Healthy grasslands, herds, and nutrition

All of the foods that have proven most destructive of human health have one thing in common. They are mass agricultural crops. Sugar, wheat, and corn top the list. All of them are subsidized by governments. All of them are promoted by official dietary guidelines. All of them are profitable for “food” companies.

And all of them kill. They just do it insidiously in the form of chronic systemic inflammation, excess weight, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and the modern diseases of cognitive decline. And finally, all of those conditions are tremendously profitable for the pharmaceutical and "healthcare” industries to chronically treat year after year. While evidence is building for various beneficial roles of fasting and very low-carb eating in both treating and especially preventing such ailments, one challenge is that no concentrated interests gain from such practices to anywhere near the degree that contemporary food conglomerates and pharmaceutical companies do under the literally sickening status quo.

In all, an unexpected larger picture is emerging, one precisely opposite the popular hypothesis that mass agriculturally based vegetarianism is best for both human health and the environment.

Resisting and ultimately defeating flawed conventional wisdom and corrupt public/private establishments, the low-carb/high-fat and paleo-oriented nutritionists on the one hand, and the ecological herders on the other, have independently arrived at different parts of a single systemic solution. The synthesis of these to streams of thought and practice has profound implications for both health and environment. What is best for both human health and the environment is a food system largely based around a modern pastoralism enhanced with holistic management practices that sufficiently mimic the co-evolutionary conditions of grasslands and herd animals.

Proposed paleo-carnivore/holistic management synthesis

  1. Humans tend to live best mainly on a blend of animal fatty acids and amino acids. Eating large amounts of carbohydrates, especially processed ones, and artificial industrial foods such as seed oils, produce gradual metabolic derangement, foremost chronic insulin resistance. Animal products are the best sources of energy, structural materials, and highly bio-available micronutrients for humans.

  2. The best single source for such nutrients is large herd animals. Seafood is also a good resource, though generally lower in fat (a con, not a pro). Early homo sapiens and some of their cousins may well have contributed to the extinctions of many of their own preferred larger, higher-fat species long ago, such as paleo elephants and mammoths, but we still have cattle and buffaloes, which work reasonably well, and now also property rights (to some degree), which defeats tragedy of the commons overuse issues.

  3. The best (maybe only, according to Savory) way to halt and reverse mass desertification of grasslands and alleviate related water crises over vast surface areas of the planet is to manage large herds in ways that sufficiently mimic natural local movement patterns from their original evolutionary contexts. Such herds kept themselves moving across grasslands while staying grouped tightly to defend against predators. The right know-how on the part of herd managers can be used to replicate these effects today, without relying on predators. Such properly managed pastures naturally retain rainwater through the grass, soil, and other life that grows there, all in an evolutionary dance with the same types of herd animals those grasses themselves originally co-evolved with. Vast surfaces of the earth were once covered with thriving grasslands occupied by roving herds of untold millions of beasts. Holistic management provides a way for us to recreate habits that mimic essential elements of this past in an efficient way.

  4. Moreover, humane and holistic ranching practices provide ideal living environments for herd and other animals. Compared to their evolutionary contexts, they are protected from violent death from predators and their supplies of food and water are reliable and secured. In contrast, mass grain and other plant agriculture practices (also used to grow the feed for feed-lot meat production methods) lead to severe, long-term environmental destruction and devastation of wildlife habits (and far less favorable living conditions for animals raised that way).

I next list some of the best resources I have found in my learning processes in the areas of nutrition, exercise, and agriculture. These are things I would have loved to know about when I started, which could have saved me years of wading through material to finally discover the best resources.