I think I first heard of the book on this list and purchased it soon after.
I read most of it on the plane traveling from Ohio to California. I highlighted, underlined entire paragraphs and made notations in the margins.
Seriously the book has changed my thinking (funny how knowledge will do that) and most importantly it changed my goals.
I can not totally convert my life and what we as a family eat in a snap of the fingers... but I can begin a slower change.
Have you read it?
Did it change you or how you eat, think of food?
Which section of the book most impressed you?
I have read it and loved it! Michael Pollan is a very interesting guy and makes a ton of sense. I guess my favorite part was his visit to PolyFace Farms, and as a result, I am now a huge Joel Salatin fan. He has written a book called "Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal!" It, too, was informative, and his insights were humorous, yet depressing at the same time. Another book I would recommend by Pollan is "In Defense of Food," It is a much shorter read than his other books, but equally insightful.
Yes, to answer your question it did change me to a degree. I was already headed that way and looking for ways to do so, and the OD book just reinforced my commitment and provided new resources and info to further that cause.
Question...do you think anyone could eat a chicken mcnugget again after reading OD? That part about all the chemicals in that stuff...I read that part out loud where I work! Most people's jaws dropped. Of course, most of those who I read it to still take their kids to McDonalds and feed their kids that crap. Good marketing always prevails!
I'm reading "In Defense of Food" now, just started it. (after an attempt to read The Botany of Desire, for me that one was a wash, too wordy and not all that interesting) In defense of Food looks like it's going to be good.
The Polyface Farm was my favorite part of OD too... I thought, "now that's the way to do it"
The hunter gatherer chapter was very interesting for certain, but there is less learning about the process compared to farming.
I used to splurge and purchase range free eggs, now I have a hard time doing it, it seems almost useless. Every time I see range free on the carton I snarl inside.
One things for sure, next year's garden will be bigger.
Lips that touch Chicken McNuggets shall never touch mine *L*
Did you read OD? I was wondering if you found it as horribly sad and regretfully enlightening as I did?
Obviously you read "The Future Will Not Be Microwaved", how did it compare with OD, what did you think between the two of them.
I've seen it, but haven made the purchase.
One of these days I'll break down and buy "Wild Fermentation", I snooped about his website and followed his recipe for Sauerkraut.
It's really a must read, one of the most shocking things I found was the so called "Organic" industry which is noting less than our standard factory farms without chemicals, pesticides and hormones.
The treatment of animals by organic factory farms is only slightly better that standard mass produced farm products.
I felt so sad and angry over what I learned. As far as I'm concerned Whole Foods is guilty of numerous sins against the consumer who pays a butt tone extra thinking they are actually getting a free range chicken, or pastured raised beef.. Ha!
OK we get a brownie point for organic, but there is nothing healthy, or praise-worthy about the way they treat mother earth or the meats and dairy food they sell.
It's true, people don't want to know. Many times when I made the statement, "You'll never eat a chicken nugget again" the normal response is "don't tell me, because I like my chicken nuggets"
On the other hand, the book can be discouraging, a huge portion of our population doesn't have the resources to purchase real pastured beef, etc. and they don't live where it's possible to raise their own... so whadda ya do?
How does the apartment dweller deal with his food source?
Dove, I agree about the sham of mass-produced "organic" meats and veggies. I am a STRONG advocate for raising Brix in the soil; to me it's the answer to nutrition, and I can do it myself. One thing I remember reading while researching for my Brix article was "Don't feed a cow 12ºBx alfalfa and expect 20ºBx milk. Julius Hensel was right, we have taken all the minerals out of the soil, and it's the minerals that give us Health.
I'm looking for a cow share... even apartment dwellers could do that. City poeple can join CSA's, or raise tomatoes and squash on their balconies. Maybe they can't do it all, or even enough, but it's a start.
Dovey: Just checked out your link! It really is true that what we should eat follows one style or another.
I remember writing a paper in graduate school on what prehistoric populations ate.
And throughout my career in archeology it was my job to collect all of the environmental data and make suggestions about what those populations had for dinner. We had a flotation device and took samples from all excavation units. This gave us good information on the plants available and statistics on those that were the most popular. Bones of course came out with the regular screening of artifacts from the site.
Today, every archeological report would give you this information. There might be other artifacts such as monos and metates, and other tools that had been food processing equipment.
Of course what they ate was what was abundantly available in their environment.
Excellent points about eating what is available locally. Even though we tended not to live as long back in the day, I often wonder if 1/8 of the population was diabetic, 1/3 would develop cancer, or 1/2 develop heart disease. Mankind did well under those "restrictions." Infant mortality rate was higher, so maybe the average life span was skewed by that.
As far as the access to pastured animals, foods, etc., I faced the same challenges about 4 years ago, when in Tennessee, most farmers looked at you like you were crazy to suggest that a grain based diet was bad for livestock. I ended up going to a local food co-op, got onto a weston price local newsgroup (best resource for this!) and started asking questions and ended up with more possibilities than I could've checked into. I now buy directly from farmers and sometimes have to travel 50 or 60 miles to trade. When gas was $4.50 that really hurt! In the end, when money was an issue, I looked at other things that I was paying for that I could do without. Do I really need the movie package on my cable? Did I really need a cell phone? A landline? New clothes that were on sale? It is different for everyone, but we all have things that we could give up in exchange for buying higher quality food that takes us to better health, right? Pollan talks about this in "In Defense of Food" and a little in OD. We have evolved (in our society) into believing food is only a caloric requirement and not connected to health in a real sense. So, the cheaper the better. We spend less than ever on food, yet we keep getting sicker, and spend more on healthcare as a result. It is truly a great book!
Pollita: What is the "Twinkie, Deconstructed?" I can guess, but would like your opinion.
jimmyd: Your in depth observations are refreshing.
The archeological populations that I worked on in the Southeast had mortality mainly due to infections of various kinds. And for a certain period along the Tombigbee there was an intrusive culture and cemeteries full of individuals - women and children - riddled with projectile points and bashed with rocks. It was genocide.
But mainly people were healthy when they ate what was locally available.
I dont remember ever of seeing reports of cancer, diabetes, and I don't know if heart disease would leave an archeological trace.
There are always reasons for dying but from what Ive seen prehistoric populations were much healthier than us. And some of them did live to be quite old.
Monos and metates... is that an ancient mortar and pestle? I had to google that one *S*
"And what we eat now is what is available in ours."
Available yes, but most people don't realize what they're eating is not what they think it is.
(I.E. there is more genetically modified corn and corn by products in a chicken nugget than there is chicken)
I think one of the ideas behind locavore or slow food movements is to eat what's available during the season it's naturally at an abundance. Which I assume is what ancient man did. In the book OD he has a chapter on the hunter/gatherer.
Quoting:when in Tennessee, most farmers looked at you like you were crazy to suggest that a grain based diet was bad for livestock.
Amazing how The Department of Agriculture has "educated" (translate; brainwashed) our farmers. I never knew that corn was not part of a cow's natural diet... or that eating corn will actually make a cow sick. Yet, you hear corn-fed all the time as if it's a wonderful thing.
While visiting family in Michigan, I found the general consensus was genetically engineered seed was the greatest thing since sliced bread... they gave no thought to the long term effects. These are good people, but as farmers their education has been skewered by propaganda put out by Monsanto.
While I don't remember the tale of the Twinkie and the blackboard storage, I DO remember Adele Davis saying that so many packaged foods (not canned or bottled) can be put on the shelf for a very long time and even the bacteria won't eat them... and that was in the 1960's! Just think what she'd say now...
If you watched the extras on the SuperSize Me DVD, they did a study of McD's burgers and fries compared to a local real burger in terms of how long it takes them to decay.
The McD's will last a loooong time. Even the slime moulds didn't like the fries.
Our immune systems know when something is not good for us and it gets pickier as we get older since most of us don't learn how to take care of our digestion until after we have problems. There are two brands of organic ice cream that I can eat in this area, all the others make me feel poorly afterwards. Even ethnic brands (saffron & cardomom, rose or pistachio ice creams) that used to be more like homemade are now filled with artificial colourings and other odd ingredients. PIllita, did you use conventional cream/milk when you made your ice cream? I'm wondering if your DH would react the same way if you were able to make the ice cream with pastured dairy. The way the food is produced and prepared today makes much of it toxic rather than nutritious.
I stayed away from all those evil things ( about 98%) for 4 years. Then slowly reintroduced a tiny bit so now I can handle some. Like ice cream once in a blue moon. Commercial bread if it's served. All those dang nitrates and pyrophosphates... Can't have it too frequently though. More just enough to survive in the general vicinity of mainstream America.
Adding...made with real milk and real cream... or real corn and real flour, none of these things bother myself or my Mom whose system is waay more finicky...
I have noticed the same thing since preparing preservative free food (i.e., real food). Not that I plan on leaving it out, but when it happens, no biggie. I must admit, when I take my lunch to work at the hospital, I often forget to transfer my food to the fridge and have yet to get a GI bug as a result. The other thing, is that, as you mentioned, the lacto bacteria issue. Many foods, including raw milk, have a natural preservative built in system that produces or increases these wonderful microbes. They not only preserve food, they replenish the good bacteria in your gut. Recently, I found a forgotten quart jar of raw goat milk in the fridge, which, to the best of my memory, had to have been in there for at least two months. It had curdled. I poured it out, expecting the horrific odors of "regular" milk and to my surprise, it just had a sour odor. I wouldn't have drank it, but certainly not the off odors associated with rotten processed food (that is supposed to be safe for us!).
Have you guys considered consuming raw dairy (goat or sheep is best, I think) and the wonderful cultures associated with raw dairy? Kefir, Viili, Fils Mjolk, REAL yogurt, etc? I would be willing to bet that your hubby would not only "tolerate" this but his abdominal issues may disappear. Pasteurized and homogenized (organic or not) dairy is one of the biggest reasons we have health problems in our society, IMO. There is an enzyme, xanthine oxidase, which is produced in homogenization (some say pasteurization) and is believed to cause scarring of the vascular system. (Can you say "high cholesterol?" There were studies conducted back in the fifties that involved autopsies on soldiers from the Korean War (19 and 20 year olds) that showed this extensive scarring. All of the soldiers he studied had pasteurized and homogenized milk as a major part of their diets. And lets not forget the famous "Pottenger's Cats." studies done done about 60 or so years ago. Kittens fed their mother's milk after it was processed, and not their mother's milk in raw form, suffered extreme consequences, many even died, rather quickly, if memory serves me.
One of the things we use are dairy ferments for is to innoculate our grains for the purpose of making wonderful, dense breads, similar to how our ancestors did. I am not a big proponent of consuming alot of grains in one's diet, but prepared in this way makes it much more tolerable for me, at least. We also use a tablespoon or so of kefir whey (diluted in water) to soak our grains so as to remove the phytic acid from the coatings of the grains (phytic acid removes vital nutrients from the body-magnesium, copper, zinc, etc). Cooking will not accomplish this. So, when the USDA food pyramid tells us to consume all the grains, they forget to tell us that and many are actually pulling much needed nutrients OUT of their bodies when they follow instructions of improper preparations of food in this microwaved society.
In order to stay connected in some way with the subject line here, I must mention that I would hope that Pollan would appreciate the posts gone wild about good bacteria. It kinda goes along with his theme, I would think! Good microbes rule!
Awww, now a good topic is one that grows up and goes off on it's own...
Might add on the bacteria thing -we cover everything that is not intended to be yeasted by the air (kim chee), and store our cups upside-down. If you make a practice of living with real (honest) bacteria every day, surely you will be better off and have a healthier immune system...
And am I the only one who has wondered how large numbers of people across the country can get simultaneously sick with the same bugs if not through the foods we eat? (seditionist?! sorry...)
Here is a study of the role of phytic acid in diets. It binds up minerals only at very high levels, and can play a role in regulating fatty acids. Also it acts as an antioxidant and is important in regulating free radicals - i.e. aging and cancer.
I think most nutritionists would recommend that whole grains be included in a healthy diet.
You might research cow sharing -there is a farm in Indy (north of) that does this. You buy a share in a milk cow and pay for room, board, and labor for your portion. Then get your percentage of the milk. http://www.applefamilyfarm.com/
Found a vegan recipe -should work well done as I suggested in the post -I prefer to leave it on the counter to catch the local yeasty-beasties!!
Julie's Vegan Kimchi
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1/4 cup minced ginger
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 large head Nappa cabbage (about 4-1/2 pounds), sliced into 1-inch or larger pieces and quartered
3-4 tablespoons kosher salt
5 tablespoons Korean hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1. In a saucepan, whisk together water and rice flour until smooth. Heat over medium heat, whisking continuously, until mixture thickens and starts to simmer. Remove from heat and let cool off a bit. Add ginger and garlic, whisking well.
2. In a very large bowl, add cabbage and sprinkle with salt, pepper and scallions, tossing to mix. Let sit for 5 minutes. Pour sauce over cabbage, tossing well.
3. Let cabbage sit at room temperature for a couple hours. Toss well and place in large container. Refrigerate.
This kimchi can be served as a salad the day that it’s made, or refrigerated for up to a week. The kimchi will continue to ferment, developing a stronger flavor each day.
pillita; When I had the antibiotics catastrophe I started taking probiotic pills with cranberry gels. Its so hard to find yogurt here that is not flavored with aspartme,
and plain yogurt for starter is really hard to find.
I have been using OIKOS organic greek yogurt as starter but it has to be Plain.
Its available at Walmart, but you have to remind them to get plain or all there is will be vanilla.
Here is my sauerkraut article: it has recipes for sauerkraut.
Love the sauerkraut recipe -Got me plotting and planning, now!!
The second recipe that's actually listed in the post closely resembles what I do, but has neither the fish sauce nor the shrimp which I think would disagree with you. I believe you would have the best luck with my method and her fresh ginger as my method allows more time for ferment. I only use Hodgson mills organic white flour, but you may be able to use others -rice flour should be good. Overall the recipes are very similar. The souring is what differs so...
The gov't food pyramids only show potential ingredients and leave off the importance of proper food preparation and proper food consumption. How we make our food and how we eat it (in a relaxed and peaceful setting or stressed out on the run) are equally important to good digestion and good nutrition.
Thanks darius. I should have been clearer about that.
I know grains have gotten a bad rap lately as people react to modern hybrids and convenient, but improper, preparation of the grains. We need a varied diet, eating with the seasons. No need to vilify grains, just understand them and prepare them the way our ancients would have prepared them.
Unfortunately, WE have lives of our own and can seldom manage the commitment it would take to collectively veto all the embedded legislation that slips by...it's all the little legal afterthoughts that are killing us.
There seems to be a promotion of the myth that grains contain phytic acid (all seeds, beans, and grains do) there fore they should be avoided because they bind up minerals. They also provide minerals, even out good and bad cholesteral, and they are antioxidants to combat aging and cancer. So many people want to pick out one type of information and forget the rest.
Black beans and rice everybody! Cheap and healthy.
Mostly what is unhealthy about grains is the fact that we remove the fiber and bleach the remainder.
Grownut, I don't think we need to track every detail of legislation our government passes. We need to track the kind of legislation our representatives are passing, and stop voting for the ones who represent corporate interests only. We also need a system where representation can't be bought and paid for. Fighting over the details will wear us out, especially when Senator so-and-so who represents Con-Agra can hire a couple people to fight the battle on our dollar.
I know this sounds political, but, IMO, as long as we have a 2 party system, and the people keep voting for candidates from one of the two parties in power...we're cooked. I have been saying this for almost 30 years. Those who believe otherwise, that is fine, but look at the results. Both parties are killing us. They are corrupt to the core and are totally self serving all the while telling us how great a job they are doing. And most folks buy into this because of the fear of the "other guys" being in power. How's that working out for us int he past 20 or 30 years?
Two things we must be willing to do is 1) Take responsibility for our lives and quit looking to government to solve all of our problems and 2) we must be willing to step out from this cycle of insanity and be willing to vote for candidates that are not bought and paid for. Candidates of a new ilk do not have to win elections at first, all they have to do is get attention, with about 10%-15% or so of the vote, for starters. You don't always have to have the loudest voice in the room to be heard...
As far as the soaking/fermenting thing about grains that I brought up earlier (?). There are other reasons to do this besides phytic acid issues (which I failed to mention...sorry!), including neutralizing enzyme inhibitors, tannins and lectins, predigesting complex starches and sugars, and encouraging the breakdown of cellulose and gluten. (See link below) Why not take advantage and optimize the enormous nutrition so many grains have to offer by minimizing potential challenges?
This info, and much more can be found on the video link below. Grains do have alot to offer, but, apparently our human digestive systems are not sophisticated enough to do it efficiently and/or without some ill effects or w/o proper preparation, according to Sally Fallon (and many others who have studied this issue) Thank you to Dairus for initially posting this link on another thread:
We must remember, humankind has practiced these preparation techniques for eons (until modern agriculture "saved" us from having to do this anymore), and perhaps (my thinking here) this is because there were some visible problems encountered along the way by not doing so. Personally, I trust what is tried and true, and usually do not feel the need for science, government, or corporations to tell me what is best, especially when it comes to mine and my family's health.
I have been soaking/fermenting grains for some time (not a HUGE grain consumer) and the issues I used to have with (personal here!) gas and weight gain have been minimized with these processes.
jimmyd61, one of the things that I keep in mind is that we, the people, ARE the government of this country. Largely I think we have forgotten that this is our job and we have abdicated it. The other big problem I see has to do with the funding of elections and allowances for "gifts." This issue is most critical to address so that officials cannot legally be bought and paid for. Congress has certainly made it illegal for any other federal employee to accept gifts because it would compromise their interests. The word other needs to be removed.
Fermented grains are quite tasty gloria. Actually some of the process jimmy is talking about comes about by warm water soaking. I have a chart that relates temperature to effect relative to brewing interests and may have a link for it on my other computer. A long, slow warm up (3-4hours) would cover the range and may do the job.
One of the things I make is called "Spent Grain Bread" that uses some of the left over barley from making a batch of beer. Its basically a yeast bread with the barley hulls and some of the liquid wort substituted in. I translated the recipe and to a non-brewing approach for some friends. You soak 1 cup of barley at 120-125 F for 30 minutes and then at 150-155F for 1 hour. The lower temperature breaks down proteins and the higher temperature complex carbohydrates. You want enough water to cover the barley and allow for absorption & expansion but not much more. Processing the grain this way provides plenty of sugar (maltose) for the yeast as well.
I have heard of the spent bread technique, but have not yet had the pleasure of trying it.
(Content edited and removed for violating the "politics free" policy of this site. I must say it is very challenging to refrain from political aspects when discussing the subject of REAL FOOD, as this is at the core of the issue. and IMO, one of the biggest reasons we are so sick. Perhaps there could be a specific forum for this type of discussion ("Food Politics") as it is a very legitimate issue, especially in light of the present times).
On the good news front ... I see that Michel Pollan is going to be interviewed on an NPR show tomorrow "Talk of the Nation" in the afternoon. Not sure of the time.
The important ones are the acid (maybe), protein, and the balanced alpha/beta amylase (with slight preference on the alpha) at temperatures of 95, 122, and 150 F respectively. Note that the temperatures are really ranges over which enzyme activity occurs. Too cold and there is no activity. Too hot and the enzymes break down before they can complete their job.
I posted another thread about this talk by Thomas Friedman... http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/916931 He says the Green Revolution will be over when we stop using the word "Green"...just like Civil Rights...except in extraordinary cases. How it is so much more than Facebook or Chat Rooms...it is about survival.
A quick side note - if you're looking for some evidence of dietary implications of the Western mindset, you might want to read "The China Study". It's pretty impressive. Fits in well with Pollan's book, IMO.
I would invite you to share what you know about the books you find here, or add any we've missed--new titles are always welcome as long as they tie into farming and gardening.
And now for a warning whistle. Please keep your posts focused on what you can do (or are doing) to promote sustainability, and leave the political comments at the door. The DG no-political discussion or debate rule is still in force in this forum.
I'm reluctant to start removing threads, but that will be the next step if the trend here continues. Our admin team is too small and busy to go through and perform surgery on some posts, and ensure the remaining posts have some continuity of thought. Our only option is to remove entire threads, so please do your part: stop and read before you hit "send".
If you know of some posts where you let ill-advised comments spill over, then edit out the political sidebars from your posts. Due to the edit limits, it might take you a few days to "scrub" your own posts, but it's the best way to ensure the entire thread won't wind up taken down at some point.
There is a little known use for EM - that is to drink a tablespoon every day. Good/marvelous probiotic!!!
Dated a fellow (a self proclaimed healer) who advocated sprouted pulses/beans before cooking them. Not to a big sprout...but until you see the little tiny green 'start' on the bean. It changes it from a carb. to a vegetable.
There ARE tiny micro-movements (of the growing/eating kind) going on all over...just need to connect with them. I think that even if we can sub half of what we consume with what we grow (in the way of veges and fruit) we are way ahead of the curve.
Darius...I have been preparing vege beds with molassas - using the CSI technique as much as I can and the veges grow better and taste better. Haven't done the Brix text yet...
Good thread!!! Dovey...now that you have read OD...you must read In Praise of Food - same author...more great thoughts!!!
Sorry I have been absent from the list for a bit.. but, holidays, family visits and my brother was in the hospital. Ack
It all kept me too busy to "Dave" like I usually do.
I think some people read books like OD and feel the necessary change is far beyond what they can accomplish and just don't do anything. Yet even a small change is better than no change.
This year we had a fairly successful garden and we are still eating vegetables from our summer harvest.
Our beans were devoured by squash bugs, or rabbits or some sort of pest, so I purchased from a local farmer blanch and froze them. I'm sure they weren't organic, (anything organic can't be that beautiful - these beans were flawless) but they were local. (1/2 of the equation is better than nothing)
Who, if any here, would have a hard time eating game or a chicken you personally raised? It seems as if we have become so far removed from our food we have a detached view of what we are actually eating and how it ended up on our dinner table.
In OD the writer mentions how people feel hunting is wrong, or cruel... yet they never think of the fact that the meat they regularly purchase at the local market was also killed. (most likely in a less humane way and lived a horrific life.) I thought it was an excellent point.
I purchased "In Defense of Food" and I'm trying to read it, here's the problem, my mom lives with us, Matt's mom is visiting for the holidays, it's like have 75 year old twins in the house... holey-moley, those two can keep you running, if fact we refer to them as the moms, just like you would say the kids, or the boys.
I've managed to read a page here and there, once the holidays are over and the Christmas tree is packed away for another year, then I'll be able to settle into the book.
Speaking of Christmas trees, that's another thing we did (not really related to food) once the LED lights went on sale we purchased enough at 1/2 price for next year's tree. That will save about 90% of the electricity it takes to light a tree with conventional lights.
Dovey I once had the idea of raising my own meat chickens. I can tell you without reservation that if I had to raise my own meat and kill it and dress it, I would be a vegetarian. I love having chickens, don't have a problem shooting them with a 22 rifle and chopping their heads but that's the end of it. I tried several times and could not force a morsel past my lips.
I can go fishing, clean them and wait until the next day to eat them. I'm just a big wimp.
I don't have a problem with hunting but do have problems with many hunters. I taught my son to not pull the trigger until he was sure and to always use a second shot to make sure the death was fast and humane. And that killing must always be for a good reason, such as food, or protecting livestock.
OD turned on lights for me! I will not eat anything but grassfed natural beef now - except this Christmas I splurged and we had Grain Fed Fat Marbled NY Steaks!!! Once or twice a year will not kill me..or us. The book gave me such an awareness for the C**P put in our food; Madison Avenues' hype that cooking is simply too complicated and we don't have time; and the subtle ways we are urged to buybuybuy.
You will like IPOF - . I could eat my own chickens...once DH kills and cleans them which I can't bear to do but it doesn't bother him. I would actually look for someone else to do it... And I find I eat less and less meat.
My dad taught me to fish and clean my fish, never bothered me... and I have vague memories of helping pluck chickens as a child.
When it comes to game or farm animals, I don't think I could do the killing, I'm a bit of a girly girl in that regard.
But my husband knows how and would not have a problem with it. His grandfather and uncles taught him to hunt and dress meat, it was just a part of life growing up in Michigan.
On the other hand my daughter raises chickens and has no problem butchering them, her husband hides out in the house while she does it, the process makes him gag. (seriously he gags)
I grew up in Michigan. yes there is lots of game and my brothers were hunters - always butchering some animal on the kitchen table.
My Mom grew and raised chickens - sold the eggs and dressed the chickens out to sell.
When I was little I did chop the heads off.
Today - and for the last 30 years - I am a vegetarian.
Personally I don't think it is ethical to take the life of another animal. Some one asked me once why I was vegetarian - and I told her. Her eyes rolled back
and she shook her head. That's what they are for! She said.
And she is probably right in that many animals would not be here if they were not raised on farms to slaughter.
But I hope no more will be slaughtered on my behalf.
Its a personal choice I do understand. Its my personal choice.
I've been following along...I read Omnivore's Dilemma so long ago, followed by a lot of similar books. I tend to read in groups of 6-8 books on a subject to get a rounded opinion. ANyway, I don't remember specifically what I read where so wasn't comfortable jumping in. There's also The End of Food...I think that's the one with the details on corn, which was fascinating, and how we gave over our whole food culture to corn and its byproducts.
And of course Fast Food Nation.
You would like, I think, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle. Her family went local, and documented the challenges and joys of doing so. They did raise some turkeys, too.
I am mostly vegetarian, though we did a roast for Christmas for the other members of the family. I have cut WAAAAAY far back on meat...it's' a depressing subject...
Anyway I'd like to have chickens for insect control and eggs, but I won't slaughter. Maybe it's a good thing that there are some people not bothered by it.!
A quote from a pioneer diary, in Barbara Kingsolver's book, has stuck with me. The woman was down to her last chicken, and she debated its slaughter in her diary "heaven knows we need the meat, but I'll miss the company" Struck me to the heart.
"Animal Vegetable Miracle" is a great book, my daughter sent it to me and it was the 1st in my evolution. Until I read that book I felt pretty darn good about the way we ate and shopped. It changed both, but had a greater effect on how I shopped.
If you're looking for the great insect control I recommend Muscovy Ducks, not too pretty to look at, but fabulous in the pest control department. http://geocities.com/MUSCOVYDUCKS/
I must try to find Kingsolver's book...I really like her writing and thoughts on most everything!
Some of my feelings involve the fact that most people are simply not aware of what they put in their mouths. Madison Avenue (and we all know whom I mean) have tranquilized the masses with all kinds of messages and additives. My DIL read OD and her whole life changed and she considered herself a healthy eater 'before', as did I. Education is the key... There are adults I have me, here and on the mainland, who have never eaten a vegetable. I have met a couple of them here...NEVER!!! Their parents hadn't either. I wish cooking could be taught in gradeschool...cooking vegies, growing healthy food.
Darius, I've been keeping up with a few threads here in the Sustainable Alternatives forum, and appreciate the links you've furnished to videos and web sites concerning Sally Fallon/Weston Price org. Nourishing Traditions has been on my Wish List for a while, but I see now I need to bump it up closer to the top, lol.
I've just started reading Joel Saladin's (Polyface farms) book, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal. The poor man HAD to have a sense of humor to get through the stupidity he's dealt with on his Virginia farm. The book would be dry and angry without his humor!
I'm also reading Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, so far I like it, too, very informative!
I've been wondering about Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal. I'm looking for a book for my brother, he has a personality that leans towards "revolution" not in regards to any political agenda, but more on a personal level, he's always been a rebel.
My purpose is that I want to get him on a revolutionary food track so I can then give him a book about changing his personal eating habits or lack thereof to improve his health. (He has some serious health issues mostly having to do with his colon.)
To make a long story short (I know too late now)
I'm looking for a Book-Hook... so I can reel him in.
I wrote all that to ask you this, do you think Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal. could be that kind of book?
Do you think it would be a good introduction to something like Wild Fermentation: By Sandor Katz
I have read both books and loved them both. Salatin is my kind of guy. Sandor is cool, too, but in a totally different way.
I think his "Our Future Will Not Be Microwaved" may be more similar to "Everthing..."
Salatin absolutely cracked me up with his terrific insights with what he does, how his processes exceed anything the government could ever come up with, and just how ridiculous bureaucracy can be. He is extremely knowledgable about his subjects and I would highly recommend this book as "guy book."
Sandor does a great job as well...pointing out the serious flaws in our food system and provides some interesting insights into how they can be fixed.
Wild Fermentation is a classic book on culturing foods. Recipes from all over the world. Many are simple to follow.
I personally enjoyed all three books. He does a wonderful job in outlining the benefits of fermentation.
My vote would be to get him the Salatin book. At least he will get some good laughs while having his eyes opened!
Then perhaps he might be ready for Pollan...?
Dovey, From what I've read so far in Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, has to do with the goofy, contradictory, regulatory obstacles with being able to manage a legitimate and profitable farm operation. It made me angry a few times already, but Salatin's victories, compromises, and humor brought me back down to a simmer... and I'm only on the first section of the book (The Past).
I can't advise you as to what your brother may need to convert to a better eating/living lifestyle, but the book demonstrates a portion of what a farmer has to go through to get the food "started" toward the consumer's table. So, indirectly, it may clue your brother into what he's eating, or not eating. You should borrow a copy to see what you think of it, and how he may react to it.
I read, absolutely LOVED, and constantly refer to, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz! Excellent book!
Good luck with your concerns for your brother!
...and let's not discount Pollan's IN PRAISE OF FOOD. There is also a drier less amusing book called FOOD NATION (not Fast Food Nation) by a woman named Hersey. It is about the regulatory power and absurdity of food in our nation (it is not political, but 'institutional').
dovey, you can get a feel of Salatin's writing style by reading Joel's article "Everything I Want to Do is Illegal" that was published in AcreaUSA in 2003. I'm not sure if the article was an extract from the book, or if the book grew from the article. Here is a link to the article from Acres reprint library: http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/Salatin_Sept03.pdf
Sandor Katz's Future Will Not Be Microwaved covers more of the underground food movements.
Wow! I did a search for locavore and what did I stumble upon? My very fab and beautiful mama talking about OD and other great books!
I am working my way through OD and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, oh and Real Food. It seems I never get the chance to sit and read these days so it takes me a lot longer to get through a book! Audible.com has OD and Animal, Veg, Miracle as audiobook so I can download and listen from mp3 while I putter around the house or yard.
I really would like to check out Food Not Lawns. Has anyone read it or turned their little city sized lot into a mico-farm to feed family and friends? I read about a guy that used his double-wide mobile lot to grow over $5000 worth produce that he sold at local farmer's market. How cool is that?
I got Animal, Vegetable, Miracle from my library on CD and listened while I drove back and forth to work. Immediately I started shopping at the local winter farmer's market and found enough there to survive the winter with fresh veggies adding what I had dehydrated last summer. I have given up bananas and citrus almost entirely and have vowed not to buy out of season fruit and veggies. (sigh)
AVM is an eye opener isn't it?
It totally changed how I thought about the virtues of just any ole organic food.
We find winters to be difficult, we're just about out of all or frozen garden vegetables.
I never eat bananas on the mainland...they taste like cardboard. Ours are picked from our trees and undescribably delicious!!! I must get that book AVM - am a firm believer in 'whole foods' not food products. My favorite sin is buying grain fed beef every couple of months and really enjoying it!!!!
Well, bananas ARE worrisome for me, and so is coffee. Morally, I know I should not buy either.
As I recall, Kingsolver's family didn't give up coffee, but I don't remember about bananas. I'm hoping to run into her at our farmer's market some day, as she mentions in her book that they shop there during the fresh produce season. I'd love to meet her.
If I HAD to live on the mainland...I would have a special TALL greenhouse, small, just to grow my own bananas... The dwarf apple banana (or the dwarf williams) are my faves... A Hawaiian friend of mine says they are too sweet to make banana bread...
Describe a banana that is too sweet? I know that in Central America the bananas are all carefully processed for import into the US...fumigated, bagged and shipped...
Had a discussion with my son as to why I didn't come home from the store with Mangos tonight. Out of season - what was in the store you would not enjoy eating - whatever they do to them to make them edible out of season - nutritional content - taste. Reminded him how good the Peaches we got from our neighbor were last Summer. We planted three fruit trees this Winter and are looking forward to fresh Peaches, Plums, and Pears. No bananas here - not without a heated greenhouse. I'd be more tempted by Mangos anyway.
Aloha, bananas are grown in Southern California, along with guavas, lichees, etc.
There is a Vietnamses family from somewhere near Lancaster that is growing the tropical fruit. They sell at the farmer's markets. I don't know enough about their operations to know how sustainable that is though.
There are many banana trees here but they rarely get ripe unless you "bag 'em" to get them ripe. Also we had a tree in Santa Barbara, but the bananas were not good to eat. Zone 8 must be too far north for them.
I plan to try guavas this year. We had guavas in San Diego - but then we had oranges and avacadoes there also.
we grew the fuerte avacados, Im not sure if the fat guatemala one's grow in the US.
We had a variety of banana trees and avocados when we lived in Florida. There were a couple of banana varieties that I did not like for fresh eating but enjoyed cooked (no, these were not the standard plantains). I've found that I've lost my desire for many tropical fruits now that I eat locally produced foods and eat with the seasons. I enjoy them when visiting their local climates but not as a regular part of my diet in the temperate zone.
Well...we seem to be right in the middle between CONUS and New Zealand and right now NZ apples ARE in season and are delicious!!!! As NZ is only a 9 hour flight...they are not old...so once or twice I year I pay 1.59 a lb. for them. US apples, in season are much more expensive!!!!
Things are out of balance: Costco sells Mangos from Mexico for HALF of what we can buy local mangos for. Does this seem right?
Not right at all. The exchange rate game and the "slave labor" avialable in some markets makes for some extreme inbalance. I've thought it would be most fair to base currency exchange rates on the price of a loaf of bread. If you want to include more items on a weighted basis that would be fine, just normalize it on a same weight/volume/square foot/etc. basis.
And would that be the cost of a loaf of bread made the old fashioned way with a slow ripening dough that took a minimum of 12 hours for the first rise so that the phytates had been removed and the loaf was nourishing or a loaf of modern junk bread that was made in ~ 4hours and pulls nutrients from the body? That's the problem with price indices. Someone finds a way to short circuit a good concept.
"...pulls nutrients from the body". YIKES. Please send me somewhere where I can learn more about this... It is a new one for me.
Tomorrow am going to a University of Hawaii presentation of 9 Ag. students projects with growing vegies hydroponically. GEnerally these are all closed circuit systems...what the homeowner can do. If intereting...will report with pictures...I am exciting about it!!!
My husband (the bread maker in the family) takes days to make bread.
The first step is once he has combined the ingredients he puts the whole batch in the frig over night (or longer) during that time sugars, starches and yes phytates change and break down.
The bread is better than you can imagine, and obviously healthier.
Depending on what kind of bread he's making it takes 1 to 5 days.
But it's not like he's working on it for hours, it's just a step by step process that can't be shortcut if you want good bread.
Just now reading this thread. I honestly don't trust much of anything in wikipedia, because anyone can edit it and put in anything they want to. However, I have started making my own bread several times a week because it saves a lot of money!
I realized that a nice baguette of French Bread was $3.99 at the bakery. OMG - that is way too much money for flour, water and salt and yeast. So I've been baking my own. Been trying a lot of recipes, and been having fun doing it.
We have gotten to the point that I can bake a loaf of bread every other day and then throw what is leftover to the chickens or make salad croutons from the stale bread.
No preservatives. No packaging.
Heck, I'm a huge conservative, politically, but I'm pretty durn green when it comes to the foods I've been baking/cooking/growing. It just makes fiscal sense, and I get good exercise out there weeding and planting and growing food.
Oh, and I learned how to can our pears, apples and peaches for winter. Yummy.
3.99 is what we pay for a bargain GOOD bread at a box store!!! The local bakery had to shut down because he was having to charge 7$ for a loaf of bread and the economy just wouldn't take it.
I too am baking my own bread and am curious about: The Wikipedia article mentions microbiotic lactobacillus being helpful in breaking down the phytase. Would adding EM during the mixing help to activate all those good critters????
Its still the best there is on the web. As with any kind of research you check the sources and if it is a point of view (as opposed to factual information) support what you say. If its factual information its up to the researcher to verify if its complete.
This is true of any source.
I found the entrys under phytates very informative: especially that phytates are used in cancer cases to "mop" up elements in the body that are in excess or not metabolized. The article makes me want to know more.
Maybe you could mop up excess iron in hemochromotosis by just eating commercially produced white bread???
Hmmmmm but I hate white bread (except crustless as in eggsalad sandwiches).
I also heard that it is OK to eat raw albacore because the mercury is bound up in the flesh...it is cooking it that releases the mercury. Anyone know if this is true...guess I need to spend a year on line!!!!
lactobacillus is in yogurt or kefir whey.
If you take a scoop of yogurt out of the container the next day you will notice a clear liquid that forms in the whole, that's whey and it contains lactobacillus.
You can pour off a teaspoon or two and add it to your bread as part of the liquid.
You can also buy live lactobacillus - Lactobacillus acidophillus in the supplement section at your drug store. Its called Probiotic and taking these is very protective of your immune system. You can also get this bacillus from yogurt.
Although phytic acids have their place and their purpose, it is not a good idea to consume them in high amounts as a regular part of our diet. There are better ways to mop up excess iron than eating commercial white bread.
The traditional way of preparing grains by soaking, sprouting, fermenting and/or cooking has value. Oats are high in phytic acid and the traditional way to prepare oat porridge is to soak it overnight in acidulated water. The acidity was traditionally provided by the addition of a small amount of whey from the yoghurt/kefir or cheesemaking.
Once you get used to eating bread from slow ripened doughs, it's hard to go back to the other kind. It just doesn't "set right" in the body.
I was once told that if you sprout your beans before cooking them...just until you see the little green nubbin start to emerge, you have changed them from a starch to a vegetable and they taste the same. Anyone have any comments on this?
My familiarity is mostly with Barley. Within Barley the changes are more of a "softening" of the carbohydrates and proteins so that the young plant can make use of them. A number of enzymes are released that affect the breakdown of different stored nutrients. The whole process also makes the nutrients more readily available to us. Perhaps the sprout itself contributes to its being more vegetable-like in character.
Not quite a bean-specific answer, but there similarities in the way seeds work.
I don't think you can use powdered whey protein for soaking but if you don't have whey, yogurt or kefir you can use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. It is the acid that helps neutralize what some call anti-nutrients.
I don't know about soaking it/them in yogurt...but I do soak the oats in the whey...and I just leave it on and cook it up...adding water or milk. Don't know why you couldn't do that with bulger. how do you cook bulgar, Darius?
Beans and legumes are actually a protein source, not a starch, because the human body is not able to utilize the carbohydrates in legumes.
Soaking bulghur in yoghurt or kefir is a traditional Arabic appetizer. Variations of this are eaten throughout the Arabic speaking world.
Quoting:Burghul and Yogurt Appetizer - Kishkeh
Serves about 6
A simple dish favoured by both rich and poor in Damascus, kishkeh is delicious and healthy.
1/2 cup medium burghul, soaked for 10 minutes in warm water; then drained by squeezing out water through a strainer
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon finely crumpled dried mint
4 tablespoons finely chopped cucumber
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine all ingredients, except coriander and olive oil then spread on a platter on a platter. Chill, then decorate with coriander and sprinkle with olive oil just before serving.
Bulgar has been steamed, dried, and crushed by the time you buy it in the store.
For yogurt, I would add it to a bread recipe. The lactobacillus have the time it takes for the bread to rise, or overnight in the fridge if you make bread that way.
AlohaHoya, I didn't quite mean to claim letting beans or seeds sprout removed their standing as a carbohydrate food item. The process of sprouting does make the nutrients more available - including the carbohydrates. Its a good thing. The young sprout represents the conversion of some of the protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients into new forms in a new plant. If you think about it all plants store energy, and seeds are high energy and protein items, packaged to thwarth the easy loss of their nutirents, and designed to give a young plant a good start. The series of events that occur when a plant sprouts kind of "unwind" the packaging that protected the nutrients and makes them available. Energy storage is in the form of fats and carbohydrates. All plants have some quantity of fats or carbohydrates in them and could not survive without them. Same with you and me. The big problem with carbohydrates in our society is that they are dissociated from the fiber and other nutrients in the plant, or even purified. A diet high in these processed carbs is detrimental to our health, but not because the carbohydrates are bad. Without the fiber they stick in our intestines and putrify and release toxins into our systems. Without the vitamins and minerals our bodies don't function properly and are more susceptible to disease. Highly purified forms go quickly into our systems and send our blood sugar skyrocketing which, again, causes our bodies problems (ex can lead to diabetes).
I have a recipe booklet that came with my Harsch crock for natural fermentation. I'll look it up later, maybe tomorrow. Off the top of my head, I think it was alternating layers of cukes (or cabbage if making sauerkraut), salt, grape leaves, some garlic and onion slices, and some horseradish. Cover with boiling water and cover. Let ferment at room temps for about 3 weeks, then store in a cool area.
With the air-lock design of the Harsch crock, pickles or any fermented vegetable can stay in them for several months in a cool cellar; you just need to keep water in the moat, which keeps out unwanted yeast spores and bacteria. I take out a quart or so at a time and refrigerate.
Until I locate my booklet, you could do a search for natural fermentation of pickles, kraut, cauliflower... whatever. I'm sure there are many recipes online. The really BIG advantage, besides taste, is the lactic acid (lactobacillus) formation... which is SO healthy for the body. Canning pickles or kraut kills the lactic acid.
Most pickles are made with a vinegar, water and spice mix
"Real" pickling occurs naturally when cucumbers (or cabbage etc) are placed in a crock with a mixture of either water or the natural juices from the vegetable and salt.
Over a period of days a natural fermentation takes place that preserves the vegetable, it also causes the sourness at the same time.
Wild or natural fermentation is full of probiotics, good bacteria (sort of like yogurt).
To keep pickles crisp while "pickling" the crock is lined with grape (or oak) leaves. I believe it's the tanins in the leaves the maintain the crispness.
Carol, I think you are correct about using alum. Horseradish also contributes to crispness.
When I first joined DG years ago we had a member, Roger, who lived in Belgium... or somewhere like that. He and his wife made their living making and selling fermented vegetables several days a week at the farmer's markets. He posted that they made over a hundred different kinds. I assume many of those were mixed vegetables.
Alum is used for crispness, although if I'm going to ferment / pickle my own then I prefer to go natrual the whole way. (Alum powder is suspect in my mind, as it is a type of aluminum salt)
You can use Kosher Salt or Pickling Salt, but there are trace minerals in Sea Salt that may not make it a good choice for pickling... (one think is that it will make your brine cloudy) it just depends on the particular batch of sea salt (and where it's from) what you're going to get.
I make my own sour kraut, I've pickled carrots and have a small batch of garlic clove going... Cucumber pickles are next on my list. But I gotta grow my cucs first.
Got too curious and did a google search on "bean sprout carbohydrate digest" and found that the sprouting does result in the breakdown of the complex and undigestable carbohydrates. The sprout does use some of the carbs to grow. Don't know if the balance yields more or less for us when we eat the beans. Gas production is reduced as well. Also came across the suggestion to re-dry and grind the beans to flour for an addition to bread.
Fiber has no nutritional value (nutrition = vitamins and minerals), yet while having no nutritional value, it can still be considered a vital nutrient of sorts because our bodies need fiber to function.
The body tends to react to fiber just like any nutrient -- when there is a lack or when the body needs more fiber, it triggers hunger and therefore eating.
A low fiber diet can be a cause of weight gain, because our bodies may often be triggering hunger followed by eating additional and unnecessary calories in an effort to get ammount of the fiber that it needs.
Sprouting does not make the fiber more digestible, fiber is fiber and is never "absorbed".
Sprouting makes the nutrients within the bean or grain more easily digested or assimilated.
Beans and other legumes are considered a protein source whether you sprout them or not because the carbohydrate portion of the legume in not readily absorbed by the human digestive tract. The changes that occur in the sprouting (does not need to be a long root sticking out, just a nub) breaks down the phytates which hinder mineral absorbtion and makes the remaining nutrients more bioavailable.
Traditional ways of preparing beans usually involve soaking them until they root nub shows.
Hiya... I didn't say anything about soluble or insoluble, my point was fiber is not a nutrient, regardless of type, it is not digested and does not contribute to nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals.
From "fiber 101"
Quoting:Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. They are therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies
There are so many other good reasons for consuming fiber... like water, it's something the body needs to function properly.
The plan focuses on these 4 nutients. (They call fiber a nutrient - but the idea is that these 4 go to gether).
QUOTED. p. 3
You know them by their individual names: calcium and vitamin D, both essential to strong bones and teeth; fiber, our blood-sugar busting friend; and omega-3 fatty acids, so important for heart health. What you may not know, because researchers are only now learning it, is that, individually and especially together, these nutrients seem to rev up the body's ability to burn fat, balance blood sugar, and improve insulin response.
Frequent small meals can help stabilize blood sugar in the short term, but is not a good idea over the long term as it will disrupt the bodies ability to burn the fat. Once the blood sugar is stabilized, a weaning process to widen the gap between meals is recommended. The stomach should be empty before the next meal is consumed. If the remainder of the last meal (or snack) is still in the stomach, the new food mixes with the partially digested food make the digestive process inefficient.
QUOTED: The stomach should be empty before the next meal is consumed.
I think this is an important point.
I have seen this "grazing" plan recommended for weight reduction before.
As a diabetic, I think the important thing is that the meals should be small. Overchallenging a system that's already not working well only makes it work worse. And our culture is geared to "all you can eat".
I don't think very many people know how to eat small but adequate portions.
This plan is being promoted as a cure for diabetes. (Type II)
My husband is diabetic. I find that when he eats measured "Normal" portions, his sugar stays within the doctor's limits. Being fed three times a day is an overabundance of food in most of the world's nations. How lucky we are!! and how careful we need to be.
This really all goes back to eating what's in season, what you grow or what farmers in your neighborhood grow, is healthy for you and healthy for the planet.
We are so removed from our food source that over eating, eating too much of one thing or eating processed, packaged foods that as a nation we suffer a national eating disorder and multiple eating diseases.
wow- this is some thread ! i've just found an interesting site about human evolution and food: http://www.naturalhub.com/natural_food_guide_meat.htm
it seems legit- any feedback from you all?
getting back to meat- my moral dilemma is my love for an occasional steak v. commercial treatment of animals v. my shrinking pocketbook for locally raised beef, etc. !
when i was young i would light candles in church and pray my dad would not get a deer. now i would rather eat venison (they run free) than steak, but it's illegal to sell it in ct. !! dilemmas abound .
Interesting article. It resonates with what I have learned over many years of personal research. When I was younger, our family ate organ meats. My dad loved scrambled brains and eggs; mother loved sweetbreads, and liver & onions. I even like liver and onions, just won't eat it anymore. As a cousin says of today's feedlot beef and chemical-laden feed, I make it a point not to eat filters.
I love frog legs, but who can afford them? Many of the other "small foods" he mentioned are foreign to me... that is, my culture discourages their consumption, snails perhaps being an exception in certain groups. I probably have eaten a greater variety of "meats" than most Americans, but I have traveled much of my life, even to Cuba.
Yes, choosing to eat meat can be a moral dilemma, but for me it is becoming more of a safety issue.
maam: As an anthropologist, I would disagree with the author of your article than in human evolution our diet was mainly meat. The last time I looked - well that's been a while - the consensus was that in the temperate zone probably about 80% of our diet throughout evolution was from vegetable sources. We are omnivores, not carnivores. More like pigs than wolves!
Most sources of meat are much harder to catch than vegetable food, so that in most societies it tends to be more of an accompanyment than a main source of food. Also, we tend to forget that women were usually - are usually - the main food providers and preparers and their specialty tends to be gathering/gardening.
Other wise I would agree with the author, that in evolution humans ate many many more kinds of food than we do in "civilized" society. Even traditionally in our own society, we were likely to have on the table what was available - maybe 10 different foods in relatively small amounts. Not piles of one or two things on a plate as we have come to eat now. It is unlikely that anyone regularly ate a whole plate ful of meat with no vegetables. Except for eskimos, maybe - which is not the normal adaptation for human evolution.
I think some of the logic is flawed and the information likely off. Statement at the bottom:
"The information in this site is largely the personal opinion of the author, although it is written in good faith."
A historical review of human habits isn't a matter of personal opinion.
Examples of logic flaws:
- I'm sure the animals on the continents outside of Africa had plenty of time to learn to fear us as hunters. They didn't just stand around letting us pick them off over multiple generations.
- Given the choice between one Buffalo weighing 300 pounds and the equivalent number of Squirrels to produce the same amount of edible meat, I would think killing and processing the one Buffalo would be the easier task. Note that it is a fact that the North American Indians stampeded Buffalo over cliffs and then processed them en-masse. They did not stampede Squirrels. ;)
I'm not saying that humans didn't eat smaller animals. I'm sure we have eaten many different things at many times in our history.
Also depends greatly on locale. Squirrels still ARE eaten around here (okay, not by most). Deer too. Used to be lots of fish available, now less so. Wild turkeys and bear were available. In the rocky thin soil of the Adirondacks, it seems many sheep were also kept.
I love vintage cookbooks. One has explicit directions for cleaning and preparing turtles, pigeons, possum, all sorts of things I hope I never have to cook.
We are healthier than ever on a mostly vegetarian diet. Meat in any form once or twice a month (or never for my daughter). Six or eight different veggies and fruits at dinner.
The diversity of diet, especially in ancient man, had/has a great deal to do with location.
Just consider North America, you're more likely to find vegetable matter (fruits, grains and vegetables) year round in southern and western regions. In those cases the hunter gather would have them available and therefore eat more "vegetable matter" than ancient man in northern & eastern regions.
The ancient man living in Ohio, had to live on meat during the winter, perhaps stored grain.
I for one am extremely grateful I can freeze and can summer crops so I don't have to do that.
Although canning and freezing is not truly "natural" if you're trying to eat like ancient man.
It is a far site more natural than living in Ohio and eating summer squash in January that was grown in Mexico and shipped here at the cost our planet's health.
The further removed we are form our food source we are the less healthy we tend to eat.
Any effort to personally develop a more natural eating habit the better off you will be.
I for one would stew up a squirrel in a heartbeat, if I could just catch one *LOL*
I remember seeing ethnographic films where a hunter would grab a nest full of baby birds and eat them. Ugh. But, people no doubt ate what ever was edible!
Another flaw in the argument is - that we were all originally Africans. Probably that is not true - there are early fossils in SE Asia. Evolution seems to be a circumglobal event. Its questionable that very early man was in S. America though. The evidence is very very meager.
Physiologically - we do very well as vegetarians - but children seem do better with some animal proteins when they are growing so rapidly. Also, most hunting techniques are cooperative events - a bunch of men getting together - and you know how that goes. They make a big deal of it. The staple diet of nearly all groups studied ethnographically is basically a vegetable diet, supplemented with meat. Not a meat diet, with a few french fries thrown in as the author suggests.
Quoting:children seem do better with some animal proteins when they are growing so rapidly
which triggered memory of a story my mother told on me... She said that when I started to talk, I would bang on my highchair tray saying, "I want meat! I want meat!"
I generally believe our bodies know what's good for us when our minds are not clouded by advertising and/or customs and habits. So, do you suppose a small child could somehow intuitively "know" some meat was needed? (I've never been much of a meat eater since childhood.)
Of course, it was also WWII and many things were scarce. We had a vegetable garden, and many tropical fruit trees, but meat may have been a treat rather than daily fare.
It could be. I knew a family who had a teen age son. They decided to go vegetarian but the son was to make his own choice. The rule, though, was that if he ate meat he had to hunt, kill it, and butcher and cook it himself. (!!!) Which he did. They said they wanted to understand what "meat" really is.
I thought that was a little drastic, but the kid didn't seem to mind. They lived in the Tennessee woods so animals for hunting were relatively available.
I don't have a recent link but I read all the "baby" books when I had my first child in 1974. I remember reading several times that if a range food is presented in a non biased way, young children will choose a balanced diet.
I believe that our cravings are often based on physical need. For instance the urge for a dill pickle or to eat a lemon.
I think a lot of times we "crave" something and don't know what it is! It could be a "yearning" for a certain mineral. When we consider how varied the human diet has been and how limited it is now - its no wonder we want something we are not getting.
Well maybe its corn chips?
I remember we used to put a question on the Anthro 101 tests: Why didn't the Tennessee River Valley prehistoric cultures invent agriculture? Answer: They didn't need it. It was one of the lushest environments in terms of food available for humans. And most riverine floodplains are.
The food craving is a good guide. I do notice in our culture, with its eating habits and with people eating to fill emotional needs, that not everybody is in touch with what their body is telling them verses what their emotions are saying. Learing to discern the two different internal voices and addressing them separately is important.
Coming from a family of mixed ethnicities, we have both vegetarian (lacto-vegetarian) and meat eating branches of the family. I do not recall any time of my life when meat ever appealed to me. I have always found the smell repulsive. The meat eating relatives tried to get me to eat it when I was a small child and said I would clamp my mouth shut or run out of the room (and later up a tree) to avoid it. I think some of the confusion that occurs with information on vegetarian diets is that a number of folks use the term "vegetarian" for a vegan diet. Veganism is a relatively recent form of vegetarianism. Historical vegetarian societies have been either lacto vegetarian, ovo vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian, not vegan. Time will tell on the vegan diet.
BTW, contrary to an article published on the WestonPrice website, the traditional Hindu vegetarian diet is a lacto-vegetarian diet, not a vegan one. The scriptural guidlines for a goshalla (dairy) are clear, even if many don't follow them. The farmer/dairyman must provide lifetime employment for all animals bred. Bull calves are to be trained up as oxen, cows are milked for mulitple years on one breeding, even though production volume will drop over time. The number of cows, bulls & oxen kept must not be more than the land can sustain. Most importantly, milk is a precious substance and should not be wasted or consumed greedily (eg, in excess).. The cow went through a lot of work to carry and birth a child (calf) to produce milk. When the cow or ox is elderly, their job is to mow the pasture and provide fertilizer (dung). A few places still operate this way, but not many. Sorry for the off topic rant. I usually agree with much of what is on the wapf site, but that one article really got my dander up. The fellow writing it clearly had not done his homework.
I have always admired the way the Hindi people revere animals. I think Ghandi said, among other things, that they way we treat animals says who we really are. But it teaches a respect for the environment that we don't seem to have here - that we are sharing this planet with other creatures - even the ones that we use domestically. I guess I had read about respecting the whole life of the animal - its good to be reminded.
FYI, the term "Hindu" is a British colonial term that collectively refers to a group of four faiths that originated near the Indus River. Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smarta may share the same primary scriptures (the Vedas), but they have separate secondary scriptures and multiple "denominations" (known as gotras) within each. The term "Hindu" is as generic as saying "Judeo-Christian-Islamic". This is not meant to be a discussion of religion, merely an informational sharing as I know that there are a number of folks who think that "Hindusim" is some sort of homogenous religion belonging only to East Indians. Adherents can be found all over the world and may or may not have east Indian ancestry. Many "Hindu" denominations are vegetarian, but many eat some types of meat as well. The term "Hindi" refers to a language or group of dialects.
Human nature being what it is, interpretations vary. There are many abused and/or neglected animals in India as well. You see many cows wandering the streets because the farmers have "set them free" after they have stopped producing milk or are too old to haul (oxen) because they don't want to feed them anymore. "Freedom" in these cases means freedom to starve to death or be hit by a car or bus. There are animal rescue organizations trying to help them. Some things are the same around the world.
OK, so getting back to Byrnes article. If you read it you will see his implication that folks following a traditional lacto vegetarian diet in Asia are actually eating meat because their food is contaminated with insects and insect droppings and when the same folks move to England and follow the same vegetarian diest from a "clean" food supply, they supposedly develop aenemia. I would contend that Mr. Byrnes hasn't spent much time in the kitchen of any vegetarian Asian families that are middle class or above. The cooking styles include a number of steps to ensure there are no insects in the food. He also fails to consider that when people move to a new country, the eat the foods that they recognize, and have available, which may not be as varied their customary diet, but they make do or import. There are lacto vegetarian families in Europe who have been so for hundreds of years and multiple generations and are very, very healthy.
I usually find the information from the Weston Price foundation to be well researched and well written. The Byrnes article discredits the organization.
garden mermaid - Thank you for the clarification. I knew that Hindu or 'Hindi' referred to a number of religions, but did not realize it is not a term that Indians themselves use. From my readings about Gandhi I assumed this is what he considered himself to be as opposed to the muslims in India. Things are usually more complex that we assume (!).
Rather rude of the guy to assume that asians would not pick the insects out of their milk.
gloria, many Indians/"Hindus" use the term as well because that is a term that a large part of the world is used to. I just wanted to point out that the term does not refer to a homogenous faith or culture. How many denominations can you list for the "western" faiths. Within each denomination there are variations based on nationality, region etc.
It's the same way for the eastern faiths. What may be typical for one group may be very different for next.
In terms of foods that humans have traditionally eaten, gathered vegetable based foods or hunted animal based foods, take a look at Riane Eisler's book "The Chalice and the Blade". http://www.amazon.com/Chalice-Blade-Our-History-Future/dp/0062502891
The book is more a study of human behaviour between groups that were more matriarchal or seeing the divine in terms of a holy mother versus groups that were more paternal and valued the sword or hunting/fighting instruments. Ms. Eisler points out the cultural bias in the interpretation of ancient cave paintings. The anthropologists of the Victorian era interpreted a set up lines rising up from the ground as spears representing hunting. A closer look reveals small lines, like twigs or shoots, rising upwards at an angle, similar to what one would expect from a stalk of grain. So does the cave painting show a hunting scene or an agricultural scene?
garden mermaid: I don't have access to the book. I did read through the reviews. It seems to be to be more than mythology than science though. The idea that there was a social evolution from matriarchal/matralineal stage to a patriarchal/patrilineal stage was a late 19th century idea. Ive never seen any support for this idea, nor for the idea that a matriarchal society is some how less violent or more egalitarian for the sexual roles. I don't think that would be the case. In most relatively classless societies - the roles of the sexes are complementary.
In a matriarchal/matralineal society - the mother's brother is actually the powerful figure - not the mother. So there may be more female images - that does not mean that females had any more power.
In anthropology there is a lot of discussion about "observer bias". Some ethnographic studies - such as Napolean Chagnon's Yanomamo seem to have no women at all in them. The men are represented as totally obsessed with violence and the escalation of violence. If the anthropologist had been a woman - the description might have been quite different. Chagnon had to write what he saw. There is a lot of speculation that he might have been taken for a ride - subjected to a game - by the men whose lives he was trying to observe.
I agree that the bulk of The Chalice and the Blade is not about food but a study of myth and society. This is the only book where I saw questioning of the interpretation of the famous cave drawings (whose location and name elude me at the moment). The close up illustrations clearly look like some type of plant to my eyes. I don't see how they could have been mistaken for spears.
As dovey pointed out, diet is dependent on geography. If you have snow and frozen ground for several months a year, you need to have a lot of stores for the winter and you need to figure out what you can eat when you can't grow/harvest plants. In some areas it might be/have been dried animal flesh or fresh flesh from hunting & fishing, or preserved dairy (cheeses) or fresh dairy if there is stored feed for the dairy animals etc.
I have a much different view of food in the plantation south after reading the diaries of some of the women versus the accounts from the men. Each writes according to their perception of the events (or in this case food).