The dietary method named instinctotherapy (or instinctive paleolithic diet) which arose from our research, consists of the integral return to raw foods regulated by our dietary instinct that all animals possess, but that cultural habits systematically inhibit and repress.
Setting as hypothesis humans’ genetic and metabolic non-adaptation to cooked food, experiments on thousands of subjects showed consequences to be so numerous and far-reaching, that the relatively recent advent of cooking in our (pre)history can in all seriousness be likened to the Fall from a semi-divine state as described by Genesis and the mythology of many cultures around the world, Hesiod’s greek myth of the 5 races, egyptian scriptures or Buddhism alike.
After decades of observation of thousands of people, it has become clear that cooking is responsible for most bacterial, viral and degenerative diseases. In fact our very understanding of disease is wrong, as represented by the fallacious Germ theory whose own creator understood that the terrain of the body is what plays a crucial role in the progress of disease. However, with a certain amount of food discipline and a fairly broad range of healthy foods, a very strict discipline and obedience to the sense of smell (letting the body determine its needs), we can use our body as it was meant, once again.
It is possible to awaken our eating instinct, which all animals have, and bring about the near complete elimination of disease, especially as a life-threatening phenomena. Strength, agility, recovery time, mental acuity, all stats improve samewise on their own, fairly quickly, in proportion to the quality of your diet (and secondarily of your genetics). Access to the food range as close as can be to that of the great apes (whose needs are near-identical to our own) also proved absolutely essential.
The main reason is the AGEs: AGEs, or advanced glycation endproducts are a class of very specific molecules, produced in large numbers at the time of cooking, and associated with disorders as varied as cancer, diabetes1 or oxidative stress in general, which we know the key role in the ageing process . AGEs are the results of a chaotic blending of sugar chains and proteins, while ALEs are the same with lipids.
Both broad categories are produced during cooking at a rate exceeding several thousands times, if not more, than what is found in nature (outside forest fires of course, though they usually burn trees to a crisp instead of cooking them). Yet despite several findings indicating their major role in health, nothing even remotely of a corresponding scale was undertaken to curtail the issue. Even the bloodiest dictator, could never fight against his people’s habit of cooking…
We will see what consequences this constant chemical onslauhght has been tempered with the brain and been disrupting its higher functions since tens of millenia (increasingly so), twisting the development of culture since then. we will also see the omnipresent effects on health in general, creating what is in effect is a false, feeble human condition, a fallen nature.
But first, we shall define what exactly is the natural diet, by example, before going through the numerous change that occurs, how it truly sets correct raw instinctive paleodiet practionners apart from the rest of humanity.
What a natural diet is
Which criteria ?
- They feed only on raw food, neither mixed nor processed or seasoned
- They are guided mainly by smell and only then by sight, color or memory.
Under optimal conditions the following pattern invariably applies:
attractive smell → salivation reflex = physiological need →
luminous phase, an excellence in taste confirming the smell.
Saturation of need is indicated by an unpleasant sensation in the mouth: acidic, bitter, raspy, difficult swallowing etc, meaning that enzymes are missing. Forcing us to stop eating, as continuing regardless causes a painful sensation in the stomach, if not immediately the mouth. Some food have a stronger character than others for instance pineapple (that contain a protease) will make you bleed from the moment your body stops producing anti-proteases. This doesn’t mean pineapples are inherently
better though, all wild food can become unimaginably repulsive to the point of throwing up.
The wideness of tastes they can take depending on your inner state, is a crucial characteristic of wild food compared to domesticated or selected species - which can’t be as rich in taste nor as harrowingly distateful when the body refuses it. Just bland in comparison. It is a dialogue, an active exchange, like talking but in the primeval common language of chemistry and maybe more. Ultimately the level of delight we can attain, exceed by far anything cooking can invent: in fact it only ever tricks our tastebuds, playing on a few strings discordingly while a original taste is a symphony in comparison.
(Wild) animals do not have our intellect, they spontaneously obey their senses to regulate the quantities. Too dumb to disobey nature. Influenced neither by dietetics nor the fear of missing, a good smell is followed by a good taste, they continue to eat, stop at the first sensation less pleasurable.
It must be understood that metabolic needs evolve slowly therefore kept very close to those of our ape cousins. wikipedia says for bonobos (for a more quantitative analysis see below ):
Precise menu content:
- Fruits (pulp + seeds) > 50 % weight
- other important plant foods: stem pith, leaves, petioles, seeds, flowers
honey, eggs, soil, insect larvae
Mushroom and termites
We find that monkeys (like bears and many omnivorous animals) to be very opportunistic. They show clear preferences but the most important seems to have varied food in 4 categories: carbohydrates (fruits, honey), vegetables (
qreeneries !), animal proteins, vegetable proteins. Depending on local availability, it is possible to rely on honey or a small variety of fruits… for a limited time.
The place of insects
In practice, the proteins constitute ~ 15 to 20 % of our intake in weight. Insects have revealed in fifty years of experience to become over time, for people practicing assiduously this diet, the most appreciated proteins to our gustative buds, much more than meat and eggs or fish.
Seafood (crustaceans and bivalves) are phylogenetically close to insects and thus therefore very far from us, while meat (especially mammalian) has molecular structures close to ours, therefore more likely to mislead the immune system, at least in the presence of excess quantities. More simply, even for a long-time practitioner with a relatively regenerated body and sense of taste, wild meat has as woefully or wonderfully strong a taste and stops you very quickly: That means we are not made to eat a lot of meat.
The irreplaceability of insects is also understood by their easy access in nature, which makes our adaption to them an evolutionary and logical necessity. Thus, monkeys eat them at any time of the day. Ergo this abundant source of fats and proteins has earnt its prominent place in our instincts.
Behold the delicious larvea of our forests:
Walk through a virgin forest like the Białowieża Forest in Poland and you will see the ground littered with huge dead tree trunks, swarming with worms and insects. In a climate supposedly cold and inhospitable for a naked monkey ! So in a tropical climate, without human deforestation, abundance is a certainty and the primitive tribes of the New World know it well.
The larvae of barbels are found - in Europe! - inside oaks, beeches, ashes, willows, chestnut trees, apple trees, lime trees. Insectivorism is not very developed in Europe (probably because of the omnipresence of dairy), creating a rather important lack in our practice of instincto. I am convinced much more positive effects could have been observed during these years otherwise.
Excesses of beef and other farmed animals could have been avoided, instead they caused a few cancers among those who settled in
carnivorism in the wake of our first mistakes: Guy-Claude’s wife died in the early 1990s from eating resolutely against the very principles of the diet, eating a truly immense quantity of fat and meat, for psychological reasons which would require a book in and of themselves !
The place of hunting
In this sense vegetarians are right: eating animals regularly is not natural for a primate and the health effects are very damaging. Observations indicate monkeys have a clear preference for eggs and invertebrates, followed by reptiles and birds. I suggest you take a good look at these charts, which speak for themselves. How not to deduce the consequences could be anything but immense ?
Besides, I must stress out how chimpanzees get most of their meat not from hunting, but already dead animals. Yes, dead, rotting corpses. Which were all the rage in Roman times, so I don’t think there is much danger about them, except under conditions of an extreme degenerate industrial diet like today’s.
The preference for stale or
rotten (for our standards) meat was universal in primitive societies, up to the Middle Age, and for excellent reasons.
Victor de l’Avéron, a wild child found at the age of 12 in 1785 by Dr. Itard, naked and unable to speak, could spring like a gazelle, catch birds in flight as a cat would and pluck them in an instant. Compared to mammoth hunting, which presupposes organization and an elaborated use of tools, ask yourself which activity has had the most chance to mark our genetics! Our ancestors ate more birds and eggs and shellfish than mammals.
Vegans refuse insects and eggs assimilated to animal exploitation, banning themselves even honey, labeled
Obviously there is an element of intuitively perceived danger, as it was the case for Pythagoras, and Hitler, avoiding meat. Not to mention the ecological damage of hunting and farming.
An objective point of view would take into account the practices of monkeys, consuming animal proteins in non-negligible though very limited quantities. Man is not above the general laws imposed by his biological data, which even the most fanatical vegans as inveterate carnivores (zero carb) must obey lest not suffer illness and death.
Total deprivation of meat causes deficiencies, which explains why vegans always make exceptions for meat, or end up so thin as to look like Auschwitz survivors.
A prehistoric Fall from grace:
Why instincts fail under a
Bodies need no intellectual guidance from dietetics for the good reason that it knows its own needs to the second and to the milligram of substances: Many people ignore or would deny the possibility for their nose to indicate anything, or that food’s scents can change from one moment to the next. They just never experienced it. It is important to realize we have been subjected to cooking since birth. Every instinct requires a concomitant learning ensuring its correct application.
Herring gulls, for example, drop hard prey from heights onto hard ground, to eat the inside, crabs for instance. Young birds up to one year old tend to fail ridiculously: catching in the air what they just dropped, dropping it on water or soft surfaces or do not fly high enough and must repeat. This contributes to the high mortality of this species’ younglings.
These feeding instinct behaviors require extremely complex cerebral motor coordination, flexibility involving an ability to learn various behavior patterns depending on prey, soil, wind, competitors. Youngsters have the instinct to try but understanding the relationship between hard surfaces, height and success takes time and often fails. Sometimes they lose interest in their prey, which is then stolen by a competitor.
In some species, such basic behavior requires a learning process. The same is true for feeding: the instincts are actualized in the key moments of childhood. This notion highlighted by Konrad Lorenz is fundamental for food and love.
Thus the very young baby in front of raw food, will immediately have the innate reflex to smell, to open its mouth if the odor is appropriate, and will turn away its head if the odor is not very engaging or even will spit it out. Many parents will attest to this. Within a few weeks, most of them show an interest in meat, and chew to extract the juice because they have no teeth.
On the contrary, in the culinary context, an habituation born from the constraint of denatured, industrial or otherwise processed foods, compromises the baby’s ability to assimilate the scale of tastes and smells in relation to <inner needs. Cooked flavors change very little, because the genetic programming of senses supposes the contact of raw food. Obedience to parents and conditioning through the vintage command
finish your plate eventually replace the baby’s instincts with eating habits, dietary beliefs and a permanent inner metabolic disorder.
The child born raw (or wild animals) on the other hand gets to know his body and its subtle signals by associating pleasure to obeying natural laws and discomfort to disobeying them.
Acquiring this natural acuity of smell and proprioception during adulthood is difficult, it requires a lot of discipline, and the application of some rules developed with the years regarding the number of meals, their quantities, some hints of satisfaction or overload, etc. These are all crutches, but absolutely essential ones for all those who hail from a
Cooking degenerated us from perfect superior beings to the degraded subhumans of today, dying of diseases of the body and mind. But this can change. Not only the future of human civilization depends on it, but of life on Earth itself - considering agriculture and husbandry damaged it beyond any recognition - will depend on our ability to give this dilemma the attention it deserves.
It should matter to you because the health advantage are so potent as to define a new standard for human life. In effect, from the change of habit and physiology alone, one could speak of instinctive rawfoodists as a new species altogether, even more so if they follow the principles of metasexuality.
These by the way absolutely necessitate a change of diet, let alone limiting the extrasensory to a select few rare or lucky geniuses and exceptionally nervously balanced individuals. Instead, the instinctive paleolithic diet makes it available to anyone, given a sufficient food range, and an unwavering discipline. See the articles about
for more details. In short, counting among the most subtle and sensible functions of the brain, accessing these faculties require an absolutely peaceful, collected state of mind. But I will leave parapsychics aside to concentrate on the physical and nervous aspects, easier to imagine though not much so to accept.
Nervosity outside viral episodes reduces drastically, making advanced mental cases the likes of which one finds in psy wards tolerable or totally normal depending on the syndrome and age, and making paragons of calm in whatever situation out of normal people.
I have seen all of that, in both cases. Ten years ago, I had myself nervous issues, a dissociative tendency - not to the point of losing my sanity, but just enough to cause severe depression with bulimia-anorexia and the incapacity to concentrate. The bulk of it changed in a year, while no physician could do a thing, beside giving pills.
I had the luxury before, to see for myself what those pills could do to people, and wanted none of it so I decided to learn a new
diet philosophy for lack of a better term, and I learnt everything else by the same occasion, in the same movement, in a spa of ten years, while my mind broadened, discarding old psychological fixations and taboos.
This lack of nervousness compared to the state of mind under a traditional diet cannot be envisioned save by seasoned meditation practitioners for whom the perpetual issue is to carry on
the calm of their cushion into daily life
into the kitchen sink as the saying goes. Perhaps the worst place to start !
One really has to live it for oneself: the number of situation one feels normally overwhelmed by impressions and emotions in daily life and acting on them or thinking it’s a big deal is staggering, it is a new way to go about life, that alone offers nearly for free a peaceful state of mind worth a lifetime of investment in spirituality to most of the time, little to no avail.
This relentless inner turmoil and uncontrollable urges are only chaotic dysfunctions of the brain, excited by the constant influx of denatured molecules coursing your bloodstream, now acknowledged both in their psychogenic effects and role in aging under the name of
We called this the feedback effect.
The case of common
stimulants like coffee and chocolate and
anything with too much sugar shouldn’t be difficult to consider today, but what if the whole of cooked food acted similarly, arguably much worse ?
When everyone is mad, no one is seen as such !
Once that most of the immediate feedback effect ruining lives and causing all mental issues (save for clear genetic ones like such as the Down syndrome…) subsumes in a month or two in good conditions (or more a few more for serious cases), one is then free to undertake the worse part, that is rewiring one’s brain.
Because this constant mind poisoning since early babyhood actually wires our brains in a pathological paranoiac (and dissociative) mode that only a long exposure to a balanced nervous state can teach the brain how to react, what to correct. Hence the importance of steadfastness, beyond a simple matter of health:
To correct structural feedback one needs to see the natural state, one oneself and others, to recalibrate and remember it when we lose it for some reasons. This allows us not to invest in erroneous thoughts, emotions and situations. We learn to laugh at ourselves, and not to take ourselves too seriously.
While quickly enough the company of easily triggered normal folk,
cooked people, becomes intolerable. We wanna out of the cavern of shadows, and find
real people. The same properly mind-blowing gap is starkly exemplified with animals, which do not have the luxury of that big head of ours and its wonderful though deceptive ability for self-control.
But cockerels and pigs fed with (heated) grains and leftovers, routinely attack their peers or females, leading sometimes to an orgy of violence and blood, hence the need to separate males from each other or even from females. The problem is well-known, though the association with dietary conditions, hardly so. In the same vein, niggers skullfuck and eat each others routinely in all of Africa, since time immemorial.
On the other hand, wild animals (or domestic animals not fed with $h!t !) act much more harmoniously, tolerate each other and males do not indulge in reckless fights leading to injuries. Some even grow a liking with each other when females lack… Dogs stop barking ceaselessly at the slightest leaf falling, or for no reason at all.
And cats stop hissing loudly and fighting, while trying to copulate. The list of behavior goes on and on, and their exploration and almost infinite ramifications makes for a lot of unique research in all areas, in human or animal sciences.
At the same time since less and less things manage to trigger us anymore like a diehard feminists presented with facts, the mind becomes able to approach concepts new and old without the overlwgets able to encompass much more thoughts and concepts, hitherto barred from access by subconscious mental blockades, whether born from habits or childhood conditioning.
The tendency (no one claims perfection here) goes toward not a dullness of emotions, but actually a richer inner life, more in touch with deeper meanings in life and relationships, not encumbered. As molecular order is restored, cerebral functions improve and the constant fog that followed us all our life - and for many doomed their school efforts - is lifted, granting a higher clarity of mind.
Compulsive/obsessional ideas lose their strength, progressively discarded as one comes to terms with their meaninglessness. Things we were taught as
evil or diabolical, appear not so bad or at least not a reason to kamikaze oneself for an unseen God and his quite hypothetical hourris, burn people to the stake… or send them to jail for revisionism. Negative feelings of all kinds, fade faster and do not
take hold of us like before.
Talking about obsession, sex becomes an entirely different affair. For men, the very nature of the sexual drive shifts from an obsessive, compulsive and very physical need for gratification - the need to jerk off - and enlarges into a more satisfying experience, leading to heighten communication between partners and a keener perception of each other’s wants and desires (and ones’ own !), a clearer perception of reality overall. In fact, while lacking intimacy for too long does erode one’s inner peace it never constitutes a physical urgency or urgency anymore, as some autoerotism suffices on that part.
We become also increasingly aware of ourselves, notwithstanding or trespassing the barriers of our education and prejudices, or seemingly deep-rooted disgust. From the moment we consciously choose to let go of conceptions of sex and age of partners, we become spontaneously more in tune and approach the natural norms and inner states of mind described by metapsychoanalysis. No more uncontrollable erections: these only rise when the moment call for their use. No more
muh diik ! Men stop seeing women as walking pieces of meat. All of it, out of the
mere nervous system’s gradual re-normalization.
First off the tolerance for mental and physical exertion skyrockets.
Once we decide on a course of action, it is not unusual to continue for hours, until late in the night… or the morning, technically. Of course the need for sleep doesn’t go away, though it does diminish as sleep gets both lighter and restful, depending on persons and state of supply, as with any other trait. So sleep or fatigue in general can stack up a lot, until a day later (or several) one has to clear up one’s debt (hardly a healthy practice though).
The disappearance of menstruation in a few months without any adverse effect on fertility, as well as the famous pain of childbirth, after a year, can be mentioned. The strong tendency for inflammation or autoimmunity caused by a permanent influx of denatured cooked molecules also disappears, releasing a treasure of bodily capabilities and resistance to muscle and psychological stress of all kinds. With time (more or less years depending on the choice of food) the tissues rebuild themselves on a stronger and more durable healthy basis.
Many other elements hitherto considered perpetual constants of human nature, are products of cooking, mere artefacts of our lifestyle. The idea of an intrinsic human
weakness (which we would come as a cost of a bigger brain) in comparison to animals goes up in smoke along with the susceptibility to infections and inflammations. The rejection of the germ theory in favour of a new understanding of viral phenomena as symbiotic and beneficial for our health frees the mind and increases the capacity for regeneration, allowing us to live fully without a care in the world. The need for nearly any medicine, save for a few cases of surgery (dentistery and accidents), is no more.
We don’t exactly regrow entire limbs the lizard way… not yet at least though proper magical miracles would fit well with our worldview… However in good conditions bruises and hurts, even serious, not only do not hurt at all except on the very moment of injury, but heal up several times faster than a normal person without any disinfectants, barely any care even letting dirt and whatever on the surface, just for the lulz.
Impressive doesn’t do justice to that kind of feat. We truly enter the realm of superhumanity… or rather, normal animality !
Blood clotting takes less than a minute at least for life-critical outflows. It appeared that the considered
normal levels of pain is not natural but caused by a constant high level of autoinflammation, raging on the smallest occasion. That explains why wounds just do not hurt when let them still and the work to do its work. The body demonstrated (with time) being able to regenerate damaged internal organs to the extent to cure almost all diseases, and slow down the degenerative part of aging to a significant degree. We age much better, and slowly, even without training. Samewise, the amount of flesh that is possible to regrow when still enclosed by sufficient surrounding tissues approaches the healing factor of the likes of lions, healing big wounds healed in no time nor a care in the world.
Similarly, those born or at least raised on rawfood will never worry anymore about tooth decay. Wild animals with a balance diet have zero caries , and it wasn’t uncommon for people before WW2 to never had a single cavity in their entire life, simply because we started eating so much shit only with the economic boom that followed.
Then we develop a heightened healing factor (choose the English subtitles).
Those two points together make for a much higher tolerance for grueling training, while better quality muscles coming from natural proteins (insects, shellfish, wild game, nuts) ensure a more resilient body which doesn’t tend to break down nearly as much: therefore we can take much more punishment to get back on feet quicker, with a zenkai boost. But this wasn’t explored nearly as much as it should considering an even more surprising realization: training proved useless in so far as keeping in shape is concerned. Animals are basically born with rippling muscles and maintain them regardless of training, as long as they have good quality food: May they slacken as they please, they do not fatten.
Men eating cooked food that is. It appeared obvious that this was no design of ours but a degenerated state with autoimmunity plus low-quality proteins constantly broke down our body which loses shape. With a good instincto diet, even a potato crouch will never accumulate fat but stick to a low to very low percentage though never down to a dangerous level. It doesn’t mean either a loss of reserve: fasting a few days is no big deal.
It appears the body can and should regulate both the muscle and fat level to an optimal staturo-ponderal equilibrium.
It might range from being slim to getting ripped for almost effort, depending on how long you ate traditional before and what (seasoned salads or Big Macs ?) made the transition. The more those molecules stay inside you, the longer all the processes mentioned in this text take long before acting their full power. That means people
born raw, as we saw, do not need any exercise and develop splendid tough muscles, including girls. Therefore, a potent benefit of the raw paleo diet is to get jacked and hot.
And maintain that physique for much longer as well: aging slowing down, we keep a slim/athletic physique as long as we keep a varied enough diet to continue on the cleansing process, and most of all if we keep clear from excessive animal meat, especially domestic meat which proved degenerative sometimes even more raw than cooked, as less damaged molecules bypasses the immune system more and in the end cause more autoimmunity. Excess proteins do the same as unnatural proteins, and shorten lifespan, eating away at our healing factor.
The best part of our lifeforce is constantly undermined and spent on fighting off the autoimmunity caused by cooked molecules. That’s why you would find no
prescription nor medicinal drugs, nothing special to do than to follow one’s instinct to a T, and certainly artificial nothing to take. While some herbs or plants may or do have special properties, they are nothing in isolation and would prove detrimental when issued out of intellectual considerations.
As Hypocrate did not say (but thought nonetheless):
Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.
As for what he really said:
But the original Greek oath, literally translated, says:I will apply dietetic and lifestyle measures to help the sick to my best ability and judgment; I will protect them from harm and injustice.
Infections and dangerous viral episodes become an outright impossibility and decades of experiences taught us that no genetically healthy wild animal (among vertebrates at least) that has not been polluted by denatured molecules, should be prey to microbes present in his natural environment.
These confounding and paradigm-shaking observations became the basis of the virus theory or its generalization in what became
the exogenetic command theory
, which necessitated a natural balanced referencial (both in men and animals) first in order to draw conclusions. We need healthy people to realize how sick everyone was, regardless of the
official definition of diseases.
Years showed the complete eradication of infectious diseases and cancers alike when the latter are not too advanced. Even then, it allows for a painless death with full mental faculties and no medication.
Fire and the origin of cooking
We make the case that fire was never needed to thrive, and that it is the cause of all bodily pathologies and suffering, directly or indirectly.
Because we attack something so close to people’s heart, maybe dearer than anything, anyone or any belief, something most think we can not even survive without let alone thrive,a logical reaction would be to wonder, why then it started in the first place, and how did it become universal ?
Men have used and controlled fire fully or partially for more than a million year, but we believe that for the most part, it was not associated with cooked food, which came only recently (compared to the age of our species, which we will come back to later).
The official myth
In 1995, the British primatologist Richard Wrangham formalized in
what everyone in paleontology and anthropology, not to mention the general public, had thought for a long time, namely the hypothesis that the reduction of the jaw and the size of the teeth accompanying the growth of the brain in Homo Erectus and the species that followed it would not have been possible without an early mastery of fire allowing the cooking of food.
Thus cooking, by outsourcing part of our digestion, would have allowed us to waste less time and energy eating, devoting these resources to developing our brain and properly human symbolic activities. With an enormous jaw comparable to that of a chimpanzee, pre-humans found an energy balance by devoting only a small part of their time to efficient chewing of raw food, summarizes Mr Hladik.
The cooking = big brain consensus:
Without cooking, which makes food more chewable and digestible, the reduction in dentition, and therefore the increase in the size of the skull of our ancestors, could not have occurred.
With an enormous jaw comparable to that of a chimpanzee, pre-humans found an energy balance by devoting only a small part of their time to efficient chewing of raw food, summarizes Mr Hladik.
This author, by the way, might mention several times in my writings, as he is the quintessence embodiment of everything rotten in modern science:
Not only is he an enemy regards to cooking but he spearheaded the notion of Chimpanzees being raping killing machines viciously waiting for the smallest overtures to gang up on females and children.
But this thesis dates the mastery of fire to nearly two million years ago, whereas the certain habitual use of fire in households dates, for most specialists, to 500,000 years at most… as reported for the Qesem cave which associates the earliest control of fire mainly with the first Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.
In 2012, microstratigraphic evidence (based on microscopic analysis of sedimentary layers, looking for chemical or isotopic traces) of the earliest fire use by hominids in situ one million years ago in the Acheulean strata of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape Province, South Africa, arrived.
This is considered unequivocal evidence for the habitual use of fire by Homo Erectus.
Does this mean that cooking is a million years old?
Not really. Simply a fire nurtured with food remains of the last meal. However, it illustrates well the ease with which the overwhelming majority of specialists (and common folk) just can’t separate fire from cooking.
If a prehistoric man used fire but did not cook, what did he do with it?
Several hypotheses can be put forward:
- to scare animals at night to sleep in peace (especially since we no longer sleep in trees)
- to light up
- to keep warm
- to make tools.
I believe only ideas 4 and 5 are true. This is not to say that fire does not warm or light. But we just don’t need it ! Our natural abilities should ensure (and do ensure given some uncucking/uncivilizing) survival in our natural environment. Let’s go over each point.
Point 1, scaring animals: does it even work ?
Most people, including scientists, think fire instinctively scares all animals… This is completely wrong. Try it in the African savannah and the next day you might be missing a few toes, with the compensation of having caused a nice indigestion to a lioness or hyena: because these intelligent animals are not afraid of fire.
Of course they avoid it and know its danger, but a fire that is neither too big nor too fast will not worry them at all. The same goes for wolves and bears. Most animals flee from humans, and it is proven that it is the human presence behind the fire that discourages them… but that also means that if you do nothing special to keep them away, they would not come. On the contrary, some will be attracted by the smell, and if they smell something they like they will come and help themselves. So it’s habitual behavior: they will come all the more if they recognize the human presence and associate it with food.
But there is more: fire will indicate human presence, since we are the only ones to produce it. And even: fire often indicates cooking, so the particular smell will have the same effect of fascination on animals as it has on us.
We are not natural prey for any animal. Neither sharks nor tigers will instinctively pounce on us until they are starved to death… or drugged by the denatured molecules. Numbers alone would deter predators interested in your children or pets, more than fire can. Also, don’t expect to keep mosquitoes away either. And you’ll attract snakes… Well, it works.
Point 2: lighting ?
Of course, we are not cats, we do not have a tapetum lucidum which reflects light behind their pupils, and incidentally they have 150 million rods instead of our 120. But in the end, it’s not a question of being able to hunt in the forest as if it were daylight… but simply of managing to navigate through obstacles two or three meters around you, in the dark. And this is easy enough if the moon is beautiful, or the stars numerous… Which was always the case before the industrial age.
There is a special training for night vision (scotopic), well studied during the Second World War. It is often mentioned about “wild children” that they have excellent eyesight, especially in the dark. It is hard to say how far this can go. In any case, it is obvious that the long-term adaptation capacities of the eyes are more important than is said… Similarly, the sense of smell and hearing of these children is described as being above the average person.
Research shows primates to be very active during the night , which closes point 2.
We obviously evolved to find our way around at night even in the darkness of rainforest forests (which aren’t that dark actually), it is not the same for the caves, devoid of any light, so much so that typically the animals having evolved in them, lose all sense of vision, become blind. Our ancestors found a way around this issue, with charred bones, as mentioned below.
Point 3: Would we freeze to death without fire ?
Heat! The question is: Does primitive man need fire to survive? In tropical countries, no, it is rather too hot. Even in Southern Europe one might bitterly regret not being able to tear off one’s skin, once already naked.
In a continental climate like Aveyron (20° in August, 5 in November)? Not even close!
Victor de l’Aveyron, famous wild child perhaps born in the Tarn around 1785 and found in the Aveyron in 1797 at about twelve years old used to live naked as a worm, and although unlike other wild children, he came to take refuge in the houses several times, he was still said to be insensitive to heat and cold.
More convincing: Meet Wim Hof, or ‘Iceman’.
I am able to control the body only through the power of the mind" said Hof, who calls himself the “Ice Man”. “The cold is unforgiving. It shows you where you are. What you are.”
The ultimate test for Hof was an Arctic half-marathon (21 km). He would have to battle the prolonged effects of exposure to the cold (average of -20°C). Experts estimated that a normal person would not last 15 minutes running in such conditions.
At first, Hof ran at a steady, consistent pace. But halfway through, he began to falter. After three hours of exposure to the icy conditions, Hof’s mental powers began to fade. After five hours, Hof could no longer run. But his slowness increased the risk of cold damage.
In 2004, in the Netherlands, he spent 1 hour and 08 minutes in a tube filled with ice. On 26 January 2008, in New York, he stayed 72 minutes in a translucent container filled with ice, beating his 2004 record of 68 minutes.
In 2002, he spent 6 minutes 20 seconds under the polar ice. In spring 2007, Wim Hof climbed Everest (Tibetan side - North East Ridge route) with minimal technical equipment to withstand the cold. Wim Hof was equipped with shorts, gloves and a cap, but had to stop at 7,400m due to a foot injury sustained during the half marathon in January.
And many monks develop similar abilities in Tibet through concentration and training, which is now being studied in the laboratory under controlled conditions.
Hard to guess what use such adaptability might have had for African apes, or even Neanderthals for that matter: what sense is there to survive places where nothing grows anyway ?
We can safely assume that at no time did our ancestors need fire as long as they stayed where there was food to eat, which in any case excludes the Arctic Circle. Even so, clothing (animal hides) would provide more than adequate protection.
Point 4: Technology
Fire allows (and is absolutely necessary, regardless of brain size) for an unprecedented development of technology. These are the only arguments that hold water for me.
Homo Erectus seemingly got to control fire. Determining the intelligence of Homo Erectus is more difficult than it seems, because even if his brain (546 to 1251 cm³) was notoriously smaller than ours (1200-1500).
Anatole France, a writer and moral authority of the first order in the 19th century, recognized as such by Marcel Proust, had a brain of around 850 cm³.
Was Erectus perhaps remarkably more intelligent than we imagine ? No artifacts have been found suggesting a use for, say, hardening spears or making tar for the same effect, as has been shown for Neanderthals. That said, a long time has passed and absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.
It could mean on the other hand, that current humans are well, well below our potential, because of cooking and other circumstances. Amusing idea to entertain at the very least, and not entirely without substance… I’ll come back to it .
Fire fascinates, that’s for sure, every child knows, just as it certainly did for our ancestors.
For want of the capacity to reconstruct their lifestyle in any significant way through scattered (both in space and time) remains (contrary to what some hazy archaeologists claim) the brain sizes we are talking about, from Erectus to early “men”, doesn’t exclude, for the longest time, a mostly symbolic use of fire.
Some functions of fire that few people think of:
- Burnt bones become fluorescent, and are very effective as a light in cellars.
- Burnt animal remains are hardly unmistakable signs of cooking, as the food remains are always thrown on the hearth to maintain it.
Thus it is quite impossible to ensure with any certainty that burnt remains involve culinary practices, as is equally impossible to know whether said bones (or what covered it) were eaten before, or after getting frisky with the holy flame.
The quantity of such burnt remains may be indicative, but these clues are both rare and always in need of interpretation.
On the other hand, the majority of tuberous vegetables such as manioc are absolutely impossible to eat raw, as are grasses (some cereals such as maize can though). Their place in today’s diet is explained by the opiates they contain, which make for a terribly addictive effect . We will come back to this point in a dedicated video.
The first attested granaries date back to 11,000 BC, and probably looked like this image, corresponding to the beginning of agriculture as taught.
The consumption of cereals may of course be older. I am of the opinion that cooking must have appeared several times in several places, more or less accidentally, because consequent control and taking thousands of years to develop, allowed sufficient food security to concentrate populations in sedentary centers, contrary to what has always been the case.
This article may point to an early, if short-lived, establishment of cooking and cereals
J. Mercader, Mozambican Grass Seed Consumption During the Middle Stone Age
Cereal remains were found in Mozambique, forming a patina on stone tools associated with grinding stones and pestles dating back 100,000 years. 80% of the seed remains were from a wild sorghum species, indicating an organized enterprise.
I would gladly wait a few years because it seems early, and if it is indeed about cooking and cereals - which I am not sure of – as obviously not persisted. There might have been a technical use of these products (early onset of an industrial process ?) rather than a dietary one.
Incidentally, one can conceive cooking to have fascinated relatively primitive populations in terms of intelligence, once a certain brain size threshold was reached, say, 800 cm³ perhaps. But groups falling prey to this lack of instinctive programming against the product of our own intelligence, soon would degenerate physically, devoured by predators (as happening with Bengali tigers) or supplanted by other healthier human groups, either breeding them out of existence or slaughtering them as an act of mercy.
After all, it was still customary in ancient Greece, though relatively cultured people, to immediately eliminate monsters and mutants at birth, any “abnormal” child. Many animals also have the impulse to reject abnormal individuals from the herd, and mothers to kill such young. It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine the reaction of a breasted group to a group eating cooked, half sick, half excited. In any case, from the point of view of natural selection, this genocidal behavior would make perfect sense.
We just laid down a number of important theoretical bases, and expounded the very most important discovery of all time: countless generations of men have eaten cooked, we developed the atomic means to destroy ourselves several times over and sent satellites past the confines of the solar system billions of miles from Earth, Yet no one ever realized this fundamental error in our way of life ? And why this time, around 50,000 BC, did cooking suddenly conquer the planet?
Impossible to say… There is a bottomless pit effect, which condemns us to more cooking once we fall into it, because wild raw products become inedible, producing reactions that we neither understand nor control, leading to an ever more complex cuisine throughout history, up to today’s hyper-industrial foods. So we can imagine a tribe that starts and invites another one, to contaminate immediately and often irremediably.
Though the immediate and lasting loss in health is undeniable, cooking also increases fertility at all levels, chemically, psychologically and socially, me and Guy-Claude will explain that. In the sense of setting breeding instincts on overdrive. So it would make sense that after a certain population threshold, the health detriments would be offset and cooked groups would start breeding more than naturally, replacing others and forcing them to intermarry.
We deduce the -50,000 years figure from the changes in European racial morphology, which globally marked the transition from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic, showing an unprecedented genetic and anatomical degeneration that will be the subject of another video. This reduction in brain size, we believe, could only have come from self-domestication (concomitant with cereal consumption and sedentarisation) and cooking which preceded it.
Vlassara, H., Uribarri, J. Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE) and Diabetes: Cause, Effect, or Both? ↩︎
E. Schleicher, U. Friess, Oxidative stress, AGE, and atherosclerosis,2007
Jiao Luo, Kevin Mills, Saskia le Cessie, Raymond Noordam, Diana van Heemst, Ageing, age-related diseases and oxidative stress: What to do next?
John F. KeaneyJr & al, Obesity and Systemic Oxidative Stress, Clinical Correlates of Oxidative Stress in The Framingham Study
Age-Related Reduction of NO Availability and Oxidative Stress in Humans, Stefano Taddei & al ↩︎