I was just reading a fascinating article about the Hadza tribes of Tanzania (Men’s Fitness, April 2014, pg 96.) … The Hadza are a people that still live an ancient hunter-gatherer lifestyle and diet, unaffected by today’s modern industrial food supply loaded with chemical additives, pesticides, and unprecedented levels of starchy grains, refined vegetable oils, and sugars.
The Hadza still live off the land, hunting and gathering for their daily meals, and living in a community tribe structure with close bonds and a healthy lifestyle.
A couple really interesting things stood out in this article…
First, the journalist observed one of the Hadza’s hunts… they successfully hunted an Impala (an African antelope) with a bow and arrow to feed the tribe. Interestingly, once the Hadza tribesman started butchering the animal, they sliced open the guts and all of the other tribesmen gathered around to get a handful of the stomach contents and rub it all around their hands almost like “washing their hands” with gut juices.
While this Hadzan ritual may sound a bit weird to most of us (and some germophobes would even say “disgusting”), the Hadza people had somehow figured out over thousands of years that rubbing the gut juices from their kill all over their hands was actually a great thing for their health. Not only did this populate their skin with billions of probiotic bacteria from the impala’s belly, but now as they use their hands to eat any type of food, they are ingesting billions of probiotics (that are now residing on their hands) with each bite.
Not only that, but as part of this Hadzan ritual, the men then started cutting chunks of the impala’s stomach into pieces and everyone takes a bite… this is yet another method of ingesting billions of probiotics from the impala’s gut with each bite. Meanwhile, most modern “civilized” humans are using antibacterial soap 10x a day (that is causing superbugs to form), eat a processed sterilized food supply teeming with chemicals, and take antibiotics based on their doctor’s advice for every little sniffle (which destroys their probiotic gut bacteria), and we wonder why everybody is so sick all of the time…not just with colds and flu, but also diabetes, cancer, heart disease and more.
The Hadza, on the other hand, despite eating large quantities of meat (in a cyclical manner since they don’t make a kill every day), are completely free of modern diseases like cancer and heart disease. They are even known to eat as much as 15 lbs of meat per person in a single DAY during a feasting event after a kill is made, since they might not know when their next kill will occur (it could be weeks).
And yes, they remain free of heart disease! Tell that one the next time some clueless health “expert” (or preaching vegetarian) tells you that you shouldn’t be eating meat because it’s somehow “bad for you”.
Now granted, the Hadza are eating pristine game meat that lived a healthy life eating species-appropriate food (grass and other greens), which is a far cry from modern-day factory-farm confinement raised meat that fed on genetically modified corn and soy and were given antibiotics every day. But we all certainly have grass-fed meats available (both online and in many stores now), which is fairly equivalent in nutrition quality to wild game as long as the meat was truly pasture-raised and grass-finished.
The remainder of the Hadza diet typically consists mostly of berries, tubers that they dig up, and honey… but this varies based on the season… more meat during the dry season, and more berries, tubers, and honey during the wet season. This aspect of their diet naturally cycles their protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake to much different ratios during different times of year.
Again, let’s be reminded that they are free of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other “western” diseases. They are also very lean despite eating up to 15 lbs of meat on “feasting days” when they successfully get a kill. Their immune systems also fight off pathogens very easily due to their massive intake of probiotics and their corresponding gut health.
Let’s get back to the topic of belly bugs…
We’ve already talked in previous newsletters how having gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of bad to good bacteria in your gut) has been linked in numerous studies to everything from obesity, brain conditions, skin conditions, digestive disorders, and even cancer.
Getting back to the Men’s Fitness article (btw, I think MF is stepping up their game, as this was the best article I’ve seen them publish in a while; Good work MF!), the author shows some links between gut bugs and obesity, saying “obese people’s GI tracts have a less diverse population of bacteria than those of lean people”
Bruce German, a PhD food chemist from the Foods for Health Institute at the Univ of California states in the article, “The inappropriate, indiscriminate use of antibiotics looks like it’s been a real problem for our microbiota. We tended, for decades, to believe that there really was no risk associated with antibiotics, so it was widely prescribed for just about anything.”
The article continues, “However, a recent study from the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that the first few days of antibiotic use will decimate the population of gut flora, which frees up the sugar and nutrients that harmful pathogens use to gain an upper hand. If you’re lucky, this sort of damage can take more than a month to repair, and some bacteria strains may experience a permanent loss.”
As you can see, our belly bugs are one of THE most important aspects of our health and whether we get certain diseases or gain weight. And your gut flora balance is completely controlled by how you live your life, what you eat, how much exercise you get and the type, stress levels, social bonds, your surrounding microbial environment, and more…
Take this Belly Bug Quiz to find out if YOUR gut bugs are destroying your health (weight gain, digestion problems, sickness, skin problems, and more)
To keeping your belly critters happy and healthy,
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer