Have you heard of Ancestral eating before? If not, you wouldn’t be the only one. “Ancestral” simply means that we go back at least three to four generations before us and enjoy the foods that they would have eaten.
So, we’re looking at what our great grandparents and even further back would have eaten. The sources and outlets that would have been available to them and in particular the technology that would have been around at that time and how that would have impacted their lives in relation to food and their diets.
What type of food would have been available from the land at that time? This would have included fresh, seasonal foods which would have generally been grown locally. We waste a lot of food because we have become complacent about ‘perfect specimens’ and avoiding blemishes or ‘ugly’ fruit and veg… but generations ago they wouldn’t have had the luxury to do that.
When an animal had been killed for eating purposes the whole animal would have been used – nose to tail and everywhere in between. Plentiful fruit and vegetables available during seasonal flourishes would have been pickled, fermented and then stored away for later use if it couldn’t all be used at once. Swapping between growers or families would have happened to complement the highs and lows of the seasons.
Everything available would have been ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. There weren’t any chemicals or preservatives that they would be able to get from their local shop! There would have been no genetically modified foods, no fortifications with synthetic additives and no colours, synthetic flavours, preservatives or additives. Unfortunately, we don’t always know what is in the food that we are eating these days. Hence, why so many people are turning to organic and seasonal foods.
It’s often the case that when we decide we would like to eat healthier and more natural that we become overwhelmed by all these different types of ‘diets’ that are supposed to be good for us. Don’t eat that but you can eat this and so on. It’s also often hard to change what we are used to, and when kids are involved, they may not be your easiest audience to work with.
Instead of changing everything in one go and becoming so overwhelmed with the process that you only manage to stick with it for a day or two, make small changes instead. It will give you and your body a chance to get used to the changes that you are making.
Go through one pantry shelf at a time and throw out or give to friends/family foods that you are no longer going to use. Get used to reading the labels on food packets.
This will give you a better understanding of what you are eating and putting into your body.
Another thing you can try is shopping around the outer aisles at the supermarket where you can. Buy fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, or freshly frozen options too (ideally not pre-made meals, but go with whole food ingredients only if you need to use this option).
It’s not easy changing your diet, particularly if you are going to be changing your family’s eating habits at the same time. To avoid feeling and getting overwhelmed change one thing at a time, and save some new recipes to try. Just one new recipe per week is great – do more if you feel up to it, but one recipe is a good start.
To make things easier for yourself, batch cook when you make a main meal. This way you have extras frozen for those busy or unexpected times – it saves you falling back to takeaway or less desirable quick options.
Can you think of even one change linked to these suggestions, that you could make to your current routine? Please share so others can get inspired as well.