Improve your health – by eating like a human

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An anthropology professor is not necessarily someone you would expect to find writing a book on healthy eating, but Eat like a human: nutritious foods and age-old cooking methods to revolutionize your health (Yellow Kite) Dr. Bill Schindler does just that. He’s adamant that this isn’t a diet book: “It’s an exploration of food,” says Schindler. “I don’t like the word diet, the connotation is short term for a specific goal. It is more of a book about healthy lifestyles. It is not binding. »

The expansive nature of the book – with chapters focusing on foods from plants, animals, grains, corn, dairy, insects, soil/ash/charcoal and sugar – bears this out. , because Schindler drinks blood, eats in nature, plays sourdough and makes his own butter. It’s experiential research with Schindler learning by doing: documenting the nose-to-tail butchery of yaks in northern Mongolia, traveling to Thailand with his family to eat insects, a valuable source of protein, and discovering the traditional production of tortillas in Mexico City.

This quest to find a way to feed herself and her family began with her unhealthy relationship with food. “I was overweight as a child. I never saw food as something that nourished me, food was something that made me fat. Food was something that I was afraid of.

While studying and working in the field of food anthropology – he currently teaches anthropology at Washington College, Maryland – Schindler was always focused on everyday food: “I searched for a way to feed myself, to feed the people I loved and I couldn’t find the answer in fad diets or nutritionists.

But he found the answer in his work. “What I realized was that over the last three and a half million years, the best inventions of our ancestors focused on technology that helped us do something with food: grow, process , store, transport. When I realized that it was all about food and how diet helped us evolve, I realized how important food was.

Drawing inspiration from the past, Schindler began – as he puts it – to eat like a human, focusing on nutrient-dense foods, preparing them using ancient and traditional techniques that made them safe to eat and ensured that nutrients can be digested. His research is all experiential and he learns by doing: documenting the butchery of yaks from nose to tail in northern Mongolia, traveling to Thailand with his family to eat insects, a valuable source of protein, and learning about traditional production of tortillas in Mexico City.

Nothing is theory – everything is practical. Schindler travels the world to learn from people who use traditional techniques, teaching them in the classroom at Washington College. It’s a modern-day hunter-gatherer, reconnecting our food past with our present life to help improve our health.

Bill Schindler: “Eat Like a Human” inspired by Ireland

Eat like a human was written while Schindler was on sabbatical in Ireland – a time he describes as a “magical year” – living with his family in a cottage at Airfield Estate, where he was surrounded by food grown on Schindler’s own city farm. Dublin. He developed his bread recipe, Airfield Sourdough Bread, while living there and took a baking course with chef Kevin Thornton.

He retains strong ties to Ireland: I first heard him speak at the 2021 Food on the Edge symposium, he is a culinary ambassador for contract catering company Compass Ireland and an adjunct associate professor at University College of Dublin.

What does he think of the Irish diet? “The trend is similar in the United States,” says Schindler. “But I will say this: the natural resources in Ireland, the quality of milk, butter, produce and meats were off the charts. I would like to have direct access to ingredients of such quality. Many of the food suppliers and producers in Ireland were so impressive and inspiring that I could only scratch the surface. »

Using feasible (homemade tortillas, sourdough waffles, fermented butter) and intriguing (cricket balls, charcoal mayonnaise) recipes, Schindler demonstrates ancient food processing techniques that will make your daily diet more filling. He is convinced that it is time to change. “Now is the time to reconnect with your diet and take back control of your health,” he says. “It all starts in your kitchen and around your table.”

Schindler’s Top Tips for Eating Like a Human

  • Remove as many links in the food chain as possible. Take a step, remove a link in the food chain and get closer to the source of your food. Go to the farmer’s market instead of the grocery store, bake the sandwich bread for your child’s lunch, take a foraging class.
  • Cook from scratch. It’s not possible all the time, but if you take something you eat every day – macaroni and cheese, pizza, hot dogs – and learn how to make it entirely from scratch, you will have learned more about this food than you’ll learn from a book.
  • Get rid of all industrial nut and seed oils from your diet. This is a simple step that becomes difficult when you discover all the foods they are in. We’ve had high-quality fats in our diets for three and a half million years, but only industrial nut and seed oils for just over 100 years. High quality fats – butter, olive oil, avocado oil – are essential.
  • Understand that while plants provide fantastic nutrition, we need to treat them to make them as safe and nutritious as possible. This is especially important for those following a plant-based diet.
  • Eat less meat, but more animals. I believe the most nutrient dense and bioavailable diet is one that includes animals in our diet. I also strongly believe that there are ways to raise, slaughter, and cook animals that can be nutritious, ethical, and sustainable, like a nose-to-tail approach.
  • Eat like a human: nutritious foods and age-old cooking methods to revolutionize your health, yellow kite. More information at eatlikeahuman.com
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