Evolution and Your Metabolism
So, lets go back in time to what our ancestors were up to, most of the year, for the last two or three million years. If we were particularly successful we could predictably forage for most of the year, feast as much as necessary to prepare for winter and a hungry spring and then get back to foraging as soon as possible.
On occasion, in spring, we would get very hungry, and we would spend a couple of months fasting on very little. And, occasionally there would be droughts and floods and locusts and we would experience famine – starvation without a foreseeable end. Of course, some of your ancestors made it through all of that or you wouldn’t be reading this. Human evolution has prepared your metabolisms for three natural states, these states are foraging, feasting and famine. Historically and naturally, only one of these metabolic states could be fatal. Each of these states, or metabolic tendencies, has a very different influence on your health, especially on your ability to lose unnecessary fat.
When we are Foraging, we experience abundant regular activity, consistent and mostly stress free rest, infrequent stressful situations or times of extreme effort and activity, and of course, sufficient and varied nutrition. In a foraging lifestyle we eat a nutrient dense diet most of the year, have a strong, resilient and high metabolism, a naturally strong appetite and seasonal sleep patterns. When we are Feasting, we experience very little activity, a lot of rest, little stressful activity and an obviously high caloric intake.
Historically, when we had an excess of some food source, it was usually a lot of a certain tuber (root), or a lot of Moose, or a seasonal abundance of tree nuts, berries or the eggs of migratory birds. All nutrient dense foods, and unlikely to create a significant nutrient deficiency or imbalance. Or, we ate a lot of everything, because we knew that winter and spring were going to be more and more food restrictive until nature opened up Her grocery store in early summer. Again, little change of nutrient deficiencies or imbalances.
When feasting, our metabolism slows down and our natural appetite decreases. If we are eating more to get ready for a future famine experience it is conscious and consistent with the cycles of the seasons. When we have experienced the Famine or Fasting metabolism, it was usually a seasonal theme. A couple of months of little to eat. Our metabolism naturally slowed down and our appetites increased dramatically. Imagine someone walking slowly (or crawling), from rock to rock, turning them over looking for a couple of bugs to eat. We would likely be suffering from nutritional deficiencies or imbalances, lowered sex drive, fertility and immunity; poor sleep and high stress levels. Oh, the good old days.
All of our ancestors went through this cycle regularly until we became very successful homesteaders. Today, in the modern world, especially in the “developed” countries of the world, many people experience a Feasting metabolism most of their lives. Unfortunately we tend to feast on nutrient poor foods causing nutrient imbalances and deficiencies. As it turns out, there are two natural metabolic tendencies that can get you killed.