Exploring the Vibrant Ancestral World of Greens and Reds
While we often imagine our loincloth ancestors chasing down a buffalo or elk, spear in hand... Nocked bow, ready to fire... There's also the potential to imagine an equally engaging scene. Picture this: your great ancestor, as she's running down the forest path, breathing intensely, yet in rhythm. Hands reaching out, and stained red, as she's swiftly foraging for the sweet berries, freshly in season and bursting with flavor. She's quick, but careful, too, as to not cut her hands on the thorns of the wild raspberry bush. Meanwhile, her sister scans the ground with eagle-eye precision as she snatches up wild nettle and dandelion greens, thrusting them into her worn leather pouch.
Pretty cool, right? And yet not at all unreal. Scenes like this were definitely the norm for our hunter-gatherer ancestors! While we love focusing on the subject of game and meat, this leads us into our next big subject...
Our Ancestors Didn't Just Eat Meat!
And while that may be the case, it is absolutely worth pointing out that our ancestors did everything in their power to make meat and Organs their focal point! After all, this is where the powerhouse nutrients come from. The B12, the essential amino acids, omega 3 and other prominent fatty acids... As well as heme iron, zinc, and even proteolytic enzymes. Such a steady supply of these nutrients provided their muscles, brains, hearts and neurological systems with the tools not only necessary to survive but thrive. Truly, there is no greater, nutritionally packed food upon the planet! Our ancestors did indeed thrive off a meat-centric diet, and we are no different from them. In order to achieve the same vibrant health they enjoyed, we must follow in their footsteps.
One of the greatest points worth mentioning is that our hunter-gatherer ancestors did indeed rely on a diverse diet that included not only animal foods but also a wide variety of wild plants... Including nutrient dense greens, and vibrant reds in the form of berries. As a matter of fact, plant foods were an essential part of their diet and provided vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Wild greens, such as edible leaves, shoots, and roots of various plants, were valuable sources of nutrition for hunter-gatherers. These greens could include wild spinach, dandelion greens, nettles, sorrel, watercress, and many other types of edible plants. The word, 'Local', gains a whole new meaning as they would gather these greens from their natural surrounding environment, making use of their extensive knowledge of plants and their seasonal availability.
The gathering of wild plant foods was often a crucial activity for women in hunter-gatherer societies, as they were responsible for gathering the fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, and greens, while men focused on hunting.
The consumption of plant foods by our hunter-gatherer ancestors helped ensure a balanced and varied diet, enabling them to meet all of their nutritional demands, especially when a hunt was unsuccessful. (We can't always win, right? Life certainly has a way of ensuring this). Since surplus surely wasn't always the name of the game, survival most certainly always was.
The Importance of Ancestral Greens in a Healthy Diet
Hopefully this doesn't come as a surprise, but... Ancestral greens can play a crucial role in a healthy diet! They offer nutrient-dense options that are often lacking in our modern, processed food-filled world. These greens, which (again) include wild greens and ancient grasses, stems and shoots, have been consumed by our ancestors for centuries, providing essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health.
Including these ancestral greens into your diet will not only ensure that you eat healthier but should also help to cultivate your taste buds to appreciate the natural, wholesome flavor of earthy foods. As you explore the world of ancestral greens, you’ll find that they can contribute to better heart health, reduced inflammation, and even weight loss.
So why not give them a try and experience the benefits of an Ancestral Diet? In a modern world full of indigestion, bloating, fatigue and a myriad of other struggles, it shouldn't be a debate as to whether or not we can benefit by consuming real, fresh, 'Created by mother nature', foods. Without a doubt, our internal and wonderfully intrinsic chemistry surely depend upon these highly beneficial compounds!
The Easy Deliciousness of Reds... Berries and Fruits Galore
There's nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a fresh, juicy berry, bursting with flavor and tartness. While we are accustomed to the usual of; Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and even elderberries, our Ancestors were blessed to enjoy a wider variety of exotic flavors. Some of these harder to find berries may have included lingonberries, huckleberries, gooseberries, sea buckthorn berries, and a host of others that we're not even aware of.
Deserving of its own article, we truly cannot spend enough time speaking about the plethora of benefits regarding berries. Easily ranging from aiding with digestive health, to immune function... Better weight control, skin enrichment, improved cognitive function and output, stronger heart, and even potential blood sugar control and regulation.
Loaded with fiber, and gentle on the glycemic index, berries truly are mother nature's compact little packets of tasty medicine. Thoroughly meant to be enjoyed, and richly rewarding for the taste buds and whole body!
We need to give credit where credit is due. And that means giving mention to wild fruits such as persimmons, dates, pomegranates, figs, cherries... Apples (Yes, you read that right) and crabapples. Our Ancestors also thoroughly enjoyed the authentic, untampered with produce that now plagues our modern day and age, easily known as GMO's. (Genetically Modified Organisms).
Fun fact: Did you know that apples, plums, pears and olives actually date back to the Paleolithic time, over 780,000 years ago?
Wild Possibility, With Wild Anti-Oxidative Power
Isn't the word, 'wild', magical? There's something about it that evokes such a tremendous amount of emotion and fire within the soul. It instills thoughts of strength, originality, and wholesomeness.
Wild greens and berries are no exception to this rule. As a matter of fact, they are considered to be some of the most highly nutritious foods around! They're loaded with naturally occurring antioxidants, which are powerful compounds that help to neutralize free radicals in the body and help to protect us even further from oxidative stress. Some of the most common antioxidants found within wild greens and berries are:
Vitamin C: Found in various wild greens like watercress, nettles, wild spinach, and dandelion greens... Along with raspberries, strawberries, cherries and blueberries, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that supports the immune system and helps in collagen formation.
Beta-carotene: Not only to be found within carrots, it's in wild greens like lamb's lettuce and chickweed. Beta-carotene is the precursor to our beloved vitamin A and serves as an antioxidant that supports eye and skin health.
Zeaxanthin and Lutein: These powerful antioxidants are commonly found in dark, leafy greens like spinach and watercress. Their benefits range from protecting eye health, to helping us see in darker and dimly lit spaces.
Flavonoids: So many wild greens and berries, including dandelion greens, violet leaves, elderberry, and blackberries, all contain flavonoids. This special group of polyphenolic compounds are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Quercetin: Present in plants like nettles and especially all berries, quercetin is your number one go-to for enriching the immune system, killing cancer cells, and helping to promote heart health.
Let's Talk Minerals With Our Green Friends
Ancestral Minerals and wild greens are packed with essential nutrients that our bodies need to thrive. They are a rich source of vitamins, including vitamin B, vitamin c, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and a host of other nutrients that are critical for our health. By eating these nutrient-rich foods, you can help reduce overall chronic inflammation, which is associated with serious chronic diseases like:
Some additional examples of nutrient-rich ancestral foods include wild onions, wild mustard, garlic, asparagus and peppers. By incorporating these whole foods into your diet, you’re giving your body the nourishment it needs to function at its best and help to prevent various health issues that would otherwise be lurking around the corner.
Other Popular Greens and Their Benefits
There are actually some ancestral greens, such as wild grass and ancient foliage, that also offer numerous health benefits, and can be easily integrated into modern diets. These foods have been consumed since ancient times, as well, providing essential nutrients that support overall vitality and wellness. Some popular ancestral greens include:
For those who are not aware, chlorophyll (which is the green compound in the greens... It's literally what makes greens look, well... green!) is the result of photosynthesis by the plant, which may have incredible health benefits for us and our bodies. The benefits of these greens are numerous, from supplying essential vitamins and minerals to aiding digestion, gut health enhancement and prebiotic, reducing inflammation, detoxification assistant, anti-bacterial and wound healing, plus so much more.
As a matter of fact, there's still ongoing research as to just how beneficial chlorophyll can be for us, as humans. After all, there's got to be some level of respect... Since we don't have the capacity, as humans, to photosynthesize, whatsoever. (You got us there, plants!)
Wild Greens... Not So Popular, but Unbelievably Nutritious
Let's talk about some of the oddballs in the classroom. These are the wild greens that are also incredibly nutrient-dense, low in calories, and provide a variety of health benefits, such as improved digestion and reduced inflammation... not to mention being packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Some examples of these unique, wild greens found in nature include:
Sprigs of wild fennel
Naturally, we suggest doing your research first (No, not just Google) and speaking/learning from a professional as to how you might properly forage for these greens in the wild. If possible, for you, and your location, the benefits may be enormous! You may even be able to translocate some of the sprouts and start growing some of them from your own home or garden.
Reds & Greens Belong in Your Ancestral Lifestyle!
In conclusion, ancestral greens and ancestral red berries offer a wealth of health benefits and flavors that may truly have the power to enhance your diet and overall well-being. Beloved and treasured by your ancestors, they should be respected and utilized by us in today's busy day and age, too!
Our magnificent world has a vast array and network of intelligences that operate in ways we can't even begin to comprehend... Intelligences that work in the form of phytonutrients, antioxidants, compounds that literally fight to preserve our lives.
Most of this network works through food, which then works through us. Again, in a world that is laden with fake, chemicalized, plastic and puffed up 'frankenfood', is it not incredible to know that we have the opportunity and privilege, as well as joy and freedom, to consume these same precious foods that are literally alive in their own way, of which our ancestors fought so hard to seek and consume? Without a doubt, we must be doing them proud as we seek to Follow Within Their Footsteps.
Whether fresh or cooked, find ways to include these nutrient-dense foods into your meals... Try experimenting with different recipes, and perhaps even try to blend them into your snacks! You’ll be giving your body the nourishment it needs to thrive and function; in the way it properly deserves. And the best part? You have an endless arsenal of combinations at your disposal! There's nothing wrong with tossing up a bowl of wild blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries with some freshly chopped up arugula and dandelion greens. Are you willing to explore the exciting potential and marriage of flavors?
So, go ahead! Why not take a step back in time and unlock the power of your foraging, hunter-gatherer ancestors for a healthier, more diverse diet?
And of course... While this information is indeed useful, it is imperative to point out once more, that our ancestors maintained a focal structure around meat as much as possible. Of course, and in Tandem With the Seasons, plant foods weren't always available. Not only this, but one can only imagine the thrill with which our ancestors must've experienced, when hunting together with their fellow tribe members. What a way to bond! We're all familiar of the incredible joy and love that fills our souls when we eat around the table with loved ones... Can you imagine what it'd be like if you foraged or hunted with them?
In light of this, Ancestral Supplements is working on an exciting new endeavor related to incorporating reds and greens as part of a meat focused diet. Stay up to date by following us on Instagram, Facebook, or enrolling in our newsletters.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are some examples of ancestral greens?
Spinach, asparagus, artichokes, tubers, beans, and nuts are all examples of ancestral greens.
How do ancestral greens help with weight loss?
An ancestral diet helps with weight loss by making you feel fuller, resulting in lower calorie intake.
This diet is based on the eating habits of our ancestors, which were high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and rich in healthy fats. It also includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
What are the health benefits of wild greens?
Wild greens are great for your health - they’re packed with nutrients, low in calories, and can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation.