Keepin it real…

In order to emphasize the importance of eating real food let’s compare a few diets.

The Kitavans:

  • We ate a diet of root vegetables, coconut, fruit, vegetables and fish.
  • 69% of our calories came from carbohydrate, 21% from fat and 10% from protein.
  • We had undetectable levels of cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke and were always lean .
  • We never had to lie when our women asked ‘Do I look fat?’.
  • More info on the Kitavans here.

The Inuit:

  • We ate walrus, seal, beluga whale, caribou, polar bear, muskoxen, birds, eggs and fish.
  • We ate no vegetables, no fruit, no grain and no sugars.
  • 35-40% of our calories came from protein and 50-75% of our calories came from fat. We ate ZERO carbohydrates.
  • We had no chronic diseases.
  • More about the Inuit diet here.

The Okinawans:

  • We ate a diet which was naturally low in calories and low in fat.
  • Compared to the Japanese we ate 80% calories, 300% green/yellow vegetables and 25% sugars.
  • A lot of us lived past 100.
  • More about the Okinawans here.

The Americans:

  • Our diet is rich in processed food. We enjoy different cuisines.  We eat a lot of omega-6 fats, tonnes of sugar, artificial sweeteners.
  • We eat a high calorie diet and perform very little physical activity. We sit for the most part of the day because reality TV is the closest we get to reality.
  • Estimates for the year 2006 are that 81 million of us have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). 73 million of us have high blood pressure.

The Indians:

  • Out diet consists of a lot of grains. Depending on which region we are from, our meals are built around rice or wheat. A lot of us are vegetarians and hence thrive on grains.
  • We lead sedentary lives with ~12hrs of sitting/day.
  • The number of diabetics in our country is greater than the population of 199 countries.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 60% of the world’s cardiac patients will be Indian by 2010.

The Chinese:

  • Out diet consists of a lot of rice and sauteed/fried meat.
  • We lead sedentary lives.
  • We have twice as much diabetics as The Indians. More than 92 million adults have diabetes and  nearly 150 million more are showing early symptoms.
  • Our death rate from coronary disease rose by 53.4 per cent from 1988 to 1996.
  • More than 20% of our children aged 7–17 years in big cities are now overweight or obese.


  • The aboriginals (Kitavans, Inuit and Okinawans) lived long and healthy lives.
  • The modern day man (Indians, Chinese and Americans) is diseased.


  • As modern day humans, if we have any intentions of living disease free, we need to learn from the aboriginals.

What’s conflicting?

  • Some based their diets around vegetables, tubers and fruit while some based their diets purely around animal products.
  • Some ate super high carb (Kitavans and Okinawans) and some ate crazy high fat and almost zero carbs (Inuit).

What’s common?

  • They all ate real food!
  • They all led active lifestyles!

Seriously folks, for most people, it don’t matter if you eat a high fat diet or a high carb diet. Eating more clean and real food should be the first and major change in one’s diet!

There is so much drama in the fitness industry about the macro nutrient splits. Some experts advice you to eat little to no carbs while some others call BS on that and ask you to not worry about carbs and drop the fat. Truth is populations that lived healthy long lives did not count calories or macro nutrient percentages… but… they all ate whatever real food was available and moved!

What is real food and what is not?

  • Vegetables are real. V8 juice is NOT.
  • Fruits are real. Fruit juice is NOT.
  • Chicken is real. Chicken nuggets are NOT.
  • Almonds are real. Almond flour cookies are NOT.
  • Whole milk is real. Skim milk/soy milk is NOT.
  • Spinach is real. Spinach dip is NOT.
  • Coffee is real. Starbucks white chocolate mocha is NOT.
  • Eggs are real. Egg substitutes are NOT.
  • Garlic is real. Garlic croutons are NOT.
  • Cheese is real. Cheetos are NOT.
  • Saturated fats are real. Trans fats are NOT.
  • Sweet potatoes are real. Chips are NOT.
  • Honey is real. Corn syrup is NOT.
  • Water is real. Sparkling water/soda is NOT.
  • Tea is real. Raspberry lemon tea in a can with tonnes of sugar is NOT.
  • Apples are real. Apple pie is NOT.
  • Raspberries are real. Raspberry jelly is not.

You get the idea. I’m not asking you to eat and live exactly like the kitavans or the okinawans or the inuit or any other tribe for that matter. It’s stupid to not enjoy some of the delicious processed non-real-foods that are available today. Just don’t eat em everyday! This is where the 85/15 –> 95/5 rule and transitioning into clean eating helps.

FYI – I’m not a raw foodist in anyway. I believe food tastes best and provides the most nutrition when cooked. So please get the freshest cleanest ingredients, cook clean food and enjoy like there is no tomorrow!


22 responses to “Keepin it real…

  1. Tipu September 12, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Raj, what’s your take on lentils? same as grains?

    • RG September 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

      From a health perspective…
      Lentils have lectins and so most people dont tolerate lentils well. If you get the ‘runs’ or if your poop is loose/watery after a big dose of lentils that means your gut is irritated and you do not tolerate them well. Eat them if you can tolerate them.

      From a fat loss perspective…
      Lentils do add a significant amount of carbs. Most people think lentils (and beans) are all protein which isnt true. Lentils contain 3 times more carbs than protein. So you’re better off loading up with vegetables and berries.

      If you tolerate them well AND are not concerned about losing fat – Eat them
      If you dont tolerate them – Dont eat them
      If you are looking to stay low-carb – Dont eat them

      • GSL February 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

        This a real nice blog and brings a smile to my face when I read this long list of “real” foods listed out. I want to add Maya is real,life is not!
        Btw,hope you are not lying to your women 🙂

      • RG February 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm

        Thank you Latha! And no… I dare not lie to my woman! 😉

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  14. Holly February 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    This is a really interesting post!!!! You are definitely on to something!!!

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