The Tribal Take on Food
At Eat Tribal, we stick with natural, real foods. Our take on food is influenced by the Paleo view on nutrition. Ultimately, rather than stick to a rigid prescription, we use these theories to guide us. Our Tribal Tenets are the pillars we stand on to produce healthy and delicious meals that fuel your active lifestyle and let you thrive.
So What is Paleo?
Eating in a Paleo sense is to mimic (in a modern way) the natural diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, which consisted of healthful wild plants and animals. Here are some of the evolutionary, anthropological, biological, and anatomical theories that support this school of thought.
Millions of years of evolution have shaped us into the modern human that exists today. And for the roughly 2 millions years prior to the advent of agriculture, the scope of the human diet centered around animal meats (which are extremely dense in nutrients) and plant foods (which hold comparatively less, though still valuable, nutrients usable to humans).
From its origins as herbivorous primates, the course of human evolution, it is widely believed, was kicked off with the first consumption of animal protein. This protein most likely came from scavenging for the remnant meat and organs of another predator’s kill and led to an initial increase in human brain size. This bigger brain led to higher intellectual capacity and eventually the creation and use of more and more sophisticated tools and the harnessing of fire (and with it came the ability to benefit even more from the consumption of meat).
It is only in the past 10,000 years (a drop in the evolutionary bucket) that grains have entered the human diet. And only in the past 60 years have we been faced with the highly processed and refined foods that pervade American menus — that’s .03% of our 200,000 year existence as homo sapiens, barely a blink of an eye on the human evolutionary timeline.
Even in indigenous peoples that still exist today, their diets consist mainly of animal meats supplemented with plants that can be foraged. Needless to say, the meat comes from animals that are eating their natural diet, free to roam about in nature. Living off their own natural diet, these indigenous people don’t suffer from the “Western diseases” that we often attribute to the consumption of fat, cholesterol and red meat.
However, once these indigenous peoples are assimilated into a Western civilization and adapt a Western diet, these same health problems start to appear. For example, the Aboriginal people of Australia, after transitioning to a Western lifestyle, have succumbed to many of the diseases that plague Americans today: diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. In a famous experiment, health and nutrition researcher Kerin O’Dea took a group of Australian Aborigines into the bush to revert back to their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles. After just 7 weeks, the whole group experienced weight loss (back to their ideal weights), more controlled sugar and insulin levels, and healthier cholesterol levels.
Biological / Anatomical Evidence
If you look at the human digestive tract, it is anatomically similar to that of wolves and other carnivores: one (small) stomach, a large intestine, a small intestine. Cows and herbivores on the other hand, generally have much larger stomachs and even multiple of them. This is to help them digest plants, whose cell walls are difficult to break down. In fact, this is why herbivores often regurgitate their food or eat their excrement — to repeat the digestive process and obtain every nutrient they can out of those plants. This is also why herbivores must spend almost all of their waking time eating.
That’s not to say that humans shouldn’t bother with plant foods. We are in fact omnivorous and require a vast array of nutrients, many of which can be gained from nutrient-dense animal protein and fat while some can only be gained from plants. Thus, we at Eat Tribal emphasize an important balance of meat and plant foods.
Modern Day Implications
Because almost all of us grew up on a typical American diet heavy in grains, refined sugars, and processed foods, an evolution-based or ancestral way of eating will actually take some time for most to adjust to.
Our Western diet has chemically altered the way our body functions, causing it to draw fuel mainly from simple sugars and high-glycemic carbs (the perils of which include diabetes and heart diseases). But by natural design, the human body is meant to fuel itself on fats and proteins, which the liver slowly processes into glucose for energy as the body needs it. This liver function stops or slows down when simple sugars and carbs are constantly introduced into the body, and you will crave more of those sugars and carbs once they’re used up — something many of us have experienced.
In going back to a more natural diet, our bodies may need some time to revert back to their natural chemical functions. This transition generally happens over a 2-3 week period as your body relearns to fuel itself the way it was designed to (this took Edlin, Eat Tribal’s founder, exactly 2 weeks when he first started eating an ancestral diet in 2009).
The benefits of making this transition back to our natural diet are major: sustained energy throughout the day; less cravings for additional food between meals; no mid-day crashes; no post-meal comas or sluggishness; less fatigue in general; and optimal bodily performance, whether in terms of health or fitness. Some other benefits people have mentioned include reduced acne and increased physical endurance and ability.
We at Eat Tribal don’t necessarily advocate extremes. After adjusting to a more natural diet, it is up to you to decide a balance that works for your health and fitness goals. We simply strive to make it easier to access real foods that are natural and healthful for you, the modern human.
Our mission is to restore the health of our people and our planet through real, quality food. We believe that local food systems and natural foods — natural in the way they are raised and produced – will take us there.
Grass-fed, pastured, organic — these terms aren’t just buzzwords. They represent farming and growing practices that we believe are good for the land, the animals that inhabit them, and ultimately, for you. We want to make these foods more accessible to fuel your best performance, whether in the gym, at work or for life in general.
The Tribal Tenets – Be human
We source and prepare our food with the aim to recapture our natural human diet. We are not an industrial operation. We are a small group of humans, making delicious food with love and care, the same way you would at home.
Keep it Real
We love grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, wild or naturally raised fish, pastured eggs and organic vegetables and fruits. In other words, REAL food.
We believe these are the foods that our bodies are quite literally designed to eat and will lead to our optimal selves, both in health and physical fitness. From there, what you can do and achieve is limitless.