0

24. High protein or high carb diet?

Why do people follow a high-protein diet?

In order to lose weight, many people are following either a high-protein/medium-fat/low-carb diet, or a raw-vegan diet (high-carb/low-protein/low-fat). The high-protein diets (Paleo/Atkins/Harcombe etc) are very popular as they almost guarantee weight loss without having to count calories or restrict portions. How does this work? We need to look at what happens to food when it’s digested.

Very simply:

  • When carbohydrates are eaten and digested, glucose is created, which goes into the bloodstream as an energy source. If there is too much glucose in the bloodstream at any one time, the pancreas injects insulin into the bloodstream. This allows the liver to turn the glucose into glycogen and store it for later use (in the liver and muscles). When blood sugar levels drop, the liver converts the glycogen into glucose and pushes it in to the blood stream. Glucose from carbohydrates can only be stored as glycogen in limited quantities.
  • When protein is eaten it is broken down into bits called amino acids, ready to be reconstructed as the body needs these building blocks. Stored protein can be used as fuel in lean times, when it is broken down into glucose.
  • When fats are eaten they are broken down into fatty acids that travel about in the blood and get used by cells that need the energy. Fatty acids that don’t get used quickly get stored in fat cells (that have unlimited capacity), and when blood sugar is low, the pancreas produces a hormone called lipase which breaks the stored fat into fatty acids and puts them in to the bloodstream, ready to be used for fuel.

In summary: both carbohydrates and fats provide the body with energy, and if there is too much glucose or fatty acids in the bloodstream, these are stored as glycogen and fat for later use.

What this means is that if you sit down and eat a meal of carbohydrates and fat (bread and butter, potato with sour cream, fish and chips) the energy from the carbohydrates will be used first as this is immediately available as glucose, and the energy from the fats will be stored.baked-potato-522482_640

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=vegan%20high%20carb&nou=1&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

If you eat a high-protein/low-carb-medium-fat diet , you have very little glucose in the bloodstream for energy, so the fats you eat provide the energy you need.

If you keep your fat intake fairly low, at some stage you will have burned up the fatty acids in your bloodstream, so your body breaks down the fats stored in your fat cells, and you lose weight.

But, before you rush off and buy a leg of beef, be warned – there are inherent dangers in this type of diet:

  • You can increase your risk of osteoporosis as high amounts of protein require high amounts of calcium to digest it, and if you don’t eat enough calcium-rich foods, your body will leach the calcium from your bones.
  • Your kidneys are responsible for filtering protein from the blood, so they can take strain if faced with having to filter high quantities of protein as well as the waste products created when protein is processed.
  • When your body turns fat into energy (whether this is fat you have just eaten or fat in your cells), this creates ketones. Some ketones are used by the brain and heart and other organs as energy. This is why it is important to eat some good-quality fat. However, the ketone acetone can be dangerous.  This normally gets expelled in the breath or urine, but too much in the system can cause death.
  • If your carbs and fat intake are low, your body will break down protein in your tissues, as well as fat in your fat cells, for energy.

Which is natural: high protein or high carb?

First, let’s look at this in a general natural sense. I will show you how animals tend to eat either a high-carb/low-protein/low-fat diet , a high-protein/low-carb/medium-fat diet, or a medium-protein/medium-carb/medium-fat diet, and what they eat has everything to do with their lifestyles and how much energy they expend in daily living and in getting food.

Lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, wild cats, panthers, wild dogs, foxes, wolves etc will hunt an animal to eat, taking some time ans spending lots of energy over the process and not being successful each time they try. They may go for days without food. When they do catch an animal, they eat huge quantities at one time, and they eat the muscles, fat, skin, hair, blood, intestinal matter (which helps digest the food) and bones (which supplies them with calcium and prevents bone density loss as explained above). Their diet is high-protein/medium-fat/low-carb, and when they eat, which is not often, they gorge on food. They exercise vigorously when hunting, but spend the rest of the time being fairly sedentary. Here is a video of lions with their kill:

Horses, bison, elephants, cattle and  some species of baboon eat mainly grass and leaves and any grains and seeds that come with this. This is a high-carb/low-protein/low-fat diet and these animals keep on the move, eating often, yet taking time to rest and digest food. They don’t run unless they need to, or in play or courtship. This is a video of wild horses grazing:

Monkeys, mice, birds, squirrels and rodents graze all day on fruits, grasses, grains, insects, eggs, nuts and anything else they find edible as suited to their species. They are constantly on the move, and they move quickly, and they eat almost continuously as they find food. This is a video of a Spider monkey eating fruit:

Gorillas and orang-utans eat leaves, fruits, roots and insects. Chimpanzees and baboons eat anything, including small mammals and birds, if they can catch them. They keep fairly active, though spend quality time resting. They tend to eat regularly but not constantly.

So this shows that high-protein and high-carb diets are natural, and that the respective animal types’s energy expenditure balances out the calories they gain from the food they eat.

Match the type of food you eat to your lifestyle and exercise regime

Orang-outang up a tree eating leaves

Orang-outang eating leaves

In nature, if food is easy to get, it probably has a low energy value, so animals need to eat a lot of it and often. Foods with higher energy values take either a lot of time or a lot of energy (or both) to get hold of, so less of it is eaten (they are not eating all day as do fruit eaters) ensuring that in the natural world, animals don’t eat more food than their bodies need.

This is how nature keeps a perfect balance. Think about it: you don’t see obese monkeys, lions or squirrels, yet they don’t diet. Nature makes sure that the amount of effort and time they are prepared to put into finding food is related to the energy value of the food.

Humans have bypassed this formula, though, and many people who rarely do any vigorous exercise have easy access to high calorie value foods, causing weight problems.

Which is the most ethical diet?

Our ethics, as we have seen, involve not killing, especially not killing animals. So, this makes it very difficult to eat an ethical high-protein/low-carb diet, since there is no low-carb plant food available. Thus, we are left with:

  • Raw foods (fruits and greens) (high-carb/low-fat/low-protein) for those who donlt exercise too hard.
  • Grains/legumes/roots/starchy fruits and greens (high-carb/low-fat/low-protein) for those who go tot he gym or play sport.
  • All of the above plus oils, nuts and seeds (high-carb/medium-fat/medium-protein) for those who do sport that burns lots of energy.

And here is some inspiration for those are still considering going vegan (or natural/ethical):

How do you plan your meals as a vegan? Do you struggle with ill-health or weight problems? I would love to hear from you.

Next post: Is food combining natural?

 

Bibliography:

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-negative-high-protein-diet-effects.html#b

http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2011/mar/how-the-body-uses-carbohydrates-proteins-and-fats.html

Image credits:

Hairy Orangutan Eating by papaija2008

 

 

 

 

0

High protein or high carb diet?

Why do people follow a high-protein diet?

Salmon with spinach - a high protein/low-carb option

Salmon with spinach – a high protein/low-carb option

In order to lose weight, many people are following either a high-protein/medium-fat/low-carb diet, or a raw-vegan diet  (high-carb/low-protein/low-fat). The high-protein diets (Paleo/Atkins/Harcombe etc) are very popular as they almost guarantee weight loss without having to count calories or restrict portions. How does this work? We need to look at what happens to food when it’s digested.

Very simply:

  • When carbohydrates are eaten and digested, glucose is created, which goes into the bloodstream as an energy source. If there is too much glucose in the bloodstream at any one time, the pancreas injects insulin into the bloodstream. This allows the liver to turn the glucose into glycogen and store it for later use (in the liver and muscles). When blood sugar levels drop, the liver converts the glycogen into glucose and pushes it in to the blood stream. Glucose from carbohydrates can only be stored in limited quantities.
  • When protein is eaten it is broken down into bits called amino acids, ready to be reconstructed as the body needs these building blocks. Stored protein can be used as fuel in lean times, when it is broken down into glucose.
  • When fats are eaten they are broken down into fatty acids that travel about in the blood and get used by cells that need the energy. Fatty acids that don’t get used quickly get stored in fat cells (that have unlimited capacity), and when blood sugar is low, the pancreas produces a hormone called lipase which breaks the stored fat into fatty acids and puts them in to the bloodstream, ready to be used for fuel.

In summary: both carbohydrates and fats provide the body with energy, and if there is too much glucose or fatty acids in the bloodstream, these are stored as glycogen and fat for later use.

What this means is that if you sit down and eat a meal of carbohydrates and fat (bread and butter, potato with sour cream, fish and chips) the energy from the carbohydrates will be used first as this is immediately available as glucose, and the energy from the fats will be stored.

If you eat a high-protein/low-carb-medium-fat diet , you have very little glucose in the bloodstream for energy, so the fats you eat provide the energy you need. If you keep your fat intake fairly low, at some stage you will have burned up the fatty acids in your bloodstream, so your body breaks down the fats stored in your fat cells, and you lose weight.

But, before you rush off and buy a leg of beef, be warned – there are inherent dangers in this type of diet:

  • You can increase your risk of osteoporosis as high amounts of protein require high amounts of calcium to digest it, and if you don’t eat enough calcium-rich foods, your body will leach the calcium from your bones.
  • Your kidneys are responsible for filtering protein from the blood, so they can take strain if faced with having to filter high quantities of protein as well as the waste products created when protein is processed.
  • When your body turns fat into energy (whether this is fat you have just eaten or fat in your cells), this creates ketones. Some ketones are used by the brain and heart and other organs as energy. This is why it is important to eat some good-quality fat. However, the ketone acetone can be dangerous.  This normally gets expelled in the breath or urine, but too much in the system can cause death.
  • If your carbs and fat intake are low, your body will break down protein in your tissues, as well as fat in your fat cells, for energy.

Which is natural: high protein or high carb?

First, let’s look at this in a general natural sense. I will show you how animals tend to eat either a high-carb/low-protein/low-fat diet , a high-protein/low-carb/medium-fat diet, or a medium-protein/medium-carb/medium-fat diet, and what they eat has everything to do with their lifestyles and how much energy they expend in daily living and in getting food.

Lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, wild cats, panthers, wild dogs, foxes, wolves etc will hunt an animal to eat, taking some time over the process and not being successful each time they try. They may go for days without food. When they do catch an animal, they eat huge quantities at one time, and they eat the muscles, fat, skin, hair, blood, intestinal matter (which helps digest the food) and bones (which supplies them with calcium and prevents bone density loss as explained above). Their diet is high-protein/medium-fat/low-carb, and when they eat, which is not often, they gorge on food. They exercise vigorously when hunting, but spend the rest of the time being fairly sedentary. Here is a video of lions with their kill:

Horses, bison, elephants, cattle and  some species of baboon eat mainly grass and leaves and any grains and seeds that come with this. This is a high-carb/low-protein/low-fat diet and these animals keep on the move, eating often, yet take time to rest and digest food. This is a video of wild horses grazing:

Monkeys, mice, birds, squirrels and rodents graze all day on fruits, grasses, grains, insects, eggs, nuts and anything else they find edible as suited to their species. This is a video of a Spider monkey eating fruit:

Gorillas and orang-outangs eat leaves, fruits, roots and insects. Chimpanzees and baboons eat anything, including small mammals and birds, if they can catch them.

Those that eat mainly fruits (high-carb/low-protein/low-fat) tend to be very active and eat often. Those that eat a combination of foods and those that eat mainly nuts and seeds (medium-protein/medium-carb/medium-fat) tend to eat less often yet spend a lot of energy finding their food.

So this shows that high-protein and high-carb diets are natural.

Match the type of food you eat to your lifestyle and exercise regime

Orang-outang up a tree eating leaves

Orang-outang eating leaves

In nature, if food is easy to get, it probably has a low energy value, so animals need to eat a lot of it and often. Foods with higher energy values take either a lot of time or a lot of energy (or both) to get hold of, so less of it is eaten (they are not eating all day as do fruit eaters) ensuring that in the natural world, animals don’t eat more food than their bodies need.

This is how nature keeps a perfect balance. Think about it: you don’t see obese monkeys, lions or squirrels, yet they don’t diet. Nature makes sure that the amount of effort and time they are prepared to put into finding food is related to the energy value of the food.

Humans have bypassed this formula, though, and many people who rarely do any vigorous exercise have easy access to high calorie value foods, causing weight problems.

 

Which is the most ethical diet?

Our ethics, as we have seen, involve not killing, especially not killing animals. So, this makes it very difficult to eat an ethical high-protein/low-carb diet, since there is no low-carb plant food available. Thus, we are left with:

  • raw foods (fruits and greens) (high-carb/low-fat/low-protein)
  • grains/legumes/roots/starchy fruits and greens (high-carb/low-fat/low-protein)
  • all of the above plus oils, nuts and seeds (high-carb/medium-fat/medium-protein)

And here is some inspiration for those are still considering going vegan (natural/ethical):

How do you plan your meals as a vegan? Do you struggle with ill-health or weight problems? I would love to hear from you.

Next post: Is food combining natural?

 

Bibliography:

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-negative-high-protein-diet-effects.html#b

http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2011/mar/how-the-body-uses-carbohydrates-proteins-and-fats.html

Image credits:

“Hairy Orangutan Eating” by papaija2008

“Salmon With Spinach” by tiramisustudio

 

 

 

0

23. Does the blood type diet work?

So many people are discovering that a high animal-protein diet helps them lose weight and feel good, even reducing the effects of illnesses or making them disappear altogether. This works – I know – I tried it before I became a vegan, again.

It helped me lose the weight I had gained (which happened every time I tried to be vegetarian or vegan). It also made the arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and strange shivery and heated spells go away. It also healed my liver and adrenal system.

I was a mess, but eating fish, eggs and vegetables brought me back to life.

So why have I brought this subject up on a blog that advocates eating plant-based food only?

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=eat%20right%20blood%20type%20diet&nou=1&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

The blood type diet helps me to be a healthy vegan

I tried to be vegan again after healing myself on the high animal-protein diet, as ethical eating is vital to my emotional well-being, but I found I was having trouble keeping my weight down, again. I became overweight and felt perpetually tired, making me crave fatty and sweet foods for energy. I was sleeping up to ten or even twelve hours a night and waking exhausted.

I finally discovered what my problem was by checking out the blood type diet  created by Dr Peter D’Adamo;  certain foods including legumes and grains disagree with me as they contain lectins that my blood reacts to as if they are poison, causing me to feel exhausted and to consequently eat too many nuts, seeds and grains in an attempt to get more energy.breakfast-1342299_640

The blood type diet information educated me as to which grains and legumes weren’t toxic to my particular system, so I could eat more of them and cut down on grains, nuts and seeds, some of which I discovered were toxic for me.

I lost the water I had started to retain as a result of the lectins in certain foods (wheat, mung beans and lentils are bad for me), and I lost the fat I had gained through eating too many nuts and seeds (cashews and sesame seeds are bad for me). I also started to sleep for eight hours again, and feel energised on waking.

I have noticed on various forums and websites many people saying they ‘don’t believe in’ the blood type diet. It’s not clear whether or not they have tried it, but I would hazard that they either have not, or are already eating foods that agree with them, so have had no opportunity to spot the difference.

Changing to this diet has had such a profound effect on my health that I fully endorse it and will remain on it indefinitely. I realise now why I have struggled to maintain my health through the many years I tried to be a vegan (since the age of twelve). I was simply eating the wrong food and kept having to return to an animal-based diet to recover. I wish I had known about this blood type diet then….

How does the blood type diet work?

Peter D’Adamo spent years testing foods against the four different blood types, A, B, AB and O. His theory is that the different blood types originated in different regions and eras, and therefore the foods that were eaten at the time in each region/era by peoples of a particular blood type are suitable for those who have that blood type now.

For example, he maintains that O blood type is the original type and originated in Africa. This means that the people were hunters and gatherers, so their diet would have consisted of meat, fish, eggs, fruits, green leaves and roots. This would equate to how people ate in the Palaeolithic era.

Here is a video of what life might have been like for the original O blood type people:

Blood type A people were those who settled and grew crops of grain and vegetables, and kept fruit trees and some domesticated animals. This was the Neolithic age. This video discusses what  life might have been like:

B blood type people were nomads, travelling the deserts with their camels, sheep and goats that they used for meat and milk, and foraging for vegetables and fruits. This appears to have been the transitional stage between the palaeolithic and neolithic eras, where animals were domesticated, but people didn’t settle anywhere long enough to support an agricultural lifestyle. This video shows how nomads live today:

Blood type AB seems to be a cross between A and B, making these people struggle to find foods that they can digest.

D’Adamo tested foods for these blood types and discovered that each blood type reacts to the lectins or various components of foods in different ways. These tests proved his theory of the geographic origins of the blood types in that O blood type thrives on meat and vegetables but should avoid grains, A blood types are good with grains but should eat little meat, B blood types are the only ones that manage to digest dairy properly and thrive on the meat of sheep and wild animals, while AB blood types have inherited the traits of both A and B blood types, which are quite opposite in their responses, making life rather difficult for them.

You can check here which foods are beneficial and which foods to avoid for your blood type.

How does this affect vegans?

The first question I asked when I read about lamb and rabbit being beneficial to me in this diet, and that I should avoid many grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, was: how can I be a vegan and survive?

Then I looked more closely at the list of foods and saw that if I was careful and stuck to only those foods that are beneficial or neutral for me, I would still be able to eat a good variety of foods and remain healthy. You can check this out for yourself

Peter D’Adamo addresses the question of O blood types being vegetarian, in this video:

Obviously, what he is saying is be careful when you go vegetarian or vegan that you don’t compromise your health, and I agree. Being a healthy vegan takes a structured and knowledgeable approach to food. However, I think people sometimes imagine that O and B blood types eat mainly meat, and this is often the impression given on some websites and blogs advocating the Palaeolithic diet.

This is something I disagree with. Palaeolithic man, as we discussed previously, would have struggled to get a lot of meat to eat. He would have eaten mainly vegetable foods, so I don’t believe that it is the meat component that keeps non-vegetarians healthy. I believe that it is just supplementary to the diet and can be replaced with carefully chosen plant-based food. What keeps us healthy is eating foods to which our bodies react positively.

Is the blood type diet natural and ethical?

Yes, as I see it, the blood type diet is natural as it encourages us to eat what our ancestors did. It is also better than just following the diet of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic man as it is more specifically tailored to our ancestors’ geographic origins, and therefore our own bodies.

It is also ethical (if we follow the rest of our ethical rules) in that it is good for us – it makes us thrive, feel good and be healthy and disease free.

When I start posting recipes, I will flag them according to blood type .

Have any of you tried the blood type diet? Has it helped? Or made no difference? Please let me know your thoughts.

Next post: High protein or carb?

 

 

 

0

Does the blood type diet work?

So many people are discovering that a high animal-protein diet helps them lose weight and feel good, even reducing the effects of illnesses or making them disappear altogether. This works – I know – I tried it before I became a vegan, again.

It helped me lose the weight I had gained (which happened every time I tried to be vegan). It also made the arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and strange shivery and heated spells go away. It also healed my liver and adrenal system.

I was a mess, but eating fish, eggs and vegetables brought me back to life.

So why have I brought this subject up on a blog that advocates eating plant-based food only?

The blood type diet helps me to be a healthy vegan

I tried to be vegan again after healing myself on the high animal-protein diet, as ethical eating is vital to my emotional well-being, but I found I was having trouble keeping my weight down, again. I got fat and felt perpetually tired, making me crave fatty and sweet foods for energy. I was sleeping up to ten or even twelve hours a night and waking exhausted.

A picture of a loaf of bread and wheat stalks

Wheat contains lectins

I finally discovered what my problem was by checking out the blood type diet,  created by Dr Peter D’Adamo: certain foods including legumes and grains disagree with me as they contain lectins that my blood reacts to as if they are poison, causing me to feel exhausted and to consequently eat too many nuts, seeds and grains in an attempt to get more energy.

The blood type diet information educated me as to which grains and legumes weren’t toxic to my particular system, so I could eat more of them and cut down on nuts and seeds, some of which I discovered were also toxic for me.

I lost the water I had started to retain as a result of the lectins in certain foods (wheat, mung beans and lentils are bad for me), and I lost the fat I had gained through eating too many nuts and seeds (cashews and sesame seeds are bad for me). I also started to sleep for eight hours again, and feel energised on waking.

I have noticed on various forums and websites many people saying they ‘don’t believe in’ the blood type diet. It’s not clear whether or not they have tried it, but I would hazard that they either have not, or are already eating foods that agree with them, so have had no opportunity to spot the difference.

Changing to this diet has had such a profound effect on my health that I fully endorse it and will remain on it indefinitely. I realise why I have struggled to maintain my health through the many years I tried to be a vegan (since the age of twelve). I was simply eating the wrong food and kept having to return to an animal-based diet to recover. I wish I had known about this blood type diet then….

How does the blood type diet work?

Peter D’Adamo spent years testing foods against the four different blood types, A, B, AB and O. His theory is that the different blood types originated in different regions and ages, and therefore the foods that were eaten at the time in each region/age by peoples of a particular blood type are what is suitable for those who have that blood type now.

For example, he maintains that O blood type is the original type and originated in Africa. This means that the people were hunters and gatherers, so their diet would have consisted of meat, fish, eggs, fruits, green leaves and roots. This would equate to how people ate in the Palaeolithic era.

Here is a video of what life might have been like for the original O blood type people:

Blood type A people were those who settled and grew crops of grain and vegetables, and kept fruit trees and some domesticated animals. This was the Neolithic age. This video shows what this life might have been like:

B blood type people were nomads, travelling the deserts with their camels, sheep and goats that they used for meat and milk, and foraging for vegetables and fruits. This appears to have been the transitional stage between the paleolithic and neolithic eras, where animals were domesticated, but people didn’t settle anywhere long enough to support an agricultural lifestyle. This video shows how nomads live today:

Blood type AB seems to be a cross between A and B, making these people struggle to find foods that they can digest.

D-Adamo tested foods for these blood types and discovered that each blood type reacts to the lectins or other components of various foods in different ways. These tests proved his theory of the geographic origins of the blood types in that O blood type thrives on meat and vegetables but should avoid grains, A blood types are good with grains but should eat little meat, B blood types are the only ones that manage to digest dairy properly and thrive on the meat of sheep, while AB blood types have inherited the traits of both A and B blood types, which are quite opposite in their responses, making life rather difficult for them.

You can check here which foods are beneficial and which foods to avoid for your blood type.

How does this affect vegans?

The first question I asked when I read about lamb and rabbit being beneficial to me in this diet,and that I should avoid many grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, was: how can I be a vegan and survive?

Then I looked more closely at the list of foods and saw that if I was careful and stuck to only those foods that are beneficial or neutral for me, I would still be able to eat a good variety of foods and remain healthy. You can check this out for yourself.

Peter D-Adamo addresses the question of O blood types being vegetarian, in this video:

Obviously, what he is saying is be careful when you go vegetarian or vegan that you don’t compromise your health, and I agree. Being a healthy vegan takes a structured and knowledgeable approach to food. However, I think people sometimes imagine that O and B blood types eat mainly meat, and this is often the impression given on some websites and blogs advocating the Palaeolithic diet.

This is something I disagree with. Paleolithic man, as we discussed previously, would have struggled to get a lot of meat to eat. He would have eaten mainly vegetable foods, so I don’t believe that it is the meat component that keeps non-vegetarians healthy. I believe that it is just supplementary to the diet and can be replaced with carefully chosen plant-based food. What keeps us healthy is eating foods to which our bodies react positively.

 

Is the blood type diet natural and ethical?

Yes, as I see it, the blood type diet is natural as it encourages us to eat what our ancestors did. It is also better than just following the diet of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic man as it is more specifically tailored to our ancestors’ geographic origins, and therefore our own bodies.

It is also ethical (if we follow the rest of our ethical rules) in that it is good for us – it makes us thrive, feel good and be healthy and disease free.

When I start posting recipes, I will flag them according to blood type .

Have any of you tried the blood type diet? Has it helped? Or made no difference? Please let me know your thoughts.

Next post: High protein or carb?

 

Images

“Bread And Wheat” by Mister GC on http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

 

0

20. Fruit – is it natural and ethical to eat it?

Finally, we’ve reached the last part of the plant, fruits.

In case you haven’t been following the blog so far, you can catch up with the discussion here. We have looked at all types of foods that humans eat, and are asking whether it is natural and ethical to eat them.

“Fruit Isolated On White Background” by SOMMAI

Fruit Isolated On White Background by SOMMAI

Humans eat fruit. There are so many different types that we often do not realise how many of the foods we eat are fruits. Most often people think of fruit as the sweeter variety such as apples and strawberries, watermelons and mangos, grapes and pineapples. But, there are also what are called vegetable fruits such as cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, avocados, sweet peppers, aubergines and even peas in a pod.

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

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 fruit. Yes, definitely. Fruits are easy to pick or gather, and most are very palatable raw. Sweet fruits in particular are superb natural fast food. So, yes, eating fruit is natural.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

It’s not clear whether plants experience pain, as we have seen in this post  but should you be one of those sensitive souls who is concerned whether they do, you can rest assured that fruits do not feel pain. This is because they are designed to be broken down to release the seeds to bring on future generations of plants. The flesh is designed to supply the seeds with extra nourishment, and to do this it needs to decay.

This means that fruit can be taken and eaten without concern as to whether the fruit or the plant is suffering by this act. With respect to sustainability, most fruits have seeds that one can easily discard and which can then be used to grow new plants.

“Vegetable Sale In A Rural Latin American Market” by Gualberto107

Vegetable Sale In A Rural Latin American Market by Gualberto107

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Plants that live naturally without being poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilisers 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.

Thus, naturally grown organic or biodynamic plants are the happiest.

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c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, fruits are good for us. Each type of fruit has different properties, but all contain vitamins, minerals, natural sugars, antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanins and vitamin C, known for keeping bodies healthy. Plus, they taste wonderful, can be eaten raw, their wrappings are biodegradable and if you spit the seeds out, you can grow more plants. The ultimate fast food.

Final verdict in  my opinion

Fruits are good food. Natural, ethical and healthy. Nature happily provides these foods, making them taste delicious, enticing us to eat them to help the plants spread the seeds. It’s a win-win situation, and I believe that fruits are the ultimate food.

What do you think?

Next post: The best natural and ethical foods to eat

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Fruit – is it natural and ethical to eat it?

Finally, we’ve reached the last part of the plant, under the topic of which foods are natural and ethical to eat. Fruits. In case you haven’t been following the blog so far, you can catch up with the discussion here. We have looked at all types of foods that humans eat, and are asking whether it is natural and ethical to eat them.

“Fruit Isolated On White Background” by SOMMAI

“Fruit Isolated On White Background” by SOMMAI

Humans eat fruit. There are so many different types that we often do not realise how many of the foods we eat are fruits. Most often people think of fruit as the sweeter variety such as apples and strawberries, watermelons and mangos, grapes and pineapples. But, there are also what are called vegetable fruits such as cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, avocados, sweet peppers, aubergines and even peas in  a pod.

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

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 fruit. Yes, definitely. Fruits are easy to pick or gather, and most are very palatable raw. Sweet fruits in particular are superb natural fast food. So, yes, eating fruit is natural.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

It’s not clear whether plants experience pain, as we have seen in this post  but should you be one of those sensitive souls that is concerned whether they do, you can rest assured that fruits do not feel pain. This is because they are designed to be broken down to release the seeds to bring on future generations of plants. The flesh is designed to supply the seeds with extra nourishment, and to do this it needs to decay.

This means that fruit can be taken and eaten without concern as to whether the fruit or the plant is suffering by this act. With respect to sustainability, most fruits have seeds that one can easily discard and which can then be used to grow new plants.

“Vegetable Sale In A Rural Latin American Market” by Gualberto107

“Vegetable Sale In A Rural Latin American Market” by Gualberto107

b) Has it had the best life possible?

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.”

Thus, naturally grown organic or biodynamic plants are the happiest.

c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, fruits are good for us. Each type of fruit has different properties, but all contain vitamins, minerals, natural sugars, antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanins and vitamin C, known for keeping bodies healthy. Plus, they taste wonderful, can be eaten raw, their wrappings are biodegradable and if you spit the seeds out, you can grow more plants. The ultimate fast food.

Final verdict – my opinion:

Fruits are good food. Natural, ethical and healthy. Nature happily provides these foods, making them taste delicious, enticing us to eat them to help the plants spread the seeds. It’s a win-win situation, and I believe that fruits are the ultimate food.

What do you think?

Next post: The winner is….

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19. Seeds – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

Last post we discussed whether it is natural and ethical to eat flowers. The reason why we’re asking questions like this is because we, as conscious humans, can and should make decisions that could not only positively change the environment, but also, by association, elevate the level of compassion in the world, something that is sorely needed in this day and age.

So, seeds are the next topic under discussion. Seeds include:

  • grains (cereals)
  • pseudo cereals
  • pulses (legumes)
  • nuts
  • nut-like gymnosperm seeds

Seeds are embryonic plants inside protective coatings.

People eat all types of seeds: coffee, sesame seeds, sunflower, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds, cumin, caraway, peanuts, kidney beans, wheat, oats, peas, maize, rice, almonds, coconuts, pine nuts, buckwheat, quinoa, cocoa, walnuts, barley and so forth. Seeds contain complex carbohydrates, protein, good fats and various vitamins and minerals.

But, is it natural and ethical to eat seeds?

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 seeds. This has been proven over millennia to be not only easy to do, but has evolved into a practice that has kept humans alive during hard times, as seeds can be easily stored for long periods, and not only serve as food, but also as a means to grow more food.

Gathering, growing and eating seeds is natural for the human primate. However, one must consider whether eating grains, pseudo cereals and legumes (many of which are cooked to turn them into food that humans today find palatable) is natural for humans [See the section below on Is this food good for us]. Ideally, natural food for humans is food that can be eaten raw, since the natural human primate will not have tools or utensils. As discussed below, these hard-to-digest foods can be sprouted or fermented to improve their digestibility, which means that these can be eaten raw.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

Seeds probably feel no pain. When they are sprouted, they may experience a form of nervous or sense response, but nothing in the league of the pain an animal feels when it is slaughtered. For those who are concerned about and believe that plants could feel pain, read this post.

So, the harm that a seed may suffer is irrelevant other than that, as discussed in the post about eating flowers, care should be taken to ensure that plants are not killed to harvest the seeds, and/or that enough seeds are replanted or left to grow to ensure the continuous survival of the species.

So, let’s look at the different seed groups and see how feasible this is:

Grains (cereals)

Most grain crops like wheat, barley, maize, spelt, rye, millet and oats are annual plants, which means that they die after seeding in a single year. So, gathering the grain from them, even before the plant has died naturally, could be considered to be ethical. If one waited until the plant died, in all likelihood all the grain would have scattered.

Pseudo cereals

Pseudo cereals like amaranth, quinoa, sesame and buckwheat are not grasses, as are grains, but are also annuals, so can be harvested off the plant before it dies.

Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds

Pumpkin and black and white sesame seeds by cbenjasuwan http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Pulses (legumes)

Pulses are seeds such as lentils, beans, peas and peanuts that consist of two parts and are housed in pods. They are also annuals, so no problem there with harvesting the seeds before the plants dies.

Nuts

Nuts are different entirely to the above groups. These include almonds, brazils, cashews, walnuts, coconuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts and pistachios, to name a few. Nuts are borne on trees, which are not annuals. Fortunately for human primates, the nuts fall to the ground when the tree is ready to shed them for the growing season, and, because they are encased in sometimes very tough shells, do not rot or get eaten by animals too quickly. So, gathering nuts is ethical providing enough are left to assure the continuation of the species.

Nut-like gymnosperm seeds

Gymnosperms are plants like pine trees and cycads, and we get pine nuts from pine trees. Again, the tree drops these to the ground when they are ready, and can be gathered just as nuts are.

There are also other seeds that we eat that are not in the above groups, but also allow for gathering without destroying the plant, such as cocoa beans, coffee beans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds  and hemp seeds.

So, generally, it is ethical to gather and eat all types of seeds, providing enough are left for sustainability.

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Now we get to the difference between natural growing methods such as biodynamic and organic, as opposed to current standard commercial practices where plants are often poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilisers. Read this to see why these substances are bad for plants.

c) Is this food good for us?

Most seeds are good food for humans. There are problems, though, with allergens. Some people are allergic to gluten which is found in grains. This is becoming more common as it appears that grains such as wheat are now being bred with a higher percentage of gluten to aid in bread making.

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Other allergens include peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tree nuts and poppy seeds.

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There are also problems with some seeds in that they are difficult for humans to digest. Grains such as wheat, for example, digest better once they have been sprouted or fermented. Cattle and other ruminants digest grains and grass by allowing them to ferment first in one of their stomach compartments. Even horses and rabbits digest grass and grain in part of their large intestine. Humans have no separate compartments, so must make another plan.

This is why bread, in the early days, was made from sprouted and/or fermented grains. You can buy or make Essene bread, which is made from sprouted grain, and Pumpernickel bread made from fermented grain.

Pulses, too, can be difficult to digest (many of you will ahem… understand this). There is a reason why – legumes contain phytic acid and some also have olligosaccharides that the human digestive system doesn’t agree with. So, for beans in particular, soaking, sprouting and cooking very slowly and eating them just as slowly helps humans digest them.

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We will discuss the indigestibility of grains and other seeds when we deal with them one by one in the recipes section , coming soon!

See here how to make traditional sour dough rye bread:

However, for those who suffer no allergic reactions or digestibility problems, seeds are good food. They vary in nutrition with grains being high in carbohydrates, through to seeds like sesame and linseed as well as tree nuts being high in protein and good fats.

Final verdict in  my opinion

Seeds are natural food for humans. They are easy to gather and eat, and are nutritious. They are also ethical food since there is no need to kill the plant to take advantage of the bounty.

What do you think?

Next post: Fruit