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Thread: The Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherer Diet

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    Post The Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherer Diet

    Last edited by RusViking; Tuesday, May 11th, 2004 at 02:52 AM. Reason: Adding another site.

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    Post Re: Seeking Comments on Paleolithic Diet

    Well..............

    Since the Paleolithic, we have made some improvements.

    We can, now, digest lactose in adulthood--a genetic mutation which had value. Most Europeans carry the gene making this possible. This opened up a whole new niche for us to exploit very efficiently.

    Fish: Neanderthals didn't eat them. Why? I have no idea but they were Paleolithic men and there seems to be a difference between them and the Cro-Magnons who did eat fish.

    Potatoes, many beans, etc. are New World foods. Paleolothic men in the New World certainly ate them.

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    Post how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer

    Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 Jan;79(1):101-8.


    Comment in:
    Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 May;79(5):703; author reply 703-4, 707.

    Cardiovascular disease resulting from a diet and lifestyle at odds with our Paleolithic genome: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer.

    O'Keefe JH Jr, Cordain L.

    Mid America Heart Institute, Cardiovascular Consultants, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA. jhokeefe@cc-pc.com

    Our genetic make-up, shaped through millions of years of evolution, determines our nutritional and activity needs. Although the human genome has remained primarily unchanged since the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, our diet and lifestyle have become progressively more divergent from those of our ancient ancestors. Accumulating evidence suggests that this mismatch between our modern diet and lifestyle and our Paleolithic genome is playing a substantial role in the ongoing epidemics of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Until 500 generations ago, all humans consumed only wild and unprocessed food foraged and hunted from their environment. These circumstances provided a diet high in lean protein, polyunsaturated fats (especially omega-3 [omega-3] fatty acids), monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial phytochemicals. Historical and anthropological studies show hunter-gatherers generally to be healthy, fit, and largely free of the degenerative cardiovascular diseases common in modern societies. This review outlines the essence of our hunter-gatherer genetic legacy and suggests practical steps to re-align our modern milieu with our ancient genome in an effort to improve cardiovascular health.

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    Post Re: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer

    Its not just our diet but most things of our behaviour and instincts which are maladapted to modern society which leads to decadence, contraselection and degeneration on the long run without compensational measures of culture and state.
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    Post Re: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer

    Quote Originally Posted by Euclides
    Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 Jan;79(1):101-8.


    Comment in:
    Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 May;79(5):703; author reply 703-4, 707.

    Cardiovascular disease resulting from a diet and lifestyle at odds with our Paleolithic genome: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer.

    O'Keefe JH Jr, Cordain L.

    Mid America Heart Institute, Cardiovascular Consultants, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA. jhokeefe@cc-pc.com

    Our genetic make-up, shaped through millions of years of evolution, determines our nutritional and activity needs. Although the human genome has remained primarily unchanged since the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, our diet and lifestyle have become progressively more divergent from those of our ancient ancestors. Accumulating evidence suggests that this mismatch between our modern diet and lifestyle and our Paleolithic genome is playing a substantial role in the ongoing epidemics of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Until 500 generations ago, all humans consumed only wild and unprocessed food foraged and hunted from their environment. These circumstances provided a diet high in lean protein, polyunsaturated fats (especially omega-3 [omega-3] fatty acids), monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial phytochemicals. Historical and anthropological studies show hunter-gatherers generally to be healthy, fit, and largely free of the degenerative cardiovascular diseases common in modern societies. This review outlines the essence of our hunter-gatherer genetic legacy and suggests practical steps to re-align our modern milieu with our ancient genome in an effort to improve cardiovascular health.
    How can I get the full article?

    Thanks.

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    Post Re: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer

    Quote Originally Posted by RusViking
    How can I get the full article?

    Thanks.
    Yes, would be nice.
    Magna Europa est patria nostra
    STOP GATS! STOP LIBERALISM!

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    The Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherer diet

    Here's someone beating up a new diet, trying to sell their book basically, but there is some decent information here about the Paleolithic hunter-gatherer diet, and indeed they were a very healthy and able bodied people from what I understand.

    My Mother for the past 15 years has been interested in piecing together what she has dubbed a "Stone Age Diet" revolving around whole foods with next to no processed foods at all. She is pretty healthy, and swears that when she sticks to it she feels more alert and energetic, so she must be onto something.

    Anyway, extract what is useful, and ignore the salespitch.

    Ten thousand years ago the Agricultural Revolution was the beginning of a drastic change in the human diet that continues to this day. Today more than 70% of our dietary calories come from foods that our Paleolithic ancestors rarely, if ever, ate. The result is epidemic levels of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, gastrointestinal disease, and more.

    With readily available modern foods, The Paleo Diet mimics the types of foods every single person on the planet ate prior to the Agricultural Revolution (a mere 500 generations ago). These foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood) are high in the beneficial nutrients (soluble fiber, antioxidant vitamins, phytochemicals, omega-3 and monounsaturated fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates) that promote good health and are low in the foods and nutrients (refined sugars and grains, saturated and trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods) that frequently may cause weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and numerous other health problems. The Paleo Diet encourages dieters to replace dairy and grain products with fresh fruits and vegetables -- foods that are more nutritious than whole grains or dairy products.
    More: http://www.thepaleodiet.com/

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    There's plenty more where that came from on the Paleolithic diet, it's not just on or two authors who are promoting it, this diet, really a lifestyle has quite a large following, I'm just getting into it myself.

    I've never been much of a culinary expert, so my diet is pretty bland at the moment but is satisfying nonetheless.I'm getting better at adding variety to it all the time.

    The main benefit I find is have more energy since I gave up (or cut down a lot on) wheat flour and refined sugar.

    Here's a short and sucinct introduction to the theory behind the Paleo diet.
    http://www.earth360.com/diet_paleodiet_balzer.html


    INTRODUCTION TO THE PALEOLITHIC DIET


    by Dr. Ben Balzer

    There are races of people who are all slim, who are stronger and faster than us. They all have straight teeth and perfect eyesight. Arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, schizophrenia and cancer are absolute rarities for them. These people are the last 84 tribes of hunter-gatherers in the world. They share a secret that is over 2 million years old. Their secret is their diet- a diet that has changed little from that of the first humans 2 million years ago, and their predecessors up to 7 million years ago. Theirs is the diet that man evolved on, the diet that is coded for in our genes. It has some major differences to the diet of "civilization". You are in for a few big surprises.

    The diet is usually referred to as the "Paleolithic Diet" referring to the Paleolithic or Stone Age era. It is also referred to as the "Stone Age Diet", "Cave Man Diet" or the "Hunter-Gatherer Diet". More romantic souls like to think of it as the diet that was eaten in the "Garden of Eden" and they are correct in thinking so.

    The basic principles of the Paleolithic Diet are so simple that most high school students can understand them. Within 15 minutes from now you will grasp the major elements. At the technical level, Paleolithic Diet Theory has a depth and breadth that is unmatched by all other dietary theories. Paleolithic Diet Theory presents a fully integrated, holistic, comprehensive dietary theory combining the best features of all other dietary theories, eliminating the worst features and simplifying it all.

    All major dietary components are covered- (i.e. vitamins, fats, protein, fats, carbohydrates, antioxidants and phytosterols etc). This is for the simple reason that it is the only diet that is coded for in our genes- it contains only those foods that were "on the table" during our long evolution, and discards those which were not. Have you ever wondered why almost everybody feels the need to take vitamin supplementsat times, or why so many people feel the need to "detoxify" their system? There are very real reasons for this that you will soon understand. Now, come with me, I’d like to share the secret with you...


    Basics of the Paleolthic Diet

    For millions of years, humans and their relatives have eaten meat, fish, fowl and the leaves, roots and fruits of many plants. One big obstacle to getting more calories from the environment is the fact that many plants are inedible. Grains, beans and potatoes are full of energy but all are inedible in the raw state as they contain many toxins. There is no doubt about that- please don’t try to eat them raw, they can make you very sick.

    Around 10,000 years ago, an enormous breakthrough was made- a breakthrough that was to change the course of history, and our diet, forever. This breakthrough was the discovery that cooking these foods made them edible- the heat destroyed enough toxins to render them edible. Grains include wheat, corn, barley, rice, sorghum, millet and oats. Grain based foods also include products such as flour, bread, noodles and pasta. These foods entered the menu of New Stone Age (Neolithic) man, and Paleolithic diet buffs often refer to them as Neolithic foods. The cooking of grains, beans and potatoes had an enormous effect on our food intake- perhaps doubling the number of calories that we could obtain from the plant foods in our environment. Other advantages were soon obvious with these foods:

    · they could store for long periods (refrigeration of course being unavailable in those days)
    · they were dense in calories- ie a small weight contains a lot of calories, enabling easy transport
    · the food was also the seed of the plant- later allowing ready farming of the species


    These advantages made it much easier to store and transport food. We could more easily store food for winter, and for nomads and travelers to carry supplies. Food storage also enabled surpluses to be stored, and this in turn made it possible to free some people from food gathering to become specialists in other activities, such as builders, warriors and rulers. This in turn set us on the course to modern day civilization. Despite these advantages, our genes were never developed with grains, beans and potatoes and were not in tune with them, and still are not.

    Man soon improved further on these advances- by farming plants and animals.
    Instead of being able to eat only a fraction of the animal and plant life in an area, farming allows us to fill a particular area with a large number of edible plants and animals. This in turn increases the number of calories that we can obtain from an area by some 10 to 100 fold or more. Then followed the harnessing of dairy products, which allow man to obtain far more calories from the animal over its lifetime than if it were simply slaughtered for meat. Dairy products are interesting as they combine a variety of components- some of which our genes were ready for and some not. Whist cows milk is ideal for calves, there are several very important differences between it and human milk. For example, the brain of a calf is only a tiny fraction of its body weight whereas humans have very big brains. Not surprisingly, cows milk is low in critical nutrients for brain development, particularly omeg 3 fats.

    Paleolithic Diet buffs refer to the new foods as Neolithic foods and the old as Paleolithic Diet foods. In simple terms we see Neolithic as bad and Paleolithic as good. Since then, some other substances have entered the diet- particularly salt and sugar, and more recently a litany of chemicals including firstly caffeine then all other additives, colourings, preservatives, pesticides etc.

    Grains, Beans and Potatoes (GBP) share the following important characteristics:

    · They are all toxic when raw- there is no doubt about this- it is a fact that no competent source would dispute- they can be extremely dangerous and it is important never to eat them raw or undercooked. These toxins include enzyme blockers, lectins and other types. I will talk about them in detail later as they are very important.
    · Cooking destroys most but not all of the toxins. Insufficient cooking can lead to sickness such as acute gastroenteritis.
    · They are all rich sources of carbohydrate, and once cooked this is often rapidly digestible-giving a high glycemic index (sugar spike).
    · They are extremely poor sources of vitamins (particularly vitamins A, B-group, folic acid and C), minerals, antioxidants and phytosterols.
    Therefore diets high in grains beans and potatoes (GBP):
    · Contain toxins in small amounts
    · Have a high glycemic index (ie have a similar effect to raw sugar on blood glucose levels)
    · Are low in many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytosterols- ie they are the original "empty calories"
    · Have problems caused by the GBP displacing other foods

    As grains, beans and potatoes form such a large proportion of the modern diet, you can now understand why it is so common for people to feel they need supplements or that they need to detoxify (ie that they have toxins in their system)- indeed both feelings are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily realize which supplements we need, and ironically when people go on detoxification diets they unfortunately often consume even more Neolithic foods (eg soy beans) and therefore more toxins than usual (perhaps they sometimes benefit from a change in toxins). More detail on these issues follows in subsequent pages.


    The essentials of the Paleolithic Diet are:

    Eat none of the following:

    · Grains- including bread, pasta, noodles
    · Beans- including string beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, snow-peas and peas
    · Potatoes
    · Dairy products
    · Sugar
    · Salt


    Eat the following:

    · Meat, chicken and fish
    · Eggs
    · Fruit
    · Vegetables (especially root vegetables, but definitely not including potatoes or sweet potatoes)
    · Nuts, eg. walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia, almond. Do not eat peanuts (a bean) or cashews (a family of their own)
    · Berries- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc.


    Try to increase your intake of:

    · Root vegetables- carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, Swedes
    · Organ meats- liver and kidneys (I accept that many people find these unpalatable and won’t eat them)


    Expect some minor tuning problems- don’t worry, you can deal with them:

    · It will take some time for your body to adjust to the changes after all these years. There is a huge surge in your vitamin intake. There is a huge decrease in your toxin intake.

    · Start with breakfast for few days, as this is the easiest place to start as most people eat it at home, and it tends to be the least Paleolithic meal of the standard 3. For weight loss you will eventually need to reduce your carbohydrate intake, but ignore this initially as most people have high carb intakes and this can continue for the first few days that you are on this diet. If you reduce too quickly then you may fell unwell. Then move on to lunch or dinner for a few days and then to all 3 meals. If you work, you will often find it easier to take your lunch to work.

    · Keep reading more about the diet- and read it again. Remember, there are many dietary myths that will need to be unlearned. Particularly, please read the section on fats several times. Knowledge on fats has exploded over the last decade and there is a realization in mainstream nutrition that omega 3 fats are critical to good health. It is very important to ensure that you have an adequate intake of these. The low fat diet craze of the 90’s was well intentioned but many people "threw out the baby with the bath-water"- most people reduced omega 3 fat intake as well as other fats, and sometimes even increased omega 6 fats. There is now a realization that the low fat diet theory of the 90’s doesn’t often work (it has about a 6% success rate like most other diets) and that the vast majority of the Western population need to increase their omega 3 intake and decrease their omega 6 intake. Even if you don’t end up on a Paleolithic Diet, you will benefit from a better appreciation of fats.


    Technical Aspects:

    12,000 years ago the ice planet Earth thawed out as the last Ice Age came to an end. The great glaciers melted, carving enormous plains across the continents and the planet became green again. The seas rose some 400 feet (120 metres) (incidentally unfortunately drowning most of our archeological heritage). The plains flourished and savannah, prairie and forest sprang up. Grazing animals spread onto the plains, followed by hunting animals and amongst these last were the greatest hunters of all- humans. Humans, being omnivores, have the ability to eat both plant and animal foods. That is a major advantage as the number of creatures that can live in a particular habitat depends entirely on how much energy they can obtain. To make a crude example- imagine you are breeding monkeys on 100 acres of land and the only edible plant there is bananas. If you double the number of banana plants, then you can double the number of monkeys on the land.

    You might instead introduce apple trees and have the same effect. The number of monkeys would depend entirely on how many calories they could obtain from the environment. The carrying capacity of the habitat for a species depends on how many calories the species can obtain. Humans are no different. They have a major advantage in being able to eat both plant and animals foods thereby harvesting enormous amounts of calories from the environment. Humans learnt to cook grains, beans and potatoes and increased further the number of plant food calories they can obtain from the environment- probably doubling it in most habitats, and even more on grasslands.

    The reason why grains, beans and potatoes store so well is simply because of the toxins that they contain. The enzyme blockers put them into a deep freeze, stopping them from sprouting. The lectins and other toxins are natural pesticides and can attack bacteria, insects, worms, rodents and other pests (and humans too of course).


    ANTINUTRIENTS: YOUR KEY TO BAD HEALTH

    You probably already know a lot about nutrients- macronutrients (fats, protein and carbohydrates and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytosterols etc). Now it's time to meet the rest of the family....... We all know that foods contain a variety of nutrients. There is less awareness that many foods contain small amounts of potentially harmful substances. These are toxins, as they have toxic effects. They are normally called "antinutrients" by the scientific community as toxins sounds too alarmist. Antinutrients are very real and for over 100 years research has been done on them- but it is generally only appreciated by a small group of specialized scientists. Antinutrients have an incredible range of biological effects. As you have probably already guessed, the vast majority and highest levels of antinutrients are in Neolithic foods like grains, beans and potatoes. The Paleolithic diet has incredibly low levels of antinutrients compared to the usual modern diet. I believe that this is the number one advantage of the diet.

    Textbooks on antinutrients read like books on what not to eat- Neolithic foods are the most prominent. Professor Irvin Liener published one of the most famous of these books in 1980. In the first chapter he points out that when we started cooking inedible plants, new toxins entered the diet for the first time. Ironically, he wasn’t trying to promote Paleolithic diets- his aim was to help agricultural scientists more safely feed the world on grains, beans and potatoes.

    It’s a technical subject, and I’ll do my best to make it clear to you. Consider our friend, the apple. When an animal eats an apple, it profits by getting a meal. It swallows the seeds and then deposits them in a pile of dung. With some luck a new apple tree might grow, and so the apple tree has also profited from the arrangement. In nature as in finance, it is good business when both parties make profit happily. Consider what would happen if the animal were greedy and decided to eat the few extra calories contained within the apple seeds- then there would be no new apple tree to continue on the good work. So, to stop this from happening, the apple seeds contain toxins that have multiple effects:

    * firstly, they taste bad- discouraging the animal from chewing them
    * secondly some toxins are enzyme blockers that bind up predators digestive enzymes- these also act as "preservatives" freezing the apple seed enzymes until sprouting- Upon sprouting of the seed, many of these enzyme blockers disappear.
    * thirdly, they contain lectins- these are toxic proteins which have numerous effects. They act as natural pesticides and are also toxic to a range of other species including bacteria, insects, worms, rodents and other predators including humans.


    Of course, the apple has other defenses- to start with it is high above the ground well out of reach of casual predators, and it also has the skin and flesh of the apple to be penetrated first. Above all though is the need to stop the seed from being eaten, so that new apple trees may grow.

    Now, please consider the humble grain. Once again as a seed its duty is mission critical- it must perpetuate the life cycle of the plant. It is however much closer to the ground, on the tip of a grass stalk. It is within easy reach of any predator strolling by. It contains a good source of energy, like a booster rocket for the new plant as it grows. The grain is full of energy and in a vulnerable position. It was "expensive" for the plant to produce. It is an attractive meal. Its shell offers little protection. Therefore, it has been loaded with toxic proteins to discourage predators- grains are full of enzyme blockers and lectins. You may be surprised to learn that uncooked flour is very toxic- please don't try eating it as you become very sick. And yes, I don't recommend al dente pasta (if one must eat pasta at all). Beans too are full of enzyme blockers and lectins. Potatoes contain enzyme blockers, lectins and another family of toxins called glycoalkaloids.

    Glycoalkaloids (GA) unlike lectins and enzyme blockers aren't destroyed by cooking, even deep-frying. GA are particularly high in green or injured potatoes, which must never be eaten even if trimmed heavily and well-cooked. Many people have told me that they eat small amounts of raw potato- this is a dangerous habit and it should be discouraged very strongly. These toxins in foods are commonly referred to as antinutrients. Let's learn some more about them.


    Enzyme Blockers:


    These enzyme blockers are abundant in all seeds including grains and beans, and also in potatoes, serving to hold them in suspended animation and also acting as pesticides. Most commonly they block the enzymes that digest protein (proteases), and are called "protease inhibitors". They can affect the stomach protease enzyme "pepsin", and the small intestine protease enzymes "trypsin" and "chymotrypsin". These small intestine enzymes are made by the pancreas (it does a lot of other important things besides making insulin). Some enzyme blockers affect the enzymes that digest starch (amylase) and are called "amylase inhibitors".
    When GBP are cooked, most of the enzyme blockers are destroyed, but some are not. In human volunteers and in animal experiments high levels of protease inhibitors lead to increased secretion of digestive enzymes by the pancreas. This is because the body can sense that the enzymes have been knocked out and orders to pancreas to make more. Even if the effect of GBP based foods is only a small increase in pancreatic enzyme secretion, over many years it all adds up to a lot of extra work.

    They are effective poisons- rats cannot gain weight if they have substantial amounts of enzyme blockers in the diet. As far as their preservative action is concerned, I need only to remind you that the potted grains in the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs were still viable and sprouted after thousands of years locked away. Grain eating birds have evolved digestive enzymes that are resistant to grain protease inhibitors. Lectins are natural proteins that have a large variety of roles. They are amongst the most fascinating and stimulating of all biological compounds, and I have no doubt that they play a major role in many "unexplained " diseases. I think of them as "Hannibal Lectins" as they remind of the devious criminal mastermind in the shock horror movie "Silence of the Lambs.' Lectins are like master code-breakers. The cells of our bodies are studded with receptors which are like code pads to ensure stimulation only under the correct circumstances. Lectins have the ability to crack these codes and stimulate the receptors causing a variety of responses- covering basically the full repertoire of the cell and even tricking the cell into doing things it normally cannot do. They also have a knack for bypassing our defenses and "getting behind the lines", and then they can travel all over the body causing harm. They can, for example:

    --strip protective mucus off tissues,
    --damage the cells lining the small intestine- disrupting the microscopic fingers called villi and microvilli,
    --get swallowed whole by the small intestine cells ("pinocytosis")
    --bind to cells including blood cells causing a clot to form (hence they were initially called "haemagglutins")
    --make a cell act as if it has been stimulated by a hormone-
    --stimulate a cell to secrete a hormone
    --promote cell division at the wrong time
    --cause gowth or shrinkage of lymphatic tissue ("outposts" of white blood cells)
    --cause enlargement of the pancreas
    --cause cells to present codes (HLA's) that they normally should not use
    --cause cell death (apoptosis)


    Lectins break down the surface of the small intestine, stripping it of mucus and causing the cells to become irregular and leaky. Some lectins make cells act as if they have been stimulated by insulin. Others cause the pancreas to release insulin. Others cause immune cells to divide in the wrong way, causing growth of some white blood cells and breaking down the control of the immune system. Others cause cells to present the wrong codes (HLA's) on their surface, tricking the immune system into thinking that intruders have been found and activating the immune system inappropriately- thus leading to "autoimmune disease" where the body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system.

    Autoimmune diseases are incredibly common and increase every year that a person gets older. A disordered immune system also has a much harder job recognizing and attacking the real intruders- invading germs and cancer cells (you may have heard that scientists think that most people generate many cancer cells in a life time but that the immune system cleans most of them up). It is not known whether lectins can cause cancer- this is one of the most important questions in medicine today. They certainly affect colon cells in the test tube. I feel that they are likely candidates as they can stimulate abnormal cell growth and they also cause disorder in the immune system. Lectins have many other roles besides defending seeds. For example in beans, lectins act like a glue to enable nitrogen-fixing bacteria to bind to the roots of the plant. Many important lectin families are found in animal tissues, but as we are carnivores, we have evolved to be able to deal with these- just as birds that live on grains have evolved to be resistant to grain lectins. It is ironic that the lectins were discovered more than 100 years ago and yet so many questions remain unanswered- the same was true of the immune system until the 1980’s. I hope that there is more research done into lectins as they hold a whole world of disease mechanisms of which most of the medical community is blissfully unaware.


    Exorphins:


    Exorphins are food chemicals that have morphine-like activity. They are found in dairy products and wheat. Our body has its own natural morphine like substances that are called endorphins. Endorphins work by stimulating a type of nerve cell surface receptor called endorphin receptors. Endorphins are very important in controlling pain and addictive behaviour.
    Exorphins also act on endorphin receptors and may stimulate them or block them. It is logical that exorphins may therefore affect chronic pain and also affect addictive behaviour.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Horned God
    Eat none of the following:

    · Grains- including bread, pasta, noodles
    · Beans- including string beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, snow-peas and peas
    · Potatoes
    · Dairy products
    · Sugar
    · Salt
    A lot of it is not new however, Schwarzenegger called salt, sugar and flour "White Death" decades ago-smil
    http://northwestfront.org/

    ......naturally the best man could give them the best children. Because of that these chosen Freyr priests had several wives. - Varg Vikernes

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    http://www.mindfully.org/Food/2003/F...Food4may03.htm.

    The Futures of Food
    MICHAEL POLLAN / NY Times Magazine 4may03

    When I was a kid growing up in the early 60's, anybody could have told you exactly what the future of food was going to look like. We'd seen "The Jetsons," toured the 1964 World's Fair, tasted the culinary fruits (or at least fruit flavors) of the space program, and all signs pointed to a single outcome: the meal in a pill, washed down, perhaps, with next-generation Tang.

    The general consensus seemed to be that "food"—a word that was already beginning to sound old-fashioned—was destined to break its surly bonds to Nature, float free of agriculture and hitch its future to Technology. If not literally served in a pill, the meal of the future would be fabricated "in the laboratory out of a wide variety of materials," as one contemporary food historian predicted, including not only algae and soybeans but also petrochemicals. Protein would be extracted directly from fuel oil and then "spun and woven into 'animal' muscle—long wrist-thick tubes of 'fillet steak.'"

    By 1965, we were well on our way to the synthetic food future. Already the eating of readily identifiable plant and animal species was beginning to feel somewhat recherche, as food technologists came forth with one shiny new product after another: Cool Whip, the Pop-Tart, nondairy creamer, Kool-Aid, Carnation Instant Breakfast and a whole slew of eerily indestructible baked goods (Wonder Bread and Twinkies being only the most famous). My personal favorite was the TV dinner, which even a 10-year-old recognized as a brilliant simulacrum—not to mention an obvious improvement over the real thing. My poor mother, eager to please four children whose palates had already been ruined by the food technologists (and school lunch ladies), once spent hours in the kitchen trying to simulate the Salisbury steak from a Swanson TV dinner.

    What none of us could have imagined back in 1965 was that within five short years, the synthetic food future would be overthrown in advance of its arrival. The counterculture seized upon processed food, of all things, as a symbol of everything wrong with industrial civilization. Not only did processed foods contain chemicals, the postwar glamour of which had been extinguished by DDT and Agent Orange, but products like Wonder Bread represented the worst of white-bread America, its very wheat "bleached to match the bleached-out mentality of white supremacy," in the words of an underground journalist writing in The Quicksilver Times.

    As an antidote to the "plastic food" dispensed by agribusiness, the counterculture promoted natural foods organically grown, and whole grains in particular. Brown food of any kind was deemed morally superior to white—not only because it was less processed and therefore more authentic, but because by eating it you could express your solidarity with the world's (nonwhite) oppressed. Seriously. What you chose to eat had become a political act, and the lower you ate on the food chain, the better it was for you, for the planet and for the world's hungry. Almost overnight the meal in a pill became a symbol of the forces of reaction rather than progress. The synthetic food future appeared doomed.

    Though claims for the moral superiority of brown food have been muted in the years since 1970, the general outlines of this alternative vision of food's future are no less relevant or compelling today. If the postwar food utopia was modernist and corporate, the new one is postmodern and oppositional, constructing its future from elements of the past rescued from the jaws of agribusiness. It goes by many names, including "slow food," "local food" and "organic"—or, increasingly, "beyond organic." Its agriculture is not only chemical-free but also sustainable, diversified and humane to workers as well as animals. Its cuisine (or, as it's sometimes called, "countercuisine") is based on traditional species of plants and animals—those that predate modern industrial hybrids and genetic modification—traditionally prepared. Its distribution system aims to circumvent the supermarket, relying instead on farmers' markets and C.S.A.'s (community-supported agriculture)—farms to which consumers "subscribe" to receive weekly deliveries of produce. As for the consumption of this food, it too is to be overhauled, in an effort to recover the sociality of eating from the solitary fueling implied by fast food.

    It's a beguiling future in many ways, full of promise for our physical and social health as well as for the health of the land. It's tasty too. So what's not to like?

    Plenty, if you're one of those supermarket chains being circumvented, or an agribusiness corporation nervously watching organic foods gobble market share or, for that matter, if you're a harried working parent who simply hasn't the time or money for food to be any slower or more expensive than it already is. And so with one eye on that family's predicament and the other on its own, Big Food has been hard at work developing a counter-counter food future, one that borrows all that it can borrow from the countercuisine and then . . . puts it in a pill. Or if not literally in a pill, into something that looks a lot more like a pill than the kind of comestibles we've traditionally used the word "food" to denote.

    To thumb through the pages of Food Technology, the trade magazine for food scientists, is to realize that the dream of liberating food from the farm wasn't killed off by the 60's after all. The food-in-a-pill future has simply been updated, given a new, more natural and health-conscious sheen.

    Food Technology offers a pretty good window on the industry's future, and the first thing you notice when you look through it is that the word "food" is about to be replaced by "food system." Which is probably as good a term as any when you're trying to describe edible materials constructed from textured vegetable protein and "flavor fractions," or "antioxidant bars" built from blueberry and flaxseed parts. (According to an ad for Land O' Lakes, that company is no longer in the business of selling butter or cheese, but "dairy flavor systems.")

    The other thing you notice is that those "food systems" are rapidly merging with medical systems. The industry has evidently decided the future of food lies in so-called nutraceuticals and "functional foods": nutritional products that claim to confer health benefits above and beyond those of ordinary foods.

    The growth of the American food industry will always bump up against a troublesome biological fact: try as we might, each of us can eat only about 1,500 pounds of food in a year. True, the industry has managed to nudge that figure upward over the last few decades (the obesity epidemic is proof of their success), but, unlike sneakers or CD's, there's a limit to how much food we can each consume without exploding. Unless agribusiness is content to limit its growth to the single-digit growth rate of the American population—something Wall Street would never abide—it needs to figure out ways to make us each spend more each year for the same three quarters of a ton of chow.

    The best way to do this has always been by "adding value" to cheap raw materials—usually in the form of convenience or fortification. Selling unprocessed or minimally processed whole foods is a fool's game, especially since the price of agricultural commodities tends to fall over time, and one company's apples are hard to distinguish from any other's.

    How much better to turn them apples into a nutraceutical food system! This is precisely what one company profiled in a recent issue of Food Technology has done. TreeTop Inc. has developed a "low-moisture, naturally sweetened apple piece infused with a red-wine extract." Just 18 grams of these "apple pieces" have the same amount of cancer-fighting "flavonoid phenols as five glasses of wine and the dietary fiber equivalent of one whole apple." We've moved from the meal-in-a-pill future to the pill-in-a-meal, which is to say, not very far at all.

    The news of TreeTop's breakthrough comes in a Food Technology trend story titled "Getting More Fruits and Vegetables Into Foods." You probably thought fruits and vegetables were already foods, and so didn't need to be gotten into them, but that just shows you're stuck in the food past. We're moving toward a food future in which the processed food will be even "better" (i.e., contain more of whatever science has determined to be the good stuff) than the whole foods on which they are based. Once again, the food industry has gazed upon nature and found it wanting—and gotten to work improving it.

    All that's really changed since the high-tech food future of the 60's is that the laboratory materials out of which these meals will be constructed are nominally "natural"—dried apple bits, red-wine extract, "flavor fractions" distilled from oranges, resistant starch derived from corn, meat substitutes fashioned out of mycoprotein. But the underlying reductionist premise—that food is nothing more than the sum of its nutrients—remains undisturbed. So we break down the plants and animals into their component parts and then reassemble them into high-value-added food systems.

    It's hard to believe plain old food could ever hold its own against such sophisticated products. Yet while the logic of capitalism argues powerfully for the meal-in-a-pill food future, it is at least conceivable that, flaky as it might seem, the alternative food future has behind it an even more compelling logic: the logic of biology. The premise of the alternative food future—slow, organic, local—has always been that the industrial food future is "unsustainable." In the past, that word has mainly referred to the industry's impact on the land, which organic farmers insisted could not indefinitely endure the reductionist approach of industrial agriculture—treating the land as a factory, into which you put certain kinds of chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers) in order to take out others (starches, proteins, flavonoid phenols). Eventually, the land would rebel: soils would lose fertility, the chemicals would no longer work, the environment would grow toxic.

    But what about the biological system at the opposite end of the food chain—the human body? It too is ill served by industry's powerful reductions. Increasingly, there is evidence that breaking foods down into their component parts and then reassembling them as processed food systems is also unsustainable—for our health. It is not at all clear that the "healthy" ingredients we're isolating function in isolation the same way they do in whole foods. Already we're finding that beta carotene extracted from carrots, or lycopene from tomatoes, don't work nearly as well, if at all, outside the context of a carrot or a tomato. Even in the pages of Food Technology, you now find nutritionists cautioning industry that "a single-nutrient approach is too simplistic."

    Foods, it appears, are more than the sum of their chemical parts, and treating them as collections of nutrients to be mixed and matched, rather than as the complex biological systems they are, simply may not work. Which probably shouldn't surprise us. We didn't evolve, after all, to eat phytochemical extracts or flavor fractions or mycoproteins grown on substrates of glucose. Rather, we evolved to eat that archaic and yet astonishing array of plants and animals and fungi that most of us are still happy to call food. Don't write it off just yet.

    Michael Pollan is a contributing writer to the magazine and the author of "The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World."
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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