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Messages - Warren Dew

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5761
Diet and nutrition / Re: Are tomatos paleo?
« on: August 12, 2008, 09:41:43 PM »
Thanks, Jeff!  It took some searching, but evidently someone named Garrett Smith has written a few articles on the dangers of all nightshades.  Perhaps more tellingly, there's actually an "Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation" which has been around for a while.  A lot of people seem to think nightshades cause some forms of arthritis and other bone and joint problems, and that cutting them out will help.

However, the story is not completely clear.  Some people seem to think this is more an issue of extremes in acid/base balance than nightshades directly.

And then, there's personal experience.  A month or two ago, I noticed that the farthest joints in my index fingers were starting to feel arthritic when carrying groceries or handling one gallon water bottles.  I'm 48, and I'm a computer programmer, so I type all the time and the index fingers do twice the work of the other fingers; I figured it was a wear and tear issue and changed my carrying habits to use the other fingers more.  A few weeks ago, the index fingers got better.  But now, I'm wondering if I was also changing my nightshade consumption patterns too, and just not noticing the correlation.

It seems like the more I find out about foods, the more I find are potentially problematic.  Maybe the safest thing is to give up eating entirely!

5762
Diet and nutrition / Re: Quinoa
« on: August 07, 2008, 08:20:13 PM »
I think I agree it's likely not paleo.  It's actually not exactly a grass seed either, but quinoa seeds are protected by a poisonous coat.  That doesn't sound like something hunter-gatherers could pick up and munch on.

5763
Diet and nutrition / Re: Confused
« on: August 05, 2008, 08:27:38 PM »
Your point is noted and well taken. Nevertheless, I must
believe that there is a difference in what you are adapted
to eat between an Eskimo where your ancestors relied almost
entirely on meat and someone in a tribe living on a
tropical island with plenty of fruit. One example is that
we know that Japanese people have a big problem handling
alcohol.

I agree that there are regional, or at least racial, differences.  The alcohol related mutation that you mention is common in all east Asian populations, and I believe also in American indians, for example.  I'm half Chinese, I probably do have that mutation, and I do stay away from alcohol.

That said, there's an issue of degree of adaptation.  We've had 1-2 million years to adapt to a hunter gatherer lifestyle and to cooking our food.  That's 100 times as much time as we've had to adapt to, say, grain and dairy.  Given 100 times as much time for natural selection to work, I think the level of adaptation can be much finer.

The mutation for adult lactose tolerance is a good example.  It's a point mutation that disables a single gene, so 10,000 years is evidently enough time for it to have happened in pastoral populations.  That means that while the lactose - milk sugar - in milk will literally make most adult Chinese, for example, sick with painful stomach gas or diarrhea, most adult northern Europeans can drink milk without these acute symptoms.

However, there's more to milk than milk sugar; cow's milk has a very different fat and protein composition than meat or other paleolithic food sources.  There's evidence that even northern Europeans aren't adapted to those aspects of cow's milk - for example, their calcium absorption from it is still poor - which probably means that it would take a lot more than 10,000 years to collect a full set of mutations to safely and effectively utilize all the nutrients in it.

I somewhat doubt that eskimos are fully adapted to their extremely high meat diet.  There's evidence that they had a strong tendency to get osteoporosis even before they had a chance to pick up any modern habits, likely due to acidic blood pH from the combination of a lot of protein and lack of any vegetables or fruit in their diet.  It's true that they generally seem not to get heart attacks from their atherosclerosis, but I suspect that's an advantage from not eating grains, rather than from an eskimo specific mutation.

5764
Mother's Milk:

172 calories
10.77 grams of fat, 4.9 grams are saturated fat.
34 mg of cholesterol
3 grams protein
17 grams of carbs

Whole Milk (3.25% fat)
146 calories
7.93 grams total fat, 4.5 grams saturated.
24 mg cholesterol
7.86 grams of protein.
12.83 grams of carbs

Just what you'd expect, too ... human children have bigger brains, and so need more fat and cholesterol for myelination.  Calves have more muscle, so they get more protein.  So ... low fat cow's milk would be good if you want your baby to be strong as a cow, but even dumber?

We had our first child in June.  She's definitely not going to be on low fat anything any time soon.

5765
Diet and nutrition / Are tomatos paleo?
« on: August 03, 2008, 09:10:09 PM »
Since getting interested in paleo, I've been adding more fruits and vegetables into my diet.  I've been thinking, though ... do all of them really qualify as paleo?  In particular, do tomotoes?

Cons:
- new world vegetable, so our ancestors didn't actually eat them until the neolithic
- in the nightshade family, known for its poisonous members

Pros:
- technically a fruit, so it's evolved to be food for animals
- has antioxidants, currently believed to protect from heart disease and cancers

What do you think?  Are tomatoes properly a paleolithic food?  Should I be eating them?

5766
Diet and nutrition / Re: Confused
« on: August 02, 2008, 12:14:07 PM »
Hawkan's discussion of the varied diets of ancestors led me to this article in Science Daily:(http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030923065212.htm)

According to cave remains, European Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals had basically identical diets. Meat-wise, they both ate large amounts of deer.

I'd note that those results are for neanderthal and cro magnon populations that lived in the same cave.  It thus wouldn't address differences arising from the more polar distribution of the overall neanderthal population.  (It also doesn't directly address the issue of the proportion of the diets were meat, other than showing it was significantly more than zero - it primarily addresses the proportions of different kinds of meat within the meat portion of the diet, by examining animal bones in the detritus.)

Regarding Hawkan's points, I suspect that low carbohydrate, high meat diets are probably fine for all humans; the preferred proportion of carbohydrate in the diet is likely more a matter of personal preference and cultural inheritance than genetics.  If it were genetic, we'd probably expect to much larger differences in intestinal length between human races than we actually see.

I would note that not all major physical differences are primarily genetic.  The relative shortness of east Asians versus Europeans, for example, is primarily due to a diet that's very low in animal protein, rather than genetic differences.  This can be seen, for example, by observing that average heights in Japan have shot up in the past few decades as a result of greatly increased amounts of meat in the diet.

5767
Diet and nutrition / Re: Why do you use the paleo diet?
« on: August 01, 2008, 08:49:36 PM »
I got diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse.  I didn't want to have anything to do with a solution that involved taking medicine for the rest of my life, so I started reading up on my issues and I discovered low carb and paleo.

Now I'm curious.  What makes low carb and paleo a likely cure for mitral valve prolapse, if you're willing to say?

5768
Diet and nutrition / Re: Confused
« on: August 01, 2008, 02:22:36 PM »
Agreed, but certainly not melons or mangoes.

Melons still grow wild in Africa, so I'd guess that they were indeed part of the diet of our paleolithic ancestors.  Mangos are native to southeast Asia, so according to current anthropological theories, they wouldn't have been part of our diet for as long, though they'd still have been eaten before the neolithic.

Quote
So I guess then, everyone should consider for himself/herself what kind of foods to stick with, since no modern food is really paleolithic anymore. Not even meat, since you buy it and not hunt it yourself. Meaning e.g. that if I would like to eat cheese I can still call it paleo and if I am a ovo-lacto-vegetarian I still call it paleo.

Because of the way the paleolithic diet is defined, I do think it can involve more thought on the part of the users than some other diets.  For people who actually want to understand their diet, rather than just blindly follow a set of rules, though, I think that's a good thing, not a bad thing.

That said, the definition is pretty clear:  eat things like our ancestors ate in the paleolithic, not things they didn't start eating until the neolithic.  The reasoning is that the neolithic - the time since the paleolithic - is too short, on an evolutionary time scale, for us to have fully adapted to new foods.  This reasoning applies in reverse, too, though - foods that we ate during the paleolithic are unlikely to have had enough time in the neolithic to mutate into something dangerous to us (perhaps barring genetically engineered foods).

Foods that we didn't eat at all during the paleolithic and only started eating in the neolithic, like cheese and other dairy, though, simply cannot be considered paleolithic.  That doesn't mean one can't eat them; it just means that if one does eat them, one should do so with eyes open to the possibility that they'll raise issues that a paleo diet wouldn't.

Quote
Nobody answered the GI question. I guess it doesn't matter because paleo people wouldn't worry about it, right?

I only just figured out that you probably meant "glycemic index" by GI.

I think you're correct that from the paleolithic diet perspective, glycemic index is not as important as it is in some other diets; there were both highly glycemic and nonglycemic foods in the paleolithic, so it would be a secondary consideration.

That said, I personally think that there are some problems with paying too much attention to the glycemic index - problems that the paleo diet avoids.  In particular, glycemic index is normalized to caloric intake; when you compare the glycemic index of bread and that of fruit, for example, you're comparing, say, 1000 kcal of bread to 1000 kcal of fruit.

The problem with this is that 1000 kcal of bread is actually a lot less food than 1000 kcal of fruit.  1000 kcal of bread is less than a pound; 1000 kcal of, say, cantaloupe is more than six pounds.  Even if they have similar glycemic indices, eating a given amount of bread is going to make for a much higher sugar spike than eating the same amount of cantaloupe, and the same would go for other fresh fruit.

Now, if someone already has diabetes, they'll probably still need to avoid fruit as well as bread.  If someone is healthy and just wants to avoid diabetes, though, bread is probably a lot worse than fruit.  That's even ignoring the other reasons to avoid grains, some of which we know about - like lectins we probably haven't adapted to - and some of which we may not know about yet.

5769
Diet and nutrition / Re: Confused
« on: July 31, 2008, 07:04:07 PM »
I think that you need to take into account what was
actually available to your ancestors in the region of
the world where they lived. I live in Northern Europe and I
would believe that my genetical predecessors lived in
a rather cold climate. That affects my dietary choices.

That would be good thinking for the neolithic (new stone age) period.  For the paleolithic (old stone age), though, neandertals were the primary humanoids in cold areas, and anthropologists now think that we have little or no neandertal blood.  The current thinking is that our own ancestors were still in Africa for most of the paleolithic.

Of course, the anthropologists could be wrong.  Forty years ago, they believed that we were descended from neandertals and cro-magnons were a dead end, the opposite of what they believe today.  Theories could still switch back.

Quote
Nor do I think that a scarce food supply increases the urge
to have carbohydrates. When you are really hungry, don't
you feel the urge for something fatty rather than something
sweet? Eskimos were known to toss away a killed caribou
without enough body fat for them to eat.

If I'm really hungry, I'll eat anything; I think that's what a.velasquez was saying.  Only if I'm not desperate for food will I get picky about what I eat.

5770
Diet and nutrition / Why do you use the paleo diet?
« on: July 30, 2008, 05:59:37 PM »

One of the things that interested me on coming to these boards was the diversity of reasons people have for looking at the paleo diet.  I thought it might be interesting to find out what the distribution of common reasons was like.

Feel free to post with more detail - especially if I missed your reason!

5771
Diet and nutrition / Re: Confused
« on: July 30, 2008, 07:17:23 AM »
As I understand it, the idea behind the paleo diet is to eat only things that were available during the paleolithic - the old stone age, when we were still hunter gatherers - or close modern equivalents.  This is because the paleolithic was long enough - hundreds of thousands of years - for us to adapt to those foods.  There's no question that we were consuming fruit - including fruit other than berries - back then; we were undoubtedly eating fruit even before the paleolithic, before we had tools at all.

Refrigeration and freezing would generally be considered acceptable, I think, because they don't change the content of the food.  This is in contrast to certain other forms of preservation, like canning with sugar or adding artificial preservatives, which do change what one is actually eating.  Similarly, we didn't have trucks back then, but we're allowed to consume meat that has been shipped by truck.

Milk and cheese are not paleo because we didn't start eating it until after we domesticated dairy animals in the neolithic, after the paleolithic.  While some modern humans have a mutation that permits digestion of milk sugar as an adult, the neolithic - roughly the last 10,000 years - has not been long enough for us to fully adapt to the composition of milk and other dairy products.  A similar argument goes for bread and alcohol.

You'll find differences of opinion regarding specific foods.  For example, modern fruits and vegetables have been bred, and in some cases genetically engineered, for appearance and other attributes in ways that hadn't happened by the paleolithic; that might affect their acceptability.  Most modern eggs and even meats have a different composition because we feed farm animals a different diet than they ate during the paleolithic.  Chocolate might be in the same category - there's a thread on it right now, I think.  I'm still learning about the details from the more knowledgeable people on this forum.

5772
Diet and nutrition / Re: Carrots and beets allowed?
« on: July 29, 2008, 09:47:21 PM »
Water chestnuts are an underground plant storage organ which can be eaten raw, so I'd guess that they would be okay.

5773
Diet and nutrition / Re: Meat in a low-carbon world
« on: July 27, 2008, 07:28:58 AM »
Why?  Itís an enormously expensive way to produce food, because it takes a calorie of fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of food!  This has increased pollution as well as altering the planetís composition of species and shrunk its biodiversity.  Whatís going to happen to cheap corn when fossil fuel energy is no longer so cheap and available?

That's a good summary of the green revolution in your post.  I'd only note that while artificial nitrogen fixing was invented in the early 1900s, it wasn't until the middle of the century that it really transformed agriculture in the U.S.

It's "enormously expensive" in terms of the energy balance, but in terms of dollars, it's actually enormously cheap - as long as the fossil fuels hold out.  That's why the developed nations have enough spare food to give it away for free to the starving nations in the first place.

Once the fossil fuel runs out, we aren't going to be producing enough food to go around anyway, even if we all subsist on a diet of pure cornmeal.  Changing our diets just isn't going to help.  What we should be doing instead is replacing direct food aid - which drives their local food producers out of business - with aid designed to help them establish sustainable local sources of food.  Then they can eat what they want and can produce, and we can eat what we want and can produce.

5774
Diet and nutrition / Re: Where do you get your calories?
« on: July 26, 2008, 09:50:14 PM »
Another good option is to save bone scraps in the freezer until you get enough of them and then use them to make a long-simmered bone broth.  The Weston A Price Foundation claims that a cup of homemade bone broth has as much calcium as a cup of milk.  Dark leafy greens and sesame seeds both also have calcium.

Good point about the broth.  If nothing else, I can go back to rendering the turkey carcass at Thanksgiving and maybe add some vinegar to help with calcium extraction.

Greens are a traditional source of calcium, but it takes what seems to me like a tremendous volume of them to get the U.S. RDA - though as you point out, that much calcium might not actually be necessary.  Sesame seeds are why I eat the bread sticks, but I should probably just find them separately.

Quote
All the major paleo authors use olive oil since it's one of the only oils you can get that is regularly cold-pressed from a paleo food.  It is one of only 2 plant oils that I use personally (the other being coconut oil).

I should check my grocery store for coconut oil.  Is it suitable for pan frying?  One issue with olive oil is that the smoke point seems kind of low for frying, which I do a lot of.

Would cold pressing make soy oil paleo?

Quote
I eat the best quality meat that my time and budget will allow.  This does not always meet the grassfed standard.  However, I feel that the benefits of eating meat outweigh the risks of eating non-grassfed meat.  If it really bothers you, you can try to choose leaner cuts since chemicals get stored in fat tissue.

I agree with you here.  Grass fed beef doesn't actually have a lower dioxin content in the fat; its main known advantage is in having an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio that's only about 2:1.  Factory farmed beef is about 4:1, which is still substantially better than vegetable oils, especially corn oil at 20:1.  That's even ignoring the advantages animal fats have in more specific fatty acid makeup.

Anyway, I managed to substitute fruit and unsalted nuts for the grain based snacks for a few days, and things seemed to be working better.  Unfortunately 10g of shortbread last night and half a bun of bread today seems to have put me back to where I was.  I'm not sure my wife is ready for complete removal of grains from her diet yet.

5775
Diet and nutrition / Re: Question about snacking
« on: July 26, 2008, 04:56:05 PM »
My paleo snacks are fruit and nuts.

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