Natural Eating by Geoff Bond

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

Subtitle: Nutritional Anthropology—Eating in Harmony with our Genetic Programming (2nd Edition-Fully Revised and Updated)

“This book is about: defining and practicing the feeding patterns appropriate to our species.” This quote from the Preface to the first edition, and included in the second edition, seems quite straightforward and clear, yet Bond claims on page 13 that there is a huge gap in human knowledge about what “exactly is food, how our bodies absorb food and the uses our body makes of it.” Bond’s interest in how early humans lived led him to a search for a “common nutritional theme,” traveling world-wide and searching and researching as far back as the initial Homo sapiens (our Pleistocene ancestors) left the African Savannah 50,000 years ago, gathering and hunting as they searched for plants and game, doing more gathering than hunting.

Interestingly enough, what the author found in the studies he researched (and found in 15 pages of the bibliographic sources) was that these very early people who had higher levels of eating fruits and vegetables (approximately 75%) were also those who lived the healthiest as well as the longest. Once humans “discovered” farming, about 10,000 years ago, planting and eating what we consider common foods — cereals, grains, potatoes, and sugars—actual stressed the body in terms of blood sugar levels, and resulted in serious illnesses.

Bond’s book, therefore, explains how we can pedal back to our ancestral nutritional roots and reclaim our good health, free of all the moderns ailments/disease, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. so common today. Each chapter takes us deeper and deeper into an understanding of for example, What and How We Eat (Chapter Five), The Golden Rules for Natural Eating (Chapter Six), and a look at basic foods and supplements in our modern diets (Chapter Seven).

To get the full “Bond Effect” we need to read The Food/Disease Connection followed by his step-by-step guide to how we actually change our eating habits to resemble more of the patterns established back on the African Savannah, as well as exercises to keep our bodies physically as well as nutritionally fit. Near the end we sample some of the recipes by the “Bond girl,” Nicole, Geoff Bond’s wife. (Her book Paleo Harvest, minus the meat dishes, is now my cooking Bible.) We learn how to structure our day, food wise, helped by the Appendix which divides foods into Good Foods to be eaten without restrictions as well as in restricted portions, and Bad/Borderline/ and favorable carbohydrates.

Thus, Natural Eating is both a 247- page “course” in how to eat healthfully and as close to our African ancestral roots as possible within modern boundaries, as well as a practical guide in how to accomplish this course in order to regain the health our ancestors enjoyed, free of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and poor digestion. This book is a great blueprint for a healthier way of living that I have begun to follow with positive results, which started with my reading Paleo in a Nutshell and Deadly Harvest, his earlier book.

There is also a monthly Bond Briefing online: (http://bit.ly/BB-Index) that includes health updates on Natural Eating. However, the author does point out that his book is not meant to replace medical advice or act as a substitute for a physician. Also, eating healthfully and exercising regularly are not cure-alls for every ailment, but a healthful diet and an exercise regimen are important steps in the right direction to good health into old age. However, you may want to share the “Bond effect” with your physician, as I have.

The second edition of Natural Eating (1st edition published by Griffin) is published by Bond Effect Publications, ISBN-13 : 978-0992751210, and is available from the usual bookshops and online sources. The sticker price is $20.00 for a soft cover book with 247 pages and it is also available on Kindle for $5.95.

 

 

 

Deadly Harvest by Geoff Bond

Monday, April 20th, 2020

 

Deadly Harvest:

The Intimate Relationship Between Our Health & Our Food by Geoff Bond

Special Note:
In light of the Corona virus pandemic, I cannot ignore the coincidence of reading author Geoff Bond’s take on modern-day life (in developed countries) and the lifestyle diseases that accompany this life, including the deadly COVID-19. The diseases that Geoff Bond lists were virtually unknown in prehistoric times: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. He calls them “diseases of civilization,” and believes they are “self-inflicted.”  (If you read only his last chapter, you can decide for yourself if his “Bond Effect,” as he calls it, is an accurate portrayal of the ills of modern-day life or not; you should then read the first part of the book, to see if his conclusions make sense to you.)

Geoff Bond is a nutritional anthropologist, a relatively new science field in which its practitioners investigates “what it means to be human—in nutritional terms.” Another way to put it, as Bond does in his book Deadly Harvest (Square One), is to ask, “What feeding environment are human bodies designed for?” According to one of the many information boxes throughout Bond’s book, we learn that modern humans began life with the East African Homo erectus more than one million years ago; and these early people did not leave Africa for other parts of the world until only about 60,000 years ago. An interesting map shows what I call the “diaspora of modern human beings,” from the time when the environment of Africa formed the bodies that we still possess and were not yet damaged by modern-day illnesses. He calls this period the “African Pleistocene,” and that is where his research takes him: to the Savanna Model way of life.

In his book, Bond explores the background of the people living then and focuses on the San Bushmen (the !Kung people) as our role model for exploring how these people worked and fed themselves. They were hunter/gatherers, with men doing the hunting and women and children—perhaps even the elderly—doing the gathering. This Paleolithic (Paleo) diet was derived eighty percent (80%) from plants (greens, nuts, seeds, etc.), and twenty percent (20%) from animals that were hunted; and not always successfully. Plant food was more accessible. The only “sweet” was honey, which was scarce; and the search for honey took effort, smarts, and time, so it was a real treat of perhaps the equivalent of a candy bar four times a year, according to Bond.

Based on this information in the beginning of the book, Bond then moves on to how agriculture was introduced. He calls this chapter “The Farming Revolution and Its Consequences,” which meant that humans stayed in one place and did not wander to new places to hunt or to gather. We moved away from the original diet and began eating food that Bond demonstrates is not really in keeping with the basic tenets of the Savanna Model. This is a most interesting chapter that seems to challenge farming and farm foods (grains, beans, etc.) as being not really suitable for our bodies.

Perhaps the most practical chapters of this book are: “The Owner’s Manual,” and “Eating the Savanna Model Way,” with basic instructions on how to eat a Paleolithic (Paleo) diet—changing our eating patterns slowly over time, to acclimate our bodies to more fresh plant matter and less animal matter, reflecting how the San Bushmen lived and thrived.

For me, reading this book was like taking a crash course in early (positive) eating habits and their comparison with today’s (negative) eating habits. The book would serve well as a text for a class in nutrition, and might very well explain why we suffer from so many “modern” ailments—while our ancestors did not. Additionally, the Resources (including his online newsletter, www.TheBondEffect.com) and the References section (see pages 283–315) are a clear indication that Bond has done his homework.

I am still “digesting” this information, and recommend that anyone really concerned about staying in good health or repairing his or her body to a state of well-being would do well to read this book cover-to-cover, slowly. It contains so much information that the general reader will not be able to absorb it all if read too quickly. There’s no “padding” in this book; it’s all well-resourced information, gathered into a meaningful message about how are health is still linked to our very early ancestors.


Deadly Harvest
(325 pages) is published by Square One Publishers, Inc. and costs $16.95 in the US and $20.95 in Canada. Read it and be inspired to eat 80%  plant foods!

 

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