Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Food, glorious food!

This post (inspired by Galina L) will be a trip down food-chain lane, starting at the bottom and working upwards. Humans are at the top (but not always).

1) Bacteria: The Vitamin B12 produced by certain bacteria is the only usable form that vegans will consume, so vegans should either not wash root veggies before cooking, or they should supplement with bacterial-sourced B12.

2) Algae: The EPA & DHA in algae are the only forms that vegans will consume, but beware. EPA has five C=C double-bonds and DHA has six, which makes them very unstable. EPA & DHA that are not inside a plant/animal should be kept cold and away from light.

3) Fungi & Yeasts: I don't have much to say about these other than they are a good source of B Vitamins other than B12. Mushrooms are tasty. Ditto yeast extract (though you either love it or you hate it). Quorn is made from a fungus.

4) Plants: The hotter the climate, the higher the saturated fat content of a fruit/nut/seed. Coconuts have the highest saturated fat content (~91%). The hotter the climate, the lower the pufa content of a fruit/nut/seed. Coconuts have the lowest pufa content (~2%). See the Comparison of dietary fats chart below.

Olives grow in many countries, some hotter than others. The Solesta EVOO that I buy from Aldi has a pufa content of 6.6%. However, some olive oils can have a pufa content as high as 20%.

5) Krill: The EPA & DHA in Krill oil can be consumed as a dietary supplement. The warning that applies to algal EPA & DHA also applies to Krill oil. Krill oil is a good source of Astaxanthin.

6) Fish: Fish that live in warm waters are low in oil (the oil in their livers is rich in Vitamins A & D). Fish that live in cold waters need antifreeze. EPA & DHA have very low freezing points (-54°C & -44°C respectively). The EPA & DHA in Fish oil can be consumed as a dietary supplement. The warning that applies to algal EPA & DHA also applies to Fish oil. See When it comes to fish oil, more is not better. Large fish (e.g. sharks) can eat us.

7) Amphibians: Frog's legs are a delicacy in some countries. What amphibians do you like to eat?

8) Reptiles: Turtle soup, anyone? Large reptiles (e.g. crocodiles) can eat us.

9) Marine mammals: As these are warm-blooded, they have a lower pufa content than fish. However, blubber is cold on the outside, so it's high in EPA & DHA. Large marine mammals (e.g. Killer whales) can eat us.

10) Mammals: As these are warm-blooded, they have a lower pufa content than fish. The pufa content depends a lot on what the mammal eats. Ruminants can eat a wide variety of diets and still maintain a reasonable omega-6:omega-3 ratio in their body-fat. Large mammals (big cats, big dogs and big bears) can eat us.

11) Humans: Many years ago, we ate anything edible that was around, lived outdoors and moved ourselves around using our muscles. We've done well, without modern medicine to save us from infections & injuries (and maybe difficult childbirths).

Nowadays, we eat what's in the shops, live & work indoors and have labour-saving gadgets to do our physical work for us. We're having problems, despite modern medicine.


praguestepchild said...

Desmond Morris made a pretty strong case against the "myth" of difficult childbirths in Babywatching and having experienced it myself (not the really painful part, thankfully), I agree in spades.

Humans as two-legged animals with large heads have an inherent engineering problem that perhaps hasn't been fully solved by evolution (but has given our females wider hips, hallelujah).

What Morris talks about is the stress of giving birth as a specimen in a lab surrounded by strangers, plus the apparent Victorian fascination with the classic stirrups position as opposed to a more natural squatting position. And how this stress and it's consequent affect on hormones relates to birth in mammals. Stress hormones act in mammals as a way to postpone birth, and in human mammals the same way. If you are really stressed out, then it is probably not safe, so we are going to put this off. This is how you get 36 hour births IMO not because humans are badly designed to give birth but because of modern medicine's idea of how to give birth.

Sorry for the rant.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I didn't know that. I learn a lot from comments. I'll edit my post accordingly.

Thanks, Nige.

praguestepchild said...

Nigel, I put myth in quotes because I don't consider it to be a full-fledged myth. I wasn't trying to criticize you for that.

Mostly, you just reminded my of how angry I am at the modern system of giving birth which (after reading Morris) seems like the worst of both worlds.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I don't have any figures for infant or maternal mortality in non-developed countries. I'm a bit tired to Google at the moment and I have Zumba later.

A mother once told me "In like a banana, out like a watermelon!" Rather them than me.

So, should "difficult childbirth" be in or out?

gallier2 said...

hm, hm, anacondas are reptiles, not amphibians.

gallier2 said...

As for difficult child birth, I read once (cop out to avoid citations) that it may be related to the other diseases of civilisation. The growth problems encountered due to lack of vit-K and fat soluble vitamin, that have the visible impact Weston Price so fabulously showed in his book, probably do not stop at dental arches. Hip development and other bone structures are imho also imparted.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I spotted a caecilian and thought that it was a snake. Oops!

Galina L. said...

Thank you, Nigel!
I will print out that wonderful diagram and hold it in my hand each time when I read something about oils and fats. I had tendency to ignore the fat issue, being sort of confused from differences in opinions. Not wise for somebody affected by allergies. It gets much better since I ditched starches and sugars. I can eat salmon again and don't need my asthma inhaler, but eczema started coming back without a particular reason and some kinds of fish is still a problem.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Thanks for the inspiration Galina. While I was out walking this morning, I was thinking about what we discussed last night RE fruit/nut/seed fats composition vs temperature and this post just popped into my head.

Galina L. said...

I hope it is not excessive to place another comment. It is about mushrooms now. Looks like you are not living in an industrial area. There are suppose to be some wonderful wild mushrooms in forests in season. I spent a lot of time mushroom hunting in Russia. It was so much fan! Of course, it is necessary to be careful and know what you are doing, but wild mushrooms are very tasty and walking in the forest is never boring.

praguestepchild said...

I forgot to say thanks for the chart, I will print it out also. Much easier to eyeball a chart like this than one with just the numbers.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Galina, you can place as many comments as you like. It may take me a while to approve them as we live in different time zones and I see mum on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

There are woods where I live and I have seen fungi growing on trees and on the ground. I've not eaten any as I don't know the difference between edible & poisonous ones.

People I used to work with gave our company the nickname "mushroom farm" as the management used to keep us in the dark and feed us with bullshit!

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Sean, that chart used to be on http://www.manitobaharvest.com/nutrition/index.asp?itemID=183 but it's disappeared. I saved it to disk some time ago, so I hope I'm not infringing copyright by putting it on my blog.

praguestepchild said...

-signed obnoxious threatening lawyer

I'm glad you have made it available again, it really is well done. If I ever have the time and inclination to make another chart whose data was conducive I would definitely use that format.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Shhh! Don't tell you-know-who!

I have a different chart in 2 different resolutions, but it's not quite as good. See HERE and HERE.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I'm an eejit! I forgot about http://www.tineye.com/.

There's another chart HERE.

Galina L. said...

To Praguestepchild

I don't know who said what but the labor hearts like hell for hours well before the end of the process whatever you are standing, sitting or walking because contractions itself are painful. When my son was born I choose not to have any family members around because I thought it would be less pressure on me of any kind. I could scream without thoughts that somebody may have nervous breakdown.I could be passing any body fluids surrounded by professional strangers who saw it all.
Some women are lucky not to suffer too much, but not the majority.

lightcan said...

Great chart, Nigel.
I cans second praguestepchild's comments about childbirth. I was fine while I was sitting or walking. The moment they made me lie down to connect all those wires to the monitors I felt like a beached whale and started to feel the pain. Pain relief followed, longer second phase, instrumental delivery. Mess.

lightcan said...

By the way, do you have some info on animal fats like duck and goose fat?

Nigel Kinbrum said...

See Composition of Different Fats.

Some of the information in the above link may not line up exactly with some of the information in the Diagram.

The Awesome Power of Krill Oil said...

"5) Krill: The EPA & DHA in Krill oil can be consumed as a dietary supplement. The warning that applies to algal EPA & DHA also applies to Krill oil. Krill oil is a good source of Astaxanthin."

Yes, unlike fish oils, pure krill oil carries omega-3s in the form of phospholipids -- liposomes or little packages that deliver the fatty acids directly to your body's cells.

I've seen this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-ZnG3NoZY and i learned a lot of good stuff about krill oil specially omega-3.