The Ancestral Diet: How to Plan a Diet Based on Your Ancestry

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By David Thoreau

Updated on

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What is the ancestral diet? How does it work? What are some of the more popular ancestral diets? This article will answer those questions and provide you with some tips for planning your own ancestral diet.

Ancestral Diet

Firstly, the modern diet.

Do you know the saying “you are what you eat”? Your choice of food can significantly affect your life and health, especially if it is an unhealthy choice.

That’s why people have been turning away from unhealthy options for cleaner or healthier lifestyles. Turning your back on popular fast food or easy options can help us live longer lives with less risk of health problem.

Diet related health issues have become increasingly problematic over time as our diets have changed drastically. This is largely due to technological advances further influencing society’s eating habits leading them towards being obese where they would eventually develop diabetes and other chronic diseases. [source ref]

Ancestral Diet Summary – Quick Look

The Ancestral Diet mimics the high protein, high fiber, low glycemic eating patterns of our hunter-gatherer ancestors for optimal health.

Combining this diet with natural appetite suppressants can amplify its weight loss benefits. Nopal is one of the best appetite suppressants to use for fast weight loss that is sustainable. It is a cactus, rich in satiating fiber, is an ideal hunger-reducing ingredient.

Studies confirm nopal suppresses appetite by enhancing fullness, delaying gastric emptying, and modulating blood sugar. Its soluble fiber forms a viscous gel that slows digestion, while the abundant amino acids provide prolonged satiety.

Ancestral diets naturally contained appetite-regulating plants like nopal. Adding nopal as a supplement restores this ancestral benefit to mute hunger while following a Paleo-style eating plan.

The powerful one-two punch of the hunger-taming Ancestral Diet and hunger-reducing nopal can accelerate fat burning in the short-term while reshaping eating habits for successful long-term weight maintenance.

So where do genetics, genealogy and our ancestry fit in?

Our genetic makeup and genealogy play a bit part in our size and shape. There are some schools of thought that suggest that our weight issues are written in our DNA – they are predefined. It is also suggested that if we are obese we carry the fat gene.

So, what we eat and our lifestyle is important if we have inherited some genes that could be responsible for our obesity.

The fast and processed food industry has been on a decades-long campaign to get you hooked, but the ancestral diet may be your best option for optimal health.

Growth of popularity in rich with empty calories provided by unhealthy nutrients such as refined carbs or simple sugars is one reason behind today’s obesity rates which were significantly lower before these products came into circulation; making people wonder if there was anything we could do about them?

The answer: A return back home where they come from – the ancestors! “Our bodies are adapted not just genetically,” according our DNA donor Dr Tom Brewer at London’s Natural History Museum Congress Centre (NHMC). He went onto explain that while human evolution occurred over millions of years, the past few millennia saw big changes in diet and lifestyle; resulting in some mismatch between our genes and what we were eating.

When we think of the past, it’s often to reflect on how much has changed in our lifetime. But what if your ancestors were right and there were things they did that made them healthier than you or I? Now we’ll explore an ancestral diet as well as its benefits!

What is The Ancestral Diet?

The ancestral diet is a way to get closer with your roots by consuming foods that past generations ate. It may sound like something only old people would care about, but the truth of it is you can follow an Ancestral Variant (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) all day long!

A more detailed explanation: The idea behind this type if nutritional plan originates from studying how our ancestors lived before modern food preparation techniques were invented. They could survive during hard times such as starvation or lack in resources – which makes sense because once those problems have been solved everyone has access too many different dishes anyway right?

So why not try incorporating some into one’s lifestyle today too without sacrificing taste buds?

The ancestral diet is an interesting way to think about what our ancient ancestors would have fed themselves.

It includes wholesome, natural foods like vegetables and fruits as well as healthy fats in moderation with plenty of nuts and seeds for protein!

The lifestyle recommends avoiding industrial processed food (i.e., anything manufactured), sugar drinks/candy etcetera. instead a more plant based cuisine made up primarily from regional differences found within North America or Europe at different points throughout history depending on climate patterns, political events, and warring tribes.

The ancestral diet may vary depending on what region you came from. If your ancestors lived in a cold region and consumed primarily meat, fat or dairy foods- then it’s possible that they’re better adapted to these nutrients than others which is why people adhering strictly to an ancestral way of eating should have greater knowledge about evolution history with food as well as their own personal experience blooming up through this dietary change over time

Ancestral diets were specific for different cultures around the world; however there are certain aspects shared across many variations like large game animals (such cows), fish rich oysters & mussels rather than vegetables etc…

Paleo Diet and Ancestral Diet – Similar But Different

So, what is the difference between an ancestral diet and Paleo?

The first thing you might notice is how different they can be. For one thing: there are no processed foods on either list!

Foods like vegetables or fruit were rare luxuries before humans learned to cultivate them; even lean meats came at some expense as only wealthy individuals could afford it (in animal form).

But besides this huge factual revelation that sets these two diets apart is something else entirely more important-fundamental enough for all its significance in determining who we really are today.

There’s a difference between ancestral and Paleo because we don’t know precisely what our ancestors ate.

We do have some clues, but they vary by culture – so the only thing that most anthropologists can agree on is eating their food raw was preferred in many cases (a way to avoid killing parasites). Many people still eat this way.

Ancestral eating is all about embracing the old ways, even if they are a little more difficult to find than you might be used.

This means that while ingredients like dairy and grains may not have appeared in your diet before modern times – or at least not regularly enough for long periods of time- these foods can still make an appearance on ancestral plates!

That’s because what matters most here isn’t when these items were first introduced into human history but rather their natural state: whether something was grown locally with love instead of imported from afar (and often containing chemicals).

Ancestral diet is not a strict nutritional plan, with an unbreakable set of rules to which you should adhere.

This dietary plan aims at eating healthy and organic food sources while still being flexible enough for people who have different lifestyles or needs! With this in mind let’s take some time exploring what foods may work best for YOU personally…

Foods to Eat on The Ancestral Diet

The most important thing here is not on what to personally eat, but rather which foods we should avoid and why. Modern food made with processed ingredients are the big enemy of our health because they contain chemicals that do us no good at all!

Foods to Avoid

  • Vegetable oils, such as soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, and others
  • Sugar that has been refined
  • Processed soy and processed meats
  • Any food that is put unnecessarily in a packet.

It is also wise to limit the following

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Wheat that has been processed
  • Fat-free or low-fat food items

What to Eat

To find your perfect ancestral diet, you need to know what foods are right for the plan.

For example, if it’s important that the food be organic and natural then this may mean limiting yourself with only prehistoric cuisine or consuming any type of healthy meal as longs sittings like breads aren’t included in your menu (they contain gluten).

Here is how an “ancestral” eating plan would look:

  • Organic fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh fish and seafood
  • Animal meat that have been grass fed
  • Chicken and eggs
  • Dairy products – grass fed
  • Healthy traditional fats like lard, butter, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.
  • Any foods that have been fermented

Ancestral food is natural and doesn’t involve artificial processing – the processing is done at home. It is also seasonal.

It doesn’t have many ingredients or be complicated. By and large it is just the one ingredient itself, like fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. Let’s take a closer look at each category of ancestral foods:

Meat is Included on the Ancestry Diet

Meat on Ancestral Diet

The idea that our early human ancestors ate mostly plants is far from being the truth.

A recent study has shown how animal food was a significant part of their diets, even 2 million years ago!

Nowadays this might seem hard to believe given what we know about meat today. It is true for most other mammals on Earth who eat almost or entirely vegetarian sources too – leaving them with less bioavailable nutrients than those found in animals products like eggs and fish oils which are rich in omega 3s.

  • Heme iron
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin K2
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) omega-3 fatty acids
  • Choline
  • Selenium
  • Protein from meat

Vegetables on the Ancestral Diet

Vegetables on the Ancestral Diet

While the majority of hunter-gatherer diets were animal-based, vegetables also played an important role in these ancient meals.

They took up most (65%) volume but lacked calories and nutrients compared with meat products; however they nourished our microbiome which helps promote better digestion!

Here are some of the most common and nutritious vegetables that are part of the ancestral diet.

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato
  • Beets
  • Vegetables (fermented)
  • Bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes

Fruits, Nuts and Seeds

These are often seasonal, and some of them may not be available geographically, but fruits, nuts, and seeds are also an important part of a well-balanced ancestral diet.

The fructose from whole fruit is healthy and may be a great option for those who have a sweet tooth.

The type of fruits that you may consume varies regionally. You can do some research to find out which fruits, nuts, and seeds your direct ancestors ate or just consume in moderate amounts. These are the following fruits:


  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Blueberries
  • Pomegranate
  • Avocado
  • Pineapple
  • Lemons
  • Strawberries
  • Banana


  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts


  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds

Grains and Legumes

The industrialization of grains and legumes is the root cause for lots of modern health issues, including obesity.

The processed foods that are part our diets today often considered as major causes in diseases like acne or type 2 diabetes can be attributed to how they were originally used by communities living centuries ago before us – namely baked goods made with wheat flour which led them towards an increased appetite due their carbohydrate content!


For those who want to eat a more ancestral diet but still enjoy dairy products, it is recommended that they stay with full fat and raw versions.

Stick as close to nature as possible by choosing organic ingredients when you’re shopping for milk or cheese alternatives so your body can digest them better!

For people following traditional diets rich in animal-milk proteins such delicacies like mozzarella cheese made from cows’ milk whether on their own version of this strain ancient lifestyle or just because the key point isn’t necessarily avoiding low fat fare altogether since some fats actually promote weight loss while others help maintain muscle mass during exercise programs.

What are the Ancestral Diet Health Benefits

The ancestral diet is a lifestyle that focuses on whole foods and stresses the importance of unprocessed, natural fare.

It’s been around since before modern farming techniques were invented!

There are tons of health benefits associated with this type of eating regimen; many people who follow it can expect similar results if they choose to go Paleo too. Here’s some proof: 

  1. Weight Loss – Junk food, sugary drinks and other sources of empty calories could lead to weight gain without offering any benefits. The ancestral diet is well balanced which results in lower energy intake that can ultimately result into a healthy lifestyle and with no need for junk foods or excessive snacks.
  2. Gut Health – The gut is a key player in overall wellness. Following the ancestral diet may add to your microbiome diversity and promote better digestion, which carries other health benefits as well! Due to its high fiber content you will have plenty of energy for work or play because food moves through our system more efficiently when we consume whole plant-based foods instead animal products.
  3. Inflammation – The chance of getting chronic diseases is higher when inflammation occurs. This process happens naturally and often in your body, but becomes a problem if it turns into long-term damage like we see with Type II diabetes or heart problems for example. A diet high on refined sugar and grains can contribute to this type inflammatory response by causing insulin resistance which leads us towards developing more serious illnesses such as obesity along side other related disorders including neurological diseases such as Parkinsons.

Ancestral Diet Summary

So why should you follow an Ancestral diet?

Our bodies are not so different than they were back in the day when people ate things like wild game, fresh fruits and vegetables.

By eating this way you can lose weight, lower your risk for chronic disease, improve your digestive health as well as strengthen immunity!

Conclusion: The ancestral diet is a lifestyle that focuses on whole foods and stresses the importance of unprocessed, natural fare. There are tons of health benefits associated with this type of eating regimen; many people who follow it can expect similar results if they choose to go Paleo too.

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about the author

David Thoreau is a Biotechnologist with a background in life sciences. He has worked for many years on research projects that have helped people improve their quality of life. David has enjoyed collaborating with other scientists around the world, and he loves sharing his knowledge to help educate others about biotechnology.