Friday, August 27, 2010

This May Not Crack You Up

Scientists: We've cracked wheat's genetic code

The human genetic code was cracked ten years ago. Corn and rice have had their codes cracked, as has soy. I wonder if wheat will now be sold in "Roundup Ready" genetically modified form, as soy does. If we eat enough of it, do we become Roundup Ready also?

People of Mesopotamian descent are perhaps somewhat more likely to be somewhat more nearly adapted to eating wheat.  The rest of us are likely to manifest some degree of gluten/gliadin intolerance.  That leads to myriad maladies, like leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. But I digress...

A sad note in the article states, "Among the potential benefits of tougher strains of wheat: Lower prices for bread and greater food security for the world's poor." Why, you may ask, is that sad? Well, consider that:
  • grain agriculture provided a reliable, storable, dense source of macronutrients
  • which made it possible for our ancestors to band together in ever-larger communities
  • which enhanced group security from attacks by animals and other human groups
  • which led to power concentration in the hands of the few, and serfdom and slavery for the many
  • which led to the need for ever more lebensraum and the wars to acquire it
  • which led to the diseases of civilization rampant in all "developed" nations
especially, but not exclusively, among the poor who depend on inexpensive, starchy industrial foods as their main energy sources.

The article concludes by saying, "But, as one British paper hailed the announcement as the most significant breakthrough in wheat farming for 10,000 years, Evans warned against putting too much faith in genetics, saying that reforming the politics and economics of food distribution was easily as important."

Ah, the politics and economics of food distribution... I wonder if the late, great Leadbelly has a musical point of view on this.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Grab & GO" - an unfortunate connotation

It's positive reinforcement to have confirmation that money spent on quality food isn't wasted.

story at tells about the recall of 380,000 pounds of deli meat sold exclusively by Wal-Mart which has been found in an isolated occurrence to be contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes.

According to the description at Wikipedia  "It is one of the most virulent foodborne pathogens with 20 to 30 percent of clinical infections resulting in death[1]. Responsible for approximately 2,500 illnesses and 500 deaths in the United States (U.S.) annually, Listeriosis is the leading cause of death among foodborne bacterial pathogens with fatality rates exceeding even Salmonella and Clostridium botulinum. [2]"

So far the only confirmed cases have been related to deli meats used in ready to eat sandwiches with the brand name, Grab and Go. In my experience, anything with a name like that is best dealt with by averting one's eyes and quickening one's pace toward other areas where real food can be found.

According to the article, "The meats were produced on dates ranging from June 18 to July 2, 2010. The "Use By" dates range from August 20 to September 10, 2010".  So, at the least, the little critters have only had about seven weeks to strengthen their numbers. And how about that two month shelf "life".


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Can I Say?

Actually, I have many topics I'd like to say something about. The 'conundrum', as Alan Greenspan might say, is deciding where to begin when posting about nutrition, exercise, and fitness from the pre-agricultural ancestral point of view. Maybe a good place to begin would be how I came to be interested in this perspective in the first place.

The short version is, I was nearing obesity at a height of  6'2" and carrying around ~235 lbs. When taking into consideration that my left leg is amputated at the knee and I'm balancing on one foot on the bathroom scale, that's another 10 or 15 lbs that would have made the picture (hah!) worse. I was doing what we're told are all the right things though: eating a low fat diet, using "hearthealthy" (HH) 'vegetable' oils (actually plant seed oils); minimizing animal product intake; eating high carbohydrate foods, some factory-made but 'low fat', using lots of nutritional supplements... you get the picture. Pretty much the Standard American Diet (SAD). Sorry about all the abbreviations, but we'll need to use them over and over.

Since my dad and his sister both became Type 2 Diabetics -both eventually dying from the progression of its associated diseases- and my mom had died from sudden cardiac arrest, I knew I needed to make some big, effective changes. Thank goodness for the internet, coupled with a healthy dose of discernment and skepticism. Over a ten or twelve year period the information available has exploded and become better. Oh yeah, there is a ton of information out there, and sometimes it's hidden or too technical or draws unwarranted conclusions.

By finding and acting on what I believe is some of the best information "out there", my weight has dropped to ~200lbs (again, balancing on one foot), and I've gained strength and muscle mass, although at 70YO there ain't gonna be much more muscle being manufactured.

So that's how we got here. My goal is to find the gems in the fields of nutrition, fitness, archaeology, anthropology, physiology and more. Boil it down, distill its spirit, and share it in ordinary language so that anyone who's thirsty can drink. Bet you thought I was talking about something else for a second, didn't you.

One thing we'll keep in mind is, there is no one-size-fits-all. Each of us is a n=1 sample size.

That's all for this introductory post. We'll get to weightier things soon. Thanks for reading.

As we go forward, I hope everyone will feel welcome to participate by commenting freely.

And let's be cordial to one another, shall we?