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A question about adaptation, human diet, and 10,000 years of stagnation.  RSS feed

 
gardener
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When I first came to Ladakh in 1992, most of the people were farming, growing wheat and barley without internal combustion engines. The only wheeled devices were the prayer wheel and the small local water-mill for grinding grain, which most families or their neighbours owned. Mills were not owned by the economic elite. It is a misconception to think it wasn't possible to grow a lot of grains before industrialisation.

It's also tempting to pin everything on genetics because it is such an excitingly developing field at this point in history, but there are probably a lot of other things causing people's food allergies and difficulties with digestion these days, including the microbiome that we have impoverished by taking antibiotics, lifestyle, exercise, environmental and dietary chemicals, and things we haven't even thought of yet. Personally I think our messed up microbiomes are the biggest cause of all the current food fussiness and allergies and digestive disorders, but I am not a scientist, I just like reading what they write.

I am very sure that the Ladakhis when I first came here were happily digesting wheat and barley with no trouble, and they had never taken antibiotics, seen a TV, lazed around much, been exposed to synthetic chemicals, or been to more than 5 years of school... On the other hand, they were exceedingly grubby with local grime, drank running water, believed in superstitions, suffered from exposure to smoke, often suffered from heartburn, were extremely short, wiry and strong, were exposed to unadvisedly cold temperatures, and various other things that should be harmful. The only food fussiness I heard of had to do with restrictions imposed by different house spirits, who all have different rules; oh, and some people didn't eat chilli, or were vegetarian. Not one person said they had trouble with wheat or barley, even though by the time I came, govt-subsidised rice was available and many people ate it once a day, but I have still never heard of anyone avoiding wheat here. Actually yes, one Ladakhi I know does avoid wheat -- but he lived in Scandinavia and the US for over a decade (so I suspect he either took antibiotics that messed up his microbiome, or picked up the food fussiness). In the 90s I seemed to know as many very old people here as I had back in the US, and almost all the deaths under 60 I heard of were road accidents, obviously a new thing.

I am very willing to admit I'm wrong when the next convincing evidence comes up.

But I am not convinced that humans evolved a problem or have a genetic problem eating wheat, grains, or gluten. (On the other hand, I do believe humans in dairy farming regions did evolve the ability to digest milk as adults, so I do believe we evolve).
 
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I think you have made a math error that is effecting your logic.  It humans have produced 30,000 generations in 10,000 years then a human would grow to maturity and reproduce in 4 months.  If on the other hand  we take 20 years as a generation then 10,000 years represents only 500 generations.  So, adaptation might be occurring much faster that you originally assumed.

Also, the work of William Albrecht documented significant differences in the health of draftees during the first world war that he tied back to rainfall patterns and soil mineral saturation.  This occurred barely 100 years after settlement in the midwest and 200 years along much of the east coast.  Or, over a period of 5 to 10 generations.
 
master steward
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Alex Riddles wrote:I think you have made a math error that is effecting your logic. 



That's possible. 

I asked Google to do the math, but looking at it now, I might not have asked the question in the way Google understands.


 
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I neglected to add to my original post about mechanization, that a lot of the effort in preparing wheat is the threshing.  People can eat wheat without grinding it (and no doubt people did and still do), but they really do have to thresh it. 

I'm glad this thread has stayed so respectful (John's joke notwithstanding)!  It's a touchy topic, for sure.
 
Galadriel Freden
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I don't dispute that people ate grains.  I would even hazard a suggestion that civilization as we know it was built on grain--a food that could be stored for long periods of time, giving rise to an elite class who could persuade/strongarm/etc the rest of the population into growing and preparing it.  toby hemenway, I believe, had an interesting lecture about the rise of agriculture and civilization (and how they aren't sustainable in their current forms), which might still be online somewhere.

It is my suggestion that grain wasn't the bulk of our ancestors' calories in the distant past.  If we accept it is a famine food, that is it costs more calories than it provides, it simply couldn't be the bulk of calories consumed, or our ancestors would have all starved to death.  Maybe I'm wrong about this;  maybe it's not a famine food.  Or maybe they were storing it during times of plenty, and only eating it during hard times such as in the (not necessarily historically accurate) story of Joseph and his Technicolor coat--during actual famines. 

I don't know;  this is all just my own conjecture based on my own personal reading.  There aren't written records from 10,000 years ago, so does anyone really know?  Technologically we've come so far as a civilization, but we still don't know where we came from;  all the written history we have wasn't very concerned about day to day stuff, like what the general populace (aka poor people) were eating.
 
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I think searching for a single perfect human diet is folly because, as was mentioned in the very first post, we didn't all start out eating the same diet anyways.

Ancestral diets depend on ancestry. What happens when that means selecting from a dozen different different cultures around the world? Or even two?

We aren't just talking about human evolution, but the evolution of the hominid gut microbiome, which we inherited from before we walked upright, and which will have an evolutionary rate much higher than our own, but has a critical role to play in epigenetic terms.

Because of its higher evolutionary rate, gut microbiomes can adapt over time to specific staple diets, which is the basis of the ancestral diet idea. But that means that the two Italian villages separated by a mountain, and no doubt kept from interaction by a feud as old as time, might not only have different breeds of goat, sheep, tomato, olive, et cetera ad nauseam, but the gut microbiota in the people living in those separate villages might cause different epigenetic tendencies in the separate populations, leading to genetic differences not explained by simpler models.

Say one village had no beans. That village had little folic acid in the diet, and so the babies that were born suffered from the problems associated with folic acid deficiency. Over time, these problems would affect the passing on of traits.

Another example. The south of Poland was right on the Silk Road to the orient. They were the first in Europe to be influenced by trade, and adopted such things as rice and rhubarb earlier than most other places further down the path. Yet those living in the North on the Baltic probably wouldn't have seen these until much later, as is seen in regional differences between traditional dishes.

So I could have great-grandparents all hailing from Poland, or Italy, or a number of different countries, each with many different ancient ancestral regional diets making up the ancestry of their gut microbiome. And what if I have great-grandparents hailing from both Poland and Italy? What does that mean for my neo-ancestral diet?

I find it helpful to think of humans using the analogy of the animal that most exemplifies our impact on animal husbandry: the dog.

We are like dogs. Most domesticated species, in fact, are like dogs, in that they exemplify the choices we have made, even back before agriculture. But our ancestral diets are as varied and numerous as there are types of dogs, including hybrids, because what does that even mean?

Our ancestral diets were essentially geographically-derived food ruts into which our ancestors fell. Any time something better came along, we jumped on it, if not for any nutritional benefit, then simply for variety. If something was plentiful in what was otherwise a time of dearth, it would eventually be considered. If it offered an advantage, those who could benefit from it, did, and it had a positive effect on the passing on of the traits that enabled them to benefit while others starved.

In terms of the stagnation of human evolution, I think it's a lot more complicated than that. I think that as global travel and discourse increase, we will see more changes in humanity from the compounding of hybrid vigour, where pairings of mixed ancestries, who don't share the same genetic weaknesses, are perhaps experienced in successive generations.

We are still affected by the same evolutionary pressures society has placed upon us since its inception, in my opinion. We have some additional toxic pressures, and the processing of food to remove digestive barriers leads to more volatile blood glucose patterns, not to mention the effect of added sugar in diets. The gross pressures have been replaced, in some instances, but nothing has really changed.

-CK
 
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Interesting Thread,

A couple of thoughts,

Not everyone thrives on the same diet. Diets were diverse even 10,000 years ago, depending on the environment that people lived in, there are many things in modern diets that weren't around 10,000 years ago, but there wasn't any single paleolithic diet. Evolution and adaptation of humanity never stopped and is continuing, but it can't keep pace with the rate of change in our modern world. Also, agriculture spread to different regions at different times, so depending on your own ancestry, you might have ancestors that were hunter-gatherers more recently than 10,000 years ago. The last 150 years have seen a particularly rapid change, adding so much toxic stuff to the environment, antibiotics to alter our microbiomes, and changes of food processing away from traditional ways (an example, before the introduction of baker's yeast, sourdough bread was the norm). I agree with Rebecca Norman that changes of diet aren't the only factor in food issues, other changes in our environments need to be looked at. Just talking to people of different generations in America is very revealing, the prevalence of food allergies have exploded in recent years, along with other conditions of immune dysfunction, such as autoimmune diseases. The microbiome has already been mentioned, that's huge, one issue rarely discussed is aluminum adjuvants in vaccines, there's increasing evidence that they're involved in conditions of immune dysfunction. Aluminum adjuvants are used specifically to stimulate the immune system, it's not too surprising that they end up stimulating it in unexpected ways as well.

I have to disagree with the idea that survival after reproduction means nothing in human evolution. That would be true in a species that don't take care of their young, but in humans there's often going to be a big difference in the welfare of a child with living, healthy parents than one with sick or dead parents. In the harsh times that shape evolution the most, the children with healthy parents will be at a particular advantage. While much less important than parents, surviving grandparents may even give an evolutionary advantage as well, as they can be helpful to the survival of the family as well, they can take care of grandkids and share their knowledge from a long life experience.
 
garden master
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Galadriel Freden wrote:If we accept it is a famine food, that is it costs more calories than it provides, it simply couldn't be the bulk of calories consumed, or our ancestors would have all starved to death



I grow wheat, barley, oats, and rye. I grow them on a human scale using only simple tools. One hour of my labor harvesting, with secateurs, threshing with a stick, and winnowing by pouring between buckets on a windy day produces 5 pounds of clean grain. If that grain is rye, that's around 7900 calories. During that hour, I expend about 300 calories of labor, and use about 70 calories as my basal metabolic rate, so a total of 370 calories. Therefore,  my return on investment = 7900/370 = 21X more energy obtained than is spent harvesting and threshing.

I highly recommend that people get in touch with human history by growing at least some of our own grains.

 
pollinator
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My observation as one believing in creation is that we devolve leading to problems.  Added to that is in ignorance we tend to poison ourselves and or the next generation. The tomato on the lead plate sited earlier.  One factor that began to be dominant 100 years ag0 was bleaching wheat four This alters the gluten even more that the genetic changes that have occured. The product is aflatoxin which destroys the cells that produce insulin. So many alterations to food that have been made for visual and taste preferences produce changes that alter or function in deleterious but don't kill us outright and so have been tolerated.

This is one example It is used to produce diabetic rats but they cant prove that it does that in humans because it would be unethical to deliberately give a toxin like that to a child therefore because it has not been proved they can't prevent manufacturers from producing flour containing it. Corporate logic correct?
 
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There has been much said in this thread that it is hard to figure out what angle I should insert myself. 

I'm very much agreeable to the idea that our gut biome is probably the largest factor in how are dietary nutritional needs are met or not met. 

All life thrives due to microbial interactions, like when plants are being fed by the fungal and bacterial microbes in the soil in exchange for sugars.  We consume what we like, but it is our gut microbes which allow us to metabolize.  In the past, it should be remembered that not only did we not have antibiotics, we also lived in a great deal less sterile environment.  We ate a hell of a lot more dirt with our carrots and ate our greens unwashed.  Our gut microbes thrived, not necessarily because we were eating fermented foods, but because we had a constant influx of food based bacteria, fungi, amoeba, and other micro beings entering our systems. 

Also, it should be noted that our guts are not an internal part of our body, but an external tube that runs through our body from our mouth to our lower sphincter.  Although we absorb stuff from this internalized external system into our actual internal system (and these absorbed things become a part of us), we should not confuse the external nature of this system with our own inner workings.  Just like the gut microbial population, our skin is also teeming with living beings.  It is much the same as our gut tissue, and we also exchange stuff back out to the external system to get rid of it through the lower sphincters and skin.  Our microbial population is a hugely dynamic and personal thing, and like our neuro-plastic minds, are entirely personalized via our experiences.     

PH of our food in relation to the acid or alkaline nature of our digestive enzyme systems, also can play a huge in how we digest food.  So if you are eating a meal that is largely digested through the alkaline digestive system, and then throw something in their that requires heavy acids to digest, then you neutralize your system, and digestion is poor, often causing acid reflux.  People with digestive disorders might be well off to simplify this factor by eating starches/carbs with alkalizing veggies, but not acidifying meats or heavy proteins.  Heavy proteins could be eaten with various cooked vegetables (as cooking acidifies many veg foods) or some raw neutral veggies, which would not have a problem being digested in the acid system that is produced automatically to digest acidic foods.

I am all for the idea that was put forward that there is no right or perfect diet based on our collective ancestry.  Ancestry is regional.  All wild critters have local regional based diets, no matter what their species.  Black bears in Arizona eat cactus fruits but have no access to the salmon that are more common in North West Coastal North America.  The N W bears will likely never see or eat a cactus fruit.  Bears will eat grain or pulses if these are presented to them, even though these are not part of their 'traditional' diet.  I regularly have to honk the horn of the truck that I drive on the train track to get a bear off of a pile of grain that has spilled out the bottom of a grain car. 

Grain and starch crops in general are cheap calories, and are actually, as Joseph pointed out, not that difficult to grow in sufficient quantities if one is so inclined.  The European population exploded due to the peasant population getting a hold of potatoes; the same happened to the people of the Great Lakes getting a hold of corn.  Their health, however, was not boosted in accordance to the rise in population.     

I think that if we really want to figure out what a perfect human diet would be, we would take great care to study any existing tribal cultures, as well as the diets/eating habits of other larger primates, like chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, gorillas.         
 
pollinator
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One thing that no one appears to have mentioned is that as well as humans eveloving our gut bacteria evolve too and at a much faster rate as humans  obviously as they have mant many more generations than we do .  Thus there is no perfect diet we are all in a state of flux
 
master steward
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Which makes me wonder, too, if the plants most people eat (and that our meat eats) are growing in "dead" soils with few microorganisms, and that food is all cooked&/ or pasteurized, we're probably not getting anywhere near the same diversity of bacteria and fungi from our foods as people were 100 years ago, before chemical fertilizers and pesticides and microwave dinners... We probably just get the strongest contenders, which might not be the ones that are most beneficial for our guts.

I ran across this facinating article a few months ago: http://theconversation.com/i-spent-three-days-as-a-hunter-gatherer-to-see-if-it-would-improve-my-gut-health-78773. A man goes and lives and eats with the people who have the most diverse gut microorganism.

The results showed clear differences between my starting sample and after three days of my forager diet. The good news was my gut microbal diversity increased a stunning 20%, including some totally novel African microbes, such as those of the phylum Synergistetes.

The bad news was, after a few days, my gut microbes had virtually returned to where they were before the trip. But we had learnt something important. However good your diet and gut health, it is not nearly as good as our ancestors’. Everyone should make the effort to improve their gut health by re-wilding their diet and lifestyle. Being more adventurous in your normal cuisine plus reconnecting with nature and its associated microbial life, may be what we all need.



Here's another article about the tribe: The Surprising Gut Microbes of African Hunter-Gatherers
 
David Livingston
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The microbes in our gut multiply so fast and change so fast I wonder if this is a good thing ? Look at a lot of traditional diets Wheat potato or rice dominated . Our gut adapts to this . We change our diet the gut bacteria change . The author above uses the word good however for me its not clear .What is good in this contex ? survival is everything for gut bacteria too

David
 
Chris Kott
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So a couple of points.

Actually, David, I mentioned the higher evolutionary rate of our gut microbiome in my post.

Also, we do not devolve. Evolution doesn't work backwards. Whales can't be said to have devolved back to a marine lifeform just because their ancestors were land-based.

Evolution is about the transmission of genes to subsequent generations. We can't go directly backwards. We can evolve in a new direction, or we can evolve new traits that resemble old traits, but we can't devolve. That is an over-simplified science fiction trope that couldn't happen to us naturally, because we can't regain genetic traits that we have lost, and nor can our gut microbiome.

Nothing will restore what humans had 10 000 years ago. It's gone. What we can do is try to figure out what's going on now. We also can't take a hand in our own evolution. That ship has sailed. We can try to inform future generations, so that they can see farther than us, by standing on our figurative shoulders, and we can try to make choices that improve the world we live in, so that it isn't just another obstacle for our collective progeny to overcome.

Do you want to know what I actually think it is that is making us sicklier? I think it's a combination of two observations, and maybe a sprinkling of something else.

We are living in a lysolised world. Everything is disinfected, every hand sanitized, and every patch of skin a petri dish for invaders.

Mouthwashes have recently come under fire as being too much of a nuclear option. Sure, they kill the bacteria that cause bad breath and decay, but they also kill off everything else, leaving a petri dish for whatever wants to come in and set up shop.

We can actually carry out our lives (I won't call it living)  in environments where we can sterilise everything. We aren't exposed to enough healthy bacteria and microorganisms to take up the space that compromising bacteria and microorganisms need to thrive, so they don't get choked out, and our immune systems aren't exposed to enough microorganisms and diseases to prime them for healthy functioning, either.

If you're exposed to a strain of the flu unlike any you've had before, you will get sick. If you've never had any strains of the flu, or if somehow an immunized body's response isn't as effective as a body who's actually contracted a similar strain, been sick, and gotten over it, well, that would explain some of what we are seeing.

It's like Roberto said. I was told at one point, when I was still young enough to be going to the pediatrician with my mother, that it was perfectly normal for children to eat dirt out of potted plants. I think it might be closer to "necessary" than "normal."

As to the insufficiency of human diets, it's no real mystery. We are taking nutrition out of the context of the food in which it grows. We are stripping good, healthy food of the digestive barriers it grew with in order to make it softer, whiter, and tastier (personally, I prefer a good whole-grain rye to white), and basically turning our grains into starches that hit the blood stream like sugar.

We are removing barriers to digestion, so every processed good out there causes a spike in the blood sugar. Anything with white bread or a processed starch in it is digested faster because there is less to digest, meaning the starches convert to sugar faster. It's the same as eating sugar for the effect on the blood glucose levels.

We do this every day, for the most part. It is precisely the type of metabolic activity we were warned years ago causes the conditions that lead to diabetes. I have yet to see a better explanation, but I welcome a response.

One other thing that occurs to me is the refrigerator. Before the fridge, food was stored as best as possible, but with the knowledge that it was constantly being exposed to, and likely colonised by, the wild microbiota in the living environment. Even if these never developed detectable cultures (a spot of mold or what have you), those wild microbiota would have been on the food, and consumed by those eating it. Could the necessities of food storage before cold storage was available have lead to a healthier gut microbiome?

-CK
 
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r ranson wrote:Maybe the question I'm looking for is simpler.

How far back do we have to go to find a diet that our bodies are adapted to? 

We're all in agreement that the Modern Western diet isn't working.

Do we really have to go back 10,000 years to find a diet that our bodies thrive on?

Could it be less?

What if, our bodies actually thrived on the diet of our individual ancestors 200 years ago?  That would give me a North Western European diet heavy in wheat, milk, pulses, cabbage, and beer.  But according to the SCD, most of these are 'illegal' foods for good health.


I skipped over many reactions, but when I saw this question I wanted to give my opinion.
It's only my personal opinion. I think we don't have to go back many thousands of years. All we have to do is to eat real food: vegetables, grains, nuts, fruits grown without the use of any chemicals or genetic manipulation, grown in 'rich soil'. And sometimes (if we like) a little meat, eggs and dairy, produced in that same natural way.
 
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Potatos were not part of the european diet until a couple hundred years ago.  Since then, there has been pretty heavy pressure (in an evolutionary sense) for white folks to thrive on potatos.  Whether they were in the diet before or not, my overwhelmingly european-descended belly now likes potatos and I seem to thrive on them.  I don't thrive on heavily corn syruped soft drinks.  Listen to your body.  From what I can see, we are a fairly variable species and you need to pay attention to the feedback your body gives you.  Some can handle modernly processed and homogenized milk, some can't.  I find as a general rule, the more processed something is, the worse my body does on it.  It also depends on your activity level as well as things like time of year, age, etc. 

It seems to me that an ancestral diet has a better chance of agreeing with you, but if your ancestors were immigrants, they probably mixed with folks from outside their ancestral area, muddying the waters somewhat.  Also, your ancestors, eating their ancestral diet, eventually died.  Maybe there was something better, they just didn't have it available.  Ancestral diets were fairly limited, not just by what they could thrive on, but even more by what was available and what they could afford.  There may be something (like, say, avacados) that would have been a wonderful addition to your ancestors diets, but it simply wasn't available in their area, so it never became part of their diet.

The statement "we haven't evolved in the last 10,000 years" is seriously suspect.  All you can tell about 10,000 year old skeletons are fairly gross physical features.  You can determine sex (if you find the pelvis) and make a fair guess at race, maybe a bit more if DNA is available, but fine issues like what diet is best, the ability to create or recite poetry, sing well, learn quickly?  I think such statements are fantasy.  It seems that before about 5 to 7,000 years ago europeans were lactose intolerant.  It seems an invasion from central asia introduced the gene for lactose tolerance into the population and spread quickly.  That sounds like evolution.

In the fossil record we don't see "gradual" evolution.  We see sudden changes in populations.  When I asked a professor what that indicated, he said a related animal from somewhere else had moved into the area and pushed out/ interbred with the species there before.  I read an article claiming that while we are in the middle of a human caused extinction event, we are also in the middle of a massive human caused species creation event also.  The article claimed that the most common way a species is created is when related species  interbreed.  The hybrids are sometimes superior in their particular environment than either of the parent species and go on to become a species of their own.  We are also moving species all over the world and creating new environments which provide evolutionary opportunities.  (species is one of those very vague words whose meaning is almost impossible to pin down.  I think it highly likely that if the somewhat arbitrary rules (like coloring, size and body type variations, used to differentiate related animals, were applied to humans, we would be seen as several species.  We don't do this for a number of political, philosophical/religious and socialogical reasons, but what I say is true.  (Most people believe that the most important part of a human is not their appearance.  I agree, an asshole is still an asshole no matter what they look like).).  If you accept the argument about hybridization, and given the tendency of humans move aroung and to breed with whoever is available, we are a very adaptable group, prone to evolving. 

Different bloodlines are obviously different.  Everyone knows some family where the people seem smarter, bigger or dumber than the average.  Some bloodlines tend towards heart problems, some seem indistructable.  This continues to a lesser extent when we move out to broader groups of people.  Just like in animals, the broader the selection the less accurate.  For example, highland cattle have a reputation for being able to handle bad weather and rough feed.  You might find a few of some other breed that are tougher than individual highland cattle, but that doesn't disprove the general statement.  It only proves it is a general statement, not 100% accurate, but generally correct.

I think some of this mindset is a PC refusal to recognize that there are group differences.  They do exist.  There is a reason for most stereotypes.  It doesn't mean the stereotype is unbreakable or that applies to everyone in the group or even that it isn't societally induced.  In the mid 19th century there was a widespread prejudice against Irish in the US.  They were seen as prone to drunkenness, crime and violence.  Given that a huge percentage of the irish had been pushed out of their homeland by a genocidal famine (made worse by the large land owners tendancy to sell the food they produced out of country, where they could get better prices) and a very heavy male skewed male/female ratio (way more young men made it over than young women), there was probably a fair amount of PTSD, plus too many young men vs young women historically leads to violence, rise in crime and substance abuse as the young men compete for the few available females or drown their sorrows in the bottle.  So, at the time, as a group, the irish may have been more prone to drunkeness and violence, but it was not necessarily genetic.  So stereotypes or ancestral diets are probably a good place to start, but move on from that because the stereotype is not accurate on the individual level.

Sorry about that, I think I just jumped on a soapbox.  I would like to return to the original question and explain how I believe my two previous paragraphs apply.  If you are asian, you will probably do well with an asian diet, but that is a stereotype.  Experimentation is still called for, you might have inherited the central asian gene that allows you to drink cows milk.  Maybe you lost the genetic lottery and rice is your enemy.  Genes become less common by being selected against, but that doesn't mean they disappear.  About 10% of people of northern european descent still can't handle cows milk. 




 
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When we digest food, we are depending on the gut microbiome.  Those guys digest many things we cannot digest with our own enzymes.  And who is there today in what numbers depends on what we've been eating in the recent past.  How long it takes the microbiome to adapt to changes in our diet is aobut a month.

In that time the few microbes present that are able to process the 'new' substances increase in number, but some of them had to be present in the first place.  But,bacteria trrade DNA with each other, collect new sequences, so, if any microbe in the gut has the ability, soon that ability will abound. 

I don't think the bacteria are as clever as the fungi at devising NEW enzymes, and I don't think we have fungal partners in our guts.  From here on out, we need to protect the diversity in our guts, and from my understanding we can best do that by consuming a diverse diet.

For those with impoverished gut microbiome, there are fecal transplants, and big science is working on pills rather than utilizing the rectal route currently  utilized.  It seems gross in the extreme (to me) but I know it has saved lives, especially from C. difficile infections. 

Back to the main question,how long does it take to adapt, and the question of the industrailized diet, Weston A Price documented the change away from health in the first generation that consumed industrialized diet in many places around the world.  He documented even changes in bond structure, related to the introduction of refined foods.

Another early researcher and author was Andre Voisin(e?).  His book "Soil Grass Cancer" was published about 1950.  He also was tracing health of populations related to the food they ate, and even the soil they ate from.  Fascinating.

Last comment is about evolution and mutations and such.  We live in interesting times.... currently gaining ground in the scientific community is "epigenetics" which concerns itself with how changes/life events in one generation have affected subsequent generations.... stressor present in grandparents affecting grandchildren in measurable ways.  This added to the fact that we also sometimes are able to copy the bacteria in their gene gathering makes it very hard to understand evolution in the old fashioned Darwinian way.  We are way more complex than that, and so are our processes of change and developement.

I got confused about all of this in the 60s, decided the only thing to do was to only eat what would have been available to humans somewhere on earth before the industrialization of food.  And I have followed that idea pretty well, with the exception of junk food,which I do at times indulge in. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
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The article claimed that the most common way a species is created is when related species  interbreed.  The hybrids are sometimes superior in their particular environment than either of the parent species and go on to become a species of their own.  We are also moving species all over the world and creating new environments which provide evolutionary opportunities.  (species is one of those very vague words whose meaning is almost impossible to pin down.  I think it highly likely that if the somewhat arbitrary rules (like coloring, size and body type variations, used to differentiate related animals, were applied to humans, we would be seen as several species. 



Sounds like an interesting article.  I'm not sure that I understand this the same way.  The way I think of it, the definition of a species is not vague at all.  A species is defined by it's ability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring.   In relation to the first sentence in this above quote: related subspecies which have had some separate evolutionary development and then subsequently come to breed are the most likely to carry new genetic variances which have the potential to create a new species from the existing single species.  That said, separate species tend to not be able to interbreed successfully, and that's what makes them separate species, by definition.  When similar species breed, they often create hybrids which are often sterile (Donkey's and Horses create sterile mules, for instance).  There is evidence that seemingly separate species (due to how they appear to us) might actually be the same species with fairly recent divergence in habits and physical traits; this is being studied in relation with polar bears and northern brown bears which can interbreed successfully.  

All of the variation in humans, or in dogs for that matter, has no bearing on them being seen as separate human or dog species.  With these thoughts in mind, all humans can interbreed, so the color of their skin, size and type of body, hair and eye color, et cetera are pretty much irrelevant to actual speciation.  And that will be the case until there is a point where a subset comes to produce fertile successive breeding that is divergent from that of the current line.  The way I see it, this is not impossible, but as far as I know, it hasn't been shown to have happened in our collective human history.  The biggest challenge in breeding there, is size, and that is usually solved by C section births.   Body type might be a lot bigger of an issue when it comes to dogs, where for instance a St Barnard and a chihuahua are unlikely to breed, and if they do, particularly if the smaller dog is the female, she will likely die in the process of producing offspring within her, if not in birthing the pups.  These creatures are quite divergent physically, and in my thinking are probably more likely (in the distant future should they both continue on such separate breeding paths) in the end to form separate species based on their physical inability to breed.  However, if the chihuahua is able to breed with a slightly larger dog, which is able to breed with a mid sized dog, which can breed with a St Barnard, then they are all likely to still be 'capable' of speciation, at least genetically if not physically without C section assistance. 

As far as species being moved all over the world and thus providing greater evolutionary opportunities, I fully agree that this is the case.

That's how I see it anyway.  Way off topic of the thread though.  Sorry for my indiscretion.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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To me, the concept of species is very muddled and mixed up. As a plant breeder, I am all the time making, or attempting to make inter-species crosses, and even entirely new species. I use all sorts of tricks to overcome hybridization barriers. As examples: Using artificial lighting to change what time of year a species flowers, so that it will be flowering at the same time as a different species. Cutting off the stigma that would normally reject pollen from a different species. Pollinating with mixed species pollen. Plain old making tens of thousands of crossing attempts to find the one in a thousand that works.

I love looking at the genetics, say of plants growing along the shore of a huge lake. Each plant can breed successfully with it's nearby kin, but by the time the species has spread to circumnavigate the lake, they may be incapable of reproducing with others of their same kind. So they are two separate species at that point, with lots of intermediates spread along the lake shore.

I would feel very comfortable calling Chihuahua and Great Dane separate species.

Here's an interesting article I found that discusses the genetics of social behavior in humans. I've noticed this sort of thing in breeds of dogs... Sure love the personality of a blue heeler for example, and every blue heeler has approximately the same personality. http://time.com/91081/what-science-says-about-race-and-genetics/ "The economic historian Gregory Clark has provided one by daring to look at a plausible yet unexamined possibility: that productivity increased because the nature of the people had changed." In other words, that their genetics changed which ushered in the industrial revolution.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:
For those with impoverished gut microbiome, there are fecal transplants, and big science is working on pills rather than utilizing the rectal route currently  utilized.  It seems gross in the extreme (to me) but I know it has saved lives, especially from C. difficile infections. 



These are sadly not accessible. Hospitals/doctors refuse to prescribe them unless a person has had c. dif twice. Fecal transplants have been shown to "cure" Crohn's (put a person in remission without drugs for years). My husband has Crohn's, would love a fecal transplant, and his doctor won't give him one. My husband has been tempted to try to give himself c dif just to get the fecal transplant (yes, his crohn's is that bad that he's tempted to risk that). We've seriously considered doing a fecal transplant with me as the donor, as at  least I don't have Crohn's...

I don't think the bacteria are as clever as the fungi at devising NEW enzymes, and I don't think we have fungal partners in our guts.  From here on out, we need to protect the diversity in our guts, and from my understanding we can best do that by consuming a diverse diet. 



I'm perplexed...what do you mean by us not having fungal partners in our guts? My husband supplements with saccharomyces boulardii, which is a beneficial fungus that helps treat c dif, Crohn's and other gut problems. Does "fungal partner" mean something else? Here's quote from a study on s. boulardii (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296087/):

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2012 Mar; 5(2): 111–125. wrote:Several clinical trials and experimental studies strongly suggest a place for Saccharomyces boulardii as a biotherapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of several gastrointestinal diseases. S. boulardii mediates responses resembling the protective effects of the normal healthy gut flora. The multiple mechanisms of action of S. boulardii and its properties may explain its efficacy and beneficial effects in acute and chronic gastrointestinal diseases that have been confirmed by clinical trials

 
David Livingston
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Sorry Chris my Bad There is lots of stuff in there
Roberto I am of the opinion that Humans themselves are an interspecies hybrid we are a mixture of at least four hominids.
On the subject of species in the UK we have two gulls that are recognised as separate species , the herring gull and the Blackbacked Gull they has never been known to interbreed but the herring gull freely interbreeds with another gull in northern Russia hybids fertile etc etc this second gull interbreeds freely and fertile offspring with a third species in Alaska and round the Bearing Sea and this third species interbreed with the black backed gull . Should we still call them different species ?   

David
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Sorry if I'm going a little off-topic too ...
I consider 'species' in the way Roberto explains. All other different looking 'kinds' within one species I would call 'sub-species', 'races' or 'varieties'.
Humans are one species (no matter how this species came to existence). dogs are one species together with wolves (they can interbreed), etc.
 
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Not wanting to highjack the thread, but a north american elk and a red deer are considered different species.  They don't interbreed in nature because they are on different continents.  In New Zealand, where they were both introduced, I understand they hybridize freely.  The strict definition (different species can't interbreed) is not generally followed either by scientists or anyone else.  Rather they look at groups that don't interbreed in nature, often simply because of geographic distance, and call them species.  As was David pointed out, sometimes two groups don't interbreed successfully, but both can interbreed with a third group, making things even more fuzzy.  As I noted, the term species as used both in science and in society is used in a very fuzzy way, partly because things ARE fuzzy.  It would be nice if things were clear cut, but the more we learn, the more we find that nature doesn't feel constrained to abide by our logic.

Moving on to gut biota.  I read a while back that Japanese were able to digest seaweed more efficiently than most other populations.  Towards the end of the article, it mentioned that anyone eating seaweed for several months can gain the same ability.  Almost as if gut biota were the determining factor and the biota adjusted over time according to what you eat. 

I've heard that most things have the proper bacteria on their surface for digesting them (kind of makes sense) and that eating some raw and unwashed foods periodically will help you get the proper gut biota.  If I were to do that, I would probably eat something out of my own or at most, a friends, garden.
 
Mick Fisch
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Nicole, I'm always amazed at people letting the "grossness" factor of a treatment stop them from doing something that would certainly not hurt and probably help.  In this case, 10 minutes of embarrassment.  (of course, it's easy to be practical when it's not your embarrasement). 

My wife doesn't have Crohns, but her guts are all messed up.  She has a constantly growing list of foods that don't agree with her (this thing causes pain, that causes diarea, allergic to something else).  It just keeps getting worse.  This has been a slowly worsening thing over the years.  I joke with her that soon she'll be down to rainwater and filtered air.  She has been on a lot  of antibiotics over the years, sometimes for months at a time.  I have suggested several times, that since I don't seem to have any problems with digestion, that we get a cheap blender, blend up a good sample of my crap and inoculate her lower gut.  At this point she says she would rather die.  I worry that eventually she may get a chance to do that.

I have a brother with multiple sclorosis.  He walks dragging one leg and has no strength (he was always a unusually strong guy, and proud of it).  Whenever he goes anywhere he might have to lift something he brings one of his sons along to do the lifting and spare his pride.  When I told him ten years ago that it had been shown that intestinal parasites, like tapeworms, had been proven to stop MS in it's tracks (doesn't heal damage, just prevents further damage), his response was "I'ld rather die".  His MS has gotten a lot worse since then.  Someday he will die because he wouldn't accept a parasite.  Sad, I really like and love my brother.  He's a good man, and those aren't all that common.  It's his choice to make though.
 
Chris Kott
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Thekla, my take on epigenetics is a little more generalised. I won't speak to the consensus on these issues; as with most science, lots is still up in the air, though there is some generalised agreement on some issues.

My understanding is that a lot of the issue is that our environment influences how genes are translated from parent to child. The easy examples of this are dietary.

It is thought that certain compounds found in different foods are necessary to properly translate parental genes to the child, and that if these are lacking, some genes may not be expressed.

It is thought that during pregnancy, whatever the mother eats is directly informing the foetus' immune system about what food is. It is thought that, during this process, if some certain foods are omitted, the child's immune system won't recognise certain proteins well enough, and this will express itself as an allergy to whatever produces or contains that protein.

I think epigenetics is a good way to explain the prevalence of genetic variations within a population, and a good way to explain how food choices might have not just immediate consequences, but could also affect the short and medium as well as the long-term of genetic expression and development.

This speaks to active adaptation, not stagnation, since before our ancestors descended from the trees.

So yes, I think that growing as much of our own food in our own thriving soil, preparing and/or preserving it ourselves, and avoiding chemicals from any source that can damage our genes or those of our gut microbiome is vital to avoiding genetic degradation as a species, in my opinion.

-CK
 
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r ranson wrote:
Why am I thinking about this?   We have two people in the home with gut illnesses.  We're having trouble absorbing the required nutrients through our food alone and are seeking a diet that will heal our gut.  Challange is, the reasoning behind that diet needs to make sense to me.  Saying that human digestion hasn't changed in 10,000 years contradicts what I know of evolution from other sources.  So I'm curious if there is some mechanism there that makes humans exempt from natural forces, if my previous understanding of how this all works is wrong, or if something else is going on.



I'm not too sure I can offer any insight into the original topic of conversation.  My only conclusion is that a lot of people have a lot of theories.  The real reason I'm responding is because I know a bit about the second and third sentence from the quote.

It doesn't seem to matter the ethnicity, genetics, or location oriented ancestral diet, once someone goes on a diet of fruit with herbs, they get better....from virtually every ailment thus far.  That alone speaks volumes to me.  Check out Dr. Morse, he's helped thousands and thousands of people over the past 40 years using fruits and herbs, he has a book worth purchasing as well.

A couple things to ponder....every species on the planet has a species appropriate diet.  And when they stray too far from it, disease tends to creep in...sometimes it takes a few generations, it just depends on how altered that diet is.  And humans are the only species on the planet that alters their food by cooking it.  Another compelling bit of evidence is that the human body converts non-simple sugar foods being consumed into a simple sugar so that it can fuel the body's cells with energy.  Starches/complex carbohydrates are all converted to simple sugars to create cellular energy.  If you look at human physiology it most resembles primates which are naturally predominately frugivores in the wild.

As to an adjunct from what I know, to some theories.  10,000 years is a tiny blip of time in the existence of humans on this planet.  If human time on this planet were to be related to the length of a football field, then the last three inches on that football field represent the previous 10,000 years.  If we are to believe ancient texts, then it would appear that human health and longevity has receded in the past 10,000 years.

A few examples from the top of my head of people that went all fruit and used herbs to help them recover from their chronic levels of degeneration….  Crushed vertebrae regrowing.  Extreme bedridden rheumatoid arthritis - thriving today - Hilde Larsen.  Paralyzed skydiver from chute failure - now walking around - he’s worked up to the point now that he’s doing dry fasting while juice fasting and that’s bringing about his recovery much quicker - GK paralyzed in accident comes out of plateau on youtube.  Offset femur at 18 degrees and 2” shorter than the other leg - literally straightened overnight after 10? months - Bone and Nerve Regeneration & News Report on youtube.  Quadriplegics regaining use of their limbs.  All disease - cancer - tumors - etc…melts away.  Severe chron’s with immense bleeding - healed - Athena on her youtube channel Emerald Cafe.  Regenerated neurological tissue.  Missing spinal vertebrae - grew in.  Surgically removed glands and organs - regenerate.  The list goes on and on.  Basically it seems that nearly everyone who commits has success.

Here's a link to some people that have shared a little bit of their healing story.  Fruit and Raw Vegan Healing
And Dr. Morse supposedly has a fan book page on facebook that a fan has created.  I haven't been on FB in years, but I hear that page is full of 20,000 people discussing their success on that path.

I would say/theorize that so many different ethnicities no matter their ancestral lineage are able to heal simply because it’s basic human physiology, and humans have a species appropriate diet based on that physiology.  When a species is fed altered or non-species appropriate food, they seem to get sick and begin to degenerate.  When they go back to their species appropriate food, they get better.  Look up Pottengers Cats for a quick simple explanation/experiment of how a species degenerates over several generations from being fed altered food and how they recover when they go back to a non-altered diet.

It would take a lot of typing and thinking for me to convey all the things I’ve learned and experienced, I would need to write a small book.  But others have, and are doing just that, so you can find all this information if you’re interested.  Start with Dr. Morse - who has tons of experience helping others, Hilde Larsen for her story and her turn around, John Rose - for his knowledge on juice feasting and his experience of eating raw and high fruit for almost three decades.  They can all be found on youtube and will give you a good start.  Be prepared to read and listen a lot, if needed, to overcome your past beliefs and education.  Insert some mumbo jumbo about empty cups being easiest to fill, or something like that. ;-) There are plenty of others on the raw food path, but if you want deep cellular healing then it’s fruit and herbs that seem to detox quicker to bring about healing sooner.

Here are some of the many other raw food advocates I know of off the top of my head that can be found on youtube.   And most of them still advocate simple high fruit diets.  TannyRaw.  Rawb Wild.  Michael Arnstein - TheFruitarian.  Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram - FullyRawKristina.  Dr. Sebi.  Markus Rothkranz.  Chris Kendall - TheRawAdvantage.  Dan McDonald - Liferegenerator.  The list is huge and continues to grow, more and more people throughout the years have learned just how healing fruit is, and they are speaking about it and sharing their experience.  But there is still a distinction between just going on a raw food diet and one of predominately fruits and herbs.  If you have harsh diseases or ailments then fruit and herbs will detox and regenerate you much quicker than just a raw food diet that still uses lots of nuts, oils, salts, veggies, etc...

The results from so many different people across so many different ancestral backgrounds healing and thriving on a high fruit diet with herbs seems to be profound and worth taking note of.

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Thekla McDaniels wrote:

I don't think the bacteria are as clever as the fungi at devising NEW enzymes, and I don't think we have fungal partners in our guts.  From here on out, we need to protect the diversity in our guts, and from my understanding we can best do that by consuming a diverse diet. 



I'm perplexed...what do you mean by us not having fungal partners in our guts? My husband supplements with saccharomyces boulardii, which is a beneficial fungus that helps treat c dif, Crohn's and other gut problems. Does "fungal partner" mean something else? Here's quote from a study on s. boulardii (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296087/):



Sorry Nicole, you are right about the saccharomyces.  I forget about the yeast being fungi, since they don't grow hyphae.  Glad you put the accurate information into the thread.!
 
r ranson
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What a great conversation.  I never imagined so many people would also be interested in my smattering of unrelated related ideas.

About grains and cooking.

I'm very interested in historical foods, especially in England from the 12th Century onwards.  We can learn about what people eat by looking at historical documents of what households bought, what cities bought, records of taxation in cities, guild records, household accounts including what was given as charity, recipe books, paintings, illuminations (paintings in books), recipe books, the tools they used in their homes, the accounts of bakeries and mills, skeletal remains, and oral histories.  We can also discover what the staple food of the time was by famine. 

By the middle ages, grain was the staple diet in England and much of Europe.  They were baked in bread, cooked in pottage, dumplings in soup, pie crusts, brewed in beer, and they were a highly valued food source. 

For example, in the early 1200s, there was a sudden change in the weather that affected grain harvests (and grapes - as before that England was famous throughout Europe for their high-quality wines - yes, I laughed when I found that out too).  The grain harvest suffered most from this weather, being too cold for germination, too wet at harvest.  There were other food crops that did well, but there were about 5 years with the most pitiful grain harvest and mass famine.  Followed by the Black Death and other plagues, followed by war, and in less than half a century most of England's population was reduced by 2/3rds.  The question very few people asked, is why didn't they eat these other foods?  One, they didn't transport as well, and two, it wasn't culturally acceptable to not eat bread with every meal.

It was also after this sudden change in the climate, that beer became the main drink in England. 

Looking at cookbooks from this time, and also as late as Mrs. Beaton's Book of Household Management written circa 1850, we can see that eating raw fruits and vegetables was not recommended.  I thought this was odd, especially because cooking takes fuel which costs money.  So why not eat raw food? 

I'm very lucky as I still have family members who grew up and learned to farm pre-industrial agriculture.  One of the things that they learned was to trench the night soil (fresh human poo) into the vegetable garden.  This, I've since read, was quite common in the middle ages, and after.  Night soil, being fresh, might have nasty invisible beasties and parasites on it, which would contaminate the vegetables.  Washing the raw food wouldn't help because access to clean water wasn't always available.  Mrs. Beaton has a long few pages talking about different kinds of water available, and how to treat the water so that it is less dirty/deadly. 

Another thing that was really interesting is the kinds of fruits and vegetables available.  Mrs. Beaton recommends boiling the carrots for at least an hour, preferably two.  My carrots need only 10 minutes on the hob to be tender and are complete mush after 20.  After two hours, a contemporary of Mrs. Beaton (whose name I have forgotten at this juncture) writes, the carrots should be firm, but when the blade of a knife is pressed into the centre, they should give way and not be crunchy.  If they remain so, then boil for another 20 minutes and test again.

Some sources I used for this post include (but not limited to)
Mrs Beatons book of Household Management
Connections (the tv series, 1, 2, and 3) by James Burke (especially the bit about beer and wine)
The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England
Pleyn Delight, Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks by Hieatt and Butler
Food and it's cooking in 16th Century Britain History and Recipes by Brears
The Country House Kitchen 1650-1900 Sambrook and Brears
The Medieval Kitchen, a social history with recipes, by Klemettila
The Medieval Kitchen Recipes from France and Italy by Sabban and Serventi (translated by Schneider)
a few period sources we used in university which had housekeeping accounts of a couple of different medieval manner houses in the 1400s. 
and my personal favourite (skip all the rest and just read this one) Cooking and Dining in Medieval England by Peter Brears!

This last book goes into great detail as to not just the recipes, but the layout of the kitchen/cooking area of all levels of society, their layout, equipment, the brewhouse, the bakery, the water supply and sanitation, as well as the language used, and how all this changed over time. 

Just some more unrelated related thoughts to add to the conversation. 

Another thought is that I agree with Joseph about wheat and other grains being easy to grow and harvest.  It would be great to have a bunch of us from this thread grow our own grain this year and get some more first-hand experiences with it.  I think that those who haven't grown it yet would be surprised how much harvest we can get from it with so little effort.  It would be a great topic for a new thread. 
 
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r ranson wrote: Another thought is that I agree with Joseph about wheat and other grains being easy to grow and harvest.  It would be great to have a bunch of us from this thread grow our own grain this year and get some more first-hand experiences with it.  I think that those who haven't grown it yet would be surprised how much harvest we can get from it with so little effort.  It would be a great topic for a new thread. 



A rather technical article with regard to a crucial gene underlying wheat domestication, but with some neat photos:  http://shigen.nig.ac.jp/wheat/wis/No100/p129/p129.1.html

We are in the middle of hard red spring wheat country and I *should* be able to grow an abundant supply.  With one lazy summer's efforts, I realized that I would need to do something different as the birds wiped out the small garden plot well before I could think of harvesting.  I'm thinking that this would be one confounding difference between the large monocultures on the edge of the property and the one plot in my garden:  The garden and surrounding diverse flora attract abundant and diverse fauna.  I was not prepared for the rapid predation of that small stand of wheat and would have to re-think the effort for next time.  But clearly small plot wheat/small grain production is not new and would be interesting to re-investigate.

 
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Joshua Parke wrote:It doesn't seem to matter the ethnicity or location oriented ancestral diet, once someone goes on a diet of fruit with herbs, they get better....from every ailment. 



Here's a thread about member's experience where the only thing that seems to improve his heath is the direct opposite - a zero carb diet eating nothing from plants.

My Experience Eating Nothing From Plants, aka Zero Carb
 
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Humans and all other living things are undergoing evolution, which literally translates to "change over time." Humans are and always have been subject to natural selection in essentially the same way everything else has. The environment of that selection has changed in unprecedented ways and rates over that last 10,000 years due to the onset of the antropocene. Yet, if anything, these rapidly changing environments increased the rate of human evolution, and selected for humans that could handle diverse and rapidly changing environments. 

A spiral of socio-linguistic and physiological evolution in human brains around 15,000yrs ago surrounded the adaptation of syntax and complex language.  This evolutionary event was the at least as significant as the Bering Land Strait opening or closing or the Missoula Floods in its effect on the "punctuated equilibrium" that best describes evolution.  In addition to the physical, social, and biogenetic selection factors at play for all other species, syntactic language allows human social evolution to occur more rapidly and in distinct ways from any other known life forms. This social evolution undeniably effects human physical evolution as well.

If you consider how complex languages and the transmission of knowledge through writing, art, math etc, allows for humans to change their sexual selection criteria based on other humans' experiences, beliefs and opinions, this compounds the ability of our genome to respond to phenomena in our environment in relatively short periods despite our long reproductive cycles (a generation is around 20yrs in most definitions).  One possible example of how our changing society is changing our genome comes to mind from study (I cannot recall the source off the top of my head) finding an anomalous number of children with asperger's in the Silicon Valley of California and Redmond ,Washington (home of Microsoft). This correlates with how these are areas where large numbers of people with very specialized forms of intelligence for computer related jobs were richly rewarded and valued, making them far more likely to reproduce than such folk likely would have been in most human societies over history. Civilizations generally socially select for increasingly specialized intelligence as division of labor becomes more specialized, and never more than today.

We may not get accurate information or use it unwisely, but we can adapt our behaviors, including those intimately related to evolution's genetic contexts, based on the complex information transmitted through language. We now have access to more information and misinformation than ever before. For these reasons I think we are probably evolving in every respect more rapidly than ever before. Not to mention how all these wonderful chemicals and radioactive materials have increased our rate of mutation!
 
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A spiral of socio-linguistic and physiological evolution in human brains around 15,000yrs ago surrounded the adaptation of syntax and complex language. 

While I definitely agree that our ability to articulate a given problem, puzzle it out as a group, and come up with solutions is, and has been, a great adaptive advantage, I have never seen or heard of any evidence to support that there was some great leap in language and brain building in our species 15,000 years ago.  For my own part, I believe that complex communication was likely a huge determining factor on our success, and our subsequent branching away from other early Hominoidea, but I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe that this occurred so late in our collective history; it happened far more in the past than that.  I'm not at all aware of any study of early anthropecene skulls which might show that such a leap in brain development took place.   Perhaps I have not been looking in the right anthropological circles?  
 
Joshua Parke
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Burra Maluca wrote:

Joshua Parke wrote:It doesn't seem to matter the ethnicity or location oriented ancestral diet, once someone goes on a diet of fruit with herbs, they get better....from every ailment. 



Here's a thread about member's experience where the only thing that seems to improve his heath is the direct opposite - a zero carb diet eating nothing from plants.

My Experience Eating Nothing From Plants, aka Zero Carb




I've seen his thread and listened to all his videos thus far.  It would be important to note that there is a distinction between different carbohydrate sources and it's not accurate to lump them all into the same category when referencing healing.  He also mentioned that he ate fruit from his trees this past summer and had no issues with it.  Starch and fructose are two very different carbohydrates.  The body seems to like fructose and appears to be well adapted to it.

I know that there are many different ancestral diets and food sources across the globe.  The one thing I was trying to convey in my first post that I find fascinating, probably with far too much enthusiasm, is that people from all different ethnicities, ancestry, and genetics, tend to find healing from a myriad of ailments following the same approach...this is something that piques my interest and causes me to take note of.  And I find it worthy to the subject matter of adaptation and evolution of the human diet.

One thing that could be very helpful, is to learn iridology.  The eyes can reveal whether you are adapting to your diet or not.  It can take some time for the eyes to reveal changes in the body though, so you would likely feel if your diet is working for you before you can see it through your eyes.  But it could be something useful to use if you want to know if you've been adapting to your diet over time.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks, Nicole,for the high praise. 

Re the original question adaptation to changing diet, I have just been reading a book that has some perspective on this.

The title is "The Plant Paradox".  My sister found it and is using it to modify her diet, going from fairly conventional to organic, non gmo and a few other modifications.  I wanted to see what she had found that inspired such a big change for herself and her husband.

The author gives a lot of background on when various changes in human diet happened, including the post WWII changes and the epidemics we in the USA are facing.  I found it quite interesting especially because of this thread. 

The author talks about a food subcategory called 'lectin',in the plural.  I am at a local internet place to research.  The book does not tell me clearly what lectins are, but it seems like they are plant origin proteins that mimic many  important substances in our metabolic pathways.

Then he prescribes an eating program (diet)  to minimize exposure to lectins.  There are some inconsistencies in his information about such thingsassweeteners and then his recommended diet, and he has left me with plenty of questions, hence my trip to internet for research.

But the detailed historical perspective on human adaptations and diet is worth looking at.



 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Thekla:

Interesting. Many of the foods that I avoid because of their high carbohydrate content: potatoes, nuts, legumes, grains, and milk are also proscribed by a Lectin-minimization diet. Gets me to wondering if some of the benefits I perceive from a low-carbohydrate diet might be attributed to also being a low-lectin diet. 
 
John Weiland
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:

The author talks about a food subcategory called 'lectin',in the plural.  I am at a local internet place to research.  The book does not tell me clearly what lectins are, but it seems like they are plant origin proteins that mimic many  important substances in our metabolic pathways.



Thekla and Joseph, that's an interesting angle.  I've known about lectins strictly for their carbohydrate binding ability, but here's a reference to their role.....along with complex carbohydrates....in allergy sensitization: 

http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749%2813%2900262-5/pdf

(thanks for the link fix, Joseph!)
 
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