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    PrimalHunter's Avatar
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    What was grain's plan for survival?

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    So I read in the book that grains developed certain defense mechanisms to avoid being eaten. OK, so their idea was to subtly poison us, and hope that we'd figure it out 10,000 years later? It seems that a more direct approach would be more effective.

    Also, why do vegetables not mind being eaten?
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    This is what I have come to understand (I could be wrong< I have been wrong before!)

    I think it is that grains have developed defenses to avoid being digested. The husk and phytic acid (phytate) seem to be the issue.

    From wiki:
    "Phytate is not digestible to humans or nonruminant animals, however, so it is not a source of either inositol or phosphate if eaten directly. Moreover, it chelates and thus makes unabsorbable certain important minor minerals such as zinc and iron, and to a lesser extent, also macro minerals such as calcium and magnesium."

    There has been discussion of the phytates even removing nutrients from other foods and passing them through the intestines without absorbtion (possible cause for anemia?).

    Basically seeds have developed so they can be eaten and pass through the digestive track (without losing nutrients) and then excreted with the ability to germinate.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrimalHunter View Post
    So I read in the book that grains developed certain defense mechanisms to avoid being eaten. OK, so their idea was to subtly poison us, and hope that we'd figure it out 10,000 years later? It seems that a more direct approach would be more effective.

    Also, why do vegetables not mind being eaten?
    Yeah, I have been thinking this all the time. I think it's so stupid to say that "grains don't want to be eaten"
    Like anyone would feel bad 2 hours later after eating grains and automatically think "it must be the grains!"
    Billie trips balls

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    Veggies have plenty of toxins as well. Eat some raw kale and see how you feel afterwards.
    “The whole concept of a macronutrient, like that of a calorie, is determining our language game in such a way that the conversation is not making sense." - Dr. Kurt Harris

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    Grains do need special preparation to be digested...
    Their outer coatings are in place for protection so that when they are eaten they can pass through the digestive tract, then sprout where they land.

    Many vegetables are harvested and eaten by humans in an immature state(prior to flowering). But as long as some were left to do their thing this wasn't an issue.
    Most fruits (both sweet and non-sweet) have the seeds discarded instead of ingested (by humans at least)... this works for the plant I suppose.
    Others that have edible seeds generally have developed a symbiotic relationship of sorts where the seeds are dispersed via the eaters shedding them in there defecation once they leave the immediate area.

    Gadsie... some people really do get sick after eating grain products. Seriously. If you don't that's cool... But it doesn't make other people stupid.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chaohinon View Post
    Veggies have plenty of toxins as well. Eat some raw kale and see how you feel afterwards.
    Interesting... I used to eat big raw kale salads regularly. Never bothered me a bit, I loved them. I can't anymore due to a medical issue that I need to follow a low oxalate diet for, but kale never made me sick or feel unwell when I could eat it.
    Last edited by cori93437; 08-26-2012 at 09:20 PM.
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    As stated above, grain's plan is to be eaten whole and pooped out somewhere else. Not digested, for the most part. Granted, some animals have broken the code (rodents, for example) and beaten the plant's plan. But not this human. I eat grains and fart, get gut and joint pain, etc. A little rice does seem to be okay on occasion.


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    Quote Originally Posted by PrimalHunter View Post
    So I read in the book that grains developed certain defense mechanisms to avoid being eaten. OK, so their idea was to subtly poison us, and hope that we'd figure it out 10,000 years later? It seems that a more direct approach would be more effective.
    It begins to look as if there is more give-and-take in nature than the current model of evolutionary biology has assumed. Interestingly, that kind of thinking arose back in the Age of Empire and that's possibly why competition was assumed to be as important as it was.

    Plants do have what we'd have to see as defences against being over-consumed. And those seems to be pervasive. But they're not necessarily trying to play a zero-sum game. And this is why I'd prefer to say over-comsumed. Maybe an animal could browse on a plant and so much would be fine, but very much more would make it sick. And again, IIRC, there are plants that have a first crop of leaves that animals can safely eat, but that then put out a second lot that have what you might call "hands off", noli me tangere, chemicals in. Defenses can be quite subtle -- they might also involve such things as a plant calling a insect predator of a grub that feeds on it by releasing a chemical messenger. Interestingly, it's apparently been found that most of the trees of a certain species in a forest will release a defensive chemical against a particular pest, but a small minority won't. The implication here would seem to be not only that the trees are concerting what they do -- which, if true, blows current conceptions out of the water -- but also that while they're fighting back they're not trying to wipe the pest out. Typically, that's not what humans -- or modern humans at any rate -- would try to do.

    My understanding of phytates was that their function seemed to be to sequester minerals that would be needed by the germinating seed until the time was ripe for the seed to grow. This is why people traditionally pre-soaked their oats before making porridge -- so that the warm, damp conditions, would allow the enzyme phytase to break down the phytates and release the calcium, etc., that would otherwise be chelated. You can't do that with modern rolled oats, because they're pre-steamed and that kills the phytase.

    But I may be wrong about phytates, or maybe they have more than one function.

    Also, why do vegetables not mind being eaten?
    As others have said, it's the seed that needs most protection.

    And, again, there's a question of "how much?" here. It wouldn't be a problem for the plant if animals ate some of it, but "too much" would be a problem for the plant, and substances in it might guard against that.

    Humans get around that by food preparation techniques. The chief of those would be cooking:

    Amazon.com: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (9780465020416): Richard Wrangham: Books

    Many primitive peoples will eat some of their meat raw, either because they can't be bothered at the time to cook it or because they prefer it that way. But many plant foods require quite elaborate and lengthy preparation and cooking.



    As for wheat, the main problem with wheat would seem to be gluten. I don't know that it's ever been suggested that gluten has any kind of defensive role. I think it's more that it's simply difficult to break down and use -- and even more so when leaky gut comes into the picture. And leaky gut is more of a problem for us than for our immediate ancestors, owing to factors like antibiotic overuse.

    Dr. William Davis, thinks that modern breeding programmes, carried out over the past 30 years or so, aimed at increasing yield and reducing the wheat stem, have had the unforeseen side-effect of changing the structure of the gluten and making it even more problematic:

    Wheat Belly Blog | Lose the Wheat Lose the Weight

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    Quote Originally Posted by cori93437 View Post
    Grains do need special preparation to be digested...
    Their outer coatings are in place for protection so that when they are eaten they can pass through the digestive tract, then sprout where they land.

    Many vegetables are harvested and eaten by humans in an immature state(prior to flowering). But as long as some were left to do their thing this wasn't an issue.
    Most fruits (both sweet and non-sweet) have the seeds discarded instead of ingested (by humans at least)... this works for the plant I suppose.
    Others that have edible seeds generally have developed a symbiotic relationship of sorts where the seeds are dispersed via the eaters shedding them in there defecation once they leave the immediate area.

    Gadsie... some people really do get sick after eating grain products. Seriously. If you don't that's cool... But it doesn't make other people stupid.




    Interesting... I used to eat big raw kale salads regularly. Never bothered me a bit, I loved them. I can't anymore due to a medical issue that I need to follow a low oxalate diet for, but kale never made me sick or feel unwell when I could eat it.
    I didn't call anyone stupid. I just think it doesn't really make sense for grains to "avoid being eaten" by causing digestive problems which don't occur directly. It would make much more sense to just have stings or something.
    Billie trips balls

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gadsie View Post
    I didn't call anyone stupid. I just think it doesn't really make sense for grains to "avoid being eaten" by causing digestive problems which don't occur directly. It would make much more sense to just have stings or something.
    The vast diversity of survival techniques among plants and animals is almost too much to comprehend. To pick one species and say it's particular defense mechanism doesn't make sense seems inappropriate. For example, should we criticize a snake for having fangs and venom when it might make more sense for it to have a thousand legs so it can run fast and escape?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gadsie View Post
    I didn't call anyone stupid. I just think it doesn't really make sense for grains to "avoid being eaten" by causing digestive problems which don't occur directly. It would make much more sense to just have stings or something.
    Right, but it's not that grains want to be left to themselves. It's advantageous for them to get eaten and pooped out somewhere a little further away--and for that, they need to stay undigested.

    I get what you meant by the original statement--Hurting your attacker after it's killed you is not a good way to stay alive! : )

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