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Did your paleolithic ancestors eat seeds of wild grasses?

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Updated about 6 hours ago
Created April 04, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Did your paleolithic ancestors eat seeds of wild grasses?

I'm sure mine did.

I'm sure they ate grass seeds did because they lived to produce offspring who lived to produce offspring & etc and they would have needed the grass seeds for food at some point to avoid starvation.

My paleolithic ancestors did not have access to potatoes, squash, tomatoes or tropical fruit. They didn't operate a dairy.

In defining a paleolithic diet, I include small amounts of spelt and farro along with most of the vegetables developed by the horticultural geniuses of the Inca empire. I also include other horticultural wonders such as the chickpea. Notice I said horticultural wonders. Horticultural is after neolithic which is after paleolithic. Sometimes I eat cheese too.

I base my diet on whole foods that rely as little as possible on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels includes the feed stock to make pesticides and all the fuel for machinery to plant, harvest, irrigate, transport, process, package &etc.,

Do you have a better approach? I'd love to hear it.

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17136 · April 08, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Distilled alcohol is very pure, no chance for gluten to make it into the spirit. Yeah, you're likely also sensitive/allergic to casein.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 07, 2014 at 3:10 PM

some of us seem to be less sensitive. I wonder if it is because of a genetic change that happened recently enough that we don't all have it.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 07, 2014 at 3:07 PM

wonderful response. I'll look into Promethease. Isn't whisky made from malted grains - just like Guinness? I may cheat on specialoccasions ad drag out some Bookers.

Funny that I am sensitive to cow milk too - had to use goat milk as an infant - but seem to be OK with grains.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 05, 2014 at 3:20 PM

so how do you do it?

I know I don't match my paleo ancestors' diet exactly. Most of it I can only guess at. That is kind of the point of the post ( I guess you missed it) but I expect that the closer I can get my diet to what my body is adapted for, the better.

I have good info that my ancestors migrated to northern Europe and the British isles a long time ago and stayed there until recently. All of them.

Medium avatar
10194 · April 05, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Dang it raydawg. Why can't I upvote? I think the presence of oral amylase is an indication that we can process starches for food, but does this go back to paleo times? Regarding grains, the digestive problems are serious for some, the elevated blood sugar levels serious for others (me). We're meant to be able to gorge to survive, but gorging on carbs has more serious consequences than gorging on meat.

Medium avatar
10194 · April 05, 2014 at 11:05 AM

The great value of grains to humankind is that you can store them for long periods if you keep them dry, and get through starving times. I've never liked wheatberries for their food value but they're good to chew on.

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480 · April 04, 2014 at 9:52 PM

I agree with you on everything....except the artificial sweeteners part, but then again we all have our difference of opinions here and there. But yes, over the years many bad conclusions have been arrived at due to politics and dogma taking precedence over science.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 04, 2014 at 9:36 PM

I liked to munch on whole wheat when I was a kid - there was always some in a barrel waiting to be ground for flour or used as animal feed. Pretty tasty! I've tried this with a few wild grasses too and never been turn off by taste.

I grow a lot of my own food and catch or shoot a lot of it too. I sprout seeds- mung, alfalfa etc

Generally no extra trips to buy groceries - combined trips - I notice a lot of my neighbors stop on the way home from work like I do.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 04, 2014 at 9:17 PM

As a scientist I have often been appalled over the past 50+ years by the way fad diets come and go based on the way scientific studies about nutrition and physiology are misinterpreted.

some examples of bad ideas adopted by millions:

breakfast cereals

margarine

artificial sweeteners

low fat

good ideas?:

paleo

low GI

whole foods

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1227 · April 04, 2014 at 9:10 PM

The Southwestern native americans made mixtures of grass seeds, dried insects, and berries, as preserved food for the cold season.

Medium avatar
0
0 · April 07, 2014 at 10:40 AM

For me Paleos think grains are the number one food villains in the human diet. Yes I agree that ancestors ate grass grains. Grains are all grass seeds for example Rice, Corn, oats , Barley etc are the seeds harvested from fields of grass. The negative health effects of eating grass seeds are HUGE.

1) They create gut irritation, inflammation, and intestinal permeability.

2) Spike insulin

3) Create massive cravings and many more

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 07, 2014 at 3:10 PM

some of us seem to be less sensitive. I wonder if it is because of a genetic change that happened recently enough that we don't all have it.

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17136 · April 05, 2014 at 4:59 PM

@old_pusher I wanted to answer this as a comment, but I realize it'll be long, so here goes:

Exactly. I guess at it. I look at paleo as a path to eliminate toxic foods - not a historical re-enactment, even mildly toxic ones - more along the lines of the Perfect Health Diet (though I stay lower carb than that, and do carb refeeds on workout days.)

You might be surprised at the interbreeding that may have occurred - wouldn't surprise me if you had some viking blood too. :) run your genome through ancestry.com (or 23andme) then pass it through promethease or another service (grumble, grumble, effin' FDA, state of NY). That's what I did and found several health related issues.

Turns out I've got an MTHFR defect (mthfrheds), a vitamin D receptor defect, and a defect in disposing of ammonia, so while I do ingest tons of meat, I also now supplement with L-Arginine, extra D3, methyl-folate, methyl-B12, zinc, and am starting to feel even better than just on the paleo diet alone.

Promethease also showed a bunch of other stuff, some worrisome (prostate), others less important. But it's better to know than not know - was the best $100 + whatever promethease was, that I paid. :) I'm doing the rest of the family too as my wife had Graves (yes, had, it's in remission via strict paleo and meds) and one of my kids has a nut allergy, and I absolutely react to wheat and dairy. Some of it is genetic (promethease reported that I have higher chance of being celiac.)

Yes, avocados, oranges, coconuts are tropical plants, but they're very beneficial, so I consume them though my paleolithic peeps didn't originate in the tropics. Yes, bacon isn't from the paleolithic, but eating nose to tail is and boars were on the menu. Heck, computers, the internet, and most of modern life isn't paleo, but so what, we take the best of all worlds and make use of it.

The point is to learn what's lowest in toxins and eat that. Grassfed and pastured beasts, eggs, butter, wild caught fish are the key. Organic leafy greens and veggies also, the occasional yam or sweet potato, and plenty of 90%+ chcocolate, and bulletproof coffees.

The occasional cheat via coconut flour pancakes cooked in coconut oil with a high quality maple syrup, and the occasional tapioca flour pizza crust with buffalo mozzarella and I don't even miss the SAD. (It's funny, I'm allergic to all cow dairy, but not buffalo, goat, or sheep and it doesn't matter if it's fermented or raw.)

The thing I miss most is Guinness. Was my favorite beer. Oh well. Hard cider, tequila, vodka, single malts whiskey, and life goes on.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 07, 2014 at 3:07 PM

wonderful response. I'll look into Promethease. Isn't whisky made from malted grains - just like Guinness? I may cheat on specialoccasions ad drag out some Bookers.

Funny that I am sensitive to cow milk too - had to use goat milk as an infant - but seem to be OK with grains.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84
0
17136 · April 05, 2014 at 12:07 PM

So, your logic goes "I'm sure my ancestors ate X, because they didn't eat Y and Z" and I'm alive, therefore they did. Um, how do you know who your ancestors really were and what they really ate?

If you've taken a genome test, you'd see you've got "ancestors" from everywhere in different percentages. It tells you nothing about what they ate, how often they ate it, and how the modern equivalents to those things differ.

In one breath you say you define your paleolithic diet in a certain way, but base it on horticulture developed after it. So how is it still paleolithic? How do you know your paleolithic ancestors did the same, or didn't have access to to potatoes, squash, tomatoes or tropical fruit but had access to chickpeas?

Did they juice kale, apples and oranges as you do? http://paleohacks.com/answers/520644/view.html

:) What about coffee and avocado?

Sure, the less anyone relies of fossil fuels the better the for the environment, and the better the quality of the food.

So, indeed, how do you know they ate the seeds of grasses? And even if they did, or didn't how does that reflect on your ability (or lack thereof) to consume modern day grains? Just because they ate something and survived it doesn't mean they developed the enzymes to properly process it without side effects. Hell, even most Americans, the "A" in SAD eat half a lifetime of wheat products and don't develop major issues until they get older.

So again, how do you know?

At best, we can guess. I do know for a fact that both my parents and grandparents ate grains, and I suspect my great-grandparents did too. But how would I know what my ancestors from say 20KYA ate? All I can do is rely on archeologists and anthropologists to tell me. I've had my genome sequenced and know where my peeps come from. But it doesn't tell me anything useful in this area.

I do know that I have a strong reaction to wheat, barley, sometimes corn and cow dairy, and I didn't have any visible reaction until about 2007. What does that tell me about what my ancestors ate?

Nothing much.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 05, 2014 at 3:20 PM

so how do you do it?

I know I don't match my paleo ancestors' diet exactly. Most of it I can only guess at. That is kind of the point of the post ( I guess you missed it) but I expect that the closer I can get my diet to what my body is adapted for, the better.

I have good info that my ancestors migrated to northern Europe and the British isles a long time ago and stayed there until recently. All of them.

Medium avatar
10194 · April 05, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Dang it raydawg. Why can't I upvote? I think the presence of oral amylase is an indication that we can process starches for food, but does this go back to paleo times? Regarding grains, the digestive problems are serious for some, the elevated blood sugar levels serious for others (me). We're meant to be able to gorge to survive, but gorging on carbs has more serious consequences than gorging on meat.

Medium avatar
0
10194 · April 04, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Yes they ate some grass seeds, but they weren't tasty or nutritious until they could cook them. The easiest way to take the resistant seed starch and get human food value is to boil it in a pot. Cooking pots didn't exist in paleo times, hence part of the Paleo bias against grains. However, most of the Paleo bias is against refined grains stripped of their vitamins and minerals and used abundantly in processed foods. Many Paleos accept sprouted grains and edible seeds.

The only thing you could do better is to start gathering, trapping, digging, catching or shooting whatever wild foods you have in your area. You can also avoid fossil fuel-burning mechanized transportation by walking to the grocery store.

Medium avatar
10194 · April 05, 2014 at 11:05 AM

The great value of grains to humankind is that you can store them for long periods if you keep them dry, and get through starving times. I've never liked wheatberries for their food value but they're good to chew on.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 04, 2014 at 9:36 PM

I liked to munch on whole wheat when I was a kid - there was always some in a barrel waiting to be ground for flour or used as animal feed. Pretty tasty! I've tried this with a few wild grasses too and never been turn off by taste.

I grow a lot of my own food and catch or shoot a lot of it too. I sprout seeds- mung, alfalfa etc

Generally no extra trips to buy groceries - combined trips - I notice a lot of my neighbors stop on the way home from work like I do.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0
480 · April 04, 2014 at 8:33 PM

You've met your ancestors from 10,000 years ago? Wow, you're lucky. I only knew my grandparents.

Anyway, a good rule of thumb is to eat things based on how healthy they are, when consumed by the human body, rather than at what time period they were harnessed by humans. The Paleo diet merely proposes a hypothesis: "Eating a diet composed of foods which resembled our prehistoric human diet leads to a better health." It is up to science to test this hypothesis and evaluate its validity. For this reason, scientific studies about nutrition and physiology are useful in determining whether this hypothesis is valid or not.

5c9da65769e52042e3b7fcf3f4bcc2be
0 · April 04, 2014 at 9:17 PM

As a scientist I have often been appalled over the past 50+ years by the way fad diets come and go based on the way scientific studies about nutrition and physiology are misinterpreted.

some examples of bad ideas adopted by millions:

breakfast cereals

margarine

artificial sweeteners

low fat

good ideas?:

paleo

low GI

whole foods

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