|The Nutritional Content of Mesquite Gruel
by Mike Arnot
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
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
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
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