Like for Like Tradition: Ancestral Eating for Optimal Modern Health
Our ancestors ate the whole of the animal, from nose to tail and everything in-between! It has been shown that by doing so they were able to provide each of their organs with the specific nutrients it needs to function and thrive. It seems you really are what you eat, and by adapting your diet to reflect this you can achieve optimal nourishment and support overall health.
An Ancestral Approach
In the modern world most of the animal products we eat have been trimmed and trussed beyond recognition from their natural form, with the vast majority of meat eaters limiting themselves to the confines of the supermarket shelf. But in the past our ancestors wouldn’t have dreamed of discarding any of the animal – and ate far more than just muscle tissue.
By eating all of the animal and not just the external tissue, our hunter gatherer ancestors provided themselves with essential nutrients that could be used throughout the body. Eating like for like, i.e. eating a healthy heart from an animal to support your own heart health, adopts this ancestral philosophy to provide tailored nutrients in their most bioavailable form and improve the health of specific organs.
Nose to Tail Eating
The Nose to Tail eating philosophy goes hand in hand (and tail in tail!) with the ancestral eating approach. It involves eating every part of the animal to optimise nutrition, prevent food waste and to become the most sustainable meat eaters possible.
Not only is this way of thinking and eating best for the animals and the planet, but it is also what is best for us. Eating things like organ meats, glandulars, skin, bone marrow and connective tissue gives us animal-based functional nutrients which are most compatible with our own organs. By consuming them we can give our bodies a ready supply of ultra-absorbable and hugely efficient nutrition.
Like for Like Tradition: A Beginner’s Guide
Whether you want to eat foods which will benefit specific organs or are striving to optimise your nutrition to support overall health, like for like eating should help you to reap the maximum benefits from the whole of the animal. Read on to discover like-for-like eating in practice and how tailored eating could help to support individual organs.
- Heart – Eating heart provides the body with a whopping dose of Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10), which has been shown to benefit heart health and regulate blood sugars. Studies have found that consuming CoQ10 can have a cardioprotective effect and so by eating animal heart you can help to look after your own.
- Liver – Perhaps one of the most nutrient-dense foods of all time is liver. It is a rich source of Vitamin A (the active form) as well as Vitamins D, E and K and also the B-Vitamins, iron and protein. The good news is that thanks to the circle of life we also need a ready supply of Vitamin A, Iron and B12 to keep our own liver in ship shape. One of the best ways to support liver health is to include liver in your diet.
- Brain – Our brains are made up of over 60% fat – most of which is the Omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaeonic acid (DHA to you and me!) Animal brains also have a high fat content and are particularly high in Omega-3, especially if the animal has been grass fed. Brains are quite mild to taste and tender to eat due to their high fat content, so can be incorporated easily into the diet to boost our own brain health.
- Kidney – One of the first parts of the animal people think of when they hear offal is kidneys and that is because they have been a staple food for humans for centuries, only dwindling in popularity in recent decades – just ask your grandparents! Like liver, kidneys are full of antioxidants, but they are also high in selenium. As getting enough selenium is important for renal health, eating animal kidney is arguably good for your kidneys!
- Skin, Hair and Nails – These are all made up of two key proteins; collagen and keratin. By consuming food sources of these you can give your body a ready supply of nutrients to continue growing, repairing and replenishing skin hair and nails. Collagen and keratin are found in abundance in skin, connective tissue and bones of animals. So, by eating things like bone broth or taking a quality collagen supplement you can help to look after and beautify your skin, hair and nails.
- Joints and Bones – Our joints and bones also contain a great deal of collagen and so getting enough collagen in our diet is super important for keeping them strong and healthy. Bones are living tissue and constantly take what they can from the food we eat to rebuild, repair and replenish – by eating things like bone broth and oxtail which are high in collagen, you can use your diet to boost your bone health.
- Stomach and Intestines – Digestive organs are really high in selenium, glycine and proline – which all work in synergy to build the digestive tract and prevent it from leaking – the root cause of many digestive problems. Eating things like tripe or blending entrails into a pâté can help to support digestive health and nourish your gut.
We think that looking to the past has some valuable answers that can fuel our future, especially when it comes to nutrition! The Like for Like Tradition is just one lesson we can learn from our ancestors to optimise nutrition and support overall health. Ask your butcher how to get started with organ meats and glandulars to practice your own like for like eating, you’ll be amazed at how cheap the lesser known parts of the animal are to buy. Or if you prefer a quick and easy way to incorporate organ meats or collagen into your daily routine- check out our Evolve Range
Learn more about ancestral ‘nost to tail” eating…
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