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Thread: Primal Warriors: How the Mongols Ate page

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    JeffC's Avatar
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    Primal Warriors: How the Mongols Ate

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    In "Genghis Khan, and the Making of the Modern World" Jack Weatherford (p.87) writes the following about the Mongol army's diet:

    "The Chinese noted with surprise and disgust the ability of the Mongol warriors to survive on little food and water for long periods; according to one, the entire army could camp without a single puff of smoke since they needed no fires to cook. Compared to the Jurched soldiers, the Mongols were much healthier and stronger. The Mongols consumed a steady diet of meat, milk, yogurt and other dairy products, and they fought men who lived on gruel made from various grains. The grain diet of the peasant warriors stunted their bones, rotted their teeth and left them weak and prone to disease. In contrast, the poorest Mongol soldier ate mostly protein, thereby giving him strong teeth and bones. Unlike the Jurched soldiers, who were dependent on a heavy carbohydrate diet, the Mongols could more easily go a day or two without food."

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    Interesting, thanks for sharing.
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    Did you guys see the Bizarre Foods episode in Mongolia? They roasted a cow and went straight for the subcutaneous fat. They eat a TON of dairy. Overall, it seemed all very primal.

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    Interesting people. I really enjoyed Conn Iggulden's historical novels about them, too. He's in the Bernard Cornwell class as a writer, and his research is accurate, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    In "Genghis Khan, and the Making of the Modern World" Jack Weatherford (p.87) writes the following about the Mongol army's diet:

    "The Chinese noted with surprise and disgust the ability of the Mongol warriors to survive on little food and water for long periods; according to one, the entire army could camp without a single puff of smoke since they needed no fires to cook.
    It's always said they'd put a lump of meat under the saddle to warm a little - hence "steak tartare" (the Mongols often being referred to as Tartars in the West). They'd have access to the horses' blood and mares' milk when on the move, too.

    [By] contrast, the poorest Mongol soldier ate mostly protein, thereby giving him strong teeth and bones.
    That's not quite right, of course. The public still has a kind of "protein mythology". "Protein" was all the rage back in the early part of the 20th century; it's stock has gone down since, but it's never quite disappeared from the public consciousness. The Mongols had more than adequate supplies of protein in the diet, which is good, but people in the modern West don't go short of protein, but do have problems with their teeth. What's most important for teeth and bones is an abundant supply of the right minerals in the diet and plenty of fat-soluble vitamins to enable you to use those minerals. They'd get those from their high fat consumption.

    It's said that an important source of vitamin C for the Mongols was tea (imported from China) - the leaves and all being consumed.

    The WAPF has some interesting notes on the Mongols' diet, as they have on so much else. I thought their lack of "hygiene", commented on in old Russian sources quoted by the WAPF writer, specially interesting. Cleanliness didn't worry them, but because their ecosystem worked and their animals were grass fed (which makes the dung less offensive and even slightly antiseptic), they didn't fall sick.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/in-his-f...-mongolia.html
    Last edited by Lewis; 07-19-2010 at 11:06 PM.

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    Mongols! One of the few restaurants in my town where you can still get an (almost) primal meal is at Genghis Grill, which is a Mongolian BBQ place where you basically build your own stir fry and then they cook it for you. There is only once sauce that doesn't have sugar (asian chile) and they use canola oil, but it's a good place to get a treat and still almost be 100% primal by going out to eat.
    On a side note, that movie Mongol is awesome!

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    Mongols!
    Very interesting. Thanks for posting this!

    I don't know why, but I have always been fascinated with Mongolia. Even as a little kid, I would ask my mom to point out Mongolia on the globe (remember those globes we used to have in school?) and found Mongolian horses (which look different from other horses!) so interesting.

    I have a rare blood type, and it's said that the only people who have this blood type on the planet are all descendents of the Mongols. (Which is hilarious if you saw me -- they don't come more honkey-lookin' than moi!)

    I will definitely be checking out that historical fiction (love the genre) mentioned above.

    Roger, I've also put 2 and 2 together and figured out that Mongolian Grill is a good eating out option for us primal types. I'm always on the scout for restaurants.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TigerLily View Post
    I will definitely be checking out that historical fiction (love the genre) mentioned above.
    He's got three in the series - Wolf of the Plains, Lords of the Bow, and Bones of the Hills, and a new one out in September:

    http://www.conniggulden.com/

    I carried the first three around with me - couldn't put them down.

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    Lewis:
    These looks amazing, and the reviews are through the roof! There is a neat little 2-1/2-minute interview with the author over on amazon.com. These go to the top of the pile. Thank you!

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    Great post as I find the subject interesting as well. I also enjoyed the Bizarre Foods episode in Mongolia as well!
    You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainer View Post
    Great post as I find the subject interesting as well. I also enjoyed the Bizarre Foods episode in Mongolia as well!
    I'm glad you said that. Found some clips here:

    http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Show...isode_Mongolia

    I also, I have to admit, found the full thing on Youtube. It was really interesting show. Still a lot of meat and fat and full-fat dairy eaten over there - and, unsurprisingly, I'm not sure I saw any fat people. The fattest person around looked to be Andrew himself.

    The fried curd was interesting. Like rock, the presenter said, and you need good teeth to chew it. He also said the warriors used to carry bags of it. I can see that: it would be highly calorific and too dry to go off easily - a real iron ration.

    I was assuming the black airag was only mildly alcoholic, but according to a travel site I found:

    Airag has included 7-8% of alcohol. So you will drink a lot of airag maybe you hang over.
    http://www.discovermongolia.mn/count..._beverage.html

    Maybe, indeed.

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