Today is Maria Lucimar Pereira’s birthday. She was born in 1890 and that makes her 121 years old today. She’s presumably lived in the Amazon jungle in Brazil her entire life eating a very traditional diet the whole time. According to a Huffington Post article, she’s been eating “a diet of fresh fish, banana porridge, root vegetables, and grilled meat, but she also avoids salt, sugar and processed foods.” A BBC article says, “with regular dishes including grilled meat, monkey, fish, the root vegetable manioc and banana porridge, and no salt, sugar or processed foods.” Some other article I read mentioned some other root vegetable. The articles tend to mention the lack of sugar and “processed foods”, without acknowledging that making a porridge out of bananas is a process and that bananas have sugar in them. They say nothing about grains or legumes which have been a part some humans’ diets for thousands of years. Presumably, she hasn’t been eating them, and there’s no doubt she’s been living without the oils produced from these plants in factories that are a major part of the Standard American Diet (SAD).
This all fits in well with the paleo diet idea that humans have adapted to eating certain foods (wild animal meat, fish, root vegetables, and fruit) and are ill-equipped to deal with foods that have only been around for 10,000 or less years (added sugar, grains, seed oils, and dairy). For some, this is the prescription for what we should eat. For others, it’s just the starting assumption. I like that approach, and if that sounds good to you, check out the Archevore Diet by Dr. Kurt Harris.
The major media news articles don’t really get much into the specifics of Ms. Pereira’s diet. They spend at least as much energy focusing on Guinness World Records needing more proof to declare her the oldest living person in the world. I’d like someone to go spend a few days with her, documenting her eating habits before she kicks off. I also wonder what her great-great-great-grandchildren are eating.