- An army marches on its stomach.
- - Napoleon Bonaparte
It is essential to know what to eat and drink, in order to retain work effectiveness. In war and in peace.
I believe we can search for the answer to our chronic obesity and food allergies of today, in the past. They are seemingly problems only present in a modern society. So how did people use to eat, to be so healthy?
Nutrition of Genghis Khan's armyEdit
Knowledge is fragmentary from the Empire that conquered over 1/3rd of the world. But from what is said in The Secret History of the Mongols the Mongols were nomadic shepherds on horseback. These shepherds lived, until recently, on Yak milk, yogurt, butter, meat, kumis horse milk alcohol. Plus they picked berries from the fields, near lakes or water streams, for vitamins.
Genghis Khan himself, in his vision, knew the problems rotting down his empire.
- What could be better than for a man to not have to drink to drown his sorrows? But where shall we find a man who never drinks? If, however, such a man is to be found, he deserves every respect.
- - Genghis Khan
Nutrition of Saladin's armyEdit
Still today, desert people often eat yogurt and some flat bread (pita) or cookies, plus tea as their religion scorns alcohol. It is said, as their army spread over North Africa, they adopted carob as a staple food in addition to wheat. Orange trees were available - a replacement for the scarce berry sources. Food and drink is consumed in low quantities and seldomly so. These are desert people. Food and drink is scarce.
Nutrition of the JapaneseEdit
In the Budō Shoshin-shū (武道初心集) by Daidōji Yūzan it is said that samurai, in times of great poverty, ate diets of rice, still in its husk, and soyabean paste. It says alcohol consumption should be restrained as it will cause health problems at an elder age. Japanese prefer to drink green tea and sake rice alcohol.
Samurai income and property was measured in koku. A koku was a certain volume of rice.
Modern Japanese have no such issues, given that they have more food available, and enjoy eating fish protein, rather than soya. Food is priorly chopped into small portions and eaten with chopsticks. It is considered rude to hoard too much food from a common tray to your plate.
Japan is a high population density island nation with one of the lowest obesity rates in the industrialized world.
Nutrition of the PortugueseEdit
There is a food called the Prego. It is basically two pieces of bread put together with finely ground beef, seasoned with garlic. The bread used for this is harder than a regular hamburger bun. The beef is usually still intact in one piece. Hence it is much harder to eat large bites off it.
There are other foods like Migas. This is basically ground meat and bread. It is eaten like a paste with the aid of either solid bread or a fork.
The people who ate these diets had energy intensive needs.
People with less energy intensive needs ate bread with olives, or olive oil, with occasionally some meat or fish. This was gulped down with water, wine, beer or herbal tea.
I knew a man from the Balkans. He was in the armed forces, he came from a country bombed by NATO forces. Yet he drank Coca-Cola and juices. He aspired greatness in business. I believe he ate several times a day, home made sandwiches of bread and corned meat. He had an imposing and towering presence. He did regular exercise as well. He preferred to eat small sandwiches in small bites.
I believe this diet is similar to the original Hamburger.
There are alternative mass market diets. The Pizza is one such alternative. The early Italians made thin pizzas, so they can eat smaller portions at a time. This saves energy at the expense of time. The Americans prefer thick pizzas, so they can eat faster. This saves time at the expense of energy.
These foods have the advantage of being in a readily edible form. These foods are solids. The package is the food itself and it is all edible. The food lasts for a long time.
Regarding so called Mexican mass market food. In these foods the carbohydrates are typically separate from the proteins. The proteins are usually some sort of dip or sauce, while the carbohydrates are dry. Salt and peppers are used in order to preserve the liquid sauce. This allows the user to eat using his bare hands, while allowing personal control over the carbohydrate and protein intake.
I think this so called Mexican mass market food is for lazy people, who dislike chewing, or who are in a hurry to gulp down without using chopsticks to pick up the solids. I believe this diet leads to mandible undergrowth and probably tooth decay. It also means you need to keep your hands clean to prevent infection risk.
If we continue down this path, we will have a future of drinking Tang and eating food out of a paste tube, like the astronauts in the 1960s. Perhaps we should start carrying a feeding tube so we can be fed like a lazy pig. Or start eating some Pop Rocks to compensate.
I believe the fat, protein and carbohydrate diet favored in the West is an evolution of the prior diets of the Tatars and Muslim. White bread is carbohydrates, meat is rich in protein and animal fat, garlic is a natural antibiotic to prevent meat contamination with bacteria.
I think the aim is to provide a fast snack which combines all major food groups. This should harmonize the natural equilibrium of fungi, bacteria and viruses in the body. However not everyone is the same. I believe the equilibrium varies by person to person, and the portions of each need to be modulated per person. Universal portions, one size fits all, are innapropriate.
The best way to treat obesity is not to change someone's diet into something they dislike: it is to teach them how to eat properly.
One way to fight obesity is to take time. Enjoy your meal. Eat in small bites, nibble at the bread and meat. So that you can satisfy your natural body needs. Resist the urge to snarf it all. Only eat as much as you desire.
Some of us have a natural urge to not leave table scraps. They gulp down all the food to store it for later. I think this is unhealthy in a society where food is plentiful. It leads to food disorders. It leads to binge eating. All we need is to reach for a supermarket shelf to get food.
Some people with compulsive binge eating disorders will get overweight (muscle or fat). Others will keep binge eating but barf the food out. Barfing is more common in women, because they care more about their physical appearance due to peer pressure. An overly muscular or fat woman is considered ugly in society today. This has historically made women more sensitive to food eating imbalances, mood swings, mental breakdowns. Increasingly more men are suffering from the same problem, as our society is becoming more concerned about outer appearances than producing results.
The other eating extreme is to be so narcissistic one ends up eating everything in paper thin slices and looking at itself in the mirror all day.
No sane person will dislike you if you are a few pounds overweight or underweight. Do not get obsessive over your weight. It believe is better to error in the side of caution and being slightly overweight.
We are increasingly more concerned about fitting into unrealistic celebrity standards. We are more concerned about the outer appearance of fitness than being actually fit. We do not need to be athletes or supermodels to survive and get our daily bread. Bear in mind many of these celebrities suffer from food eating imbalances, mood swings, metal breakdowns because they need to maintain their image of physical perfection.
Most of us do not need the muscle reserves to hunt a wholly Mammoth, or the fat reserves to wait until defrost and harvesting season. There should be a balance between muscle and fat reserves. Muscle reserves are expensive, but more useful in dry land. Fat reserves are cheaper, but more useful in water land. Neanderthals are dead because they used up too much energy. Homo Sapiens is a better compromise for the resources in this planet. Our body has a high degree of flexibility and adaptability to both hostile and gentle natural conditions.
Having more or less reserves is only constrained by your desire and purse.
There must be a balance between solid vs liquid. I believe this should be left for the individual to pursue, according to his needs at the time. Solid and liquid have each their own advantages. Solid food is often more dense, easier to carry, harder to chew. Liquid food is often less dense, easier to refill, easier to chew.
I believe liquid food makes more sense for immediate needs, like water and simple carbohydrates. While solid food makes more sense for less immediate needs, like complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Some foods are liquid fast food: water, juices, milk. Other foods are liquid fast food encased in an edible solid container: apples, oranges. Other foods are solid fast food: nuts, bananas, avocado, meat, fish.
We all need water. Drinking pure water depletes some nutrients, such as minerals, required for strong bones and teeth, as well as the body pumps. These nutrients must be replenished. Natural spring water comes with some of these nutrients built in. Each spring source has a different nutrient balance.