A change in disease patterns
The Heritage Diet as practiced by us is first of all a collection of nutrition principles, largely induced by one of the most extraordinary changes in the history of humanity. That is the change in the pattern of our diseases during the 20th century. A truly remarkable, if relatively little noted change.
It is not generally realized that until the beginning of the 20th century our killer diseases were predominantly infectious communicative diseases, like cholera, the plague, scarlet fever, smallpox, tuberculosis, typhus, etc. During the 20th century, most of these killers had all but disappeared. Towards the end of the century, up to 8 out of 10 overall deaths in western societies were caused by chronic degenerative diseases, like obesity, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, various forms of cancer, etc.
These two sets of diseases have virtually nothing in common. Not a single disorder in the second group may be traced to diseases in the first. From what we know today, no such fundamental change in disease patterns has ever occurred before in the history of humanity. An obvious question is why did that happen during the 20th century?
A food-related problem
To reasonably answer this question we must first ask, what do these chronic degenerative disorders have in common? The answer is as simple as it is significant: they are all food related. All of them depend largely on our food supply, and on whether we eat according to the instructions of our genes. They can be provoked by the wrong diet and prevented by the right one. But the 20th century with its fast foods, junk foods, canned foods, frozen foods, processed foods, pre-prepared foods, substitute foods, supermarket shelf foods, solidified oils, and so on, has progressively but radically affected our food supply, to the point that most of us now eat largely against the instructions of our genes.
The 20th century has driven us further from the eating habits of our ancestors than any other time in our past, including the "Neolithic Revolution" some 10,000 years ago, when we changed from a mainly hunting and gathering way of life, to a largely agricultural and pastoral mode. A sad proof of that, and even sadder commentary on our heedless ways, is that even our house pets are beginning to die of chronic degenerative diseases, because of the way we have manipulated their food supply too.
Prevention and seemingly irrelevant questions.
But these degenerative disorders are also chronic, in other words they take time to evolve.Diabetes is not developed overnight, and neither is heart disease, high blood pressure and so on. Why wait to get diabetes and then treat it with insulin, which affects your lifestyle and the quality of your existence, when you can easily prevent it? If your blood group, family hereditary factors, and the way you live and eat predispose you to diabetes, it is up to you to stop it before it develops. You may not be able to change your heredity or blood group, but if you change the way you eat in a rational and knowledgeable way, you may prevent diabetes. The same is true of most other chronic degenerative disorders.
In short, prevention is one of the main principles of the the Heritage Diet we practice. And such prevention is based on your own personal and individual make-up; the sum of qualities that set you physiologically and biochemically apart. That is why we ask so many questions in our questionnaires.
Of course, for some of us it may be simply too late for prevention. We may have already developed some degenerative disease. The question is, is that a reason to go to the hard chemical drugs with the numerous harmful side-effects, which were first developed to deal with the first group of infectious diseases that could virtually kill you overnight? In other words, how justified is it to treat chronic degenerative disorders that may take nearly a lifetime to evolve, as if they were infectious life-threatening diseases demanding immediate and powerful intervention?
The power of ancestral habits
We think this is not justifiable on any known medical grounds or principles. On the contrary, it makes far more sense to change our eating habits closer to these of our ancestors, which prevented the development of chronic degenerative diseases in the first place. Older persons of technologically primitive cultures who reach the age of 60 or so, have none of the symptoms of chronic degenerative disease so common in our cultures. The benefits of traditional diets are best illustrated by the fact that Australian aborigines who develop diabetes are cured of this condition by being simply sent to the outback, where they can eat their original bush-foods for seven weeks. In other words, diabetes can be cured by simply reverting to our earlier foods and eating habits in less than two months. Obviously, that is not convenient or even possible for most westerners, and that is where the Heritage Diet can help.
The Heritage Diet, by simply showing you how to eat correctly and virtually nothing more, can prevent but also help to overcome many of the chronic degenerative diseases that were the major killers of the 20th century, which are not only still with us, but which are killing us in unprecedented numbers.
The Heritage Diet follows the instructions of our genes as these are manifested in the partition of our nutrients, the insulin response of foods, our genetic, hormonal and metabolic balance, and the avoidance of all monolithic eating habits, such as when you are expected to eat only protein and exclude all carbohydrates for example. The Heritage Diet on the contrary encourages you to eat the largest number of foods, but in such a way that these foods do not appreciably lead to excessive insulin secretions.