food and health outcomes for people, greatly reduced long-term food supply sustainability, immediate environmental harm on multiple fronts, and unnatural and stressed living conditions for food animals.

> Naturally-raised fish – as you may know or have guessed, most or all of the above points regarding natural land animal production apply to the natural production or harvesting of fish, which we will define similarly as aquatic animals of all kinds raised entirely or substantially in a historically natural manner (including the provision of natural diets and freedom from modern pollutants). Broadly, these foods are extremely healthy personally (often even more so than land animals), are often readily producible in sustainable ways, are apt to have similar ecological impacts as abandoned or fallow natural fisheries, and tend to foster highly naturalized animal living conditions (once again, often with reduced senescence overall, whether wild caught or farmed, though with the potential for different population and average age dynamics in each case).

> Unnaturally-raised fish – once again, nearly all the above points are reversed when we consider the case of unnaturally produced fish, which we will define as aquatic animals raised in substantially denaturalized settings and fed unnatural diets (in practice, again often including soy and other unsustainably-produced monoculture foods). As before, this can produce lower quality food for us, significant environmental harm and reduced food supply sustainability, and a poorer quality of life for food animals.

> Perennial/polyculture plants – remembering that proteins, complete and not, can come from vegetable sources, it is important to consider these protein sources as well, which we will do here in two broad categories. The first category again is perennial or enduring plants, such as seed plants and nut trees, especially when they are grown in polyculture or diverse natural groups or guilds with other plants and/animals. Overall, these protein sources are quite healthy at a personal level, though their often elevated fat levels may or may not fit with your goals for fat consumption, and their routinely high phytate, oxalate, and fiber levels may limit the amount of these foods that you can eat healthfully on a regular basis. Ecologically, foods grown in this manner usually can be done so on a highly sustainable and even regenerative basis, are often naturally resilient and self-feeding and require no pesticides or fertilizers, are naturally water and soil conserving, and in general offer an ecological footprint similar to wild natural conditions. While there may be no immediate animal welfare issues here, we would point out that this form of food production can often synergistically create naturalistic habitat and shelter for both wild and domestic animals. Importantly, where perennial plants are grown monolithically or in monoculture, rather than in more natural polyculture, we should expect reduced ecological benefits, and overall performance somewhere between this and our next and final category of protein food production.

> Annual/monoculture plants – as before, almost all the points just raised find their opposite expression when we consider our second category and the other extreme in plant food production, that of unnaturally raising annual plants, or perennial plants grown as annuals, in large single-species or monoculture plots, a practice that is also called monocropping. While this practice readly lends itself to mechanised production, it also contains significant disadvantages. At a personal health level, annual monoculture typically produces protein foods that are high in carbohydrates as well, which may or may not align with our overall nutritional goals. These grain and legume foods are also often high glutens, lectins, phytates, and other allergens and inflammatories, which may result in chronically reduced health when eaten in significant volumes. More importantly, as with and often underlying unnatural animal food production, this form of farming is enormously destructive to the environment overall and to most local ecosystems – exposing and impairing soils and promoting erosion and desertification, often undermining local aquifers via high water use, requiring external pest control and fertilization because of the unnatural lack of plant diversity and progressive soil degradation, promoting carbon and nitrogen release into the atmosphere, and broadly displacing local plants and animals. But as before, where annual crops are instead grown in natural polyculture, this still uncommon practice can be expected to reduce these negative impacts and produce ecological results closer to the perennial polyculture food systems described in the previous, third, and first sections.

For many readers, and reflecting our often unsustainable modern food systems and societal norms, some of these ideas may be new and unfamiliar, even as they are all strongly supported by now longstanding and well-tested scientific research. You can explore the overall pattern of findings via the links above or via our summary articles here and here. In any case, we would urge you to consider all of the ideas we have presented, as you think about optimal protein consumption for yourself, your family, and your community.

Protein Guidelines

With this full discussion in mind, we would offer the following guidelines for optimizing protein consumption. As you will see, all are based on current scientific understanding, and most will hold true regardless of how a variety of controversies in modern nutritional science are ultimately resolved:

> Use government total protein guidance for your age, gender, and lifestyle

> Adjust levels if instructed to therapeutically by a physician or professional dietician

> Understand risks from both excess and inadequate protein consumption

> Consider new proposals for higher proteins and fats, and especially reduced carbs

> Select protein sources that align with your overall fat and carbohydrate intake goals

> Limit proteins high in lectins, glutens, and other allergens and inflammatories

> Consider ecological impacts and sustainability when selecting proteins

As you can see, these guidelines are relatively simple and easy to follow, reflecting the fairly high scientific consensus regarding many aspects of protein consumption, and its personal and ecological effects. The guidelines do require you to have clear goals for your fat and carbohydrate intake – the other two macronutrients in our nutritional triad. But we would recommend this as part of your overall nutritional planning, and view it as at least as important as considering needed protein levels and sources. Our Personal Health Program can provide assistance in this and many other areas of natural health promotion.

Our Natural Truth Rating

Given our discussion, HumanaNatura rates the idea that careful control of proteins is essential to our long-term health an 8/10 (Strong Evidence) in our Natural Truth rating system.

We base our rating on the above referenced research, which broadly recommends care with proteins, and supports the dietary guidelines we have introduced. However, our rating is less than a perfect score because the optimal amount and mix of proteins in our diet is not yet precisely known, and also because understanding of the ecological impact of different protein food production methods is in flux today, though perhaps more so ideologically or conventionally than scientifically.

However, even with these caveats, the guidelines we have presented should help most people successfully consider and progressively optimize their protein consumption, and their diet overall, for superior personal health and fitness. For a more complete view of our overall Natural Eating guidelines, see The Twenty, HumanaNatura’s OurPlate healthy eating guide, and our comprehensive Personal Health Program.

You can also click the following link to learn more about our Natural Truth health information campaign and evidence-based 1-10 rating system. And we always welcome your comments and input on this or any other HumanaNatura Natural Truth review.

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Making Cross-Quarter Progress

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Greetings from HumanaNatura at the cross-quarter! In the natural year, we are now midway between the naturally more evocative period of the recent solstice and more balanced time of the coming equinox. Everywhere on earth, there is clear but unmistakable change – away from the height of summer or depth of winter and toward the relative moderation of fall or spring in each hemisphere. It’s an ongoing rhythm of life on earth that touches us all.

A Moment in the Everchanging Light and Rhythm of the Natural Year

In the HumanaNatura natural health system, and as explained in our Mastering The Natural Year graphic and post, we recommend extra progress on our Natural Life Plans around each cross-quarter. At the equinox-nearing cross-quarters, this is so we have adequate completed actions and learning at the equinox – in another six weeks or eighth of a year – when HumanaNatura encourages reflection and updating of our plans.

If you have not yet created a Natural Life Plan to guide your use and expression of the third HumanaNatura technique, Natural Living, our links will take you to our planning worksheets and seven-step planning process. Together, these resources will help you to begin more intentionally health-centered and naturally progressive life in the days and weeks ahead.

From all of us in HumanaNatura’s worldwide natural health community, we wish you new health and happiness, at this and every cross-quarter.

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Avocado & Lamb Salad Meal

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An advantage of reducing red meats, and emphasizing potentially healthier fish and eggs for protein, is that when we do have meat, it can be an extra-special treat. This is especially true when we eat the HumanaNatura way and follow HumanaNatura’s OurPlate healthy eating guidelines, and today’s showcase meal, brimming with healthy foods and nutrients, is a delicious case in point. Check out the sample meal photo and instructions below to learn more, and be sure to subscribe to follow our healthy nutrition and other natural health posts!

Please note that today’s HumanaNatura meal iis proportioned for both ketogenic (very low carb) and OMAD (one meal a day) eating – with about 2000 calories and over 70 percent of them from fats. However, options are included in case you eat non-ketogenically and/or more frequently than once a day.

Our meal begins by gently sautéing several cubes of grass-fed lamb on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of butter, a bit of minced garlic, and a dash of black pepper. When the lamb is nearly done, a generous handful of shredded cruciferous vegetables (available as a prepared mix at our local market) is tossed in and allowed to cook for a couple of minutes, and then the cooked portion of the meal is allowed to cool slightly. As the lamb and veggies cook, a generous raw salad is prepared to one side of a plate with fresh arugula, a large cubed avocado, coarsely diced cucumber, and sliced red and green bell pepper. When ready, the cooked foods are plated to the side of the salad, and the whole meal is topped with olive oil and white wine vinegar, raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, raw pecan halves, an optional shake of nutritional yeast, black pepper, and parsley flakes. This naturally rich, abundant, and compelling meal is then served promptly.

Options: For a non-ketogenic version of the meal, eliminate the butter, reduce the avocado and/or seeds and nuts by half, and replace them with with berries and/or a bit of cooked sweet potato. If you eat more than once a day, the meal of course easily can be scaled down for fewer total calories. And if you require more calories, the meal can be made larger by adding more vegetables, and more calorie-rch by adding extra avocado or lamb, or some grass-fed cheese. In all cases, we hope you enjoy this beautiful, healthy, and inspiring meal!

Learn more about creating naturally delicious and optimally nutritious meals like this via OurPlate, HumanaNatura’s simple natural eating guide for designing optimally healthy modern meals. Experience how this science-based and 100% natural approach to our daily meals can change the way you eat, feel, and live. Sharpen your skills at making delicious and naturally healthy Salad Meals via our Salad Meal Overview. And explore the science and key principles of optimal Natural Eating through HumanaNatura’s comprehensive Personal Health Program.

Once you have begun eating the HumanaNatura way, you can explore your many opportunities for new, more natural, and healthier life between meals – via HumanaNatura’s comprehensive four-part system for modern natural life and health. Check out the overview of our free health programs and resources at About HumanaNatura.

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Progressive Life At The Solstice

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Greetings from HumanaNatura at the solstice! Around the world, we are now at one of two crucial milestones in the natural year. Today is the longest day, start of summer, and midpoint of the natural year in the northern hemisphere. And it is the shortest day, natural beginning of a new year, and start of winter in the south.

New Day Waits For You

A Moment in the Everchanging Light of the Natural Year

In the HumanaNatura natural health system, and as explained in our Mastering The Natural Year graphic and post, we encourage spending this and every solstice with family, friends, and community. With the extreme light and heightened feelings that come with the solstices, it’s a natural opportunity to celebrate progress in our lives and Natural Life Plans, break from our routines and seek new perspective, and encourage greater health and progressivity in others.

If you have not yet created a Natural Life Plan to guide your use and expression of the third HumanaNatura technique, Natural Living, our links will take you to our planning worksheets and seven-step planning process. Together, these resources will help you to begin more intentionally health-centered and naturally progressive life in the days and weeks ahead.

From all of us in HumanaNatura’s worldwide natural health community, we wish you new health and happiness, at this and every solstice.

Tell others about HumanaNatura…give the gift of modern natural life!

Monocrop-Free Eating

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By Mark Lundegren

mark-2

I have a fairly simple but far-reaching proposal for you – to stop eating monocrop foods, entirely and for good.

Today, this is plainly possible, if with one caveat. And although, or rather because, the move is countercultural and sweeping on many fronts, it arguably is the single most important step we can take to improve the ecological and personal health of the way we eat, now and forever.

Let me briefly explain the what, why, and how of moving to a monocrop-free diet, so you can consider if the change is right in principle, and right for you.

As you likely know, monocrop agriculture is one of the core features and indeed prides of human civilization to date, and was at the foundation of our Agrarian Revolution roughly 10,000 years ago. This development of course eventually made possible advanced civilization, science, and now modern life, even as it ironically and continually threatens each of these things.

In monocrop agriculture, and as the name indicates, single plant species – such as the staple crops wheat, corn, or soy – are grown monolithically and typically at scale. This can be done repeatedly with a single crop species, or via a series of revolving and chemically complementary crops. In monoculture farming, or monocropping, the agricultural plants used are normally fast-growing and repeatedly-planted annuals, or perennials grown as annuals.

Overall, the benefits of the approach are increased planting and harvesting efficiency, and greater edible plant density under cultivation. Owing to this, early and now modern monocrop farming tremendously increased agricultural yields, is the mainstay of the way people have eaten for centuries, and is the basis of most of the foods you will encounter in your local supermarket. This includes most plant foods, nearly all processed foods, and even many animal products, since most are now substantially raised on monocrop diets.

However, monocrop agriculture is not all benefits or upside, and free of costs or downside. As you may understand or just noticed, it is a practice unlike and even antithetical to natural plant ecology and larger natural ecosystems, and thus natural human food systems too. In wild nature, diverse mixtures of plants, animals, and microorganisms normally grow and evolve together in polyculture, and usually in persistent and synergistic guilds or interdependent systems, importantly with soils sheltered and left undisturbed. This ecological diversity of course is naturally selected and thus changes over time, but at any point normally aids the health or resilience of each participating species, as well as the soil fertility (or water fertility in marine ecology) upon which all species naturally depend, including our own.

Lacking these essential qualities of natural ecosystems, traditional and modern monocrop food systems have a number of unfortunate but foreseeable drawbacks. Foremost, they tend to assault and quickly diminish soil health, and in turn reduce natural soil fertility. This necessitates costly soil replenishment from either inorganic or organic sources, broadly impairs the nutritional quality of foods, and releases soil-sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. Related to this, monocrop systems also greatly increase soil vulnerability to wind and water erosion, and also ultraviolet radiation, in all cases promoting soil loss and desertification. In fact, many once fertile areas in the pre-modern world are now deserts, owing to the effects of earlier monocrop and other ecologically damaging forms of human agriculture. And today, vast areas of the world, and the societies they feed, are now threatened by unnatural or impermanent agriculture, and these practices are likely to prove unsustainable without a basic change in our approach.

Importantly, while reduced soil health and its ensuing effects are the most important adverse consequence of monocrop agriculture, and therefore monocrop eating, they are not the only ones. Monocrop plants are naturally more exposed and susceptible to pests, requiring the use of pesticides and other mitigation strategies, and today incentivizing the use of more pest-resistant, but ecologically and health uncertain, genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And beyond increasing pest populations and introducing pesticides and their greenhouse gasses into the general environment, monocrop agriculture is also harmful to natural ecological systems on other notable fronts. These effects include displacing natural plants and animals, introducing new species to local areas, imbalancing natural ecosystems, increasing water runoff and reducing groundwater recharging, and depleting or corrupting remaining water resources.

Lastly, and closer to home, monocrop farming not only can result in poorer nutritional quality in the foods we raise and eat, via soil impairment and reduced plant vitality, it can and in fact already has unhealthfully shifted our diets in favor of foods more readily grown in monocrop systems. This includes our elevated use of historically novel or unnatural, carbohydrate-rich, metabolically and hormonally-distorting, inflammatory, and antinutrient-abundant staple crops, along with increased reliance on processed and animal foods derived from these crops.

Of course, not all human food production is based on monocrop agriculture. In a number of crucial and instructive areas, our food supply is polycultural, guild-based and synergistic, natural or naturally-modeled, naturally fertile and productive, soil and water protecting, pesticide-free, carbon-sequestering, and potentially fully sustainable in perpetuity. Key examples of these natural human food systems include: 1) the world’s wild and wild-farmed fisheries, 2) human grassland and pastoral agriculture in its many forms, 3) perennial silviculture or tree-based agriculture, especially in combination with complementary plant and animal guilds, and 4) other polyculture food systems, notably including food forests and sea plant harvesting. Crucially, these and other non-monocrop food systems offer a natural and resilient model for human agriculture and economics, today and for the future, and a path forward to superior human health and sustainability.

As I said at the start of my proposal, the move to monocrop-free eating (MFE) and monocrop-free agriculture (MFA) is not only desirable today, it is entirely possible and even quite easy. To achieve this goal, we need only migrate our diet to foods from the polycultural and sustainable food systems listed above, immediately producing a diet that is personally healthier and far sounder ecologically than is the case with typical modern diets, again with one qualifier or caveat.

The caveat is that three important and related food types are missing from the above lists. These are leafy greens, vegetable fruits, and other green vegetables – all non-staple or secondary foods that are natural and health-essential sources of dietary fiber and micronutrients for us. While these foods can be replaced with new and existing polycultural alternatives, today this requires considerable effort on the part of both consumers and farmers – though, as such, it is clearly a critical new opportunity for food system innovation that should be strongly encouraged and pursued.

In the short-term, and as we await widespread alternatives, continued use of these three monocrop plant types seems unavoidable for most of us. However, since these are secondary or supporting foods in our diets, the use of annual vegetable crops is readily done on a fully sustainable basis, by recycling food wastes and replenishing impinged soils with rich composts from a primarily polycultural, and thus principally natural, modern diet.

I would encourage you to consider these important, upending, renaturalizing, perhaps strange, and also likely civilization-saving ideas – and welcome your comments and questions.

Health & best wishes,

Mark

Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.

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Making Cross-Quarter Progress

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Greetings from HumanaNatura at the cross-quarter! In the natural year, we are now midway between the more balanced period of the recent equinox and the more evocative time of the coming solstice. Everywhere on earth, there is clear but unmistakable change – away from the relative balance of spring or fall and toward the height of summer or depth of winter in each hemisphere. It’s an ongoing rhythm of life on earth that touches us all.

A Moment in the Everchanging Light and Rhythm of the Natural Year

In the HumanaNatura natural health system, and as explained in our Mastering The Natural Year graphic and post, we recommend extra progress on our Natural Life Plans around each cross-quarter. At the solstice-nearing cross-quarter, this is so we have adequate completed actions and learning at the solstice – in another six weeks or eighth of a year – when HumanaNatura encourages celebration of our lives, communities, and successes.

If you have not yet created a Natural Life Plan to guide your use and expression of the third HumanaNatura technique, Natural Living, our links will take you to our planning worksheets and seven-step planning process. Together, these resources will help you to begin more intentionally health-centered and naturally progressive life in the days and weeks ahead.

From all of us in HumanaNatura’s worldwide natural health community, we wish you new health and happiness, at this and every cross-quarter.

Tell others about HumanaNatura…give the gift of modern natural life!