Updated: February, 2015
The Homo Posterus Diet is a simple set of nutritional rules that, if closely followed, should to a large degree mitigate and (I suspect) even reverse any and all of the risk factors known in the Western world, including the Metabolic Syndrome.
Scientists tell us that the No. 1 problem for the huge proliferation of chronic disease in Western societies isn’t what and how much we eat. In the context of the contemporary cultures and lifestyles, especially in the developed world, it’s the fact that it’s socially necessary to eat pretty much all the time (non-homeostatic eating). The fact that we eat so much and we eat too many calories is secondary to problem No.1.
The Homo Posterus Diet is a set of dietary rules that comes in play only after we have been able to successfully address the requirement of contemporary societies to ‘belong’ by eating.
If you recognize the validity of problem No.1 (it starts in your brain) and if you have put mechanisms in place to address it – at least to a meaningful degree – then proceed to the diet recommendations below. They go in order of importance. That means that you will get the most bang for the buck from the first rule, then the second and so forth.
Keep in mind that you cannot assign percentages on each item and expect that if you conform well to a particular item you will get the same percentage of health (or disease reversal or whatever your goal may be) in return. All items are important, but some is better than none, and some of the top ones is better than some of the bottom ones.
Disclaimer: This is a nutritional set of rules that I have personally devised over the years. It’s a result of a lot of reading and experimenting on myself mainly (I was 200 lbs at one point in my life and I have maintained 150-155 lbs for quite a few years). I do not guarantee results. It’s all in your hands. If the rules below make sense to you then great – feel free to adopt them and possibly even adapt them to your particular lifestyle. If they don’t – no harm done.
Finally, this diet set of rules is not intended for any particular audience (athletes, etc.). It’s for anybody, who feels the pressure of the contemporary lifestyle on her/his health.
1. Remove all refined (man-made) starches and simple sugars from your diet.
This would include: pastries, refined flour breads, pizza, sugary drinks and ‘all-natural’ juices
Low-grade systemic inflammation, gut membrane inflammation and permeability (bowel micro perforations) due to undesirable bacteria overgrowth – this is just some of the serious stuff..
The consumption of highly-refined man-made carbohydrates is, in my view, the most important step you can take in limiting the negative effects of modern lifestyle and foodstuffs on your health. The reasons are: 1) this type of ‘food’ is very unnatural to our metabolism. There hasn’t been enough time for humans to genetically adapt to this type of food. Thus the body’s response to eating such ‘foods’ is not at all in favor to good health; and 2) eating refined carbohydrates in whatever form – liquid or solid – is about the easiest way to add extra (totally unnecessary) calories to your diet.
In summary, you definitely don’t benefit from eating refined man-made carbs and you are definitely not adapted to easily processing this stuff in any meaningful way. Just stay away from it! It’s simply bad for you for too many reasons.
2. Avoid wheat and gluten-containing cereal grains.
That’s pretty much all you can find in the bakery department and bread isle, including most boxed cereals and snacks.
By doing this you eliminate gluten – a protein in all cereal grains from the wheat (triticum) family. Gliadin, one of the two main proteins that comprise gluten is a protein fraction that causes (to a different degree in different people) inflammation of the small intestine lining, possibly micro perforations (leaky gut), which in turn causes gut content to leak out and eventually reach other organs in the body. The body’s defense mechanisms treat these substances as foreign and mount an attack on them (immune response). Whatever these substances are attached to (pancreas, thyroid gland, hypothalamus, etc.) may eventually become inflamed and even damaged by one’s own immune system. Scientists hypothesize that this may be one of the main reasons why we have auto-immune diseases, like diabetes type 1, celiac disease and more.
I have to emphasize: wheat does not affect only gluten-sensitive individuals and celiacs. Many of the discomforts people are used to live with (and consider a part of life) often times completely go away after discontinuing wheat-/gluten-containing foods – in most (if not all) individuals.
3. Avoid most vegetable oils. Yes, the Omega-6 poly-fat – rich ones.
You know, soy, sunflower, safflower, sesame, peanut, hemp, walnut, corn, poppyseed, grape seed, cotton seed, wheat germ oils, vegetable oils.
All these are high in the Omega-6 fraction of polyunsaturated fat. Omega-6 is vital but in the enormous quantities consumed today, 10-20 times exceeding the amounts of Omega-3 fats, it becomes a reason for low-grade systemic inflammation. In other words, if your body has to deal with an inflamed organ it will take a lot longer for this organ to heal and become healthy.
Important: you should not try to balance the Omega-3 : Omega-6 ratio with increased consumption of Omega-3 oils (as fish/krill/cod liver/flax oils or capsules). Why? Because polyunsaturated fats are highly susceptible to oxidation both in the environment and in the body. And, rancid oils are about one of the few worst things that you should voluntarily put in your body.
So, purposefully avoid high in Omega-6 vegetable oils. You can not and should not avoid all Omega-6, but just eating out once in a while and consuming farmed animal meat will plenty take care of your Omega-6 needs. More than that is truly not good for you.
4. Limit the types of food available at a meal.
Two different dishes is better than three, one is better than two.
The reason for this rule is very simple – the more variety you have the more you eat. And, the additional food ends up in you entirely due to non-homeostatic reasons. It’s not pure hunger that drives the ingestion of the excess calories – it’s the availability, abundance and palatability that do.
5. Don’t worry about macro nutrient ratios.
You don’t need the extra protein that bodybuilders usually consume (they don’t need it either, by the way). You have enough fats in minimally-processed foods and if you don’t deliberately avoid carbohydrates you will inevitably end up eating just enough – not more, not less.
Moreover, if you adhere to rule No.2 above – especially if you only eat during an 8-hour period and fast the rest of the day – the body will begin assimilating and utilizing the macro nutrients in food more efficiently than before. Take me as an example. During my bodybuilding career I used to eat 200+ grams of protein each day. Now I average 60-80 grams a day and I have no problems keeping my muscle mass and strength levels to what they were in high-protein days.
6. Don’t count calories and don’t do anything chore-like. Keep it simple.
Rule No.2 above will ensure that you don’t have to count calories. Besides, counting calories makes adherence to healthy eating regimen a chore. Avoid anything that will make you hate your attempts to modify your diet. Just keep the meals looking like normal size meals (what’s usually served in restaurants in the US is not normal size – your two hands forming a bowl is normal size, as far as quantity goes).
7. Limit, or better yet, completely avoid all diet drinks.
If you’ve started at the top you should have already completely eliminated all sugary drinks. This rule concerns the avoidance of diet (artificial high-intensity sweetener – containing) drinks. We now know that high-intensity sweeteners, while sparing you from the extra sugar calories, actually increase appetite. You don’t need any extra help in the appetite department.
8. Don’t cheat!
Don’t do “cheat days” or even “cheat meals”! If you follow the seven rules above this one you will not need to have a cheat day or a cheat meal because every day and every meal will feel like a cheat meal.
Here are more reasons why you shouldn’t “cheat”.
The mere expectation of your cheat day or cheat meal will make it much harder to adhere to whatever nutritional regimen you are trying to adhere to. Moreover, once the cheat meal has began you already are thinking – and longing – for your next cheat meal — which is a week from now! You are not enjoying the current meal! And, if this is not enough I can tell you from personal experience with cheat meals that once your cheat meal is over there is an influx of feelings that range from: “Was that what I was so anxiously anticipating all week”, and “This didn’t feel like a cheat meal, I feel cheated!”, and “I’m not getting the feeling of reward for being good on my diet for a whole week. I’m disappointed”.
Some will tell you that cheat meals/days should be in your diet regimen if not for anything else but to jump-start your already slowing down metabolism. Let me tell you this: It is very unlikely that one cheat meal will really alter your metabolism in any significant way. And, by the way if I haven’t said that I’ll say it again: if you follow the rules on this page you will not have to ever “diet”, you will not ever feel or be deprived from calories and your metabolism will never need to be “re-booted”.
9. If you are not sure about a particular food use the 10K rule.
The 10K rule says, “Don’t eat a food that was not available to humans 10,000 years ago”. If you want to read more about the 10K rule see my article on it.
***If our goal is weight loss or maintenance after a successful weight loss regimen*** 10. Eat two times a day.
Preferably you should eat two times during an 8-hour period that follows a 16-hour fast. Lunch and dinner are ideal since this regimen will allow you to remain ‘normal’ during ‘social’ hours. If for whatever reason this is not doable eat breakfast and dinner – skip lunch.
When you’ve already taken care of rule No. 1 above, if you eat two times a day you almost certainly will end up eating total daily calories that are at or below your maintenance level (the level where you don’t get fat, but you don’t lose weight either).
There are plenty of other potential health benefits to eating only after a longer fast, but for now – just know that two meals a day make it more difficult to overeat if you eat clean, non- or minimally-processed food that almost certainly is less palatable and not as calorie-dense.