Good. Evening and welcome to the Marian minor cook Athenaeum. My name is hamsa Shrikant and I'm one of the two Athenaeum fellows this year. So. We have a very unconventional, speaker. Tonight bill. Schindler is the associate, professor of anthropology and, archaeology, at Washington, College in Maryland. Schindler. Is a pioneer, in the field of experimental. Archaeology, which involves. Reproducing. And using ancient technologies. To draw inferences, about, life in the past, this. Means that he is actually, perfectly, at home in the middle of a forest stalking, a deer with a handmade bow. His. Research revolves, around prehistoric. Technologies, hunting. Foraging. As well as prehistoric, food acquisition and, consumption. I imagine, that Schindler, is very notorious at his college for making his students butcher, animals for extra credit. Honestly. That still sounds better than doing econ problem-sets. Unique. Teaching style has, earned Schindler, the admiration, of many of the students, as well, as the title of professor caveman. Schindler. Is the recipient, of multiple awards. Though, my personal, favorite, when I was on the internet I saw this is, the time that he was called quote, ruggedly, handsome by, the Atlantic. Beyond. Academia, Schindler. Featured, in the great human race which, is a survival, genre, type TV show on National. Geographic Channel. Here. Schindler, and desert. Survival expert, CAD big knee actually attempted, to reenact, the prehistory of humankind. They created their own tools and they use them in accesible, to survive, in extreme environments, such, as those in like Uganda Siberia. Alaska. This, is a 45-minute presentation and. There will be a question answer round at the end so you can tease them about the professor caveman, as, always, I must remind you that audio-visual. Recording is actually strictly prohibited, please, use this opportunity to put away your devices, stuff your face with bread and adjust, your seat if you've not already done so and, without. Further delay please join me in welcoming. The bill Schindler. Thank. You so much. Hum. So thank you so much for that introduction. Thank, you all for being here I'm very sorry, for your loss and it. Means a lot that you're here tonight and I'm hoping we can make the most of our time to, really, engage in, a, different look at our, past our dietary past it's something that really in, in my mind makes us uniquely.
Human. Excuse. Me just a minute just, there. We go. This. Is an absolutely incredible program, and I really, appreciate. You, having me I can't, I come from Washington College on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and this. Is by, far one of the best undergraduate, student experiences, this this whole program that it has put together here I've had wonderful conversations, with your students, Priya's. Been fantastic, with making sure this will work and this meal was absolutely. Incredible so a big thank you to the chef's as well I. Would. Like for a few minutes actually for the next hour really for us to really. Disconnect. And from. Everything we've been told about food, and diet and human, health and just for while, I have you here if you, could indulge me in. Listening. What I have to say with with, wide open minds, this. What. I'm talking to you about tonight has been in many ways of life the, culmination of and still ongoing but a lifelong journey for me and, has. Really. Hasn't. Made necessarily, given me all the answers that I'm looking for but at least has allowed me to begin to ask the right questions about one, of the things that's plaguing, humans. Biggest. Issues plaguing us today and that's human diet and health I will. Say the. My. Wife told me I needed needed to mention this and also Washington College we. Are we have a strong, social media presence both, myself. The, modern Stone Age family which is my family I can tell you more about later on and also the, Eastern Shore food lab at Washington, College which I'll speak a little bit more about as well so. If anybody has wants, to take any pictures or ask any questions, or relay, any information I think the, kind of things that we're talking about today are so extremely, important. That just, having the conversation out there helps. Quite a bit I'm. Gonna start tonight off with a, quick. Comment, I love. Being, human I do. And, I, know that may sound strange, but. In the next 45 minutes I'm gonna break this comment, down quite, a bit and we're gonna start, here, I love. Being human there's so many wonderful, things about being human presentations. Like this and and and colleges, like this or a part of of. What, we've been able to achieve as humans, but. Being human, comes at, some very, significant. Costs. We. Have the most difficult. And dangerous. Childbirth. Of any animal on the planet. We. Are. Very susceptible. To, danger. And and, and and. In. Fence. We. Also have, a very difficult time dealing. With food. So. I'm gonna start off you. Know after. Starting I when I want to surf with one of my favorite people on the planet this is Seamus Caulfield, he is one. Of the most famous archaeologists, in Ireland and, he. If you, can put if if a, leprechaun, and Yoda had, a baby with. It with an Irish accent this is this is this he, had it with the biggest heart in the entire world so, my family and I spent the last year in Ireland we were based. Out of Ireland working on a food project, called the food evolutions project, in concert. With University, College Dublin and, odious. Foods and I, had. The wonderful opportunity spent a lot of time with this man this, man and his father actually found, the most extensive. Prehistoric. Field system, in the, world it's in kg fields in Ireland but. The reason I bring. Him up to start this conversation is, because I want to talk about something, that he taught me about a year and a half ago the, difference between landscape, and scenery and it's very applicable to this conversation. So. I met Seamus Caulfield first about four years ago at a conference at University College Dublin at the end of our conversation, when we first met he, made me promise him that if I ever made it to his part of the world this little tiny. Village. Fishing. Village in the northwest coast and ireland overlooking, the North Atlantic and, County Mayo Belle Derek is the name of the village that if I ever made it there that I had to spend the day with him and he would walk me around not only the archaeological, sites but the the. The rugged coastline, this is absolutely beautiful we, would dig peat and, it would be more absolutely wonderful he promised me so I I, told them I promised. Him I would, do this and I'd had no idea whether I'd ever return to Ireland but I did last year we were there for the entire year so, my family and I landed we packed up the family, we landed in Dublin and a day later we were driving across the country up, to County, Mayo to bail Derek and to.
Fulfill This promise and I, spent the day a magical, day with this man that didn't get involved, beautiful, Neolithic sites this rugged coastline, peat, bogs he, talked about the geology and the biology, and oh it was wonderful but. We ended at. This spot right here overlooking. The coastline and I'm not a very good photographer and I took us on my iPhone but I'm telling you I've been all over the world this view is one of the most beautiful views I've, ever had in my entire life, and he stopped. At this cottage. This. Is the kind of thing you'd see dotted across the landscape in Ireland and we stood there and, he looked at I looked at and he looked at it he says what do you see and you, know with shame and say at this time I hadn't spent a lot of time with Seamus but every, single story ends in a life lesson and I know he was setting me up for something but he says what do you see and, I'm looking at it well has no roof I said well yeah it has no roof it's over 100 years old and nobody's lived in it's okay it has no roof, anything. What. Else do you see I said. Well there's, no rocks up here on the bog all these rocks were hand carried up from the you know the bottom of the cliffs he said absolutely yes and what, else I said wow this, cottage is over a hundred years old and those are huge, spaces for Windows for over 100 years old in Ireland. He says yes that's true what, else and. I looked and I looked and I strained and I wondered. And. I couldn't, figure it out and. Then. Finally I realized, that, there, were no windows on one side of the building none. Whatsoever. This. Is this this is one side of the building huge windows with it so five huge windows and the door in the middle on the. Side you can't, really see it I'm sorry it's a poor picture there's, absolutely, no one knows but a door and the. Craziest, part is that. That is the side of the building facing the sea I'm, standing.
There Looking at one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. Looking. Over the sea, thinking. To myself my wife and I would love to live in this house we'd fix it up and we see, this view every morning and the people that built this house built, it intentionally. To not look at the sea I couldn't. Imagine why that was and I, asked him and he explained to me that it was very very simple that. Here. In the, 1920s. This whole land everything, around this is a, common. Edge this bog that, all the farmers oh. All. The farmers would go to and had equal access to not only dig their own peat to fuel their fires to heat their homes but, also, so. It would be, forged for their sheep and this was a time period where primogeniture, was was, common in Ireland so the first son inherited. The land but all subsequent. Sons, were, landless, and usually, many did they become fishermen, or they go into the military and right, around this time a second. Son and another family in the in this little village decided, they were just going to forget this and build a house, out here on the common dish and they did and then. Another second. Son from a different family did the same thing and this, was the third one and. This. Location. For this house was, on one of the only remaining pieces of dry land in this, entire vast bog so, it's the only place could actually hold the house they had to build the house here and, they. Actually got sued by the by a farmer, and they had to pay ten pounds, and in. Order to keep the house and the guy refused to do it he just left the house that's why it doesn't have any roof but, what he explained to me in the most important, part of this was that the guys why, the wife. Was. From the Shetland. Islands and she grew up in a family of fishermen and she, had lost family, members to the sea and to, her the sea wasn't beautiful to. Her the sea reminded. Her it was dread, and loss, and darkness, and the last thing that she wanted to do in this house she couldn't help its. Location, was look out over that sea every day so they built this house in a way that to me seems, so incredibly odd in. That moment in literally. 30 second conversation something. That I thought that I knew and, and-and-and-and, knew about this place and that I thought everybody, in the planets standing here would, want to look at this view and I couldn't understand this house it, made complete sense. See. Scenery, is what everybody sees it's like looking at a picture but the landscape is something with meaning something. With context, and I. Think this is very relevant because for, two reasons one is it's sort of front front loads everything that I'm gonna say after this the importance of context, cannot be under overstated. Especially. When dealing with food, food. Is very very, very, difficult for us to talk about we talk about food all day long I mean we watch TV we. Talk. About food we watch television shows that have you, know focused, on food we do actually what they did a study four years ago that we watch the amount of time we watch television shows on cooking is like three times more than we actually spend in the in the kitchen but, we talk. About food all day long but how meaningful, are those conversations. I have, been for the past two years I've been speaking all over the world about food and one of the things I found was, that it's very difficult to have a real conversation about, food every, time.
That. We go to the grocery store every time that we decide what. We're gonna cook for our loved ones every time we pick up a fork and take a bite of food we, are relaying information to, the world about, us really. Important, information our. Socio-economic status. Our, religion. Or politics. All, of these things are related and every single bite of food that we take so. To talk, to somebody about food, and. And. And and and bring up some you know ideas, about food that people may not become fertile with it almost sometimes seems like an attack on your family, or on your religion or on how you've raised your children it's very hard to have that conversation but. In order to do it we have to have the context, we have to create it first and what I'd like to spend the rest of my time doing before, we go to questions and answers is actually creating that context, and I, truly, believe that one of the best things a teacher or speaker, can do anybody, you're learning from can. Allow you for a moment to see the world through their eyes and, use that to augment the way that you already look at the world and what I'd like to do if you have an open mind for the next however. Much time I have left to. Hopefully. Let you see the world through my eyes for a minute and, spend the rest of the time engaged in a dialogue to answer specific, questions so. There's, no question that a relationship, with food is truly at our crisis level we, are by, far the sickest species on this planet and the. Only species even. Close, to as sick as us are our pets and it's. Because we're feeding them people food I mean we, are literally, killing ourselves with, what forever has. Been something that nourished us, something's. Wrong, and. I, think one of the biggest issues is that we're disconnected. From our food and this, I'm, sorry it's not the best photograph ever but I'll read it to you this. Was an editorial in in a newspaper 2009. And and written. To all you hunters who kill animals for food shame, on you you also go to the store and buy the meat that was made there where no animals were harmed. Obviously. This is this is silly but it's tragic at the same time I mean the disconnect. From. Where food comes from, to. The person that wrote this is, it's. Gross in every sense of the word but. I would suggest that. All of us on some level are that disconnected. From where our food comes from we might not voice it in a newspaper like this but. I think we are and the first thing that we need to do is reconnect, with our food reconnect, with our, food on a level that we haven't seen in hundreds or thousands, of years and by doing so we can start to make the changes that we need so. Let's start with context, let's, let's start with understanding, why context, is so very important of this conversation, so. One of the things that context, does creating. The context, shapes the. Way that we view food. And diet and I. Think one of the biggest we had some wonderful conversations that at this table before. I came up here and. We're and we were talking about the. Changes.
That Happen with diet as a result of Agriculture and things, like this and and there were some significant, changes we can talk about later but I think the, biggest issue, the biggest thing that's disconnected, us from our food it. Was a process that began a little, over a hundred years ago with the invention of this machine, many. Would see this as progress and many would see this as good but, I'm gonna make some suggestions, that it may be cause. There. Were some other things that happen as of it that weren't weren't so good at all and really are in many ways a product, make. The. Situation when today possible. This is the Kalorama tur. This. Kalorama. Tur. Atwater. Built this Kalorama tour in late, 1800s Early 1900s, and it was the first time that we could take food, and. Identify. And quantify something, inside of that food that we couldn't see and couldn't touch and, again. This many, see this is progress, because after this we began, to identify things like protein, and carbohydrates, bad sorts. Of vitamins, and minerals that were in food and we could quantify these things and then we could be told how we should eat as you know based upon certain levels and numbers of these things and we could identify our diet this way and, maybe. There's some good things about that but. I suggest that this, was. The beginning of, disconnecting. Us from our food in ways that we've never seen before in the history of our species you. Know because to. Do. Anything with that information even get at that information you had to have one of these machines or have access to one of these machines and certainly, it was limited to just, a few people, but. Just as importantly, once you got all these numbers how. This. Many calories this many carbohydrates this many grams of fat this many whatever you had to do something with that information so then we had to have people figure, out what that means and then translate, it to us. We. No longer look, at food when it's put in front of us as food we, look at food as a. Whole. Multitude of calories and carbohydrates and fats and and then we make decisions, on whether, or not we should be eating that food based upon that information that. Information that, was that, came from, something that we can't touch or feel ourselves that. Was translated, to us by people we've never met and we're, deciding about every bite of food that we take based, upon things like this we look at bread we no longer see bread we look at bread and see gluten in the fool how can you eat gluten, this. Is this is very very problematic. Context. Also controls. The dialogue, about food and diet now I took this picture years. Ago and we actually had a bunch of bookstores in the US and we don't have any anymore but this was a borders or Barnes and Noble and and, it it for me that every time I walked into one of these bookstores the very fur table you saw the one that was covered, in books was. About food and diet and you'd, look at this room if you just glance that out real quick it's have we got it all figured out I mean look at all this information about food and diet but, if you took a closer look you'd realize that every one of these authors was telling us to do something completely different, from the other. How. Much do we really know about, what. We should be eating. Where. Do we start to, build that conversation, how do we know what we know where did that information, come from how. Bias is that information. If. You've took all these authors and put them in the same room they literally would kill each other I mean it's, that if, you've, read even five or ten of those books you would realize how to radically. Different their, recommendations, are from one another and. To. Me one of the things that's very very, important, about, context. Is that it also allows us to break down meaningless, food categories, we talk about food all the time and I'm. Asked, all the time questions, like should humans be eating bread. Should. Humans be eating meat. Should. Human adult's, be drinking, milk and. Every. One of those conversations as. Soon as I hear it I begin to shut down because there's no answer to that because. The, categories, are too broad. Should. Humans be eating this. Absolutely. Not but. This thing over here this is bread I made a couple days ago this, took less than an hour to make I don't, know if you know but but the sliced pan or sandwich, bread like this from. From, flour, to, actually being put into the plastic, package takes less than an hour total. This. Took me a day and a half to make, they. Are they're both called bread there are completely, different, foods. The. Way we deal with animals is food the way we deal with dairy the way we deal with any of these the categories, that we say bread no.
There's. No real conversation, that can be had about it unless we dive a lot a lot deeper context. Controls. All of these conversations. So. This. Is where I'd like us to start I would like to talk to you I would like to create a context, about our. Diet. Using, our dietary pass as the platform to engage in these conversations, I'm, gonna talk to you not about specific. Necessarily. Specific, foods I want, to talk to you about approaches, the way that I believe our ancestors approached. Approach. To food and diet for millions, and millions, of years our dietary. Past puts everything into perspective because, in in in all, senses, of the word we are, literally. What our ancestors, ate. Biologically. We're, a result of our dietary past and culturally. We are a result of our dietary past understanding. This, in my, mind should be the basis, for all conversations, about food. So. I love. Being human, but. Compared. To other animals we, are biologically. One, of the weakest, species, on the planet I know. That's hard for us to hear that's hard for us to think about it's hard for us to wrap our brains around but. Biologically. We are one of the weakest species on the planet we. Have a very difficult time, getting food, from our environment I mean think about what do we have biologically, we, have our teeth well. Compared, to other animals our teeth are almost useless and in fact over, millions of years our teeth have actually gotten smaller our nails, well. Unless we're painting them we see them as a nuisance and cut them and try to get rid of them we can't do much with them we. Can't run very fast we can't climb very easily we certainly can't fly we can't zoom very fast we can't even dig in the ground if it's too hard. We. Are very very limited in our ability to access food. This. When. I think of power when I think of strength I think of this man right here this. Is Kevin Randleman I, wrestled. For Ohio State and, this. Was my training partner every single day every, single. Day for years, this is what I faced every, day in practice and I'm, telling, you for whatever, you think you see by looking at it I felt, I felt, that biceps wrapped around my head to, me that, power that I that, you know when I try, to dive in that power that I felt I think of that as power. One. Of the strongest people I know but. How powerful, pound for pound is he really compared to other animals on this planet. He. Is one of the epitome, of in. My mind you know the humor, what we can achieve is strength as far as humans are concerned. But. What is that light compared to other animals what does it like to the pound-for-pound that, an ant can do. We. Have a very difficult time getting food, an, extremely. Difficult time getting food. This, is something that I've thought about for years but several years ago and. In. Mind mentioned. That I had a unique opportunity to spend, nine months, working. On a better. Part of a year and, an amazing, project with national geographic called a great human race and the premise of this show in fact I'll get back to the slide in a second let me let me give you this is the 30-second. Trailer. To the show let me just show you this very quickly and we'll talk about it and and and some of the things that I learned from it okay. I'm. Gonna make this happen. Here. We go National, Geographic Channel. Presents an experiment, millions, of years in the making I don't know how. To. Experts, on a global, journey armed. Only with the tools of each human species. If. We have to go back to how it all started, we're in the same spot, that our ancestors were could, mankind, survive again. The. Great human race the, evolution, begins next Monday at 10:00 on, National. Geographic. Very. Quickly. Somehow. Okay. I've. Been teaching about food teaching about prehistoric technologies. Teaching, about archeology for four, years and several. Years ago I got approached by National Geographic be a part of this program and, I was very excited when they explained, what it was and the idea if anybody's hasn't, seen it is that. They were gonna take me and that woman there cat big me she's a survival, instructor from from Boulder, West. And, the idea was that we we, were going to retrace, the steps of, our, evolutionary. Past as Homo. Sapiens, beginning two and a half million years ago and we're, gonna be ten episodes, and each episode would stop, and and be filmed at a location that. Something. Significant, happened we created a technology that allowed us to do something significant, and, the. Idea was that in each place. My. Job was to replicate the technology from, that time period the stone tools it ceramic pots whatever it was and we were supposed to live for a period of time usually about eight days at a time using. Only those technologies. That were, available during.
That Time period in the location, where it actually happened, and we started in Tanzania, two and a half million years ago and made our way up through Africa through the Middle East through Asia and we ended actually in Oregon representing. About four thousand years ago and, it. Was a life-changing, experience, for me you know I hate, to teach about things that, I haven't, done myself and as, an archaeologist, that's very hard as a high bar to try to reach this. Allowed, me I mean we're the only two people ever in the world to, live even for a period of time all, of those major. Significant. Time periods in our evolutionary past and even. Though it was only eight days at a time it was long enough to, be scared it, was long enough to, be really, hungry it was long enough to. Understand. What. These really, seemingly, basic, technologies, allowed us to do and what, it meant for our diets I mean the first episode we didn't have fires two and a half million years ago we had a basic. Stone, a very very very basic, stone tool and that, was it and we're in the middle of Tanzania, and we were literally sleeping, in trees to. Be away from any of the nasties that were down on the ground at night. It. Really, showed me how. Limited. We, are as a species, because. We forage for food we hunted, for food we trapped. Things for food and the. Only thing, that I could have done without the help of a tool was. Forage and. Plants. Are amazing. Fruits. And vegetables are absolutely, amazing, but. They are not a nutrient-dense. Food. You have to do a lot to them to make them nutrient-dense and even, that requires, a technology, to do these things to it this, is an example this is a replica. And after I'm all done if anybody wants these things will be out if you want to take a look at them this. Is one, of the most significant, things. Tools, artifacts, in, our in our evolutionary, past. This. Stone tool dates the three point three million years ago is only found a few years ago and it was found in just west of Lake Turkana in Kenya and three. And a half million years almost three and a half million years ago probably. In australopithecines. Probably. Australopithecus. Afarensis or, also ithaca Africanness, picked. Up a rock struck. It with another rock and knock this off and. In, less than a second. Changed. Our relationship with, our environment. For. The first time ever we were not limited, by our nails and our teeth and our and and what we had biologically. We, could overcome that we could cut we had a strong, sharp, durable, edge that, we could cut with and this. Literally. Changed. The game in in many significant, ways most importantly, about. About, diet and I saw that firsthand and felt it firsthand here we are, scavenging. Meat. From. A dead animal on this out, in the middle of Tanzania, and I'm. Telling, you being in front of an animal this large. The. Only other thing I could have done if I had no tool was sit there and literally put my face into this animal and start gnawing but instead you, know the. Way we think this happened in the past at two and a million years ago we first three, and a half million years ago we. Animals. We weren't hunting but we started eating meat for the first time and we. Were scavenging. This meat so we know how predators, operate right now on the on the Savannah with typically habitus will take another animal down and if it's a large animal to gorge themselves on, the, most nutrient-dense. Amazing. Parts of the animal and and that's the organs it's the blood and the guts and the fat and then when they filled their bellies that go off and sleep on a rock or up on a tree which gives, hunter-gatherers.
Scavengers. That long-ago, time to run in there and hack off as much as they can before it comes back and what's the feet again and we were in a situation like this and we wanted to get whatever we could and get somewhere, to safety to, eat this and, without a stone tool we, probably would have gotten a few calories but, instead we were able to take a leg. With us and crack the bone open for marrow and take, meat and bring it off the safety and need it for the next several days. Here. This is we were in the. Republic of Georgia and, this. Is a the, kind of tool that we had a forty thousand year old technology a composite, point that we made and hunted a wild boar with we. Wouldn't have been able to take down that boar we, just I I, wouldn't, been able to do it myself without the help of these technologies, we, have a very, very, difficult. Time, getting. Food from our environment so, if, you if you look at things that other animals have like, digging, claws or, the. Ability to fly or really. Really really strong teeth or the speed of the strength to take down other animals we have none of those things. Before. We created technologies, we were limited we were herbivores. And frugivores, we. Were seasonally. Eating, local. Fruits. Vegetables. And maybe, insectivore, so we may and, insects, that's it we. Stood about that tall full-grown, adults our brains are about the size of my fist, and that's, exactly what, life was like we. Couldn't, access anything else more environment our bodies wouldn't allow us to do it we had none of these things but over time. We. Replicated. Through. Technology. These. Kinds, of abilities. That other animals have we, don't have digging claws but ubiquitous, around the world we have digging we create digging sticks, we. Don't have the ability to fly but we can create all sorts of ways that, will allow us to get the high heights and extract honey or fruit. We. Can't crack open nuts. With, our teeth but. We bang two rocks together with a nut in between we think about it we are so weak that if I put almost any wild, nut in front of you a pile of them and that's the only thing I gave you to eat you would die of starvation watching. That pile of nuts because you couldn't access even a nut inside of a shell until. You put it between two rocks and cracked it open we, can't hunt at a distance. Biologically. But we create all sorts of weapons that allow us to do this so. One of the important stories of our dietary path is overcoming, our physical limitations and allowing, us to access, resources. Increasingly. Nutrient-dense, and diverse resources, from our environment it's a very important part. But. That's not the most important, part for as weak as we are as a species we. Have an even more difficult time digesting, food we have an incredibly, inefficient digestive tract, so. Even if we get a resource more environment, our ability, to once, we put it in our mouth to break it down properly, into something that our body can derive, incredible. Nutrition from is very very, limited. So. Just, because this is a portion. Of important, as we go on on I know all, of you in this room probably know this but we're gonna do a basic biology. 101, lesson so, this, is the way people in the past used to eat and I. Know it's a blanket statement but it's fairly true they, would grab, they would use their eyes and maybe, their sense of smell and identify something they might want to eat and they'd pick it up and put it by their face and they'd. Smell it again and they'd look at it and maybe. Taste it and I know these things are strange to us because at, least to my mother my mother goes. Nuts when she comes over the house and I and I open up something and I smell it before I decide whether to eat it because you, know I grew up in the 70s and a good mother in the 70s you read the labels right if it if somebody else did you never met said it was it, was good till March 5th it didn't matter was good till March fifth he looked at that date and that's what it made your decision to smell food is a strange thing in my household, but.
So We we, make. The decision whether you put it into your mouth whether it was safe enough to eat and he put it into your mouth and immediately. You'd begin to. Break, that food down chemically. And physically so our teeth are breaking it down physically, and chemically, the most important thing that happens in our mouth is that the. Enzyme, amylase, which breaks down converts, complex, carbohydrates, simple sugars begins. To work operate on the food and then we swallow it and it. Goes into our stomach and all sorts of things happen in our stomach there's, continual. Mechanical. Breakdown of the food there's, other enzymes, and other things are chemically happening, to break that food down and then, once, it's sufficiently, broken down and you have bile and all of the sorts of things happening to it it goes through. The. Opening to the small intestines, where the pH changes back to something that's much more neutral and if. It's broken down properly, if, it's. Broken down properly, and your, guts, your intestines. Are in, really good healthy shape then, the nutrients, will get absorbed through the intestinal walls, and go to where it needs to be in other parts of your body and then, the rest of it goes through the waters extracted, in the in the large intestines, and then leaves it leaves your body and that sounds amazing and it, is until. You compare it to the way other animals, deal with them so. I, had. A mind-blowing. Moment about, a year and a half ago I was in Ireland and, I. Was. Asked, to be. On a, show called what are you eating it was going into its third season and they. Were they were getting ready just to film the first episode of the third season and I got a phone call I said listen we'd like you we'd like you to be on this this episode briefly. You know and I said okay that'd be great and I said what's the episode about they. Said it's unbeaten ISM I. Don't. Know if you have the right guy don't I don't know much about veganism, I said no no no don't worry don't worry if we, don't need you to ask to talk about veganism I we. Want this is the way the show is gonna unfold the idea was that the, host was, gonna get a blood test and, get a whole body workup and then he was gonna go on a vegan diet for a month and during that time he was gonna interview a bunch of leaders of the vegan movement Ireland, and it is a very strong movement in Ireland right now and at the end of that month, he was going to get his blood and his body work you know buddy tested again and then they wanted me, after, that point to go out with him into the woods and. Talk. About our relationship, with, animals as food over time and. I, saw that'd be great and I said can I was, a visiting, professor at UCD last year so I said can I bring some students it's absolutely, not a problem at all I see. Tools can you get some animals we could butcher a great, so we got we got two deer two, ducks and two rabbits and we. Go out there and I'm walking him through stone, tool technology over time talking about the changes, and in animals. In our, diet over time and meanwhile the the students are literally elbow deep and deer and they're butchering and I can't, believe what Irish television showed it was way more than our geographical, to show especially. On an episode with that topic but anyhow we're in it we're doing this and it's um at one point he says okay let's get up and we're gonna go over aces can you clean this duck that you're talking to me about this sure so. I'm, there, and I grab this duck and I cut open the bottom and I reach up inside and I'm talking it's on camera, and you, know there's all sorts of stressors going on I'm worried about the students and worried about the camera I'm worried about the duck you know it, was dead but anyhow so I reached, up and I and I start pulling out the inside of this duck as I'm talking and I. Had. This sort of Epiphany at the same time and it was really hard to finish, the. Interview with, my mind just being blown and I'll tell you a little bit about what it was I mean I preface, it real quick one, of the guys I was working on this project with is a, man named Jason O'Brien and he.
Owns Several, food companies, in Ireland but one of them is Oh dais foods and within, that he's he's using, this company to reconnect, people in Ireland with their real heritage, through food not you, know, whiskey. And potatoes I mean real true, heritage, and one. Of the first things he started launching. Was this cup, or this. Sub-sect. Of this other company called round stone bread and it was amazing. Sourdough, bread using, only great ancient grains from Ireland and, I've, been working with him and talking a lot about bread and I was with Seamus and we were using a corn stone we were grinding flour and any grinding. Grain and and all, this is running through my head I actually was just with him the day before grinding grain and I reach up and I pulling the insides out of this duck and and. I reached up really far and I, grabbed. The. Crop and. I pulled it out and I. Looked it now I don't have the crop here this is the gizzard I thought about in just a second but the crop the, Ducks are designed, to eat grains I mean, they are right. Most Ducks. The, Ducks don't have teeth they don't have fingers they don't have any of that they take a bill and they, or beaker at bill I guess and they grab the whole grain and they swallow it and it goes into their their. Crop and the crop is kind of this enlarged, muscular, pouch, where. The grain sits and it's, warm and it's moist and the grain sometimes, sit there for twelve to fourteen hours and during. That time the, grains soak. They. Ferment, and. Sometimes. Even sprout, and then. They swallow it further and it goes into this and this, is a gizzard and this is the gizzard cut open and the, gizzard are too muscular, discs, and in between the discs are all these rocks that the birds eat intentionally, that, sit there and these. Softened, fermented, soak sometimes, sprouted, grains go in between these discs and the discs go like this and the, rocks grind, this, fermented, soaked grain, and then. It goes into the rest of the digestive tract which is smaller. But. Very similar to ours in the way that it operates and, as. I'm holding this I mean. The thing was just full of soap.
Fermented. Grains, and. Holding, it and I'm thinking to myself what, if I took what a grain and bypassed. The, crop and the gizzard and stuck, it right, into the stomach, great, great wood it would be very, similar to ours but what happened to that duck. Would. It get all the nutrition from the grain would. It get sick would it die. Probably. And. That's exactly what we do when, we the way that we eat grains today because. The other parts of this the crop in the gizzard we replicate, and have replicated for a very long period of time the. Corn stone is, literally. A gizzard and the, crop what happens in the crop is exactly. What we do when we make real, long. Slow fermented, sourdough bread and by not doing those two things we're bypassing that. Part of a duck's Anatomy and and, feeding ourselves a grain, that we have no business eating, so. Here's, some examples of just, like I had before with traits that other animals have that allowed them to derive. Amazing, nutrition to their environment, biologically. We, don't have these things so for example a cow. Had. Two wonderful, things in their, bodies that allow them to go out into a field of grass and, support. These huge, bodies, meanwhile. I could stand right next to that County the same thing and die of starvation. So. When, a cow eats grass several, things happen first of all they have these huge teeth. And even, more importantly a palate that's, designed, to break down through. The cell walls of this. Grass and they na and they chew the grass and they, swallow it and it, goes into a rumen, which, is the first chamber of a four chambered stomach of a cow and that, does nothing, but. Ferment, it's, a fermentation chamber so. A cow will eat the grass if it's. Eating grass it should be eating grass and chews. It up breaks it down and swallows, it it goes into the room and then ferments, and then, they spit it up and then. They chew it and it, goes back down and they do this back and forth back and forth that's what a ruminant animal does that's chewing the cud and eventually, when it's broken down enough it, goes, through the rest of our digestive tract which by the way operates, in a very similar ways to ours. We. Don't have huge canines, right. For. Ripping up our carcasses, on the savanna we, don't have this is another this, is the picture, of a, gizzard cut. The other way. We. Don't have anything like that to grind grains but. What do we do we. Ferment, outside of our bodies in Crocs and in mason jars and in all sorts of different things we, don't have canines, like this but, we weave we don't need to because for three-and-a-half million years we've been making sharp edges out of all sorts of things we, don't have this but. We create things. Like this corn stone, the. Story of our dietary past. Is not a story of individual, items that we've eaten or, chosen over time it's about, extracting. The most nutrient, dense bioavailable. Foods from our environment and more importantly, transforming. Those foods before they. Even touch our lips into. The most nutrient dense bioavailable, food possible that's, the story of our dietary past, that's the thing we should be focusing on.
Now. I want to give you in many in many, ways. A very gross example, of where. That. Understanding, has broken down over time. So. I'm gonna start back, maybe. 15. Almost, 9 years ago now, I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland a very rural area there's not much around and everything closes a like 6 o'clock and, it. Was two days before Christmas and my, wife we. Were, counting the presents and the stockings, and all these sorts of things she said to me she goes oh my gosh Alissa our youngest daughter she, has one last stocking, stuffer than the rest of the other kids I said. Okay she, said you got to go to the store I said store. Well it's stores because Toys R Us Tyler Ross it's, 45, minutes away you kidding me it's two days before Christmas so, she's got it going up to have the exact same number oh my, gosh okay so she, said and you can't spend more than like six bucks so. Wait a minute you're sending an, adult. Male, 45. Minutes with a six dollar limit to get a gift for a six-year-old, girl like I was completely set up for failure so, I go and I'm looking around and very worried about its gonna do and I and, I'm looking I'm looking and that finally got to the plate a while I knew she loved play-doh and I turned around and I saw what I'm gonna show you in a minute and immediately, like it, was like the sun was shining on it it was perfectly, what I needed and I grabbed it and who and she loved it so much she kept that and I got one for myself because there's something very very cool about this and very important to this bear. With me for a second I'm gonna go off script so. This. Is a, play-doh press, and it's, very unique in a lot of ways. The. First part of it, it. Creates this amazing, human. Turd and. Somebody. Was real had to wait too much fun putting it together because it comes with the play-doh and it's just like greenish, brown color it's it's absolutely disgusting but, that's not the best part the best part is that, it also comes with a, little yellow container, of yellow play-doh and you, can't see it from here but if you look really close you. Can. Make a kernel of corn and, you. Stick, it on the, human turd that's, what it makes and, whether. Or not you're laughing everybody. In this room knows exactly, what that means, every. Single person in this room I. Know. It's funny but it's it's. Actually really really sad. We. Eat for a lot of reasons as humans many. Many many cultural reasons but. At the, end of the day we eat to nourish our bodies and that corn. Gave. Us absolutely. No nutrition, whatsoever, it passed directly through our bodies and we saw the entire kernel of corn the next day, now. The and, I know you guys understand, what that all means but, what you may not know is that corn, is one of the most difficult things for our bodies to completely digest and derive nutrition from if you, grind that corn, you. Might not see it the next day because, it's been ground up but. You didn't get all the nutrition from it in fact there's only one way to process, corn. To. Derive all the nutritional, benefits in that corn into our human body so these very very inefficient digestive tracts. So. Corn. Maize was first domesticated and, probably, the bossless valley of mexico somewhere around fifteen thousand years ago in fact it may be one of the first investigates, in the entire world and, over. Thousands, of years entire. Civilizations. Were, built on maize healthy. Civilizations. Traditions. Religion, all of it based. On mace and. When. The colonists, first explorers, first came over to America they. Saw this maize and I saw it everywhere and they took it back to England.
And, Not. Long after they returned. People. Started getting sick and there. Was a sickness that was first identified in Spain and not long after was identified in Italy and then after that and didn't have been identified in different parts of. England. And, parts, of Europe and it it looked, very much like this so. Early symptoms, were red, swollen skin and then, skin, lesions, and in many ways in some in some cases something that very much mimicked, or looked like leprosy. Then. Blindness, and if, left untreated death and a. Lot of people were affected by it and, then. In the mid 19th, century we. See it again in Ireland at. The end of the famine we start seeing this disease popping up and then. We see it again in the early 20th, century in poor, areas of the American southeast, areas. Like Georgia Alabama you, know some of these southeast some, southern states but in very very poor areas, and. It, was so bad that it. Afflicted. Over inflicted. Literally millions of Americans, and hundreds. Of thousands, of people were dying from this disease and. And. Maybe. None of you know that this had even happened but it was a very very very big deal and they hired a doctor, by the name of Goldberger. An infectious, disease doctor to go and figure out what this was because, it was it was running rampant so he goes down there and he looks at it and, he's studying it and he comes back he says listen I, think. I know what may be causing this but it's not infectious. It's. Diet-related and. Nobody. Would believe him they said go back there's this there's nothing this bad can be diet-related it, has to be infectious, go figure out what this is and give us a solution to it so, he goes back and he he actually goes to some mental institutions, and some hospitals and he, took, volunteers. And put, them on a nothing, but corn diet because he thought he. Thought it had something to do with corn and, he put people on an exclusive, corn, diet and they started showing symptoms of this and he goes back and they're like nope it's infectious figure. Out what this is so. This disease was a very. People. That had, family members people got the disease were very very embarrassed, by this because they thought it was they called it the filth disease, because, we're sweeping through poor areas they thought it has something to do with with, being dirty and pee. And so. They this, guy Goldberger and his. Wife and his partner, hosted. What they called filth parties, and, during. These parties he and his wife and his partner in public, would eat the. Scabs and the skin off, of people that were afflicted with this they, would take swabs and swab their mucous membranes, and swallow themselves, and then they even went so far as to extract blood from the victims and stick, it into their own veins to, show that they weren't getting sick and that it wasn't infectious. So. People. Finally believed them and they. Realized, and they. Realized that it does have something to do with corn, and they. Then, also found out that it. Had to do with the deficiency, of niacin, in the diet and, the. Problem is that corn is so easy, to grow and so, filling, that it replaces. Traditional. Diets wherever it goes. And. People. May have been hungry before corn came in but they're at least getting a lot of their food from different places and when. Corn came in they were abandoning, a lot of the other places where they got their food and just eating exclusively, corn and they, were getting sick and I mean hundreds. Of thousands of people were dying in the u.s., from. This deficiency of niacin. Here's. The punchline. Corn. Has niacin, in it in fact it has quite a bit of nice and in it the, only way to get the niacin out of the corn and make it available to our bodies is to go through a process called nixtamalization, and, in. The past that was done by put it means, if you put it in an alkaline solution and, you simmer it and then you let it steep overnight and then, you grind it into into, masa or what have you in. The past it was done with wood ash and water nowadays. Where it's done it's done with either cow or, pickling, lime or even lie. This. Was a disease that you didn't, see for 15,000. Years but. You saw it in the 16 and 1700, is in Europe you, saw it in the 1800's, in Ireland because at the end of the potato famine what did we do we shipped tons, of cornmeal to Ireland, as famine. Relief and people. Then were no longer dying from starvation but, they were started dying and starving from, pellagra, and then. We see it again in the in the early 20th century, so. What do we do as a country, do. We start processing it the right way no, we start fortifying everything with nice and instead so, this. Is and, that's why when you see nice and on literally everything one of the main reasons is the result of this, disease that was running rampant for four decades in fact, the. Term redneck comes, from, pellagra which, is kind of interesting as well the.
Craziest, Part is this not, only can, we tell, this really, unique and insane story, and, sad. Story about. Corn, but. We could say very, similar things about every, major food, that, we eat today I can, tell you very similar stories about barley or wheat or, or. Dairy. Or even animals not necessarily, at the scale that we saw it here but, the, way that we process these, foods today are at the expense, of the nutrients, not. To make them more nutrient dense not to make them more by at, the expense of the nutrients, so. Very quickly I know I'm almost at a time all, right here's, some of the issues our. Gut, is 60%, the. Size of what what is expected of a similar sized primate, when we stood upright somewhere, between 5 and 7 million years ago our guts shrank almost in half, the. Size of our guts are directly, related to how. Far. We can process food and how long it sits in our small intestines, is directly related to how we can absorb the nutrients if they're broken down properly, into our bodies so. We. Swen we stood upright our guts shrink partially, to fit inside of this pelvic, girdle right this very small pelvic, girdle and be as a result of that our ability to derive, nutrition from our environment is severely, compromised. One. Of the other things we sort, of had going for us was the size of our teeth this. Is a very this isn't the best example in the world but this is Homo habilis at two and half million years ago Homo, erectus at 2 million years ago. Neanderthals. This, one is around, 250,000. Years ago and this is Homo sapiens, us today and if, you look at just, the. Post canine teeth the molars look, at the size difference over, time, they're. Getting smaller now, this one lost its wisdom teeth but free to pretend oh is something here they're. Getting smaller over time now, this is really crazy when you look at that in comparison to the size of the, brains as they're increasing. Right. So, not only are the teeth getting smaller the bodies, and the heads and the brains are getting larger at the same time our. Guts are shrunk our teeth. Are getting smaller but. Everything, all the nutrition, that we need is skyrocketing.
Our. Brains, represent. Two. Percent of I'm sorry two, percent of our bodies but require 20 percent of the nutrition that we take, in, most. Other animals ten percent of what they eat goes to fuel their brains we're. 20. Homo. Habilis full-grown. Homo habilis stood about this tall now I'm not a great example because I'm 5 foot 7 but a normal, human is taller. Than me you know body, size grows brain, size grows exponentially. Females. Are actually getting much closer in size to males all. Of that requires, extensive. Nutrish. But. Biologically, everything, that we have to get food and process, it is going away or getting smaller, right. This the huge encephalization. Is hugely expensive so, how did we do this how, did we literally do the impossible get. Bigger grow, these immense, brains at. The same time that everything we had that allowed us to get food from our environment biologically. And process, it was getting smaller how did we do it well this is how we did it and this is this is the takeaway. We. Through. Cultural adaptations, we saw the behavior patterns, we sought out increasingly. Nutrient-dense. Food. So. We targeted found, out ways of getting food from our environment that we had no business eating biologically. Increasingly. Nutrient-dense, food again we were subsisting, on on fruits. And vegetables, seasonally, subsisting, on fruits and vegetables and probably some insects, that's. All that our body had any business going. Out and getting it's all that we could do without any tools at all but, we created behavior patterns and tools that allowed us to get increasingly. Nutrient-dense. Food from our environment and secondly. And most importantly we developed technologies, that allowed us to process, food to increase the density and more importantly the, bioavailability, of our nutrients in other words to unlock those nutrients, and make it available to our bodies without working too hard I mean, the short takeaway is we found ways of getting. More by, doing less, we, exerted less energy and got more in return that's, exactly, what we did I mean, the focus think. About the. Focus whether, you want to admit it or not what you would, you make a decision about how to feed yourself or feed, your family, what. Do you really really think about our, ancestors, wanted. To get the most amount with the least amount of work that's. What they wanted and he found ways to do it modern. Americans want to eat all day long and not get fed, I'm. Really, we, seek out nutrient free foods. There. Was a study done several years ago in American grocery stores when they look at all the packaged food and what. The advertising. Was, boasting, about what, it was advertising, what the labels are advertising and 80%, of, the packaged food boasted. About what, it didn't have in it fat. Free gluten free low sugar low calorie, whatever and many of these things we probably shouldn't have in our bodies anyhow but the paradigm, the thought process, is a hundred, eighty degrees from it was in the past, we.
Seek Out nutrient. Free foods. This. Is these are the kinds of technologies, I'm talking about digging stick stone tools fire. Grinding. The, ability to hunt at a distance these are the things that allowed us to do, this over time and, this, is great and these are the kinds of food processing examples, I'm talking about none of it is rocket science most. Of it is very basic I mean remember a lot of these things are being done in caves in the middle of somewhere hundreds of thousands and millions of years ago cooking. Is huge. Fermenting. Next, tamo lysing grinding, soaking. Drying slicing, chopping, dicing and even things like coagulating. There's. We can talk more about it if somebody has a question but i'm gonna plant the seed very quickly most of the things I talked about us. Creating. Behavior patterns or technologies, to mimic we're mimicking what other animals, do naturally or have naturally, right stone. Tools mimicking. Teeth and ability to climb and all this but, one, of the things that we've kind. Of mimicked. Our own. Species doing that at a different time in life is coagulating. There's. A lot of discussion, right now whether humans should be drinking dairy or eating anything dairy, because. We're the only species that eats dairy as adults, right. Do. I think we should be drinking. Ultra. Pasteurized skim, milk absolutely, not it has no business going into our bodies but. Our the things that we can do to dairy that. Fall. In line with the same approaches, to the other foods and therefore. In my mind render, them something amazing for us to eat absolutely. And instead, of looking to another animals look to our own species but as infants, when. A baby drinks, milk. It. Goes into their stomach and several. Things happen when that liquid the mother's milk goes into a stomach. One. Of the things that happens is that, the. Enzyme, ascend this. Enzyme. Attacks. It and coagulates. It it makes it thickens, it and, if you ever had a baby spit-up on you're gonna look like cottage cheese it's because it's exactly what it is right. It now. It smells, like, a really strong provolone, and that's because of the lipase enzyme but that's another thing but it's there it's cheese the baby was making cheese and the reason the baby makes cheese in the stomach is because. If all, it's doing is drinking a liquid the, liquid passes, right through their digestive tract way too quickly for it to derive all the nutrition it can and it, passes through too quickly that, doesn't allow it to ferments so. When a baby drinks milk and it coagulates into, its stomach and is something that's somewhat semi solid it sits, there a little bit longer and it breaks down better and it actually ferments, and then.
This, More, broken down fermented. Food then goes into the small, intestines, and then more nutrients, can be absorbed from it I literally. Just described you the process of making cheese that's. What we do, there. Are. I'm. Passionate, about, Jesus. I've. Traveled, the world making cheese I love cheese, but we spent time last year my family and I with son, burrow in in Kenya and the son burrow just like the Maasai are nomadic. Pastoralists. That, subsist. In many ways primarily, on blood. And milk and they. Milk their animals, and at, the same thing they also they, have this wonderful way of. Shooting. This this arrow that only goes in about a quarter of an inch into their jugular and they collect milk from it they don't kill the cow the cow actually when we did it the cat and even flinch, and they, collect this blood in this milk and they mix it together and they. Drink it regularly the. Men when, they're during the dry season when they're phong animals, that's all that they eat twice a day blood, and milk, they. Are the only traditional. Groups that I know that actually, drink milk now first of all it's a hundred percent raw, but. Drink milk every other, traditional, culture in the world ferments. The milk they, make yogurt or kefir or, a variety, of different cheeses or a whole host of other fermented dairy products, the way that we forget. That we can talk a lot about pasteurization, homogenize ation, later but the way that we drink. Milk out of a glass or poured on our cereal and eat it fresh is a very, unique thing that's. Not the best way to get the most nutrients from the dairy so, we, can even do things like coagulating. These are the kinds of technologies, that I'm talking about that can unlock nutrients, and make them more nutrient dense so. Really, quickly. Just to plant, another seed so to speak in in your mind this is a, picture, of the actual tool that that's a cast though that 3.3, million year old stone tool, there. Are a lot of questions, people. Are arguing right now but what is the first domesticated species well. We don't know the plant hmm probably, could be maize 15 thousand years ago or some, other plant around that same time period animal. Wise well, most, animals, that we see domesticated, or domesticated, begin domestication, around 8,000, plus 10,000. Years ago dogs. Were very early maybe, as early as thirty thousand years ago or so. But. If your if your definition, of domestication, it's play taking, a species, out, of its natural environment putting. It in a, human. Created. Environment, a cultural, environment and tending. It and protecting, it and doing things to it, to. The point where, it, genetically. Changes, and in, some cases can't, survive on its own without. That cultural, environment, if that's your definition which, it's mine it's very I think it's a good one then. Humans. Are the first domesticated, species and we began to domesticate ourselves, three, and a half million years ago when we made that tool because. We made that tool we started, we gained. The ability to extract more more resources from our environment and process, that food in ways, that we couldn't do it before and this. And then we continue to do that and create new technologies, and change our diet and change your diet I don't, care if you are Bear Grylls and, know everything, about surviving, in every and every place in the world if I, stripped, you down from. Your clothes and all of your technologies, and threw you anywhere, in the world you, could not survive we. Can't do it we, need these technologies, to survive we need these technologies, to transform raw materials, to support these bodies we appear, as Homo sapiens, 300 thousand years ago and we.
Really Haven't changed that much since and our digestive tracts, have not changed the way we processed, food has not changed, we, built these bodies, on diets that were three and a half million years in, in. The making and, those are the diets that I think we need to turn to for at least inspiration. For, how we address modern, issues of food and diet today so. There's. An issue though. One. Of the things that I like to say is it's not about eating like cavemen it's about learning to eat like humans, again there's much more to eating than just, the nutritional, value of foods if I. Certainly. There. Was no one die at 300,000, years ago but let's suggest that there was for just a second and let's, suggest that I knew what it was I have no idea but let's suggest I knew exactly what it was and I. Could convince you tonight, that, you should eat that food in. Biologically. That it makes amazing, sense, that, that is the diet that we can be the healthiest humans on and I put that food in front of you I might. Get you to eat it and tomorrow. Morning you might wake up and eat it again but. Next week you probably, wouldn't eat it I don't. Care how important you thought it was because. Even though biologically. We, are, very similar to how he worth we had a thousand years ago culturally. We are very very very different and, what. I'm working o