My brain is not big enough to think beyond this paradigm all by myself. But let me share with you more information from Dr. Shanahan.
We will enter the book right after she gives an account of her friend Eduardo, who traveled to Africa and was a guest of the Maasai tribe. (The Maasai are an African tribe whose diet is composed mainly of raw milk, meat, and the blood of cattle.) Eduardo had been offered a still-beating goat heart. For dinner.
Disclaimer: No way, ever, would I ever, ever eat a still-beating goat heart. Not even if I were surrounded by five dozen large men clad in loincloths. Never. But it is an interesting story with a great application.
"The Maasai represent one of the rare surviving intact and functional indigenous cultures. These societies are, in essence, windows into our past. Reading accounts of travelers who have spent time among people like the Maasai, one could get the impression that as far as human health in concerned, once upon a time really existed. In the good old days, people enjoyed an almost idyllic physiological prosperity. This prosperity was earned, in large part, by the maintenance of an intimate relationship between themselves and the land, their animals, and the edible plans that rounded out their diets. As a result of this intimacy, they talked about food differently than we do. To us food is primarily a fuel, a source of energy, and sometimes a source of guilty pleasure. To people who remain connected to their culinary origins, food is so much more. It is part of their religion and their identity...On and off during my life, almost every meal I ate was run through the mental gamut of calories, fat, protein, and the like. What a slavish practice! I was actually recently praying that God would free me from the bondage of...caring. What a waste of time and mental energy.
...As startled as Eduardo was when invited to take his share of a still-beating goat heart, he might have been more unnerved had they started talking about the total number of calories in their meal, the percentage of their daily intake of protein, carbs, and fat, and the benefits of eating fiber. Such reductionist terminology would have been out of step with the way the Maasai see the world. No matter where you live, talking about-and then envisioning-food in such arbitrary categories is bad for your health.
Since I have tried to incorporate more nourishing, traditional ways of eating into my life, I just eat good food until I am full. It is simple. Pregnancy is still a bit of a dance for me, but I feel peaceful about eating good fats and real food. I feel nourished. I hope little Woodward feels the same. If God made it, I eat it. If some man in a white suit and latex gloves synthesized it, I leave it alone.
Has this little snippet influenced the way you will think about food? Would you ever eat a fresh, hot goat heart? ;)