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25. Is food combining natural and ethical?

What is food combining?

Food combining as a dietary discipline came out first with the so-called Hay diet in the 1920s, which advocated eating vegetables with either carbohydrates, or meat and fat, and eating fruit in separate meals. This format has been advocated in various forms since then.

File:Food Combining Chart.png

By Qwesar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

However, the question arises, based on other posts in this blog: is food combing natural and ethical?

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Is food combining natural?

This post is a follow-up on my previous high-protein or high-carb diet post

The reason why these two posts are part of the same argument is because what emerged from that post is the fact that certain animal species have certain body types and lifestyles that govern which foods can be captured, eaten and digested, and these foods tend to be found in certain combinations of food components.

For example, take a lion. It has the build, power, speed, claws and teeth to be able to catch, kill, tear open and eat a large animal. Further, its digestive system is suited to eating a high protein (animal muscle) high-fat diet as it has a short digestive tract ensuring that rotting meat does not stay in the system too long. The nature of the difficulty of capturing animals ensures that lions don’t eat too often, so they don’t get fat despite the high fat intake and relative laziness they appear to display much of the time.

However, what arises from this observation is the list of food components eaten by a lion. It will consume meat, fat, blood, skin, hair, bones, digestive tract contents (fermenting vegetable foods normally) and possibly some soil. They may look for certain herbs or grasses to swallow to aid digestion. They may even eat berries if they are about. They don’t rush off and eat grains or dairy.

Here you can see what it takes to be a true carnivore in close up view (note the size and shape of the teeth and the lack of utensils, romantic music and wine):

On the other end of the scale is the herbivore: horses, cattle, deer, rabbits etc. On the whole they graze much of every day on grasses and any grains that come with them. A little soil may also be consumed. They don’t rush off looking for meat or fish to eat. They don’t make bread out of the grains. Certainly, dairy doesn’t interest them once they have stopped suckling from their mothers.

Their digestive tracts are suited to holding grains long enough to enable them to ferment, as this is the only way grains can be thoroughly digested if they haven’t been sprouted. This is because grains and seeds contain proteins and lectins that are difficult to digest, such as gluten in wheat, which can cause bowel inflammation, ulcers and insulin problems (http://paleoleap.com/11-ways-gluten-and-wheat-can-damage-your-health/)  The reason why grains and seeds have these difficult to digest compounds is to protect the seeds long enough for them to germinate. Upon germination, most of the protective devices disappear, making sprouts a healthy alternative. Herbivores have digestive tracts that help ferment grains.

Here you can see a close view of a cow chewing the cud  (note the flat teeth):

Finally, we come to omnivores which eat some or all of these food groups: plants, fungi, algae, seeds, fruit, insects, eggs and small animals and birds that they can easily catch without tools or weapons. They do not consume milk beyond babyhood. Primates (like us) fall within this category (see https://naturalethicalfood.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/the-human-primates-natural-food/) together with bears, squirrels and birds.

Here you can watch a monkey eating fruit (note the use of the hand to hold the fruit – carnivores and herbivores don’t do this):

There are three natural types of food combining

What this comes down to is that in nature there are three types of food combining:

  1. Carnivorous (mainly meat, fat, skin, bones and fermented digestive tract material)
  2. Herbivorous (mainly grasses and herbs)
  3. Omnivorous (a variety of herbs, fruit, nuts, seeds, algae, fungi, insects, eggs, small animals)

What is notable is that while animals eat combinations of foods suited to their species and makeup, they don’t suffer from obesity or disease. As soon as their diets are changed, their bodies come under stress. This can be seen with some proprietary dog and cat foods that contain mostly grains (often GM). These animals often have to be put on anti-inflammatory drugs from middle-age onward. Another notable is that not one of these groups consumes dairy foods beyond suckling age.

So this tells us that to eat naturally, one should consider which of the three groups one’s body belongs to, and eat accordingly. Also, consider that dairy should not be consumed by any of the groups, past babyhood. Ethically, the omnivorous diet covers humans who choose not to kill, or cause, or be party to pain or suffering of any creature. This could mean taking up a fruitarian diet or a vegan diet.

Which type of food combining is natural and ethical?

The way to decide it to compare a human’s dental make-up with that of other apes. To short-cut this process, the human dental makeup is closest to that of the Bonobo ape. You can see this in this interesting video:

Interestingly, what emerges from this is that the Bonobos with their flat canine teeth do not kill each other or any other creature, while chimpanzees will kill and eat each other and any other creature that they can catch. This means that you, as a conscious human, can choose to eat as a chimpanzee or as a Bonobo. Choosing the Bonobo way ensures that you can eat ethically without any danger of your dying of hunger or malnutrition.

This video carries this message of choice across very clearly:

So, is food combining natural? Yes, definitely, providing the eater is eating foods that fall within the range of foods suited to their species and digestive makeup.

Is food combining ethical? For omnivores, it can be, should they choose foods that do not necessitate killing, pain or suffering.

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List of the most natural and ethical foods for humans

The big question: which foods are natural and ethical to eat, has undergone a fair investigation, and I’ve come up with a list. It’s been very interesting going through all these types of food that humans eat and trying to work out whether they are natural and ethical food for humans.

Natural means that the human primate does not need any weapons, tools or cookware to gather or prepare the food, other than sticks, stones and perhaps fire, and ethical means that the least harm has been done to the food source and its future sustainability, and that humans themselves are not harmed in any way.

“Hand Holding Red Apple”

“Hand Holding Red Apple” by mikumistock

 

The list

 

NATURAL ETHICAL FOODS

FOOD

If food
source is alive when food harvested

If food
source is found already dead from natural causes before harvesting

 

NATURAL

ETHICAL

NATURAL

ETHICAL

 

W

O

C

W

O

C

W

O

C

W

O

C

FRUIT

SEEDS

NUTS

LEGUMES

GRAINS

FLOWERS

LEAVES

PLANT STEMS

ROOTS

HONEY

EGGS

INSECTS

SHELLFISH

FISH

POULTRY/BIRDS

LAMB

PORK

BEEF

DAIRY

KEY
(W=WILD SUSTAINABLE; O=ORGANIC SUSTAINABLE FARMING; C=CONVENTIONAL FARMING)

NATURAL

NOT NATURAL

ETHICAL

NOT ETHICAL

 

For the person who wants to do the least possible harm, the only food to eat is fruits: apples, squashes, bananas, pineapples, beans, peas, peaches, raspberries, cucumbers, avocados … the list is too long. It is the food group that, according to fruitarians, gives humans all the nourishment they need.

The next step down is to include plucked leaves from living plants, allowing them to remain alive and still thriving. This includes many types of salad leaves, kale, brussels sprouts, spinach, chard and so forth. It’s also fine to eat nuts, seeds, grains and pulses from plants that have either already discarded the seeds, or plants that have died naturally.

Then, eating stems, flowers and roots of plants is also ethical if the plants have already died or, if by gathering these parts, the plant is not harmed and continues to live. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, elder flowers, celery and various other plants fall into this category.

Finally, eggs from poultry or birds that are wild or organically farmed and truly free range is ethical, providing sustainability is taken into account (the wild) and that no chicks are killed. In this day and age, it would be very difficult to find a source that meets these requirements.

Any other food is not ethical to eat unless it has already been found dead from natural causes. You will need to decide how high up the ethical ladder you want to climb.

The above list is very close to what our cousins the apes eat, and since their digestive systems are practically identical to ours, we are back where we started

What do you think? Do you agree that we should limit our foods to leaves, flowers, seeds, nuts, grains and fruit?

Next post: Is cooked food good or bad?

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21. List of the most natural and ethical foods for humans

Our blog about which foods are natural and ethical to eat has undergone a fair investigation, and I’ve come up with a list. It’s been very interesting going through all these types of food that humans eat and trying to work out whether they are natural and ethical food for humans.

Natural means that the human primate does not need any weapons, tools or cookware to gather or prepare the food, other than sticks, stones and perhaps fire, and ethical means that the least harm has been done to the food source and its future sustainability, and that humans themselves are not harmed in any way.

 

The list

 

NATURAL ETHICAL FOODS

FOOD

If food
source is alive when food harvested

If food
source is found already dead from natural causes before harvesting

 

NATURAL

ETHICAL

NATURAL

ETHICAL

 

W

O

C

W

O

C

W

O

C

W

O

C

FRUIT

SEEDS

NUTS

LEGUMES

GRAINS

FLOWERS

LEAVES

PLANT STEMS

ROOTS

HONEY

EGGS

INSECTS

SHELLFISH

FISH

POULTRY/BIRDS

LAMB

PORK

BEEF

DAIRY

KEY
(W=wild sustainable; O=organic or biodynamic sustainable production; C=conventional production)

NATURAL

NOT NATURAL

ETHICAL

NOT ETHICAL

 

For the person who wants to do the least possible harm, the only food to eat is fruits: apples, squashes, bananas, pineapples, beans, peas, peaches, raspberries, cucumbers, avocados … the list is long. It is the food group that, according to fruitarians, gives humans all the nourishment they need.

watermelon-846357_640

The next step down is to include plucked leaves from living plants, allowing them to remain alive and still thriving. This includes many types of salad leaves, kale, brussels sprouts, spinach, chard and so forth. It’s also fine to eat nuts, seeds, grains and pulses from plants that have either already discarded the seeds, or plants that have died naturally.

Then, eating stems, flowers and roots of plants is also ethical if the plants have already died or, if by gathering these parts, the plant is not harmed and continues to thrive, or if there are enough plants to ensure the sustainability of the species. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, elder flowers, celery and various other plants fall into this category.

Finally, eggs from poultry or birds that are wild or organically farmed and truly free range is ethical, providing sustainability is taken into account (the wild) and that no chicks are killed. In this day and age, it would be very difficult to find a source that meets these requirements.

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Any other food is not ethical to eat unless it has already been found dead from natural causes. You will need to decide on how high up the ethical ladder you want to climb.

The above list is very close to what our cousins the apes eat, and since their digestive systems are practically identical to ours, we are back where we started

What do you think? Do you agree that we should limit our foods to leaves, flowers, seeds, nuts, grains and fruit?

Next post: Is cooked food good or bad?

1

Flowers – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

We’re working our way up the structure of plants, asking if it is natural and ethical to eat them. You can check my past posts for other investigations, starting with animal products, but I feel that even plants have to undergo the tests, to be fair.

Romanesco Cauliflower

Romanesco Cauliflower by James Barker http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

People eat flowers. Admittedly, they’re not the classic style of flower that you turn into flower arrangements or grow in your garden but, nonetheless, flowers are popular on our plates. According to Mother Nature Network, we can eat 42 types of flowers.

The most popular varieties are cauliflower and broccoli, while some people add nasturtium, calendula and borage flowers to their salads, make wine out of elder flowers and turn pumpkin flowers into fritters.

So, the question is, is it natural and ethical to eat flowers?

Investigation
Is it natural?

Can we (human primates, equipped only with our bodies and natural items such as rocks, sticks, soil, fire, etc) gather, prepare and eat flowers. Yes, without a doubt. This is a most natural thing to do, and flowers are palatable raw, so they are even easier food to eat than the roots or stems or even the leaves of some plants.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

As we discussed in this post  it’s not clear whether plants feel pain. One criterion we decided on was to avoid killing the plant, as this would cause the most harm. Plucking leaves off is acceptable, providing the plant has enough to continue growing. In fact, many plants grow in a way that they regenerate quickly and seem to be designed to be browsed on.

So, in terms of whether the plant suffers harm, eating flowers is less harmful than eating the roots, which may necessitate killing the plant. But, what about regeneration? Obviously, flowers are necessary to ensure the development of seed, so that the plant species survives.

The way it looks is that the least harmful way of eating flowers is to ensure that only a few flowers from each plant are harvested. This is not too difficult to do in a home-grown garden. If you cut flowers off a broccoli plant, it simply grows new ones until seed has set, and then it stops. Commercial operations rip up the whole plant to harvest the head.

Or, you can leave some of your plants to seed, as most plants develop huge quantities of seed.
b) Has it had the best life possible?

Here I will repeat what I said in the post about eating roots:

Plants that live naturally without being poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilizers should be living the best life possible. Bose found that “administering poisons to tin, zinc, and platinum, and obtained astonishing responses which, when plotted on a graph, appeared precisely like those of poisoned animals.”
c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, edible flowers are good for us. Some believe that broccoli is the world’s healthiest food. It can  lower cholesterol, is great for detoxing, it’s full of vitamins A and K which help maintain out vitamin D balance and, because it’s a rich source of kaempferol, it acts as an anti-inflammatory. It’s also high in vitamin C, chromium and folate as well as a huge range of other vitamins and minerals.

Marigold flower

Marigold – Health From Nature by sattva – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Final verdict – my opinion:

Flowers are good for you. Eating them is natural and ethical, providing you make sure enough plants bear seed, allowing the species to survive and thrive.

What do you think?

Next post: seeds

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18. Flowers – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

We’re working our way up the structure of plants, asking if it is natural and ethical to eat them. You can check my past posts for other investigations, starting with animal products, but I feel that even plants have to undergo the tests, to be fair.

People eat flowers. Admittedly, they’re not the classic style of flower that you turn into flower arrangements or grow in your garden but, nonetheless, flowers are popular on our plates. According to Mother Nature Network, we can eat 42 types of flowers.

The most popular varieties are cauliflower and broccoli, while some people add nasturtium, calendula and borage flowers to their salads, make wine out of elder flowers and turn pumpkin flowers into fritters.

So, the question is, is it natural and ethical to eat flowers?vegetables-659404_640

Investigation

Is it natural?

Can we (human primates, equipped only with our bodies and natural items such as rocks, sticks, soil, fire, etc) gather, prepare and eat flowers. Yes, without a doubt. This is a most natural thing to do, and flowers are palatable raw, so they are even easier food to eat than the roots or stems or even the leaves of some plants.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

As we discussed in this post  it’s not clear whether plants feel pain. One criterion we decided on was to avoid killing the plant, as this would cause the most harm. Plucking leaves off is acceptable, providing the plant has enough to continue growing. In fact, many plants grow in a way that they regenerate quickly and seem to be designed to be browsed on.

So, in terms of whether the plant suffers harm, eating flowers is less harmful than eating the roots, which may necessitate killing the plant. But, what about regeneration? Obviously, flowers are necessary to ensure the development of seed, so that the plant species survives.

The way it looks is that the least harmful way of eating flowers is to ensure that only a few flowers from each plant are harvested. This is not too difficult to do in a home-grown garden. If you cut flowers off a broccoli plant, it simply grows new ones until seed has set, and then it stops. Commercial operations rip up the whole plant to harvest the head.

Or, you can leave some of your plants to seed, as most plants develop huge quantities of seed.

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=edible%20plant%20flowers&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Here I will repeat what I said in the post about eating roots:

Plants that live naturally without being poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilizers should be living the best life possible. Bose found that administering poisons to tin, zinc, and platinum, and obtained astonishing responses which, when plotted on a graph, appeared precisely like those of poisoned animals.

c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, edible flowers are good for us. Some believe that broccoli is the world’s healthiest food. It can  lower cholesterol, is great for detoxing, it’s full of vitamins A and K which help maintain out vitamin D balance and, because it’s a rich source of kaempferol, it acts as an anti-inflammatory. It’s also high in vitamin C, chromium and folate as well as a huge range of other vitamins and minerals.

Final verdict  in my opinion

Flowers are good for you. Eating them is natural and ethical, providing you make sure enough plants bear seed, allowing the species to survive and thrive.

What do you think?

Next post: seeds

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17. Brussels sprouts – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

Hello and welcome back to the food investigation.

Is it natural and ethical to eat the leaves of plants such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cress, chard and Brussels sprouts?

This may seem like a crazy question if you have not been following this blog, but, it’s just another step in our ongoing investigation into whether the types of foods that humans eat are natural to eat, and also, whether it’s ethical to eat them.

The reason I’m doing this is because I believe that much of the harm done on Earth, including the compromised health of the planet, humans, animals and plants, is a lot to do with our attitudes towards our food

We’ve covered food derived from animals, and are working out way up to the top of plants, having started from the roots

Investigation

Is it natural?

Can we (human primates, equipped only with our bodies and natural items such as rocks, sticks, soil, fire, etc) grow, gather and eat plant leaves?vegetables-1125420_1280

Yes, definitely. Picking leaves off plants and eating them is the simplest and most natural thing in the world. Most animals eat leaves, even lions.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

Some people believe that plants feel pain This is a tricky one. Obviously, any pain plants feel doesn’t manifest in the same way as when animals feel pain. There’s no obvious trauma. There’s no blood. So, this is a decision you have to make depending on your own beliefs. But, I believe that the least harm you inflict, the better.

So, it’s better to nip off leaves so that the plant carries on living and is able to, at some stage, produce seeds and die naturally, than to cut off or pull up the whole plant in order to eat its leaves.

However, some plants are so prolific that you could argue that nature has designed them to be eaten, and providing a certain percentage of the plants are left to produce seeds to make up for those eaten, this also works.

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b) Has it had the best life possible?

Only plants that are living naturally in the wild, or grown biodynamically or organically can have had the best life possible.

c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, without a doubt, plant leaves are good for us. They contain protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Dark green leaves have a higher concentration of nutrients than any other food.

Our human primate ancestors would have eaten kilograms of leaves daily. This would mean that they would have browsed, much as gorillas do, constantly, in order to consume several shopping bags worth of leaves. We barely eat a hundredth of this amount. And very little of it is raw. It’s no wonder the human race is so ill.

Here you can watch a gorilla eating leaves:

You’ve heard this before: kale is the new beef! Eat it and be well.

Final verdict in my opinion

Plant leaves offer some of the best nutrition for humans, providing enough are eaten. They are natural, and certainly ethical, especially if care is taken to either pick leaves off a living plant, or ensure that enough plants are left to produce seeds in a sustainable manner.

What do you think?

Next post: flowers

 

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Brussels sprouts – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

Is it natural and ethical to eat the leaves of plants such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cress, chard and Brussels sprouts?

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts

This may seem like a crazy question if you have not been following this blog, but, it’s just another step in our ongoing investigation into whether the types of foods that humans eat are natural to eat, and also, whether it’s ethical to eat them.

The reason I’m doing this is because I believe that much of the harm done on Earth, including the compromised health of the planet, humans, animals and plants, is a lot to do with our attitudes towards our food.

We’ve covered food derived from animals, and are working out way up to the top of plants, having started from the roots.

Investigation
Is it natural?

Can we (human primates, equipped only with our bodies and natural items such as rocks, sticks, soil, fire, etc) grow, gather and eat plant leaves?

Yes, definitely. Picking leaves off plants and eating them is the simplest and most natural thing in the world. Most animals eat leaves, even lions.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

Some people believe that plants feel pain. This is a tricky one. Obviously, it doesn’t manifest in the same way that animals feel pain. There’s no obvious trauma. There’s no blood. So, this is a decision you have to make depending on your own beliefs. But, I believe that the least harm you inflict, the better.

So, it’s better to nip off leaves, so that the plant carries on living and is able to, at some stage, produce seeds and die naturally, than to cut off or pull up the whole plant in order to eat its leaves.

However, some plants are so prolific that you could argue that nature has designed them to be eaten, and providing a certain percentage of the plants are left to produce seeds to make up for those eaten, this also works.

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Only plants that are living naturally in the wild, or grown biodynamically or organically can have had the best life possible.

c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, without a doubt, plant leaves are good for us. They contain protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Dark green leaves have a higher concentration of nutrients than any other food.

Our human primate ancestors would have eaten kilograms of leaves daily. This would mean that they would have browsed, much as gorillas do, constantly, in order to consume several shopping bags worth of leaves. We barely eat a hundredth of this amount. And very little of it is raw. It’s no wonder the human race is so ill.

Here you can watch a gorilla eating leaves:

You’ve heard this before: kale is the new beef! Eat it and be well.

Final verdict – my opinion:

Plant leaves provide the best food for humans, providing enough are eaten. They are natural, and certainly ethical, especially if care is taken to either pick leaves off a living plant, or ensure that enough plants are left alone to produce seeds in a sustainable manner.

What do you think?

Next post: flowers

Image attribution:  “Brussels sprout closeup” by Eric Hunt – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brussels_sprout_closeup.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Brussels_sprout_closeup.jpg