Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What I Know About Diet

It's not as much as one might suppose. Let's see. History, functioning, and common sense/ethics.

What is the ideal human diet. That's a history question. It's whatever we were made or Evolved to use. That's the heart of the matter. (Readers familiar with these pages will understand my usage of the capital Evolved -- it's the religion, not the real sort of evolution, the way cars change over time because they're redesigned via intelligence to be better ... when they are.) Did we Evolve so that whatever nutrients were available, that's what we adapted to need? -- and what wasn't available we Evolved out of a need for? Or were we Designed, as by God, to need whatever it is we need -- and sometimes we get that and sometimes we don't, but it's a fixed need, with only a fixed, genetically-determined capacity for variability?

If Evolved, then the "Paleolithic Diet" is correct or nearly so -- determined by observations of what tribal, hunter-gatherer societies have access to. Because modern stone age cultures would be reasonably similar to ancient ones, from which we Evolved. If it's true, it's true. Never argue with what's true. Is it? If so, what is the evidence? The evidence is the assumption of Evolution, and the fact that hunter-gather cultures eat as they do. In other words, the argument begs the question and the reasoning is circular.

As for my own bias, it's what is now called Intelligent Design -- a disingenuous vocabulary concession to atheists and secularists. If we were actually created, by God, in a Garden say, then there would have been an ideal diet that was meant to sustain the species. We can be certain that it was not a hunter-gatherer diet, nor an agricultural one. Something else, entirely.

If this Garden was in Eden, then I can be specific. Rule One: "I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food." Things that grow on the ground and have seeds; things that grow in trees and have seeds. Cucumbers; tomatoes; squash -- herbs that have seeds ... they are fruits.

Rule Two: "Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat. You may freely eat of every tree, but one of them will kill you." So we have free will, regarding what we may eat -- but not everything that may be eaten, should be eaten. Diet affects our health. You heard it here first. What then was, oh, say, let's call him Adam, designed to eat? Tree food, ground food, with seeds. As it were, fruit. Coincidentally, fruit and berries and less obvious fruits are designed, unlike virtually every other food, to be eaten. That's the deal the plant makes: you can eat my fruit if/because you spread my seeds. Pretty clever, eh?

Leaves are meant to convert sunlight into sugar, and may be eaten. Vegetables are meant to be the body of a plant, and may be eaten. Roots are meant to pull up water and minerals, and may be eaten. Tubers are meant to store energy for the plant, and may be eaten. Grains/seeds/nuts are meant to grow into another plant, and may be eaten. Flesh is meant to be the body of an animal, and may be eaten. Eggs and milk ... well, you know. Whoever it was who wrote all those fairy tales in Genesis at least had a good idea about what fruit is for.

Mankind was designed to eat fruit. That was the original perfect diet. Not Paleo ... Edenic. Cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, lychee nuts, dates, chili peppers, nuts -- they are fruit. What, you were thinking apples? Alas, the world since that distant age has changed. We did not change with it. We have the same needs as always, but not the same resources nor even the same world.

First, the Fall. Mankind no longer has access to the original menu. Rule Three: "You shall eat the herb of the field." Behold, the invention of agriculture. Adam the orchard-tender becomes a farmer. Hunter-gatherer? It is a degenerate state. It did not come first. It is a result of the Fall and the Flood. Agriculture was an ad hoc response, an adaptation to being kicked out of Paradise. Still plant-based, but second-best. Well, we know that anyway, because too many carbs/grains will make you fat.

Then, the Flood. Neither Fall nor Flood affected our genetics, but they did affect the expression of our genes, and they did effect our environment. The ideal startup conditions were not sustained. The Garden perished. After the Flood, essential nutritional resources became rare or extinct. You've heard about mass extinctions. Evolutionists did not invent the idea. Go to your local library and find a Bible there and read all about it. I think you may find it online. The Bible? Genesis? The Flood? Mass extinctions.

Rule Four: "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs." The entire biosphere of the planet was disrupted by the Flood. There was no agriculture just after it, because all there was were mudflats and growing iceshields. What to eat? Immediately, animals, who could scavenge on debris. I go into it in great detail, in Dragons in the Earth. (You think you see objections. I have anticipated and answered them.) Point is, we eat meat because we can, especially in the absence of something better. And some better things are absolutely absent. Mass-extinctions, remember? Who can say what nutritionally perfect fruits and herbs and seeds and mushrooms are now extinct. Who can say how much longer we'd live, with vibrant health, if these lost but essential nutrients were not lost. The pre-Flood patriarchs lived so long, as I think they did, for a number of reasons. One of them would have been a diet inaccessible to us.

Theory, yes. But so is Evolutionism. We decide by the evidence, not by the dogma. What's that you say? -- the Bible is all dogma? Well ... that would be your religion. Maybe you're right. Maybe we came from monkeys and shrews and lizards and fish and germs and inorganic matter that was stuck by lightning. Sounds like a theory to me.

So that's history. Either we Evolved on a hunter-gatherer diet of grubs and sap and roots and lizards and monkeys and bark and mold and algae and salamanders over the past several hundred thousand years -- and I haven't detailed that because you know that story already -- or we were designed, etc. Both assumptions require that there be an ideal human diet, optimal for health and performance. The former suggests that such a diet is reproducible. The latter, in my iteration, says it cannot be reproduced, but diet can still be optimized within existing if irreparable limits.

If I'm correct, then a purely vegetarian diet seems likely to be best. Only those necessary nutrients that can no longer be found in plants should or could come from animals, if any. Are there any? -- any essential nutrients that can come to us only via animals? Well, vitamin B-12? But that's from a bacteria, and only secondhand through animals. Even so, if that's it, that's it. But they say it's in Brewers yeast. So that's it. Anything else supposed to be unique from animals? Omega-3? Well, yes and no. We make it ourselves. But the health benefits are very real indeed. Someone with an ideal diet, however, wouldn't need to supplement with fish oil. So my theory would have it. Anything else? You'll have to tell me.

The rest of it, functioning and performance, and common sense and ethics, well, these are easy. Whatever works. The China Study tells us that animal products are powerfully correlated to degenerative diseases. That's functioning. Performance is a more difficult issue -- my son is looking at it right now, or will be. Common sense? Yeah, it's good to eat something that will kill you if you leave it in the sun too long. Something that stinks to make you puke is really good food. The deader the better in fact ... put hair on your chest ... make you strong like bull! Ethics? Let me kill you and eat your body because, well, because I like the way you taste. Yum.

It may be that my son's experiment demonstrates, conclusively, that animal flesh, its "high-quality" protein, results in better performance. I won't be able to argue with that. No, you're not performing better? This wouldn't say anything about Evolution or Design, since extinction confounds the matter, but it would prove that meat is good, somehow, dammit. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. On the other hand, if a plant-based diet results in better performance, then the Paleo/Evolution diet is invalidated. If my logic is wrong, please inform me.

(No one is suggesting that an extinction of food-animals is a relevant factor; it would be an ad hoc invention to save their theory. The presumption is that we would continue to Evolve, with extinct food-sources replaced by our newly Evolved capacity to utilize other sources. For once, Evolutionists would be trapped by their own malleability. But of course they wouldn't be. Since Evolutionism is true, it can't be falsified. Only theories can be falsified, and Evolution is a fact. Stupid. Didn't you know that?)

What do I know about diet? I know there is a lot of nonsense involved in the whole area. Lots of emotion, lots of extremely shoddy thinking. I know diet is a profoundly religious thing. I know that physically I'm not like any other 50 year old you've ever met, and the greatest likely factor in this is my own diet, vegetarian for 30 years. I know that disease has a number of causes -- bacterial and viral, genetic and chemical -- but that the major cause of disease in our own culture comes from a diet that is nothing but slow poison. Too many carbs, and too much animal stuff.

So, does it matter, all this talk about apemen and Eden? Matter in some way other than philosopho-religio-theoretically? Yes, it matters insofar as it opens or closes our minds to what is best for our health. False assumptions might lead us to healthful conduct. True assumptions seem more likely to. But anything that closes our minds to behavior that would improve our lives, well, that's a thing to be avoided. I spent 32 years, man and boy, as an Evolutionist. I spent 19 years mostly boy, as a Flesheater. I can make a case that evidence can change my mind. Regarding religion, the results aren't in. Maybe Jesus was wrong. But as for health and performance, well, you must know by now how radiantly beautiful I am, and how unbelievably powerful, and so manly, and virile and so desirable to all the chicks, and did I mention beautiful yet? Cuz I am, beautiful. Just beautiful. Ah. And blond and tall. That's my hotmail address, hottallblonddude4u. So that proves it then.

Rule Five: "You may freely eat of every thing that you can fit into your mouth and swallow, but many of them will kill you, fast or slow." (See Rule Two.)



Jim said...

Interesting analysis. In my view, the evidence is overwhelming for evolution. And I use my lay understanding of evolution to come to very different conclusions from yours. I would divide foods into three groups:
(1) Avoid at all costs: All parts of plants, except fruit. I'll explain fruits in #3 below. But many roots, stems, and leaves have evolved defenses to keep from being eaten, from thorns, to nasty tastes, to deadly poisons.
(2) Not bad, but not good: Animal products, including meat, eggs, and milk. These did not evolve to be eaten by us. In fact they generally try very hard to not be eaten, or instead to eat us. Some are poisonous, and none have evolved to be killed and eaten.
(3) Eat in abundance: Fruits. Fruits have definitely evolved to be eaten, and they have therefore evolved to be nutritious to their seed dispersers.

So, in my view, our diet should be mostly fruit, but not the overly sweet fruit we have created after thousands of years of agriculture. I suspect that non-sweet fruit are the closest things to what our ancestors ate hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Non-sweet fruit like tomatoes, red/orange bell peppers, cucumbers, squash and zucchini.

I'm not saying those specific non-sweet fruits were part of our ancestral African diet, because they weren't. Some evolved in South America. But they were probably comparable nutritionally to our ancient diet.

My theory leads me toward a diet consisting largely of tomatoes and red/orange bell peppers, with a few avocados and watermelons.

All raw, fresh, and vegan.

Jack H said...

At last. Civil disagreement.

I'll just ignore the Evolutionism. It's your religion, and it would be rude to impose my axioms over yours. Let's ignore all such history questions. Let's focus on results.

Per the China Study, animal products are highly correlated with degenerative disease. That's your point (two).

Potential problems with the C Study: it's an asian population, noted for lactose intolerance. Relevant questions: 1. How common is lactose in rural/urban Chinese diets? 2. How different are Asians to the rest of humanity? 3. Does Chinese mean Han, or anyone under Chinese gov control (the later, which addresses the second question too. Not very different.) As for 1., I don't recall. I'd think it's not a relevant factor. Conclusion, animal products should generally be avoided, like death.

Your logic re vegetables/herbs seems sloppy. Because there are defensive elements in some veggies, therefore all should be avoided. Empirical evidence? The reasoning isn't that because plants have defenses they should not be eaten. They have defenses because they *are* eaten, because they have nutritional value. The fact that over-indulgence can cause toxicity says nothing about nutritional quality when there is no over-indulgence. Digestion is a phenomenally complex thing -- it can handle a bit of oxalic acid.

Grains do have their well-known issues -- celiac etc. Broccoli is bad?

If/since you're an Evolutionist, your reasoning is prima facie self-refuting. Humans should eat whatever it is they Evolved eating. They have the capacity to digest it, by definition. That is the Paleo diet, which includes an abundance of non-fruit plant materials, excluding grains.

The fact that cultures have bred for taste and appearance, over nutrient content, is true, and disastrously true over the past 50 years. Hence the heritage seed / organic movement. Not bad ideas. This is a major reason I argue for a very wide variety of nutrient sources. Food isn't what it used to be.

But I looked at your blog. 36 tomatoes is your idea of a sensible diet? Sir, it's not about statistics. You have to balance that out with some common sense. Variety. That is a disaster waiting to happen. You do know there are problems with tomatoes, right?

As for raw, consider that cooking makes a plethora of phytonutrients available, where raw does not. It's more complex than I'd like it, but it is complex. Simple would be terrific. But this is not the world that Evolution or God made us for. Now it's a sweat of the brow thing.

I've been effectively vegan for 30 years. Here's a key: emotion matters. No one, and I mean no one, is a fruitarian. They lie. Do what's doable. Diet is not a short term thing. It's a lifestyle. If you think tomatoes and watermelon will do it, come back in six months and I'll listen to your sad tale. Or loosen up right now. Theory has to be tempered by reality.


Jim said...

Well, the 36 tomato thing is a spoof, but the nutrition totals do work out pretty well. Unfortunately, there have been anorexics who have died on similar tomato diets. I think the problem is not with the nutrition, but with the fact that tomatoes and other non-sweet fruit are so low in calories that it is almost impossible to get a sustainable level of calories. In other words, it can be a short-term crash diet, but not long-term. Add in some avocados and cut back on the tomatoes, and it starts to get better.

Will C. said...

"Broccoli is bad?"

No!!! Say it isn't so! It's my favorite vegatable. A cruciferous one at that. Oh you were just making a point.

But seriously, I enjoyed this post and I was actually going to email you and request that you make an entry in the blog stating a day in the life of your breakfast/lunch/dinner plate. Consider it requested.

Jack, I will add (with a wink) that you are de-adapting yourself (and offspring) by such a limited diet. Much like the poor Mexicans of indian descent who, when introduced to the American (and Mexican) diet of beans and starches become easily over-weight & diebetic, as their ability to digest simple sugars has shriveled away.

Whereas I, Will C, am toughening the next generation to handle future foods by partaking of Five Guys* double cheeseburger and peanut-oil french fried potatoes with ease.
OK maybe not with ease, but just fine with a Prevacid...

* "Number 1 Burger" by Washingtonian Magazine for seven years.

Jack H said...

J -- I did miss the spoof content. My capacity for assuming that bad ideas are serious is boundless. Is your Evolutionism also a spoof?

But there still seems to be an emphasis on statistics -- x number of calories, x number of vitamin C -- if we just get the numbers right, that's the diet.

We are in the stone age, albeit neolithic, of a competent understanding of nutrition. 4000 identified phytonutrients, and we know what six of them do. Made up number, but you get my point. Not a spoof.

W -- Like the heroin addict, who de-adapts himself from drugs. The fact that we can stop eating a poison, and by so doing lose our tolerance for it doesn't seem like such a bad thing to me. We're not after all forced to eat these poisons. I'd puke if I ate meat, not because of the taste or some psychological factor, but because my body would reject it as undigestable. Same with alcohol or cigars or whatever. Mithradatism, sp, is the built up tolerance to poison so that we can't be assassinated. American diet is you trying to assassinate yourself. For shame.

Hope that next WC generation really thrives on its lard and heroin and ground up glass. Yum.

Yeah, you're the SIZE of five guys. Har har.

Will C. said...

Yes, we'll see when the fallout as a result of Obama's weak foreign policy has wiped out all of your precious veg-i-tables and I'm sitting in my shelter laughing, eatin muh spam aun twinkies!


And I'll have you know I'm a svelt 234lb @ (6'3.5") and I do Body Pump as you can tell from my tri's.

"ground up glass"
Sometimes you can be a bit mean...

Jack H said...

Hey! No badmouthing Obama around here. Give hope a chance. Give change a hope. Hope change comes in the mail.

So that's only 55 lbs of fat yer carrying around. You must have very strong legs. But maybe you sit all the time, like in a wheelchair. Or as you call it, your "electric throne of power." I'm a little resentful about how you people get the good parking spaces.

Will C. said...

I do have strong legs. From all the soccer playing throughout elementary-high school-Air Force. Then in college I joined crew thinking it would build up my arms only to find out it was like 70-80% legs (imagine a horizontal squat). Then there was TKD for 3 years.

So bring it biotch!

Jack H said...

Oh my. Listen to the fatman brag. I know it's bragging, because I can see the exclamation points!!! *An an an I was also an astronaut to the moon!!! And I discovered a new pyramid in a cavern!! And lookit how fast I can flap my arms!!!! Gawd these twinkies is deeelisheous!!!! And I won a certificate of appreciation when I was in cosmetologist school!! And feel my muscle!!!!!*

Sure thing, W, you're terrific. All those things you did a long time ago are really impressive. Just roll yourself over here and I'll freshen up your pina colada for you. Is your seat cushion comfortable enough?

Will C. said...

I can tell you're flustered, all the asterisks*. It's ok my little cheetah-with-the-limited diet. Your nice muscles will shrivel away when all of the zebras have died off. ;-)

Jack H said...

Dear Stupid. You are so dumb. I cannot believe how stupid and dumb you are. It is so incredible and unbelievable to me, the dumbness of you. The so-called "asterisks" of which you so stupidly speak are meant to represent italics, which someone as dumb as you are would not be capable of comprehending or understanding, because of the ignorance of your so-called "brain". I hope this explains to you not only about the asterisks, but also about how desperately you need to shut your fat trap up and stop being so absolutely hopeless in every way conceivable.

Yours Truly,

Someone Who Is Not Grossfat and Ignorant and Stupid and Knows What Asterisks Mean, and I don't even know what that thing about zebras is supposed to mean, since I don't eat zebras, which is the point of this whole thing, but I guess that was too intellectual a point for your tiny little cerebral cortex to fathom.

Will C. said...

I-I-talics...Is that something to do with Italy? Not understand...want to smash jack! Hulk no like!

"So that's only 55 lbs of fat yer carrying around." - JH

"I don't know. It's foolish to get dogmatic about theory." - also JH

So because a little chart says what weight a person should be according to height you give me grief? Do you also follow the Government approved food triangle? I think thuur's meat in thuur.

And BTW mister insult, I've compared you to non-adapted diabetic mexo-indian-americans and delicate ecosystem isolated food-group cheetahs.
So really you're a half indian half big-cat hybrid who eats beans but secretly craves zebra meat. Can you send me a pic? I cun sell iyut to nathunal geografic and finally buh me sum shoes.

Jack H said...

I seem to have hit a soft spot. Well, they'd all be soft spots, eh? And given your exaggerated surface area, there'd be a lot of them. Or is that just theory?

"You are so dumb. I cannot believe how stupid and dumb you are. It is so incredible and unbelievable to me, the dumbness of you." - also JH

That is the quote you should pay attention to.

The only government I pay attention to is the one in God Almighty's Holy and Infallible Word. But you lard-eating pagans wouldn't understand.

We prefer to be referred to as pumas.

Why would YOU need shoes? Fatcart break down?

Will C. said...

Hmmm your obsession with my figure can only mean you desperately want to me to send you a pic to prove my glorious frame.

Your insult comic-ry leaves much to be desired. I suggest you bone up by watching some Triumph the Insult Comic Dog or better yet, Jeffery Ross. However, since yur old, better make it Don Rickles.

OK mister rebel, I'd better not catch you stopping at red lights and otherwise obeying the laws of man.

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."
- Sir Francis Bacon

Lastly Lastly:
OK OK fine! Here's what you want, here's what you get! I can only take so much begging and whatnot...

Jack H said...

You realize it took you a week to come up with this. I'll make no further observation on the matter.

It's just so sad, though. A week. Gosh. A week.

Maybe it's a little hardening of the arteries, in your brain? They say Alzheimer's is related to plaque. Maybe you should think about a little dietary modification? I'm just saying, a week. It's sort of a long time, to come up with something as la... but never mind. It's not really pathetic.

But a week.


No, it's okay. Really. Here, have some nachos. And let me wipe the cheeze doodle from your chin. It's sort of dribbly. We don't want your social worker to get a bad impression. Oh! here's the Meals on Wheels guy. I'll get the door on my way out. Take care now, and remember to sponge bath yourself when you get the chance. The reach-extender is on the right there. Chow ... oops, heh heh, I mean ciao.