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Perfect Health Is No Mystery

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These beautiful women don’t just look healthy, they are healthy. More specifically, their genes are healthy.

You’ve probably heard of how healthy some of these diets are: the Okinawan, the Mediterranean, the hunter- and herder-gatherer (still consumed today by the Surma and Maasai of Africa, for example) and of course the “paradoxical” fat-eating French. Have you ever wondered what it is about various diets that makes them healthy? Do they have something in common?

It turns out that apparently different cuisines, perfected and enjoyed by people all over the globe, are nearly equivalent in terms of the chemicals they deliver to your body! The healthiest diets all share four common food categories. And we call these categories the Four Pillars of World Cuisine. In the past, they were part of every successful human culture. This website explores the many benefits of those culinary traditions, and will help you learn to cook the same dishes and enjoy the same, delicious meals that the healthiest people on Earth all do.

New research studies the effect of good and bad nutrition across generations

A new field of genetics called epigenetics explains that our genes are not written in stone as once thought. They are changing all the time in response to everything we do, think, and – most directly – what we eat. By examining human health from this more complete and holistic perspective, we can understand the effect of food on our growth in prenatal and childhood life. Our genes, like our bodies, can get sick when we don’t eat right. And there are patterns of facial development that serve as a good indication how healthy your genes are. This research helps us understand not only the influence of food on appearance, but it enables us to recognize how closely connected a given person is to their culinary and genetic roots.

The women pictured on this page are living very much as all humans did in our distant past, when an individual’s survival depended on stamina and well built bodies. On the left, a member of an Ethiopian herder-gatherer tribe called the Surma. In the middle, a woman from Tehran. On the right, a member of a Thai hill tribe. Their cultures have preserved ancient traditions. Their bodies have preserved ancient symmetry and health.

Understanding the explosion of adult and childhood chronic disease in America

Many of us today are suffering from malnutrition related illnesses brought on not just by our own bad diets, but by our parents’ too. If our genes are unhealthy when we have children, we pass on the effects of our poor heating habits to our children, and the effects can be magnified in the next generation.

The past five decades of medical advice to cut out fat, perhaps more than any other factor, has had devastating consequences. When you examine families you can see a frightening phenomenon developing: the oldest members often have fewer health problems than the youngest. The older members, raised on an entirely different, far more natural, and often traditional diet, inherited healthier genes. The youngest have asthma, allergies, eczema, learning or behavioral problems, and thinner, weaker bones, thinner faces, and more organ and musculoskeletal problems. We are seeing increasing rates of cancer and other chronic diseases because of so many decades of declining nutrition in America and across the industrialized world.

My goal is to help you reduce your risk of getting sick, and to help you recover if you already are.

You can see the effects of relatively poor nutrition in our faces by clicking on the celebrity album. Clicking on the links in the list below will take you to a description of how processed, overcooked, and low-fat foods lead to the following diseases:

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About Author

Dr. Cate

With over two decades of clinical experience and expertise in genetic and biochemical research, Dr. Cate can help you to reverse metabolic disease and reshape your body.

  • Heather Carraher

    I read Deep Nutrition last year and found the topic of epigenetics to be especially interesting. My husband seems always to be riddled with health issues (chronic severe aphthuous ulcers [canker sores] since childhood; an out-of-the-blue attack of pancreatitis last year that landed him in the ER and completely confused all the doctors he saw; fatigue, to name a few) and having a broader view of health as something that is multi-generational was really helpful. Both of his parents struggled with severe alcoholism before (and after) he was conceived and one of them with a severe eating disorder. I can’t help but wonder if his pancreas bears the marks of damage resulting from his parents’ alcoholism (my husband is not an alcoholic and drinks only a little occasionally). My hope has been that changing his diet (we have now been following the Four PIllars diet pretty well for over a year) would begin to turn things around for the better, but so far we’ve seen no real significant change, especially with the canker sores, which is the most persistent problem. I’d be interested to hear if other readers of Dr. Cate’s site have similar sorts of health problems. How long did it take for a change in your diet to improve your health? For people who bear the marks of generations of malnutrition (or the marks of alcoholism and bulimia as the case may be) is there hope for more aggressive sorts of treatment to turn the genetic tide in their own lifetimes?

  • Jody

    Hi Dr. Cate,
    I’m almost done with Deep Nutrition and ready to make some changes for myself and my family. My question is about raw, organic, milk. This would be very difficult for me to get. I have some other choices that are more readily available to me… Organic milk that is homogenized and ultra-pasteurized, Non-organic milk that is pasteurized but not homogenized, or possibly raw milk that is non-organic. Would you recommend any of these over the others? Organic, whole milk yogurt would also not be as easy to get either.
    Thanks for your time,
    Jody

    • This has been discussed in the comments section of one or more of my posts on the topic of dairy.

  • Mia

    Dear Dr. Cate:

    I have read most of your book Deep Nutrition and I was curious as to what your opinion is with respect to the current discourse on healthy weight, fat vs muscle, BMI, etc. Because you employ a cross-cultural approach, I’m sure that you’ve noticed that cultures have different standards of what is considered healthy and beautiful. In the U.S. in general (not all ethnic groups agree with this) the idea is that a slim body with almost no fat is the healthiest and most beautiful while in other cultures (some north African cultures and Middle Eastern cultures), a plumper body with both muscle and fat is optimal in men and women. I am an anthropologist by training and I have always found this to be an interesting (and puzzling) topic of debate. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this topic.

    Fondly,
    Mia

    • I’d like to see some photos! How about a link.

  • Danielle

    Hi Dr. Cate,
    Interesting post, but I wanted to mention that genes changing is actually mutation, not epigenetics. Epigenetics is definitely a very new and interesting concept, it causes other changes to the genome-not the genes-like methylation of DNA that can then alter the regulation of gene expression. So genes haven’t changed, but gene expression has.

    • Gene change, which we call mutation, is possible. In chapter two of Deep Nutrition entitled The Intelligent Gene, we cite evidence for the fact that epigentic gene tagging leads to alteration of replication in ways that can cause the kind of letter code changes we term mutations. This can occur in any of your cells at any point in your life. If it affects your ovaries/testes, then your offspring will have different genes than you. This process is usually driven by natural environmental changes but now there are rediculous amounts of toxic exposure and the ability of our intelligent genes to adapt intelligently is being tested. I believe this kind of letter code alteration is one reason we are finding multiple new gene mutations in children with autism and other neurologic illnesses.

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