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Confused about grains. Did primal man eat them or not?

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  • Confused about grains. Did primal man eat them or not?

    Oh man I'm really confused. I have been doing the paleo diet for about 3 weeks now and so far so good. However I need to point out that I'm not doing this to lose weight (160lb, 5' 11") but rather find the healthiest way of life. Now don't get me wrong because so far I have been completely sold on the paleo lifestyle, workouts, diet etc, etc and just like everyone else tend to do a fair bit of research about it on the net. This is where my problems started when I stumbled on this which claims that the paleo diet theory is hogwash. See what you think;

    The Spartan Diet: It's official: Grains were part of the original 'Paleo diet'

    now I'm really confused. Should we eat grains or not ?!?!?!

    HELP!
    http://www.richardlongart.co.uk/

    http://www.primalish.net/


    “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
    ― Carl Sagan


  • #2
    It doesn't really matter what our ancestors did or didn't do. What matters is what works for YOU.
    I don't eat grains at all because they only cause me problems and cravings. I might have some rice occasionally, but I don't really think it's that good for me. Just makes me feel hungry again sooner.

    You will find a lot of conflicting advice and evidence, you just have to learn to trust your own instincts and go with what seems logical to you and what works for you. Life is one big experiment!

    That's what I think about the matter anyway.
    "All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."
    Paracelsus

    A Primal Twin Pregnancy

    Proud mother of twin girls!

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    • #3
      I think the reasoning behind not eating grains is not really whether they are or aren't part of the paleo diet but that grains are so bad for you. Here is a link to a page Mark wrote explaining it all.

      I'm personally not trying to re enact a paleolithic diet but trying to find the healthiest way to eat for me. I've found the book by Sally Fallon called 'Nourishing Traditions' to be really interesting and useful. Its a lot more than a cookbook - full of useful information. Its based on the theories of Weston Price, a dentist who studied 'primitive' tribes in the '30's. There is a good website at the Weston Price Foundation which explains a lot. They do allow grains BUT they are always soaked overnight to ensure that the anti nutrients are diminished somewhat.

      However I don't eat grains - I eat strict primal + homemade yogurt. I'm just building up to trying to go without the yogurt for 30 days to see what happens

      hope this helps
      Last edited by kiwigirl42; 09-25-2011, 04:32 AM.


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      • #4
        agree with above

        yeah, it doesn't matter what our ancestors, or the gorillas ate.. it matters what works for you...

        eating meat works for lions, but it doesn't really work well for gorillas; they do better on ants, and termites; or at least they can't catch 'em..

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        • #5
          Some things to consider are the quality and genome of ancient foods versus modern agribusiness commodities. Wheat, corn, and soybeans, for example, seem to have been genetically modified substantially in the last generation or two. It seems obvious that Paleo man would eat anything that is perceived as nourishing, including all the starch and sugar he could find. But maybe you have to be more careful in the modern world because of all the alterations to the food supply. In the end, it about optimal health, and recognizinng where the modern world is working for you or against you in that regard. It's not about pure imitation of ancient man.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by grablife View Post
            Some things to consider are the quality and genome of ancient foods versus modern agribusiness commodities. Wheat, corn, and soybeans, for example, seem to have been genetically modified substantially in the last generation or two. It seems obvious that Paleo man would eat anything that is perceived as nourishing, including all the starch and sugar he could find. But maybe you have to be more careful in the modern world because of all the alterations to the food supply. In the end, it about optimal health, and recognizinng where the modern world is working for you or against you in that regard. It's not about pure imitation of ancient man.
            This, this! It's not the same grain, man!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Valkyria View Post
              It doesn't really matter what our ancestors did or didn't do. What matters is what works for YOU.
              I don't eat grains at all because they only cause me problems and cravings. I might have some rice occasionally, but I don't really think it's that good for me. Just makes me feel hungry again sooner.

              You will find a lot of conflicting advice and evidence, you just have to learn to trust your own instincts and go with what seems logical to you and what works for you. Life is one big experiment!

              That's what I think about the matter anyway.
              This. Eat grain-free for 30 days and then try eating grain again and see what happens. You should also use bloodwork to follow the inflammation markers.
              Grass Fed Beef Restaurants

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              • #8
                I think most of what he's saying would be acknowledged by almost anyone following paleo/primal. Nothing groundbreaking there. The key is that grains weren't a dietary staple. Another important thing to remember is that modern grains are mistreated and aren't even close to the same food that they would have been in those times. The evidence that grains cause inflammation and a severe insulin response is pretty solid.

                If you're torn, try looking into the Weston A. Price diet. They advocate properly prepared grains and basically the same principles as paleo otherwise (i think). I've tried adding fermented sourdough back into my diet but 1) I'm trying to lose more weight, 2) I'm very intrigued by premise of the book Wheat Belly, but haven't had time to read it and 3) I'm trying to heal inflammation in my body. If you are an otherwise healthy person, properly prepared grains might be okay for you.
                http://baconandwhimsy.blogspot.com

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                • #9
                  It would seem then that 'everything in moderation' is the way to go. I avoid sugar and processed foods anyway. I love bread but it doesn't love me so I try to avoid that too. I'm thinking of re-introducing a small amount of oats back into my diet, not every day though.

                  I guess I'll try it and see what happens.
                  And like I said earlier, I don't actually need to lose weight but I am trying to shift my Wheat belly. I am one of those unfortunates who is slim with a little belly. I think they call it an 'A' frame physique. Because I am losing weight all over I am concerned that pretty soon I am going to start looking skeletal, Not good!

                  Thanks for your thoughts and comments everyone!
                  http://www.richardlongart.co.uk/

                  http://www.primalish.net/


                  “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
                  ― Carl Sagan

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                  • #10
                    Fat Head » Interview With ‘Wheat Belly’ Author Dr. William Davis, Part Two

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                    • #11
                      I'm sure that primal people ate whatever they could find, which, in season, probably included some grains. "In season" was probably a matter of a few weeks, or perhaps a couple of months each year. It is also unlikely that they were eating 6-11 servings per day. The grains that they did eat were significantly different genetically from what we eat today.

                      Figure out what works for you. The Weston A. Price diet isn't bad, or Michael Pollan's Food Rules works pretty well also, if you feel that grains don't negatively affect you.

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                      • #12
                        Hmmm, interesting reading. Maybe I won't re-introduce Oats!
                        http://www.richardlongart.co.uk/

                        http://www.primalish.net/


                        “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
                        ― Carl Sagan

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                        • #13
                          What's interesting is that that article lists isolated incidents of grain consumption. Yes, it's possible that people in those areas ate grains. It's also possible that they used them for primitive adhesives, poultices, or crafts of various sorts. In any case, even if they did consume them, two things come to mind:

                          1. These findings point to regional consumption of grains, not a direct global intake of grains by 98% of the world's population. The author of that article cannot use such small particulars to define a universal unless he can afford the reputation of cheap reasoning. The primal/paleo diet research is sound because it includes an understanding that grain consumption happened on a regional level while pointing out that the intake of grains as a regular staple was not universally accepted until very recently in history. The author of the article you pointed out reasons from isolated regions that paleo-man everywhere must've eaten grains because paleo-man somewhere ate grains. Such logic, isn't.

                          2. As another poster pointed out, the wild grains consumed in the upper paleolithic era, and through most of agrarian history were different grains. That is, they were not the basterdized, hybridized, and GMO frankengrains that lace so much of our food supply today. They were a much "healthier", natural version of themselves.

                          I can appreciate the perceived need people have to repudiate the claims of the primal/paleo diet: it seems to be counter-cultural and therefore counter-intuitive. Thus it threatens the security of the faith many people place in conventional and medical dietetics; that makes people uncomfortable and riled. So their confirmation bias kicks in and they write dutifully about those things that confirm their initial comfortability: that America's food pyramid must be right because that's the way people have eaten for as long as they can remember. But a comfort-zone is not a confirmation, no matter how much another with the same comforts but more letters says so. When the facts are measured beside each other, the overwhelming evidence points at a diet much like Mark Sisson, Art Devany, Robb Wolf, Gary Taubes, et al. have described.

                          Take care,
                          Kane
                          Kane's Eye View

                          Primal Kane

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                          • #14
                            I agree with the bloodwork thing. Definitly get bloodwork done, then recheck it after 30 days being grain free, and see if there is a difference, if not, then eat your grains. That being said, people used to use mercury as a medicine, that doesn't mean it's good for you. (EDIT: By the way, I agree with researching everything, comparing conflicting studies, and questioning what you read. Make your own assumptions, make your own answers. Question your own answers. Question everything, and in the end do what works best for you as a person.)
                            Last edited by Dharma_Punk; 09-25-2011, 05:16 PM.
                            “To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” - William Londen

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Boneidle24seven View Post
                              Hmmm, interesting reading. Maybe I won't re-introduce Oats!
                              The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. » Wheat Belly

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