Nature’s Wisdom – Eliminating the Toxic Trio and Learning to Live Like Our Ancestors
We are in the middle of an obesity epidemic. That’s a fact. So it’s time to ask the burning question ‘What on earth went wrong?’
You did not arrive at the end of an unbroken, two million year old chain of ancestors to be fat. Nature has been far too generous to leave you burdened with excess weight. At the end of the evolutionary chain that produced you, it’s important to recognise that human beings represent one of the most highly advanced and efficient products of the evolutionary process that has ever graced the planet.
According to evolutionary biologists, our bodies developed over some two million years and grew to be adaptable, mobile, tough and highly efficient. We evolved to be able to cover long distances on foot, to think and analyse and to be supremely adaptable. As our cognitive faculties developed, our ancestors eventually learned to dominate their environment and to inhabit almost every part of the planet. We were built to survive under an incredible variety of conditions.
Throughout most of our long, evolutionary history, we functioned as nomadic hunter gatherers, covering long distances in search of food, honing our survival skills and developing strategies to cope with changing environments, frequent shortages of food and the need to compete for precious resources. That’s who we were and, as you take a long look in the mirror, that’s largely how we are today. As a species, we haven’t changed that much in the last fifty thousand years.
But something extraordinary happened around seven thousand years ago that marked a fundamental and permanent shift in the way that humans would live. It was a change that still affects us right up to the present day. That critical change in our history, the change that catapulted humans onto the pathway that would eventually lead to civilisation and to the modern world happened quite recently. Just seven thousand years ago and that is certainly not a long time in evolutionary terms.
Across the long lineage of our evolution, seven thousand years ago is about as recent as yesterday. And what was that incredible change that made modern civilisation possible? The answer is – agriculture. Agriculture marked our ability to manipulate the environment and produce a regular and predictable food supply. The leverage that sprang from food surpluses laid the foundation stones for the first cities, for the development of the first civilisations. Our modern, technologically advanced world is a direct beneficiary of that supremely significant revolution. But there was a hidden price to be paid for the resulting change in our diet that grew from the development of agriculture.