Nutrition & Dieting/regional farm diet
Hello, Dr Tim Santoro
I'm curious about old traditional/regional diets. I heard that my great-grandparents lived mostly on vegetable soup with a bit of meat cooked in it, bread, cheese and smoked sausages, and fruit. On Fridays, though, there would be some fish and there would be eggs or the occasional chicken.
I'm not sure about quantities but they had to work real hard (agricultural life) without any of the comforts people nowadays have.
So, having in mind that
a)the vegetables and fruit were all in season and varied;
b)the cheese, sausages and bread were home-made;
c)the animals were raised and killed on the spot;
would you say this was a healthy diet? If not, what was missing?
Thank you in advance
Hi Teresa. Interesting question, I actually had a similar discussion with someone about the same subject.
There is no doubt that today's food, especially in the U.S. leaves a lot to be desired. Food 30-40-50 plus years ago was a lot better than now. In fact there are studies that show that the nutrient content of a fruit from 30 years ago is in some cases double that of what it is today. This is due to corrupt farming practices and the usages of chemical pesticides.
But I'm getting off subject here.
Here is the thing to consider about your Great Grandparents diet. It mave had had more homemade, fresh, and wholesome ingredients but it was not necessarily complete or even always healthy.
The positives are freshness. It was a sure thing that their poultry wasn't tainted with steroids and antibiotics. And their produce was probably grown to proper ripeness in good quality soil without the addition of any chemical additives. Furthermore their diets lacked man made fats and excess or chemical based sugars.
All of this means that they ate a much higher quality of food. Sure you can still eat like this today, but it is not as easy as most commercial grocery stores are filled with tainted foods.
Here are the draw backs to their diet. I'm almost sure it lacked enough proper nutrients in one way or another. Farm life in the early 1900s-1940s was not likely that lucrative. They probably ate what they could when they could. They may have not always received enough vital nutrients and possibly didn't eat enough within the day.
This is further complicated by their hardworking lifestyle. 12 hours of back breaking labor in the fields may be noble work, but not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. The wear and tear on your body is immense and like I said before, if food was rationed due to finances you're really taxing your body. The harder you work, be it labor or in the gym, your body uses up and requires more nutrients.
Consider also that the average life span is greater now than it was back then. This is due to advancements in medical practices and knowledge on general health.
Ironically the more we learn about health and nutrition, the more we create ways to defeat it.
Hopefully I was able to get you a decent answer and not ramble too much. It is a very interesting subject.