Bonobo Diet

Like many, I have suffered the scourge of fatness.

We all have excuses. Mine is that I bought into the "Low-T" (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy) mania that swept the nation a few years back. In this case the fountain of youth was injecting your butt with rendered pig spunk. On the Fen-Phen timeline, we're about ready for the class action lawsuits. Soon you will see ads seeking litigants with shrunken nads and unexpected weight gain after ending treatment.

I could do a whole post on how our once trusted healthcare providers have become shills for pharma scams. But I digress.

Ever since I transitioned from Adonis into a tugboat, I've been clawing away at every unwanted pound. I have tried every diet, buying into whatever contorted logic it peddled—only to end up saddened and further fattened. In terms of logic, I thought the Paleo diet made a lot of sense. What did our ancient, pre-industrial ancestors eat? Clearly they weren't as fat as we are today, or they would have become extinct waddling after mastodons and other furry treats. And yet, we don't know for sure what those primitive folk had for dinner. Aside from a few fossilized turds, there's not much evidence.

So I've decided to try out my own logic. What animals living today most resemble humans, and what do they eat? Turns out the bonobos (Pan paniscus) and the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) share about 99% of our DNA. For a variety of reasons, which I will explain, I choose the bonobos as a role model—not just for diet but for overall improvement of Homo sapiens.

Found in the equatorial forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, bonobos resemble chimpanzees. However, thanks to a more upright skeleton, long legs and narrow shoulders, they have the ability to walk bipedally, or on two legs. In further similarity, the bonobo's skeletal anatomy is very similar to Australopithecus, an early ancestor of humans. Their faces are flatter with a higher forehead than those of chimps, owing to early advances in plastic surgery. And their long black hair parts in the middle, presaging human male grooming habits of the mid-1980s.

Lest you think we're superior to our anatomical cousins, consider what the bonobos can teach us. While chimpanzee (and human) society is competitive and male-dominated, bonobos live harmoniously in matriarchal groups of up to 100 members. Females rank the highest, with the sons of ranking females leading the males. Although males are larger and stronger, females gain power through strong alliances, thereby forming an invincible “sisterhood.” In other words, female bonobos would be unbeatable in any reality TV contest—unless faced by a cunning homosexual like Ross Mathews.

But wait, there's more. Sexual behavior is predominant in bonobo life. Whatever the question, sex is the answer. They use every manner of sexual activity to greet one another, neutralize tense situations, express excitement, encourage sharing and compassion, form bonds and, given their lack of birth control, produce young. No lie. I've seen the videos. All that's missing is Marlin Perkins narrating this simian debauch. ("Aren't those madcap monkeys a delight! One starts the party and soon two and three join in.")

By now you must agree that bonobos are the superior species. All that remains is to determine what they eat, and how we can adapt their diet to ours. Time to put on our safari hats and channel Jane Goodall.

The bonobo’s diet is largely vegetarian. Foraging in small groups, bonobos feast primarily on fruit, but they also eat leaves, bark, stems, roots, insect larvae, worms, crustaceans, honey, eggs and soil. Occasionally they hunt small mammals like flying squirrels or duikers (small antelopes). Going through this list it looks mostly doable, although I can see some challenges.

Fruit, no problem. I like bananas. Leaves, substitute lettuce. Crustaceans, would frozen shrimp do? Bark, tastes like any granola at Trader Joe's. Stems and roots, celery and carrots. Larvae and worms, this is where I hit a wall. How about Beluga caviar and truffles? Honey and eggs, easy. Dirt, got this one nailed. I grew up in Indiana. Dirt was a regular part of my diet, especially when bullies would grind my face in it while calling me a sissy boy. As for the duikers, would a small antelope fit in a large smoker?

And thus we have the human version of the new, soon to be world famous Bonobo Diet. I'll keep you posted on my progress, both in dieting and adopting other bonobo inspired lifestyle improvements.

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