Christopher Weeks wrote:I suspect that if you had an unlimited supply of the three sisters for your calorie needs, it would be trivially easy in almost any environment to forage for the gaps. The more I read about nutrition, the more I realize just how adaptable the human body is. And processes like nixtamalization and fermentation would help not just with preservation but also widening the nutrients made available.
As to Roy's warning about all-vegetable diet, I think there was some other problem going on. My kids are 19 and 27 and have been vegan-leaning vegetarians for their whole lives and I know a dozen or so happy, healthy young adults who were raised with strictly vegan diets.
I just ran a nutritional analysis. If you ate 5 cups each per day of corn mush, cooked pinto beans, and butternut squash, you'd meet your caloric needs, and most vitamin and mineral needs.
However, you would be completely deficient in B12 (from animals), D (which the body can make), and K (from green leafy things). You'd be severely deficient in omega 3/6 oils, and choline.
Scott Foster wrote:
Anita Martin wrote:I guess for Northamericans this is a known fact (as opposed to Europeans), but for higher nutrition you should look into nixtamalization of the corn:
Adoption of the nixtamalization process did not accompany the grain to Europe and beyond, perhaps because the Europeans already had more efficient milling processes for hulling grain mechanically. Without alkaline processing, maize is a much less beneficial foodstuff, and malnutrition struck many areas where it became a dominant food crop. In the nineteenth century, pellagra epidemics were recorded in France, Italy, and Egypt, and kwashiorkor hit parts of Africa where maize had become a dietary staple.
Hi Anita, Thanks for the information. I did a little bit of reading last week about hominy, dent soaked in wood ash, in Mexico, to make Masa for tortillas. I thought this was a modern process.
I read an article yesterday that said Native Americans ate corn, but it was much more nutritious than the way we eat it today because:
1. They husked the corn (which was said to be an arduous process, but they didn't say how it was husked)
2. They tended to harvest the three sisters at the same time (winter storage) and then eat them together in Succotash. Eating the sisters this way leads to better vitamin and mineral absorption than eating each on its own.
You made me think, how did the Natives husk their corn? I know it was an arduous process, whatever they did. So I looked into it. They were making hominy from dent corn by soaking it in wood ash. (haha nixtamalization.)
This idea is an offshoot, but last week I was researching ways of processing foods for an emergency, and I came across sprouting. Sprouting seeds is fantastic, how else can you get fresh produce, in the middle of winter, with little water, and no light.
Here is another weird leap. One of the safety warnings that pop up about sprouts is salmonella and other food born illnesses that come on the tainted seed. (lIt seems like they try to scare you off) Now they are bleaching sprouting seeds, which kills a lot of the nutritional value.
Your response got this little chain reaction going in my head. It's like we are so afraid of food born illness that we kill our food. I wonder if abandoning processes like nixtamalization, and embracing pasteurization, etc., are why modern man has so many issues with gut health. Maybe it's why so many have auto-immune issues. If your gut can't use nutrients, what use are they? Very interesting. Thanks for your input.