HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 4, No. 1, 1985

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 4 No. 1, 1985

The Nutritional Content of Mesquite Gruel
by Mike Arnot
TvIV-1InsideFrontCover.jpg (5310 bytes) Diet never was a problem for our ancestors and doesn't have to be for modern man either. Man is an enormously successful animal and is able to live nearly anywhere in the world. We survive quite well on many kinds of foods. This concept is all important because for some reason people want to single out one point in our history and say, "this is what we used to eat". A typical example would be a fruitarian who, knowing we evolved from the tropics, thinks that everyone should eat a fruit diet. Evolution doesn't allow such simplicity. Nature is in a constant flow of change, and man, although somewhat grudgingly, still fits within this never ending cycle of change.

To use an extreme example to clarify the point: At some point people today known as Eskimos moved to the Arctic, and they adapted to this area and the available diet. Somehow I can't conceptualize Eskimos thriving on bananas and mangos for as long as they continue to inhabit the Arctic region.

There are so many diverse ideas on nutrition and diet today, because somewhere we let our minds decide what we should eat. Then, we expanded on this, and now find it perfectly OK to transport foods from one part of the world to another. Then, we went even further, and think it is necessary for good health to eat as many different kinds of foods as possible, preferably all at once to accomplish the balanced diet. At what point are we today? No one knows what to eat so we let books tell us what to do.

There is a definite limit to intellectualizing about diet. Theories and analytical thinking serve a great purpose, but we simply can't let our heads, or worse yet, other people's heads (books, society, commercials), dictate what we should eat. You see, the limit is that diet and well-being are not related to theory but directly to how each individual feels about consuming a particular food.

The prime consideration here is that one must redevelop or resurface body awareness of foods and determine what foods give them optimum health as individuals. I often think that this last sentence is all there is to say about diet. Knowing that people don't really understand what this entails, perhaps it is appropriate to list and discuss some main points in the right direction.

Some main points are:

1. Develop the sensitivity to choose those foods suited for your body. Taste is a prime indicator in determining which foods, but don't taste with the tip of your tongue. The final judge is always the same - how do you feel after eating the food? Hours later? The next day? This is not as difficult as it sounds. Use your intuition. What is your general impression? I do this all the time almost unconsciously. One day I quit stifling my body signals and it has been easy ever since. Don't toss out good books you may have on the subject. Use what appears to be sound logic; i.e., oranges are good for you because they have lots of vitamin C, and then give it the final test with your body sense. You may discover you have been brainwashed on some of this. Don't become obsessed with this exercise. Let it be a gentle realization of how you feel.

2. Choose those foods from within your geographical area. We create untold hardships on the environment and our bodies by transporting foods all over the country. Local foods are fresh, and perhaps organic if you look for them. They help to acclimate or tune your body for the particular area you live in.

3. Preferably choose these foods from your own garden. A natural diet lies in one's backyard. This means that you are in control of how the food is produced. Learn the wild edibles of your area. Eat them, too. Experiment with not cultivating so much to encourage wild edibles. There are more nutrients in a single dandelion plant than a whole head of iceberg lettuce.

4. Use a "Pollution-free" source of animal protein. While not entirely possible, there are many alternatives to blindly accepting homogenized milk or chemical livestock. Raise your own or locate others that do. Learn how to eat meat! When our ancestors finished with the gift of an animal there was nothing left but a pile of chipped bones - the bone marrow being of great value. Use the whole animal including the organ meats or buy them from a quality source. Again, use your body sense, not your learned food prejudices.

5. Don't eat balanced meals. Eat balanced days, weeks, months, as the season go. It is not necessary to consume everything at once as if you will never eat again. This is not to say that certain foods don't combine well together, such as tortillas and beans (as figured out intuitively by our ancestors and later by scientists). Rather, I mean the typical balanced meals people eat have nothing to do with well-being or bodily requirements. Southwest Indians ate mesquite gruel exclusively during hard months, supplementing it with whatever else they could. They were no more malnourished than the isolated mountain Swiss who lived entirely on whole rye bread and raw' dairy products, rarely any meat, vegetables or fruit. Gaelics ate oats, fish, a very few vegetables and no dairy.

Their physiques, freedom from degenerative diseases and caries far surpassed ours. I pick two examples from the "white culture" to show our "own" ancestors also ate exceedingly simply. Note that one diet has nothing to do with the other. Remember that. And we think it is necessary to eat the enormous selection available on the market today. The body likes simplicity. Keep your food intake simple.

6. There isn't much to say about overly processed, junk "foods". These products no more fit into the category of food than does L.A. smog equals air. But then, our capacity to fool ourselves is unlimited, and there are those who believe it is OK to consume such things. Why sure - go right ahead!

The list of main points goes on and on. That's why I tend to say that point #1, body sense, sums everything up.

If the reader. feels let down that I didn't give the exact nutrients found in mesquite gruel, then my answer is: "Don't worry about it. It isn't important, anyway!" If you can't live without it, then you have your "dirt time" cut out for you. I could, however, further my ethereal elaborations on diet; that is, of course, if anyone is interested.

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