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Bread and butter

I don’t think humans are idiots. That is a problem.

It’s a problem because people who pledge themselves to cult like eating habits assume humans are idiots.

I find the concerns surrounding wheat fascinating. When I come across a study like this one. It makes me think.

If you take away the butter what is left? The bread.

I find it interesting that right around the time butter, cream, and milk became unhealthful foods people started becoming allergic to their bread.

If a person discovers they feel like the plague after eating bread and they stop eating it and it helps that is good. If that same person and their friends say that wheat is a problem and that the entire human species is verging on mass suicide by eating wheat that is delusional.

Perhaps that person and their friends just need to eat more butter.

You don’t need to speculate what people ate eons ago, 100 to 200 years back is all that is really needed. People prepared and consumed foods in specific ways for a reason. Who eats bread without butter?

I don’t think humans (our species) are idiots. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I don’t think humans (our species) are insane.

7 comments… add one
  • Pauline 07/01/2014, 11:12 pm

    Edward, I find your posts most thought-provoking, I hope you will continue to write, especially of your experiential insights wrt autopsies etc. Paradoxes are such opportunities for learning. Thank you.

  • George Henderson 08/01/2014, 1:41 am

    Good point about the butter. Bread-making technology also changed in this period – all bread now contains soy protein and 20 other ingredients, almost all of which were unknown in my childhood.
    I see wheat as a gamble. Not everyone becomes intolerant to gluten, but when it happens, the effects are insidious and not always easy to diagnose, and can also be accompanied by “addiction” or compulsive consumption of the food causing the problem.
    It’s a bit like how not everyone who drinks becomes an alcoholic, but if you don’t drink, your risk is zero, and alcoholism is a terrible thing.

  • Edward 11/01/2014, 3:15 pm

    It is hard to know exactly what goes on with the refining of wheat and the reasons for specific procedures without being a wheat farmer. I seen processing techniques on both extremes from the complicated (to the point where you start asking yourself why not just eat a dextrose tablet because there is nothing left of value in the final refined product) to the simple fire roasting that some Ethiopian farmers use. Then there is the issue of calcium (Bhattacharya, 2011) and miRNA (Vaucheret & Chupeau, 2012).

    Objectively wheat is an interesting topic and it might be a gamble but prohibition never solved any problems.

    From the time wheat was domesticated it seemed that farmers were selecting for starchier wheat breads. Some felt that this was evidence for some sort of preference for starch, but I think it is possible they desired less protein from the wheat because those same people still where spending a lot of time hunting. In the book Ancient Iraq the authors remarked that the amount of wheat produced would have been enough on average to provide the individual with sufficient protein (Brice & Roux, 1966) but they were confused as to why they would still spend a great deal of time hunting (of course reducing the diet down to protein, fat, and carbohydrate, ignores the other factors). Given that farmers were selecting for starchier breeds of wheat and still hunting I think it is possible they might have recognized there was something problematic with it or that there is a bit more to a complete diet than just bread (or simply that lower protein wheat tastes better, or maybe they just wanted something more energy dense). How they knew this (assuming they did observe something problematic with wheat) I can only speculate but I think it is possible the texture and flavor had something to do with it. It is difficult to make soft palatable bread from high protein wheat (you might as well eat adobe bricks).

    In my opinion (if we are just talking about taste and no consequences) sourdough white bread that is soft and toasts well tastes better than the hard seedy whole grain variety (I didn’t like it). Growing up I ate a lot of toasted bread with a lot of butter (no jelly). The whole grain variety was unpleasant.

    Bhattacharya, K. R. (2011). Rice quality. doi:10.1533/9780857092793
    Brice, W. C., & Roux, G. (1966). Ancient Iraq. doi:10.2307/2795921
    Vaucheret, H., & Chupeau, Y. (2012). Ingested plant miRNAs regulate gene expression in animals. Cell research, 22(1), 3–5. doi:10.1038/cr.2011.164

  • George Henderson 11/01/2014, 10:28 pm

    I think all traditional peoples who eat grains modify them to remove toxins and make starches more accessible, just as they do with roots like taro and cassava. The idea that you’d want to eat the bran of rice or wheat in any quantity has never occurred to them. And our milling of flour is just a development of this instinct. Also, processed starches can be kept for longer, and are lighter. Maori used to make a flour from toasted kumara that they could take on travels, store over winter. I suspect that plain energy malnutrition was a bigger problem in the Paleolithic than lack of protein or micronutrients, and our instincts with regard to carbohydrates reflect this.

  • Edward 12/01/2014, 1:47 am

    That last bit about the instinct regarding carbohydrate is really interesting to think about.

  • Marco 05/01/2015, 10:19 pm

    Hi Edward. Weren’t you favorable to avoid starches as much as possible?

  • Edward 08/01/2015, 5:13 pm

    Marco, I do think avoiding starch is wise. However, it’s interesting to think about the mechanisms that allow people to have less problems with it.

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