Need an edge in learning and life? Read “Grizzly bears may have diet lessons that can be helpful for humans” by Daphne Miller. The article is about bears, but what principles in it apply to us? How does diet affect learning? How does living according to one’s nature affect survival and happiness? How could we optimize life, learning, health, and happiness?
The article has some really good integration (biology, medicine, veterinary medicine, zoology, zoo practice, and more) about health, diet, and lifestyle:
In the case of the grizzlies, the Brookfield Zoo vets understood that the bears’ physiologies and innate behaviors were out of sync with their environment — thus, their obesity. So they designed what Natterson-Horowitz called “nature’s weight management plan.”
The zoo’s nutritionists took away the processed dog food, ground beef, loaves of bread, supermarket oranges, bananas, mangoes and iceberg lettuce that the bears had been eating.
Instead, they provided plants and animal protein that were seasonal and more closely resembled what grizzlies find in the wild. (As Natterson-Horowitz pointed out, there are no banana or mango plantations in the Canadian Rockies.) They chose vegetables and fruits such as kale, peppers, celery, heirloom apples — all more fibrous and seedy than the bears’ previous diet. And they replaced the hamburger meat with whole prey, such as fish and rabbits, which the grizzlies had to work harder to disassemble and eat.
They stopped placing food in the cages on a set schedule; they hid meals and added wax-worm snacks to the bears’ peaty foraging piles, which made the grizzlies burn calories as they rooted for each desirable morsel.With this approach, the bears shed hundreds of pounds over the course of a year, leading Natterson-Horowitz to wonder whether a similar alterations in a human’s environment might be equally effective.
[A]s the zookeepers found out, many small changes in environment had a big impact.
A related article worth a read is “Zoo elephants in the U.S. are so obese, they might go extinct” by Stephen Messenger.