In 1868 in Southern France about 100 miles inland, due east from Bordeaux, in the Dordogne, five fossilised skeletons were found in a rock shelter by a geologist. These remains were clearly early “modern” humans, homo sapiens. Since then, more and more remains have been discovered in Europe, Asia and the American continent and the very earliest have been carbon dated to 45,000 years ago. The location of the first remains at Cro-magnon has given the name to these early humans (although the proper scientific name is European Early Modern Humans or Early Modern Humans).
The scoop on their poop
Scientific techniques, especially in the last 20 years, have allowed us to learn more and more about them. We can learn an astonishing amount about their diet from coprolites (fossilized faeces) which can be soaked in sodium biphosphate to reconstitute them for microscopic analysis. From their bones and teeth we can learn about their health, at what age they died and often, what caused their death. Recently scientists have even been able togene sequence their DNA and a recent discovery, thanks to recovery of DNA recovered from remains and gene sequencing shows that some of them bred with Neanderthals, an early human species which died out, and that we all have some Neanderthal DNA in us.
A faulty light bulb moment
A light bulb may by now have been switched on and your are thinking: “Oh, the paleo diet, I know all about that.” You may even eat the Cordain/Wold way yourself. Whoa, hold your horses. We are not there yet. We are going to a slightly different destination. So bear with me, even if you know all this stuff.
So what does this have to do with my condition? Bear with me, all will be explained. By the way, if you want to cut to the chase and buy the book, here are those links again:
Click on your disease
To see a list of disease treated by Dr. Seignalet and click on your own to see his results for that particular disease click on the “Diseases” top link.
Anyway, to resume my story:
Early modern human remains in Europe, in Asia and on the American continent all show the same things:
- These early modern, stone age humans were hunter gatherers.
- Their diet was completely different to ours.
- Although they had tough lives and the bones often show signs of trauma that has healed, (meaning that someone was looking after them during the healing process), they were largely disease free. (Yes, sometimes lunch wasn’t quite ready to become lunch and fought back!)
- Not only were they largely disease free, they were superb human specimens compared to ourselves. They were fit and athletic. Their bones were much sturdier than ours, evidence for strong musculature. Their brains were larger and their skeletons were on average around a foot taller than the skeletons of our first neolithic ancestors. Some male skeletons have been found that were over 6 feet 5 inches!We are descended from them and the time between them and ourselves in evolutionary terms is the blink of an eye. We have not had time to evolve to function well on:
- a neolithic diet of dairy and cereals (10,000 years ago in the middle east and 5,000 years ago in Europe),
- a “modern diet” of refined white sugar and refined white flour (18th and 19th centuries),
- grain instead of grass fed cows and sheep from the beginning of the 20th century
- from mid 20th century onwards huge amounts of pasteurised cow’s milk and dairy and heat and solvent refined vegetable oils
- from the 70’s onwards a pre-packaged, factory made, junk diet, with enormous amounts of salt, sugar and trans fats
- from the 1970’s frozen ready made meals cooked in microwaves
– getting more and more devoid of real nutrients until the present day when most of what we eat is just artificially flavoured garbage. It’s a wonder we can still manage to drag ourselves around! Try this, watch some footage of crowds at various times of the twentieth century. Notice something? The people in the crowds look sicker and sicker and more and more obese, the closer they are to our own times. (I will find some stock crowd footage on youtube and embed them in a blog page showing this when I have time.) So much for the miracles of modern medicine. As we are genetically identical to them, the difference between this race of the superhuman caveman and ourselves can only be due to diet.
Meet the ancestors! These are reconstructions based on actual remains. This is how this paleolithic mother and daughter would have looked in real life. Look at the superb bone structure of the faces and how sturdy the heads and bodies are. No signs of acne, eczema, or psoriasis either, just clear skin. Just kidding around with the second bit.
Need more proof? How about Indians described by early settlers
Accounts of early settlers in the US all paint the same picture of the poor state of health of the scurvy ridden settlers and the superb health and handsome appearance of the native American hunter-gatherers.
From 1671: “ New England’s Rarities, discovered in Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, and Plants of that Country” by Josselyn
“A description of an Indian Squa (sic)
The Men are somewhat Horse Fac’d, and generally Faucious, (sic) ie. Without Beards ; but the Women many of them have very good Features ; seldome without a Come to me, or Cos Amoris, in their Countenance ; all of them black Eyed, having even short Teeth, and very white ; their Hair black, thick and long, broad Breasted ; handsome streight Bodies, and slender, considering their constant loose habit : Their limbs cleanly, streight, and of a convenient nature, generally, as plump as Partridges, and saving here and there one, of a model deportment ….”
Or let’s look at what Loren Cordain says in his book “the Paleo Diet”
“……In other words, built into our genes is a blueprint for optimal nutrition – a plan that spells out the foods that make us healthy, lean and fit. Whether you believe the architect of that blueprint is God, or God acting through evolution by natural selection, or by evolution alone, the end result is still the same: We need to give our bodies the foods we were originally designed to eat.
Your car is designed to run on gasoline. When you put diesel fuel into its tank, the results are disastrous for the engine. The same principle is true for us: We are designed to run best on the wild plant and animal foods that all humans gathered and hunted just 500 generations ago. The staples of today’s diet—cereals, dairy products, refined sugars, fatty meats and salted, processed foods—are like diesel fuel to our body’s metabolic machinery. These foods clog our engines, make us fat, and cause disease and ill health………”
Faulty light bulb moment again
So is this site an advert for the Cordain/Wolf “Paleo (lifestyle) diet”? Not quite. The Seignalet (pronounce it “Saynyalay”) diet was designed by a French Professor of Medicine, Dr. Jean Seignalet.
The Seignalet diet was designed for therapeutic purposes
It differs in a few important respects from Cordain and Wolf’s version of the caveman diet (and also from the Western Price Foundation diet come to that). One important difference is that the Seignalet diet was specifically created to reverse chronic diseases and clinically trialled on over two and a half thousand patients over twenty years by a professor of medicine and found to put into complete remission 91 diseases! In addition to reversing disease it can of course also prevent disease and many people in France have adopted it as a lifestyle diet.
No proof that early persons used fire for cooking
Dr. Seignalet (who read, spoke and wrote excellent English which has replaced Latin as the international lingua franca of science and medicine), read Eaton and Konner’s seminal 1985 article in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Palaeolithic nutrition. A consideration of its nature and current implications” at exactly the same time as Cordain, ie. as soon as it was published. So there is not even a hair’s breadth between what Cordain and Wolf and what Dr. Seignalet consider to be the “original diet”. They all take their cue from Eaton and Konner. Except for one important thing and here it is:
1. Eaton and Konner make no reference to cooking. Cordain and Wolf assume that Early Modern Humans were cooking their meat, which means grilling it over a fire. But for Seignalet, cooked meats and especially grilled meats are a dangerous disease factor. You can see my translation of his chapter on the dangers of cooking on my blog.
Here is (my translation of) what he says in his chapter comparing ancient and modern foods:
“……Fire was invented about 400,000 years ago. However, there is absolutely no proof that fire would have been used to cook food before a recent period, 10,000 years ago. Furthermore, analysis of fossilized faecal remains show that during the Mesolithic, humans ate raw. So we can assume that cooking was little used or not used at all……”
2. Dr. Seignalet was what the French call an “enseignant/chercheur” (lecturer/researcher). He was paid by the French state to teach medical students but the other part of his job description was to carry out research. What he decided to research and how he carried it out was entirely up to him. Seignalet looked closely at all the foods we eat without any preconceived notions to discover how they are processed by our body and exactly why these non-ancestral foods harm us and it is this work, far more than conjecture about what our ancestors ate, which forms the basis of his diet. Paleo eaters may be surprised to learn for example that he allows rice.
3. Eaton and Konner wrote this in their 1985 article: “Ultimately of course, only experimental & clinical studies can confirm hypotheses about the medical consequences of dietary choices”. Dr. Seignalet took them at their word and only 3 years later, Seignalet was embarking on those studies and 20 years later, he had treated two and a half thousand patients with 115 different diseases, 91 of them successfully, with his diet. With the greatest of respect, no-one in the field of nutrition or medicine in the English speaking world has ever set out to prove their dietary theories like this. They may talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. To my knowledge only the Russians have done anything similar, with their research on fasting. (See my blog article on fasting).
You may have already tried dietary modification to reverse your disease, maybe with some success, great or small – or even none at all. Regardless of the results you obtained, please now consider the Seignalet diet. This is to date, the only diet which:
- Was trialled over a period of 20 years with over two and a half thousand patients, during which time adjustments were made in the light of results and improved theory.
- Is the only treatment to have put into long term, complete remission, about 80% of patients treated with 91 different, so called “incurable diseases”.
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