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Mesquite legumes are primal/paleo?

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  • Mesquite legumes are primal/paleo?

    I live in the Sonoran desert, where humans have left traces going back 11,000+ years (mammoth kill site). Most of the trees that grow here are actually big legumes: Mesquite, Palo Verde, Ironwood, Acacia all produce pods with "beans" and are part of the Fabaceae family. These legumes were a major source of calories for the indigenous peoples. From that perspective I have to put them in the paleo/primal bucket.

    Mesquite in particular is ubiquitous in the Sonoran desert. The pod is actually the more edible part, as the "beans" are harder than rocks. Most modern harvesters put them through a mill which separates out the beans and tough fibers, and grinds the dried pods into a very nutritious flour.

    I guess where I am going with this is Mark categorically puts legumes into the non-primal category, as from his perspective they were not part of the paleolithic human diet, yet they very much were in this part of the world.

    On the other hand mesquite flour is very high in carbs. One cannot eat too much of this stuff and maintain a low-carb diet.

    In general "Sonoran Grok" could have had a very high carb diet. Cactus fruit and agave were major calorie sources. There was not an abundance of large game, though it is seems that indigenous folks hung out near rivers where the prevalence of large mammals was higher than the surrounding territory.

    Thoughts? Are paleo thinkers ignoring how people likely lived in this part of the world?
    Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

  • #2
    Originally posted by Sonoran hotdog View Post
    I live in the Sonoran desert, where humans have left traces going back 11,000+ years (mammoth kill site). Most of the trees that grow here are actually big legumes: Mesquite, Palo Verde, Ironwood, Acacia all produce pods with "beans" and are part of the Fabaceae family. These legumes were a major source of calories for the indigenous peoples. From that perspective I have to put them in the paleo/primal bucket.

    Mesquite in particular is ubiquitous in the Sonoran desert. The pod is actually the more edible part, as the "beans" are harder than rocks. Most modern harvesters put them through a mill which separates out the beans and tough fibers, and grinds the dried pods into a very nutritious flour.

    I guess where I am going with this is Mark categorically puts legumes into the non-primal category, as from his perspective they were not part of the paleolithic human diet, yet they very much were in this part of the world.

    On the other hand mesquite flour is very high in carbs. One cannot eat too much of this stuff and maintain a low-carb diet.

    In general "Sonoran Grok" could have had a very high carb diet. Cactus fruit and agave were major calorie sources. There was not an abundance of large game, though it is seems that indigenous folks hung out near rivers where the prevalence of large mammals was higher than the surrounding territory.

    Thoughts? Are paleo thinkers ignoring how people likely lived in this part of the world?
    Had a discussion about this with somebody the other day... Hello from another Tucson Grok-ette...
    Breathe. Move forward.

    I just eat what I want...

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    • #3
      I think that omitting grains in large quantities is consistent with how our paleolithic ancestors likely lived because gathering grain would have been time consuming so if the did gather it they weren't eating a lot of it. On the flip side, I think that Primal and Paleo diets omitting all legumes, all grains, and tubers such as potatoes is unrealistic. Surely paleolithic man ate what they could find in their immediate area. If, in your area, legumes is what they would have found, then I can't help but think it likely became a dietary staple.
      High Weight: 225
      Weight at start of Primal: 189
      Current Weight: 174
      Goal Weight: 130

      Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012

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      • #4
        Indigenous and traditional diets do not equal paleo/primal. Are you guessing that paleolithic peoples made these legumes a part of their diet simply because these trees exist there today or are you basing this on some sort of evidence? Just curious.

        It's a far site better than refined grocery product from your bizillion dollar corporate office though.

        Legumes could be made edible and even healthy with proper preparation. Its just that meat is a far better choice for many reasons.

        So in terms of paleo/primal..... not they are not. But if you wish to include them WAPF is an excellent resource.
        Last edited by Neckhammer; 09-19-2013, 12:14 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
          Indigenous and traditional diets do not equal paleo/primal. Are you guessing that paleolithic peoples made these legumes a part of their diet simply because these trees exist there today or are you basing this on some sort of evidence? Just curious.
          Great question. There is good evidence of indigenous peoples consuming mesquite, and I have seen articles mentioning animals consuming them:

          "During the Ice Ages, which lasted from about 1.8 million to some 10,000 years ago, the mesquites “coevolved with large herbivores, such as mastodons and ground sloths, which ate the pods and then dispersed them widely in their feces

          It would be reasonable that paleolithic peoples also consumed them, but I am not aware of any concrete proof. They are available in such abundance in this part of the world, that there was no need for "agriculture" to be invented by humans for mesquite to become a major food source.

          I have to rake up bushels of them in my yard every summer, so I am not in need of a source. If one ignores processing costs, they are free.
          Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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          • #6
            Sounds like you could make the same argument for eating grass. Large herbivores have been eating it for millions of years. Why shouldn't we?
            The Champagne of Beards

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            • #7
              I'm not up on my paleo diet "history," but I believe the diet sprung forth from the observation that modern hunter gatherers tend not to eat a lot of grains, legumes or dairy, so that became the standard exclusion list. Aside from that, the general argument against legumes is they contain lectins or are completely inedible and useless unless soaked or sprouted (which I don't think is true). Or they'll cite concerns about autoimmunity or a lack of nutrient density. Stick around long enough and you'll feel like you're on the Nutrient Density Diet.

              I think legumes are fine, personally, and I don't think Mark Sisson will drown you in the Pacific for eating them. There's a thread buried somewhere on this forum called something like "Whole grains in small measures are perfectly paleo" that you might enjoy reading.

              And of course there's another major reason legumes are forbidden, which you've already touched on: too many carbs. Maybe legumes will be paleo in 2016. We've spent the last few years fighting about sweet potatoes--and white potatoes more recently--so it might be a while
              Last edited by Timthetaco; 09-19-2013, 02:53 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                Sounds like you could make the same argument for eating grass. Large herbivores have been eating it for millions of years. Why shouldn't we?
                Errrr....maybe because the indigenous peoples have been eating mesquite for 1000's of years and not grass?
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Timthetaco View Post
                  ...modern hunter gatherers tend not to eat a lot of grains, legumes or dairy, so that became the standard exclusion list...
                  Thank you for your thoughtful response. I'll take this back to the point I was originally trying to make (perhaps not as clearly as I could have), that the observations of hunter-gatherers may have not taken fully into account those residing in this part of the world where legumes grow wild with unbelievable abundance and without the need for agriculture.

                  Humans are incredibly resourceful omnivores - the indigenous folk consumed large quantities of cholla cactus buds for the calcium (though they didn't know that), as milk was not a factor in their diet. It would be odd that stone age humans of the desert southwest would not have availed themselves of the huge quantities of calories available from mesquite.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
                    Surely paleolithic man ate what they could find in their immediate area. If, in your area, legumes is what they would have found, then I can't help but think it likely became a dietary staple.
                    Well said.
                    Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by excursivey View Post
                      Had a discussion about this with somebody the other day... Hello from another Tucson Grok-ette...
                      Greetings. Do you consume mesquite, in flour form or otherwise?
                      Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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                      • #12
                        They certainly made use of mesquite pods/beans. But you also have to consider that is a very seasonal food source. It would have been mainly for storage to get them through the leaner times.

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                        • #13
                          I've read all the arguments Timthetaco mentioned, and after a couple of years could not find it in myself to accept the legumes exclusion reasons intellectually. Legumes, despite their 'inferior' nutritional profile keep me incredibly full unlike meat and fats (or the primal/paleo beloved nuts), so as of last week I started including them back in my diet. I am also tired of paying 2x for almond butter than the peanut butter.
                          My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                          When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sonoran hotdog View Post
                            Greetings. Do you consume mesquite, in flour form or otherwise?
                            Nah. I have read some about it just locally and as you said processing is problematic. It's been a while since I've seen anything about it, although haven't looked too hard either. Mostly because when I did read about it they talked about having to get the pods before they've deteriorate on the ground (mold, pesticides, insects, etc). Just seemed unrealistic.

                            Like your username. Not primal but I sure luvs me some sonoran style dogs!
                            Breathe. Move forward.

                            I just eat what I want...

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                            • #15
                              I ate em when I did the Ferris "slow carb" thing that was kind of like a stepping stone to paleo at the time. Honestly, I would never eat them three times a day like I did on that protocol unless you stuck a gun to my head. I like my chili with beans. I like ham and beans on occasion. Other than that though I definitely don't miss them. Call em 20% for the 1-2x/month I actually do eat some. More meat does me much better. More protein an more fat. Less bloat and less gurgling.

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