Preventing Noncommunicable Chronic Diseases With the Primary Foods Diet

Brazil is a country where 72% of the annual death rate is caused by noncommunicable dietary related diseases, including cancer, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Even though no social class is fully immune to these diseases, most of the individuals suffering nowadays come from lower condition classes, including those living below poverty line.

All the expenses made towards helping the increasing number of victims could be invested in new schools, more education and leisure for our new generations. 

By keeping up the high costs towards medicating, instead of preventing, we generate a vicious cycle in which poverty deeply impacts the macro-economical situation in countries like Brazil.

This is an issue that keep being left behind in this journey which some could call social evolution.

That’s why I decided to bring it up through this article. My opinion is that 80% of diet-related chronic diseases could be avoided not only by the adherence to more physical activity, but mainly to a few changes in our eating habits.

Please note that a few days ago, I posted a picture in which you can see me devouring a 5900 cal burger plus fries, which would go totally against what we would call healthy habits.  How is it possible that even while putting myself through experiences like that, I still fit as an athletic individual able to consistently maintain healthy blood markers, a strong immune system, a sub 10% body fat percentage, and an increasing level of overall physical preparedness.

I do believe that some knowledge and experience with intermittent fasting and food challenges, as well as some knowledge regarding to my personal macros and micronutrients needs, plus a slight calorie restriction for a few days before and after this event helped me a lot, but I still think that most of my latest positive results are due to something that I am calling: 

The Primary Food Diet

If most of us were eating giant burgers like that one above on a daily basis, then it wouldn’t be difficult explaining why we are going through this current scenario, but what I perceive is that most of the people around me do not ingest crazy stuff like this often, so let’s think:

How is it possible, that food, something that is here to nourish us, give us energy to get stronger and smarter, could be the reason for so much death and destruction?

I don’t want to oversimplify the answer, giving you readers a series of a possible scientific evidences that prove how all these chronic diseases are really related to diet, but I will be really happy if you could at least stop and realize that our bodies share the same functional structure for at least 10,000 years, and our species, the Homo sapiens, is here for at least 150,000 years.

If we carefully analyze the last two thousand years, our food changed a lot, as well as the air we breathe and the water we drink.

It has changed even more in the last 500 years, and even more in the last 300 years.

Everything started changing ridiculously, and what can we say about the period counting from the industrial revolution to now?

Water doesn’t come from natural sources any longer, now it is filtered, exposed to processing, mostly enriched with minerals and chlorine. This is the same water that we use to bathe and shower, and the same water that you also buy for ridiculous prices. Without not even noticing, you might end up buying a bottle that can cost 1000 times the amount that you would pay for the same water you get at home. Moreover, consider the chemical substances that could be present in the water bottles as BPA.

The air we breathe is far from pure, it is actually a mix of oxygen, pollution, chemical agents, herbicides and natural, but toxic gases.  According to the World Health Organization, our cattle is responsible for yielding more carbon dioxide then all the vehicles from the world together, including planes.

And what about food? Our food went through a thorough industrial process. Since very young we learn how to eat prioritizing comfort. I don’t know about you, but my tastebuds were manipulated during years to enjoy stronger and more intense flavors. The way food appeals to our eyes also contributes a lot for that. Food became more colorful, attractive, easy to find, and with this, we got all exposed to food engineering.

And to make things even more challenging, we are all exposed to something that I call CRAP:

C hemicals
R efined Products
A dditives
P reservatives

Chemicals, which are exposing us to several health risks, but it’s not up to me going through all of them right now.

Refined Products, which make it easier ingesting two pounds of bread then two pounds of sweet potatoes for instance.

Additives as salt and sugar that invite us to eat much more, and through the years took away the natural pleasure we would get from eating more bland foods as a simple portion of rice or a single apple.

And finally Preservatives, which in fact are there just to preserve the food by itself, making it last longer on the shelves. 

What to say about food items that can survive up to one year filling up the aisles of our favorite supermarkets? 

What might they be capable of doing inside our bodies? Well, ask your liver and your intestinal track, but this is also another story.

It’s been 10 years since I started worrying about the solution for so many food related health risks and temptations. After all, it’s really difficult getting used to eating broccoli and steak when everybody around you talk constantly about cakes, pizzas and chocolate.

I tried a bunch of different diets and eating strategies including paleo, low carb, high carb, the blood type diet, Ornish, Atkins, keto, the Whole30, Zone Diet, as well as I spend a few months eating like a vegan and almost an year as a vegetarian.

After going all the way around, I gave up on all of them and realized that whilst I failed on adhering to them for long, they are all very helpful for a while (for me each of them work for three to four months).

After so much self experimenting, I came up with something that I follow to this date. It brings me excellent results and gives me the chance of enjoying some comfort food here and there, I call it:

The Primary Food Diet 

Much similar to the Primal Diet proposed by Mark Sisson, the primary food diet is the easiest way to explain my current eating habits. I basically eat primary food 80 to 90% of the time, but what would be these primary foods?

Primary foods are those food items which contain no ingredients. They are the food by itself.

These are food options which  bring us pleasure when eating, make us feel satiated for hours, and stronger when we need to beat that old PR in the gym.

In order to understand primary food items, I believe that first we need to revise the three main food groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Considering carbs fot instance, we could choose among food items like sweet potatoes, broccoli, yams, oats, beans, spinach, homemade yogurt, etc.

Still following the same concept, proteins would be meat, fish, chicken eggs, etc.

And fats, following the same principle, would be olive oil, peanut butter, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and so on.

By doing so, we don’t need to worry about reflecting so much about what is refined, industrialized or processed. We must only keep an eye on eating primary food items.

By applying this simple strategy in our daily lives and avoiding food containing loads of refined, processed and industrialized ingredients, it becomes easier eating less calories and more nutrients per gram.

Nutrients that will help us not only on sending diseases away, as well as on  establishing new values regarding to our food habits.

All of us can benefit from a follow up with a nutritionist and the appliance of more elaborated techniques, but I am sure that a simple change like this can bring amazing results that many around us are still miles away of achieving.

Keep Strong. Focus on the Plate. Happiness for Every Meal.