Caveman Power Forum

General Discussion => Food & Diet => Topic started by: Tony Bondioli on October 22, 2008, 08:52:38 PM

Title: About those grains...
Post by: Tony Bondioli on October 22, 2008, 08:52:38 PM
Alright, since the subject of dairy has come up recently, I thought it was time to rock the boat a little more, regarding grains.  I'm not going to get into an exhaustive explanation of how grains, starches, etc. cause blood sugar levels to spike quickly and drop off dramatically.  Nor am I going to regale you all with spine-tingling tales of insulin response.  The reason?  Other authors and proponents of paleolithic eating, including Matt, have already done a fine job of explaining these things, and I largely agree with them concerning the physiologic processes that occur as a result of eating grains.

Where I tend to disagree with conventional caveman wisdom, however, is around the contention that primitive (pre-agricultural) people didn't consume grains.  Fact is, they did, although not nearly in the proportions modern humans do so, in relation to other sources of carbohydrate (vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc.) and other macro- and micro-nutrients (e.g., fat and protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.).

There.  I said it.  Cavemen ate grains, too.  But here's the thing:  there's a big difference between purchasing a loaf of baked, refined (e.g., 'without the healthy stuff') wheat flour, sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, and bombarded with any number of chemicals designed to keep it on the shelf for frightening spans of time, compared to stumbling across a field of wild wheat or millet while tracking game, threshing it off the stalk with a stick, drying it, pounding it while the wind blows off the chaff, grinding it into flour between two stones, and baking it in a pit-oven made of hand-gathered rocks.  Where I live, it is still an annual custom for the indigenous peoples here to paddle canoes through wild rice paddies, gathering the same wild grains that fed their ancestors millenia ago.  Wild oats, rye, and other grains have also been consumed by man--albeit in highly UNprocessed forms--since beyond the reach of known history.

The two chief considerations regarding health and grain consumption, in my opinion, are these:

1.  Moderation.  Forget about the old USDA Food Guide Pyramid, which recommended a huge daily intake of grains (and which, not surprisingly, was developed by and for the tremendously profitable cereal grain industry).  The truth is, as Matt and others have stated, you don't really need to eat any grains in order to obtain vital nutrients which can be found in other non-grain food sources (primarily fruits, veggies, meats, and nuts), but whole grains do have some very healthy nutritional properties.  I believe that, if you enjoy eating grain-based foods from time to time, small-to-moderate amounts aren't going to hurt you, and can actually be part of a very balanced, healthy lifestyle.  Personally, I don't eat grains every day, but when I do, I try to keep it somewhere in the 1-4 total serving range (a serving being the equivalent of a slice of bread).  Where others would fill up on more grains, I tend to make up the difference with fruits, veggies, nuts, etc. (in addition, of course, to adequate amounts of meat, fish, eggs, and some dairy).

2.  Whole vs. refined.  This one is pretty obvious.  Generally speaking, the closer a food is to its original form, the healthier it is for you.  I imagine the first people to eat wheat just chewed it off the stalk, which is probably the healthiest way to consume it.  The traditional Okinawans, who subsist largely on whole brown rice--in addition to lots of vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, eggs, and some pork--enjoy the longest lives, on average, of any population on earth, and remain extremely healthy and vital well into very old age.  At the very least, when we consume grains, we should do our best to make sure they are WHOLE grains, and as uncontaminated by other, unnatural ingredients as possible.

Anyway... just a few thoughts on the subject from one man's perspective. 
Title: Re: About those grains...
Post by: Matt Emery on October 24, 2008, 05:45:15 AM
I agree.

Grains are omitted from the list of recommended foods for the sake of brevity.  Humans in modern society generally do not have access to grains in the way paelothic man would of (organic and probably scarce), which you've pointed out, so it makes it hard to recommend them.

What are your thoughts... should I revise the list and incorporate grains, citing the caveats that go with it?  If so, let me know.

Personally, I would like to add them to the list; recommending them as a condiment, rather than a main food.

What are everyone's thoughts on it?
Title: Re: About those grains...
Post by: BigKhanz on October 24, 2008, 08:41:01 AM
Quote
Humans in modern society generally do not have access to grains in the way paelothic man would
Thats key right there.

We should really look into the detailed specifics of any grains, grasses, or cereals that might be considered. There is a world of difference between sweet corn, oats, and lemongrass.
Title: Re: About those grains...
Post by: Matt Emery on October 26, 2008, 06:43:58 PM
We should really look into the detailed specifics of any grains, grasses, or cereals that might be considered. There is a world of difference between sweet corn, oats, and lemongrass.

Yep, I think this is another good reason to get a Wiki going.
Title: Re: About those grains...
Post by: Lilnicki on December 13, 2009, 01:09:05 PM
Here's my opinion on grains.......

Brown rice, quinoa and millet should be on the list as " amber foods" ... ie small amounts once or twice a week.

A " traffic light " system would be a very good idea....

Red = Not recommended for this diet
Amber = Small amounts once or twice a week
Green = Eat freely

I'm a new member but have read many of these posts with interest......... milk, grains, potatoes would be good candidates for the "amber" group....... perhaps with a note to abstain then re-introduce to guage tolerance.

I will note that for me i cannot eat wheat or dairy without encountering chronic fatigue, but grains i eat fairly frequently (quinoa and brown rice)..

Hope this has been of some help.

Nicki  :D
Title: Re: About those grains...
Post by: Tony Bondioli on December 13, 2009, 03:37:32 PM
That sounds like an excellent approach to healthy eating, Lilnicki, and a great way to avoid "throwing out the baby with the bathwater."