Dear Fellow Survivalists;
Greetings. I’ve been looking into life expectancy and survival lately. Specifically, I’ve been wondering if we could expect to live as long in a post-disaster world, say one without electricity, as we live in our modern world with all our conveniences.
We’re sent a constant message that our lives have been made better and our life expectancy is longer than that of our ancestors. Supposedly, the life expectancy for prehistoric man was only about 35 years. That makes it seem like we’re doing much better than they did, especially when you consider that our life expectance is over 80 years.
But there’s one little detail that’s not so obvious, which can totally turn around our understanding of those statistics. That is, the biggest killer in prehistoric times, was the high infant mortality rate. If half your population dies before the age of five what do you think that does to the “average” life expectancy. You could have everyone else living to 70 years old, but the half that die as babies and toddlers drop the average down to 35.
Wow, that really changes things. If that’s the way things were, maybe 35 wasn’t considered old back then, but merely the prime of life. Gee, that would make it much like today.
Besides the infant mortality rate, what were the big killers back then? Well, they weren’t cancer or heart disease; they were probably accidents, whatever primitive warfare existed and fights with wild animals. While any of those could cut a life short, they didn’t necessarily cut it sort at 35 years old. Those things can hit at any age.
The famous Neanderthal Man was probably an old man when he died. While all we have to work with is his skeleton, we can see that he had broken bones, which were healed. We can also see clear signs of arthritis. One bone specialist claims that he had rickets. Arthritis and rickets aren’t the diseases of young men, but rather the elderly; showing that this man was actually quite old when he perished.
There are two differences that modern medicine has made. First of all, it has cut the infant mortality rate way down. Today, a baby dying outside the womb is rather rare. The same can be said for children. While there are still some children who die, the big childhood killers have mostly been eliminated by the use of vaccines.
The second thing that modern medicine has done is give us means of dealing effectively with accidents and injuries. During the middle ages, a soldier injured in war stood a pretty good chance of getting an infection. Those infections killed more soldiers than the injuries did. But today, an injured soldier who makes it to a field hospital, has a pretty good chance of surviving.
There has also been a little bit of success in helping the elderly. I say little, because as long as there has been recorded history, there have always been people who had extremely long lives. Yet there are still many things which attack the elderly, which either kill them or make them spend their lives in bed.
Where our ancestors died from injuries, today we die from cancer and heart disease. It’s rare that you hear of someone dying of old age, without hearing of a litany of illnesses and diseases that they were suffering from. It’s almost as if death were a release from those diseases.
Ancient man didn’t suffer from many of those diseases. Cancer didn’t exist back then, neither did heart disease. Diabetes was probably unheard of. How do I know that? Because those diseases are associated with modern society and especially with our diets. The things that cause cancer and heart disease aren’t found in a diet of hunting and gathering.
So, what have we really accomplished? We’ve replaced dying from an accident or injury with dying from cancer. That doesn’t sound like much of a win to me. Cancer can keep you alive and suffering for a couple of years, as the doctors use you as a lab rat to experiment on. It takes every cent you own, as well, so that you can leave your family poor. Any life insurance you have, as well as the equity in your home ends up being spent on paying off your medical bills. Isn’t that great?
If our diets are causing so much sickness amongst us, why do we keep eating the same things? I think there’s a bit of lying to ourselves involved in that. We tell ourselves that we won’t have the same problems that others have had, so that we can eat the things we want to. After all, most of the things that harm us taste good. Then, when our poor diet makes us ill, we expect the doctors to give us a pill to solve our problems. We essentially abdicate our personal responsibility for our own health.
Maybe a TEOFWAWKI event would actually be helpful to mankind. Eliminating the ability to live off of junk food certainly would have positive health benefits, as well as those caused by reducing our weight. Then there’s the improvement in our blood pressure and blood sugar that would come from a more active lifestyle, rather than the sedentary one that’s so common today.
Or, we could just change our diet now, instead of waiting for a cataclysmic event to force us to change it. That would probably be better, as we’d be able to combine the benefit of a good diet with that of modern medicine.
Improving our health would also improve our chances of survival; not just by reducing the risk of these diseases, but also by making it easier for us to do the things we will need to do to survive. Many people will struggle with that, simply because they aren’t accustomed to it. Carrying around an extra 50 pounds or more, while cutting firewood or working in the garden, won’t help. But changing our diets to do that now, will help make us ready to do those tasks when we have to.
So, take a look at your diet; maybe it’s time to go back to hunting and gathering. In the mean time, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
PS: I just found this biblical diet recently, check it out here.