- Can a Human be as ripped as a Gorilla on a plant based diet?
- A look at the Paleo Diet
- My recent Carnivore exploits.
Can you be a ripped as a Gorilla on a plant based diet?
The title of this section is for laughs and click bait really. I am not actually going to look at how we can build muscle like a Gorilla. What I am in fact getting at is what have we evolved to eat, what breakdown of foods suit humans.
This post was inspired by a friend who was bantering me about my diet. One of the things he said was along the lines of, we are closely related to Gorillas and they are massive on a plant based diet. I was away camping at the time, so probably just told him he was a Muppet and stop being silly!
However it did make me think about it, even though I knew it to be a silly comparison. Firstly obviously we are closely related to Gorillas DNA wise, however this is pretty irrelevant because we evolved completely differently from them. Plus our closest relative is a Bonobo Chimpanzee, who coincidentally do eat meat. Secondly Gorillas aren’t actually 100% herbivores. They actually get quite a bit of animal protein from eating insects and small creatures that live on the leaves. They also have a clever trick of being able to convert plant protein into animal protein. We lack this trait.
However I know the point my friend was making. I also know that there are a lot of buff and athletic Vegans and Vegetarians out there. However these people will also be on a tonne of protein powders and other supplements, as will most gym goers on any diet. Although I would guess the Carnivore Diet which is high in protein and creatine, would be the diet where you would need the least amount of supplementation on.
So we know we can survive on meat, plants, fish, crunchy nut cornflakes and Haribos. However what is our body actually designed to live on, and what can modern humans eat to get the best out of how we are designed. Yes we can survive on ready meals, but how would we attempt to thrive?
This article below compares Herbivores (Sheep) to Carnivores (Wolf), then drops us humans into the mix:
The author doesn’t discuss Omnivores because just because you can eat plants it does not mean you can thrive eating plants. The classifications are:
- “Herbivores: animals that eat vegetation. They are able to digest and use as food the cellulose which forms the cell walls of all plants.” Horses, Gorillas, Sheep and Cows.
- “Carnivores: animals that eat herbivores. The carnivore’s digestion is unable break down vegetable cell walls.” Dogs, Cats…. Humans?
You would perhaps guess that Carnviores would have a more complex digestive system to break down dense meats and fats. The opposite is true, Herbivores have extremely complex digestive systems which is as much as 27 times the length of the animal. Carnivores in comparison have extremely simple digestive systems, of only around 6 times the length of the animal. The incredible thing is that even though herbivores are designed to eat and break down plant cell walls. They still can only use about 50% of what they eat, the other 50% being excreted. Now this is good for fertilizer, but it means that herbivores have to eat constantly. Whereas carnivore’s can digest enough energy from animal protein to eat far more sporadically. Which is important as a Lion actually has to go out and chase down a herbivore, to get its energy.
So what about Humans? Well our digestive systems are that of a carnivore’s, not a herbivores. Plus contrary to what some people may think we do not have some digestive system unique to us, that would suggest we can thrive as a omnivore eating both. If a herbivore can only use around 50% of the plants they eat, image how much a human can get out of a plant!
We do have a sweet tooth, so fruits and honey would have been eaten. However not at the expense of protein. Plus remember to ignore Supermarket fruits. Look into if you grew your own fruits, they ripen in a short window of time. That window is usually in the autumn in the UK. So likely they would have been used to fatten ourselves up a bit for winter maybe? We also have a taste for bitterness. Nowadays vegetables are being bred to be sweeter and sweeter, they bare no resemblance to the plants our ancestors would have eaten. Back in the day they would have been bitter. Bitterness is a taste we learned to identify, so that we would not eat poison and toxins. We would have only upped our plant consumption when we learned to cook things. However again not at the expense of protein, plus 99.9% of our genes were locked in before we developed fire.
The article also states this: “If we eat a largely plant-based diet, the bacteria in our colons will change the environment in our colons from alkaline to acid, which favours the herbivore-type fermentative bacteria. These will break down plant material but, as no absorption of nutrients these contain takes place in the human colon, this is of no nutritional value. All it does is upset our guts and cause flatulence!”
Now I have my own little parable on the bodies acidity. I once skimmed through a book called The Alkaline Diet or something like that. Which states you need to avoid acidic foods and eat alkaline foods. I was eating a normal Ketogenic Diet at the time, and noticed pretty much all the food I was eating would cause a disease ridden Acidic state. So I tested my urine with a PH strip as the book directs, and sure enough I was excreting acidic wee. However I had drank a fair bit of alcohol that weekend. 3 days later on Keto and no booze I checked my wee again, and guess what? it was perfectly in the alkaline zone suggested. So I concluded your body isn’t silly enough to allow food to change the PH balance in your body. It is to do with how many poisons and toxins are in your body, and how much strain you are putting your digestive system under.
Conclusion – we are resilient survivors, and we would have clearly ate plants to survive in lean hunting times. However there is nothing to suggest we would have prioritized plants, even after humans knew cooking would make them less poisonous. We have a digestive system that is designed to break down animal protein and fat. Although we do have a saliva enzyme to break starch down, so we are better at getting carbs from a plant than a dog is for example. So that suggests we ate more starchy plants than a wolf did. So this I guess is why we are generally classed as a Omnivore rather than a straight carnivore. However again we are intelligent survivors, but we didn’t eat enough to adapt to eating plants fully because like dogs we have no digestive enzymes that allow us to break down plant cell walls to release the starch. This is one of the reasons I feed my Dogs on a raw prey diet. They are even less likely to prosper on carbs and vegetables than we are. The second reason is I do not like highly processed foods like kibble. Just like I would punch you in the face if you offered me anything with margarine on it !!!
Then there is the sheer madness of Fiber. You are always told to eat fibrous plants for health, to keep you regular. Now lets think about this. You have undigested plant matter in your gut, so you need to push it out, you have to push this out with other undigested plant matter, which in turns requires you to push that out with undigested plant matter. So on and so forth. However if you just eat meat and fat…. Guess what? you still poop regularly, but its smaller because you have actually digested the animal protein and fat. How do I poop without fiber…. its like magic I guess.
The Paleo Diet
What is The Paleo Diet?
They recommend eating a diet that mimics the diet our Hunter Gather ancestors ate, and this will help prevent disease and enable weight loss.
What can you eat on The Paleo Diet?
Straight off the bat: Grains, refined sugar and refined vegetable oils are banned. This immediately passes my bullshitometer. Any diet that says it’s OK to eat any of these, are not interested in your health and are probably just after your money. So straight away this is a possibility for a responsible long term diet.
The next thing I look at is Legumes, and thankfully they are not allowed. Another tick. The reason I say this; is that generally legumes are included in diets for 3 reasons – 1) The diet is not satiating, so they add beans to fill you up. 2) the diet is low in vitamins, nutrients, and protein. On paper legumes look good nutritionally, however your body can’t really digest them. So the vitamins and protein they appear to have, mainly gets pooped out without being absorbed. 3) Fiber, again if a diet could be questioned for being low in fiber. Legumes are added. This is fair enough if you are eating a lot of fiber, because if you are eating a lot of undigested plant matter, you have to eat more undigested plant matter to push it out.
Apart from that it is not dissimilar to a Ketogenic Diet, aka meat, healthy oils and vegetables. In fact in the Keto forums and groups I am in, you often see people describe themselves as Paleo Keto.
For me personally the absence of dairy is a deal breaker. I can handle dairy, well I think I can but I have never given it up. There is no way I would want to live without cheese and cream in my coffee. Butter seems to be a grey area, some people have it some don’t depending on personal preference.
The fruit is an issue for me also, I think you could over eat Fruit on this diet. Which is not going to help weight loss or long term disease prevention. They forget to factor in that our Paleo ancestors would have only been available to eat fruit for certain times of the year. However to be fair the inventor of the diet, would have being trying to develop a diet that would hopefully become mainstream (which it did). So saying you can eat fruit but only in October, wouldn’t fly well with the masses I guess.
Like the Perfect Health Diet that I reviewed previously. I see this as both a good diet for a transition to Keto or Carnivore, but also a sensible diet it you were just sick of the Standard Western Diet and wanted to eat a bit healthier.
The main bug I have will Paleo is that food companies have ran with it. This generally means a decrease in quality and moving away from the core principles of the diet. I have seen so called healthy Paleo Bars in the supermarkets, that have higher sugar content than a Mars bar. However it is OK because the Sugar comes from dried fruit and honey….. well it’s still Sugar and lots of it.
My recent Carnivore Exploits
This has been another week of finding my feet and finding them little hacks to make your life easier.
Dinners are a breeze. I love eating freshly cooked steaks, joints, and patties. However breakfasts and lunches need a little working on. Due to time constraints for breakfast, and logistics for lunch. I have to eat cold previously cooked meat. I am finding out some work better than others. For example Ribeye is amazing freshly cooked, and very good cold. However Sirloin for example is really good freshly cooked, yet the meat and fat goes a little tough and chewy when cold.
So its just a case of trying different cuts of meat out, and seeing how they perform freshly cooked and cold.
21st October 2017
11am – 2 poached eggs and 5 rashers of bacon.
3pm – 1 mince pie (not carnivore appropriate).
7pm – 600g of Lamb joint.
Drinks excluding water – 4 coffees, and 3 whiskey’s.
22nd October 2017
11am – 3 fried eggs and 4 rashers of bacon.
3pm – ice cream (not carnivore appropriate).
6pm – 600g of Lamb joint.
Drinks excluding water – 4 coffees, 1/2 bottle of red wine, 1 whiskey.
23rd October 2017
8am – 150g lamb patty and cheese.
1pm – 350g lamb patty and cheese.
8pm – 400g Ribeye steak
24th October 2017
8am – 300g Beef Joint
1pm – 400g Beef Joint
8pm – 500g Beef Joint
25th October 2017
8am – 250g Gammon Joint.
1pm – 400g Gammon Joint.
8pm – 500g Beef Joint.
26th October 2017
8am – 250g Gammon joint.
1pm – 400g Gammon joint.
8am – 300g Beef patty and cheese.
27th October 2017
8am – 200g Beef patty and cheese.
1pm – 400g Ribeye steak.
8pm – 400g Ribeye steak.
You can catch me on: