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Old 08-07-2012, 07:57 AM
 
3,888 posts, read 2,746,616 times
Reputation: 5800
Default The Starch Solution

I heard this author, Dr. John McDougall, speak on the subject of a plant, starch and grain diet vs. the typical Ameican diet of meat, dairy and processed foods.

Vegans and vegetarians are often told by meat-eaters that we eat too much starch, so I was especially interested in this book. Dr. McDougall writes about years of experience with his patients, and also researching plant-based diets from cultures all over the world.

Some points I found interesting: People, including doctors, have an expectation that we will get sicker and fatter as we get older. Children are the healthiest, parents are less healthy, grandparents less healthy than the parents, on the average.

The government and almost all other sources insist that the healthiest diet is a well-balanced diet from all food groups: meat, dairy, grains, fruits and vegetables. But in his research he found elderly patients who remained trim, active, and medication-free into their 90's, on a two food group diet, grains and produce.

This was facinating to me, because from an early age the well balanced diet and food from all food groups has been stressed. One of the earliest school projects I can recall was making a food wheel with all the food groups in their recommended percentage.

Any region of the world with a large poplulation of trim, healthy residents demonstrates that healthy populations get most of their get most of their calories from starch.

Japan, China and other Asian countries: rice
Mayans and Aztecs: corn
Egyptians: wheat
Incas: potatoes, and the Incan warriors switched their diet to quinoa for strength prior to battle

Thoroughout civilization, the six foods that have provided our primary fuel are barley, rice, corn, potatoes, wheat and millet.

Experts have long concluded that primates, including humans, are designed to eat a diet based on plant foods.

Despite the widely held belief that the Paleolithic diet consisted almost entirely of animal products, grinding tools have been found at archeological sites.

The "hunter-gatherers" were mostly "gatherers" despite the concept of the caveman diet being 100% animal products.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:01 AM
 
3,888 posts, read 2,746,616 times
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Just wanted to add: a few of the chapter titles that caught my eye right away:

Five Major Poisons Found in Animal Foods

When Friends Ask: Where Do You Get Your Protein?

When Friends Ask: Where Do You Get Your Calcium?
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:34 PM
 
18,870 posts, read 13,488,400 times
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I don't think that starches are the "enemy"...it is over processing that creates the problem...if someone eats most of their starches in the forms of baked potatoes, whole grain cereals, that is not the issue. The problem is when folks start eating their starches in terms of processed pasta, processed bread...and calls that a "vegetarian" diet...which while, it is technically, eating a big bowl of tortilla chips, with salsa is a "vegetarian" meal...it is hardly healthy...
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Volcano
10,861 posts, read 8,190,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missik999 View Post
Experts have long concluded that primates, including humans, are designed to eat a diet based on plant foods.

Despite the widely held belief that the Paleolithic diet consisted almost entirely of animal products, grinding tools have been found at archeological sites.

The "hunter-gatherers" were mostly "gatherers" despite the concept of the caveman diet being 100% animal products.
I'm a big believer in people making intelligent, informed choices. Whichever side of the vegetarian/omnivore divide you choose to adhere to, I believe you should make that choice based on factual information. Sorry, but none of the above can be considered scientifically factual. A few "experts" do claim humans are "designed" to eat plant foods, but they're in the minority.

Neither do experts in Paleontology believe the contemporary stereotypes that the Paleolithic diet was all meat, or that our ancestors were predominantly cavemen. Both those statements are exaggerations at best, misleading cartoons at worst. Notice that the savannahs of Africa, where a lot of significant human evolution occurred, didn't have a lot of caves. One leading theory about why our brain development, and thus intelligence, was able to become so much larger than the great apes is because we don't have the massive jaws and jaw muscles they do, which they need to eat a lot of leaves, but which limit the growth of their skulls. We also don't have their teeth. And it's proven fact that while gorillas and chimps are predominantly plant eaters, they also eat insects and meat, so why would one imagine the "walking apes" didn't?

The scientific analysis of what our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic period (as distinct from the modern diet called Paleo), which lasted from approximately 2,500,000 years ago down to the dawn of agriculture about 20,000 years ago, is that it consisted largely of foods that could be gathered, like nuts, seeds, eggs, insects, roots and tubers, as well as foods that could be hunted, like birds and animals and fish. They ate few grains, until very late in the period, because they couldn't be chewed well, or fruits, because there were not many, and no green leafy material, based on analysis of their feces.... Then when humans started migrating out of Africa and up towards colder climes, their diet shifted towards eating more meat largely because it was a primary food source that was available to them over the winter.

In a paper entitled "Paleolithic nutrition revisited: A twelve year retrospective on its nature and implications," S. Boyd Eaton wrote,
"we are the heirs of inherited characteristics accrued over millions of years; the vast majority of our biochemistry and physiology are tuned to life conditions that existed before the advent of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. Genetically our bodies are virtually the same as they were at the end of the Paleolithic era some 20,000 years ago."
That's key to understanding how our bodies work. Humans evolved for millions of years on an omnivorous diet. The invention of agriculture at the end of the paleolithic period, particularly growing and storing grain, allowed for the advancement of civilization, because it allowed people to stay in one place for extended periods of time, and ended nomadic migrations in search of food, but it also introduced new challenges. Trying to reproduce the full nutrient profile our bodies need on a purely grain-based diet, for example, is impossible. And even a diet that is moderately based on grain can be a problem for a significant portion of the population, as evidence by all the celiac disease and gluten-intolerance which surfaces in our culture.

There are many reasons people choose to adopt vegetarian diets, but imagining prehistoric precedence simply isn't a valid one. Mainstream science shows that Paleolithic humans pretty much ate whatever they could get their hands on.

Isn't it enough to be a vegetarian just because that's the way you choose to eat?

Last edited by OpenD; 08-07-2012 at 03:16 PM..
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:24 PM
 
10,489 posts, read 8,136,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missik999 View Post
I heard this author, Dr. John McDougall, speak on the subject of a plant, starch and grain diet vs. the typical Ameican diet of meat, dairy and processed foods.

Vegans and vegetarians are often told by meat-eaters that we eat too much starch, so I was especially interested in this book. Dr. McDougall writes about years of experience with his patients, and also researching plant-based diets from cultures all over the world.

Some points I found interesting: People, including doctors, have an expectation that we will get sicker and fatter as we get older. Children are the healthiest, parents are less healthy, grandparents less healthy than the parents, on the average.

The government and almost all other sources insist that the healthiest diet is a well-balanced diet from all food groups: meat, dairy, grains, fruits and vegetables. But in his research he found elderly patients who remained trim, active, and medication-free into their 90's, on a two food group diet, grains and produce.

This was facinating to me, because from an early age the well balanced diet and food from all food groups has been stressed. One of the earliest school projects I can recall was making a food wheel with all the food groups in their recommended percentage.

Any region of the world with a large poplulation of trim, healthy residents demonstrates that healthy populations get most of their get most of their calories from starch.

Japan, China and other Asian countries: rice
Mayans and Aztecs: corn
Egyptians: wheat
Incas: potatoes, and the Incan warriors switched their diet to quinoa for strength prior to battle

Thoroughout civilization, the six foods that have provided our primary fuel are barley, rice, corn, potatoes, wheat and millet.

Experts have long concluded that primates, including humans, are designed to eat a diet based on plant foods.

Despite the widely held belief that the Paleolithic diet consisted almost entirely of animal products, grinding tools have been found at archeological sites.

The "hunter-gatherers" were mostly "gatherers" despite the concept of the caveman diet being 100% animal products.

Very good point! And obesity in ancient times was rare.

Not all starch is created equally though. Complex cards are the ones to eat. Whole grains, brown rice etc.

And I do not believe in carbo loading - or loading up on anything.

Eat until you are almost full.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:36 AM
 
Location: On the edge of the universe
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This doesn't surprise me. Even when I was much younger I didn't understand how humans needed dairy products and such for optimal health. I studied human biology in high school and our teacher made it clear that humans aren't really designed to survive off animal products.

Also, one time in social studies class we were discussing something about how climate affected the Native American tribes and my teacher made the comment of, "If you are ever stranded in a snowstorm in your car, the best thing you can do is eat a chocolate bar". Looking back on that I can understand why she said that since a chocolate bar provides a better source of energy instead of the 'protein' that is peddled in the media. Of course, chocolate is something you probably wouldn't want to eat a large amount of, but I can see where it's better in an emergency vs something like beef jerky. Humans are non-ruminant herbivores; obviously a diet in starches, grains and produce is going to work better instead of the Paleo diet.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Volcano
10,861 posts, read 8,190,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireandice1000 View Post
This doesn't surprise me. Even when I was much younger I didn't understand how humans needed dairy products and such for optimal health.
Dairy is by far the easiest food group to argue against, because it was the latest addition to the human diet, historically speaking. And in the abstract it was quite a remarkable adaptation to cold northern climates, providing an alternative food and vitamin source over snowy winters. But people of Asian or African descent don't tolerate dairy foods well, and even those of European descent experience a lot of allergies. So there is good justification, in a world where fresh food is available all year around nearly everywhere, for people to eliminate dairy from their diets now.

It's your "and such" which is not nearly so clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireandice1000 View Post
I studied human biology in high school and our teacher made it clear that humans aren't really designed to survive off animal products.
Sorry, that was your teacher's personal opinion, not a widely accepted scientific conclusion. Matter of fact, the evidence is overwhelmingly in the other direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireandice1000 View Post
Humans are non-ruminant herbivores; obviously a diet in starches, grains and produce is going to work better instead of the Paleo diet.
But no, the bulk of scientific research tells us otherwise. As I pointed out earlier in the thread, meat and insects have been part of humans' diets for more than 2 1/2 million years. So the challenge for anyone interested in being a veg'an is duplicating the nutritional profile of the diet our bodies evolved to best utilize. And that takes work, and attention to detail. Vitamin B-12, for instance, is an essential nutrient which is not naturally available from plants. A lot of research has been thrown at this issue without yet producing a satisfactory solution. None of the algae or mushroom or yeast products available actually do in the body what the manufacturers say they will do. So for most people on veg'an diets some form of supplementation is required to prevent B-12 deficiency and provide for long term health.

Grains have only been a significant part of our diets for the last 10,000 years or so, since agriculture was developed. And that's why there are so many food related issues around grains. Similar to dairy, the historically late addition of grains to human diets causes a lot of problems for a lot of people. I have several good friends who are veg'ans who cannot eat grains at all, in any form, and many more who are gluten-intolerant. Yes, there are people who can eat a grains-dense diet and do well, but there are also many who cannot. This is perhaps the hardest thing for some to accept, that different genetic inheritances and different blood types can have enormous impact on how any individual responds to specific diets. There's no "one size fits all" approach to veg'anism that really works.

My point is not to dissuade you or anyone else from following a veg'an diet. Instead, my interest is in helping people to think straight and tell the truth about what they are doing and why, rather than than relying on questionable claims to justify their decisions.

Best wishes.
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