100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why It Matters Today

100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why It Matters Today

by Stephen Le


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100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why It Matters Today by Stephen Le

A fascinating tour through the evolution of the human diet, and how we can improve our health by understanding our complicated history with food.

There are few areas of modern life that are burdened by as much information and advice, often contradictory, as our diet and health: eat a lot of meat, eat no meat; whole-grains are healthy, whole-grains are a disaster; eat everything in moderation; eat only certain foods—and on and on. In 100 Million Years of Food biological anthropologist Stephen Le explains how cuisines of different cultures are a result of centuries of evolution, finely tuned to our biology and surroundings. Today many cultures have strayed from their ancestral diets, relying instead on mass-produced food often made with chemicals that may be contributing to a rise in so-called "Western diseases," such as cancer, heart disease, and obesity.

Travelling around the world to places as far-flung as Vietnam, Kenya, India, and the US, Stephen Le introduces us to people who are growing, cooking, and eating food using both traditional and modern methods, striving for a sustainable, healthy diet. In clear, compelling arguments based on scientific research, Le contends that our ancestral diets provide the best first line of defense in protecting our health and providing a balanced diet. Fast-food diets, as well as strict regimens like paleo or vegan, in effect highjack our biology and ignore the complex nature of our bodies. In 100 Million Years of Food Le takes us on a guided tour of evolution, demonstrating how our diets are the result of millions of years of history, and how we can return to a sustainable, healthier way of eating.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250117885
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 546,301
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Stephen Le is currently a Visiting Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa. He received a Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2010 where he was a recipient of a UCLA Chancellor's Fellowship and a National Science Foundation grant for his fieldwork in Vietnam. 100 Million Years of Food is his first book.

Table of Contents

Introduction: What Should We Eat And How Should We Live? 1

The Irony of Insects 7

The Games Fruits Play 17

The Temptation of Meat 43

The Paradox of Fish 61

The Empire of Starches 81

Elixirs 101

A Truce among Thieves 115

The Calorie Conundrum 147

The Future of Food 175

Afterword: Rules to Eat And Live By 215

Endnotes 225

Bibliography 249

Acknowledgments 295

Index 299

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