las

Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Whole Foods

No ... I'm not going to weigh in on Whole Foods (the store) pushing a vegan agenda or anything like that.  I want to talk about the eating paradigm advocating "whole foods" - aka "real foods".  

I will absolutely not argue against any whole/real food diet.  I'll even go a step further and state that IMO, most such diets truly comprised of whole/real foods, no matter the type/source, are likely infinitely more healthy than the alternative.

No, CarbSane hasn't gone over to the dark side or lost her feeble mind (don't you just love it when former bunny-eared anonymous bloggers refer to themselves in the third person?) .  No.  I want to talk specifics and definitions here.

What is a whole food?  Well - at the very least it is eating at least a part of a food source in its entirety.  To wit:
  • Eggs are a whole food, whites OR yolks separately are not.
  • Corn on the cob is a whole food, corn oil is not.
  • Cow's milk is a whole food, anything but is simply not.
  • Coconut meat is a whole food, coconut oil is not.
  • Sunflower seeds are a whole food, sunflower oil is not.
  • Almonds are a whole food, blanched almond meal is not.
  • A turkey with giblets is a whole food, ....??
  • A pig complete with chitterlings and such is a whole food, bacon is ??, lard is not.

I could go on down that list.  I've been criticized and essentially ridiculed in the past for daring to compare today's modern refined/processed foods with ... well ... foods that are by definition refined and processed, only in a more natural-friendly way.   

I think we can ALL agree (or at least I hope we can) that franken crap foods are not food at all.  Even then, as I'm often told, I do believe that when we introduce ourselves to reality, some amount of those foods is going to comprise a portion of our diets.  Some can be purists.  More power to you, and I'll leave it at that.

Folks, there is absolutely nothing more inherently healthy about Stevia sweetened whipped heavy cream atop a blanched almond flour pancake with six, better make that only three, blueberries as compared to real maple syrup poured over a regular pancake.  Flour is flour - stripped of the "bran" it really matters not that wheat flour has starch and almond flour has fat. You're eating a pancake and a refined/processed topping.  We can argue till we're blue in the face whether almonds are a more nutritious option compared to whole wheat berries (I would come out in favor of the almonds FWIW), but it is disingenuous to use those arguments to argue over which pancake is better or more "real".  Neither is whole.  Neither is more or less a real or natural human food.

I'm often fascinated by the full fat vs. low fat dairy debates.  For the record and for starters, let me be clear.  Low fat no more means Kraft fat free sour "cream", than high fat equates with Velveeta.  I'm talking real dairy products - no fillers or fake "foodstuffs".  

When you think about it, dairy is probably the creepiest of all human foods.  Really.  Really really think about it.  I've been talking about my yard birds lately and it looks as if yet another bird is trying to make their nest on my front step light.  No doubt they'll be unsuccessful because the crows around here are hip to that nesting site and ate all of the robin eggs produced last year.  Any nature show watcher is aware of nesting turtles having to protect their eggs from predators.  Eggs make good food.  Natural food.  A food predators not only will eat given the chance, but that they seek out.  

Except for the occasional zoo/domestic animal "awwwwwwwww" story, we simply DON'T see any wild animals consuming the infant foods of others.   I'm not sure I've ever seen an adult animal feed from the teet of a lactating member of another species.  So even raw cow's milk is simply not a natural human food.  Period.  Get past it.  This dairy lover has, no need to rationalize dairy consumption to me.  But also don't try to snow me with rationalizations about how any sort of dairy is somehow a superior real whole human food to other foods found in nature or other forms of dairy.  

Do you know where you get that whey protein used in so many low carb products and concoctions from?  Skim milk is no more a franken food than the heavy cream that was skimmed off the top!  Folks keep trying to convince me that milk left to its own devices magically produces cheese and yogurt.  Or does it just spoil .....  I prefer part-skim mozz.  It's a whole lot less oily than the whole milk version when melted.  Is it any less a real food than the whole milk version?  Let me check the label:  Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, and Enzymes.

Face it folks, coconut fat no more drips from the coconut than sunflower seed oil drips from the seeds.  Recognizing such truths can elevate the level of debate on nutritional issues.






27 comments:

Flavia said...

I never thought about it that way. I guess some of the 'real foods' the health industry is crowing about aren't very real at all!

Jenna said...

'I'm not sure I've ever seen an adult animal feed from the teet of a lactating member of another species. So even raw cow's milk is simply not a natural human food. Period. Get past it.'

My sis is an anthropologist, a tribe in Ethiopia she is doing research with, would have a slightly different opinion, as they thrive, and have done for quite a long period of time off "the teet of a lactating member of another species". Their survival depends on, and has depended upon the livelihood of their animals; camels, goats, cattle, etc.

I understand your point as in, if you (in the "West") just like to consume semi-skimmed milk, rather than full fat then why not, much of what we consume (in/from our environment) is not "natural" per say. But to insert raw cows milk, is not "natural" I think is incorrect. The people my sister is working with have seen massive decline in health, as they have moved over to agriculture. They no longer consume butter, or "raw animal milk", as they have had to sell their animals on. Now they tend fields of maize, etc ( their own pasture, stolen by agriculture businesses aided by the ethiopian government), identified as 'natives'.

In my environment, it may not be "natural" for me to consume "raw milk", because there are no cows where I live, and I have a lot of choice, other than seek out a cow, and milk it. But I can think of plenty of countries where cows/other animals, and their milk are vital to life.

CarbSane said...

Hi Jenna, yeah, milk has been a huge component, nay, necessary for the survival or massive numbers of humans for thousands of years. I in no way intended to demonize its consumption - although in the most puritanical paleolithic corners they do just that. I rather think that while we may not have evolved to consume milk, we sure as heck adapted to it over the millenia!

I was sort of poking at the idea that somehow milk derived foods that isolate the fat are healthy/real foods while those that isolate the protein or remove some/all of the fat are inherently not. There seems to be no basis for this line of reasoning.

For the record I prefer full fat everything dairy, except I give me H&H in coffee over heavy cream and pizza & parms made with part-skim mozz (and ricotta for that matter). Greasy coffee and pizza aren't my thang.

Still, I'll stick by the assertion that no animals (let's clarify non-humans) that I'm aware of consume the infant food of lactating members of other species. Where's Marlin Perkins when you need him?!

CarbSane said...

Oops, that last ref was insensitive. He's been gone for a long while now. Marlin Perkins. I loved Wild Kingdom!

Jenna said...

Right, so you're saying its about having a choice. I was going to write... but, I do like your point about food processing, eg. raw cows milk is processed food, so is semi-skimmed milk, its just processed differently. Does that make it any less natural for us to consume semi-skimmed milk? Though I think your point was, "Does that make it any more natural to consume milk? No it does not. Period."

But I refrained, as I was unsure what your over all point was. Just because other animals don't consume other animals milk doesn't make it any more weird. Do we females eat our mates, once we have been impregnated like a black widow spider does? There are a lot of weird things about a creature, which many other animals do not do, but what does that mean beyond the point of it not being common behavior.

CarbSane said...

I would add that the notion of a "natural human food" would be compared to (a) what humans evolved to eat and (b) what similar animals in the wild would choose to eat. Milk fails both tests. Does that make me believe it is an unfit food for modern humans? Nope! Quite the opposite, part of the point of the post.

As you so rightly point out, dairy has been central to the survival of literally billions of humans. In truly poor rural cultures - not poverty stricken cultures existing on government rations - what did you invariably find? A few egg producers and a milk producer in each household. These folks could have eaten the chickens or the cows/goats for their flesh, but they were more use to them for their continual supply of eggs and milk. We are a very resourceful species!

Good point about eating one's mate. That would be low carb though ;-) (very big evil grin!)

Jenna said...

Thanks for the clarification! :)

Diana said...

"I rather think that while we may not have evolved to consume milk, we sure as heck adapted to it over the millenia!"

I would say that there's no difference between adaptation and evolution. Some of us have indeed "evolved" to be lactose tolerant. Evolution hasn't stopped, it's just continuing in more subtle ways.

You made me laugh out loud with that "franken crap food" comment....

....I get the point you are making in this post. I agree that there is an insane amount of crazy-making dogmatism out there in the foody-world. I do think that reasonable people can tell the difference between "real" food and "franken crap food". Avoid the latter. Let nature take its course.

I think I 2/3 agree with Michael Pollan who said, "eat real foods, not too much, mostly plants." Guess which part I disagree with.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

One quibble ... most people I come across in WAPF and whole foods movements equate whole fat dairy with healthy grass-fed dairy, preferably raw. I also think there are meaningful differences between wheat flour and nut flours.

That said, I'm kinda with you on the whole pancakes/baked goods thing.

CarbSane said...

I understand your quibble, but, especially until recently, almost nobody (as a percent of the general population) ate raw grassfed dairy. I'm a child of the 60's and 70's and I recall getting a teensy carton of whole pasteurized milk in elementary school for a nickel. I also recall non-fat powdered milk being a "frugal staple" as this link describes: http://www.wisebread.com/nonfat-dry-milk-no-longer-a-frugal-alternative

Also, I'm not arguing nutritive differences on the whole. Let's get rid of the bogeyman wheat and discuss buckwheat, casava, rice or potato flours.

In the past we processed to concentrate and utilize calories to maximum benefit. We did this as a species in countless cultural contexts for millenia. So what went wrong now?

Truly impoverished UNSUBSIDIZED cultures do not become obese.

Razwell said...

All dietary decisions carry risk. All food and dietary decisions are a MINEFIELD. No exceptions.


The TOP and most important nutritional principle of healthful eating is MUCH, MUCH VARIETY. ( with the underlying udnerstanding science does not know yet what is truly healthful)


There is much not yet known in nutritional science. We are ALL taking risks and there is no getting around it.

Razwell said...

MALNUTRITION is linked to obesity EXTREMELY strongly, CarbSane.


Obesity is MUCH, MUCH MORE than calories. GENUINE science has demonstrated this.

CarbSane said...

You're right Razwell. :-)

Diana said...

"MALNUTRITION is linked to obesity EXTREMELY strongly, CarbSane."

Define "linked to."

Please refer to my long comment on the "Da Bomb" section which hyperlinks to a photo of a starved Dutch kid during 1944-1945 and explain to me why he was so thin.

Thanks.

Galina L. said...

I also try to find the answer to the question "So what went wrong now?" . I think it is the whole idea of grazing , all that snacking. Drinking sweat beverages between meals is from the same category.I strongly suspect that for the individual with a healthy metabolism spacing of meals is more important than food macro-nutrient composition.One of my friends eat mostly carbs 2 times a day - at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and manage to avoid premenopausal weight gain. I also suspect that those who complain about their inability to loose on LC eat too often.

CarbSane said...

I've posited that our obsession with drinking - not alcohol ;) - even water, may play a bigger role in the whole thing than we realize. I think I saw a recent quote that we now drink almost 30% of calories and lots of people are never without their water bottle either.

I dunno. Since I switched my kitty from dry food to wet food, he almost never drinks water anymore. He gets enough, apparently, from his food. So should we!

The Big Gulp style drinks, the coffee craze, "pushing water" (when we know our guts secrete some hormones in response to distension alone) constantly having something in our mouths may all play a role.

Razwell said...

READ my blog, Diana. Get an education about obesity from GENUINE SCIENCE sources.

GENUINE SCIENCE has ESTABLISHED malnutrition, toxins, medications,gut microbiota , lack of sleep, diseases, ALL CONTRIBUTORS TO OBESITY. And the genetic componet to obesity is EQUAL to that of height. DENYING THESE findings is DENYING GENUINE SCIENCE.

So stop trying to be cure, because you're just another misinformed Internet guru.

Obesity is HELLISHLY complex.

Razwell said...

Malnutrition is EXTREMELY CORRELATED with obesity AND anorexia ALSO , Diana.

I am WELL READ.

Razwell said...

A VALID nutritional site WILL ALWAYS admit to uncertainty. If it does not - THEN IT IS NOT valid . Sites that represent genuine science NEVER speak the way Colpo does, with 100 % certitude.

Steph said...

"(when we know our guts secrete some hormones in response to distension alone)"

CarbSane, when you get a chance, info on this? I agree we should be getting more of our water from food, but I'm surprised to hear pounding the water could be detrimental! (I mean, I know about water toxicity, just not the distension/hormone piece.)

CarbSane said...

Hi Steph, have to hunt around for the references, but, it's related to the feeling full thing which is one reason folks are often told to drink water before a meal and such. It's just a theory of mine, but if we're trying to restore homeostasis of our beings as a whole - trying to eat when hungry, stop when full - doesn't it intuitively seem counterproductive not to learn to - drink when thirsty, stop when not?

It's just a theory of mine about pounding water. It keeps us "full", has us running to the bathroom more, but eventually our brains perhaps get conditioned to being full but receiving no energy for the feeling - then we don't get the full signal till we eat even more? Don't know if there's anything to it, but I don't drink a lot on a regular basis. Still, I'll use that lemon/cayenne (no maple syrup!) water at times.

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