Exclusive interview with director of “The Perfect Human Diet”
In “The Perfect Human Diet”, film maker C.J. Hunt goes on an unprecedented journey in search of an answer to the global obesity epidemic. From excavations containing the remains of Neanderthals and early Modern Humans in Jonzac, France, to the bio-molecular anthropology analyses labs at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Hunt discovers the unexpected solution to diet related chronic disease – the authentic human diet, something that was previously unknowable. HealthGauge speaks exclusively to C.J. Hunt about the film:
One scene in the film illustrates how recently the human diet has devolved by mapping it across the length of a football field. Can you explain what is communicated through this demonstration?
The great thing about the “Football Field” sequence with Professor Loren Cordain of Colorado State University is that it puts the massive scale of what we’re looking at, the last 2.5 million years of human evolution, the entire timeline in our species history which reveals the dietary changes that made us who we are, into a simple visual framework that just about everybody, at least those exposed to western (American) football, can understand. Even if you’ve never been on a football field, I think it’s especially powerful to see Professor Cordain and I walk down the entire length of the field and see that for most of that distance humans ate only wild animal foods and small amounts of wild plants. Agriculture comes into the human diet in the last ½ yard (18 inches), and processed “junk” food and industrial oils come into our diet at the last 1/5 of an inch – the width of a blade of grass.
The film suggests that industrialization of food has played a major factor in setting back human nutrition. Do you think new in/unnovation by food producers could help to get things back on track, or is it down to consumers to start growing and producing their own food?
Depending on where you live, I think it’s both. For example here in the USA “Victory Gardens” modeled after small backyard organic gardens around WW2 are being encouraged for people who have some extra land. For the rest of us Farmers Markets, where fresh local produce, eggs, meats, artisan and heritage foods are sold from simple stalls every week (in city parking lots, much in the fashion of flea markets), are becoming very popular nationwide. And finally, as consumers demand it from food producers, more fresh, local and organic items are making there way into regular supermarkets as well.
Do you feel there is need for a louder and more authoritative voice in the media to communicate a more radical rethink of human nutrition over the current noise and confusion?
Sure, it would be great if some authorities would come forward and help promote these simple principles. So far, no one is doing that. But that’s one reason why I made the film; to bring these concepts forward in an entertaining and compelling way, help clear up the confusion, and help people have healthier and happier lives. Getting the word out is, for now, a grass roots movement.
Why do you think more isn’t being done at a governmental level to impose more legislation such as a fat or sugar tax?
Americans don’t like being told what to do, even if it might be good for them.
Given the vast expansion of the human population, do you think it is possible to go back to the prehistoric human diet or, with demand for protein outstripping supply, will we have to consider alternatives such as eating insects as they do in some parts of Asia?
You raise interesting questions; but this isn’t really my area of expertise. But they sound like good questions for some of the subject matter experts in the film.
My personal opinion? It’s conceivable that with time, like the slow introduction of solar energy or electric cars as better alternatives for our health and survival, these dietary principles and the human foods needed to feed larger populations could be developed. That said, even if enough human foods were available right now to feed everyone on the planet, many would still choose to eat non-human foods for any number of reasons.
But that shouldn’t stop us from giving people the full range of information available in order to make the best health decisions they can for themselves and their loved ones.
And insects? I’d rather have a good steak!
“The Perfect Human Diet” is currently available on iTunes