Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Diet for the Urban Troglodyte - 03. Starches

Paleo diets, fad diets, weight reduction diets often eschew carbs (carbohydrates), even starches and not only sugars. Let’s have a closer look from the viewpoint of the urban troglodyte.
What are starches? Piled glucose is a rough description. Amylose and amylopectin are common forms of polysaccharides, which plants use as energy store. [1]
Starch grains from sorghum were found on grind stones dating up to 100,000 years ago. More on sorghum: [2]. Starch grains from bullrushes (rhizomes of Typha [3]) dated back to 30,000 years ago. The gist is: starches have been used as food since caveman times.

Caveman didn’t have bread or pasta, or pancakes, cereals, noodles, pasta or tortilla. And he didn’t have plants like maize, rice, wheat etc. His starches were rich in fiber. In this way the microbes in his colon were producing short chain fatty acids, which have health promoting effects, but the process included lots of gases. The urban troglodyte needs to remember this.

There is an interesting study on starches in paleolithic man [4]. “Up until now, there has been a heavy focus on the role of animal protein in the development of the human brain over the last two million years. The importance of carbohydrate, particularly in the form of starch-rich plant foods, has been largely overlooked.” And: “The evidence suggests that Palaeolithic humans would not have evolved on today’s ‘Paleo’ diet.” But we already talk about cooking. The study was co-authored with international researchers Dr Karen Hardy (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and Professor Mark Thomas and Katherine Brown (University College London).

The McDougall Diet largely focuses on starchy foods [5]. Let’s take some of these, which could be used in the diet for the urban troglodyte. These starchy food should be natural, brimming with fiber, and should be easily prepared. Rye, oats, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, sorghum, celery root, water chestnuts, burdock (you’ve ever had burdock? My last burdock dates back 35 years ago), parsnips (actually available in German supermarkets), pumpkin, beans like azuki, garbanzo, pinto, cannellini etc., lentils, and peas. Some peas are eatable without cooking. Oatmeal is already processed.

Let’s talk about resistant starches [6]. Resistant starch is starch that escapes digestion in the small intestine. ) The large intestinal microbiota ferment these resistant starches short chain fatty acids. If you eat low in fiber and resistant starch, then you might have problems with the sudden gas production in your colon. It takes a while for composition of the microbiota to adapt or change. So change you eating habits slowly.

The diet for the urban troglodyte isn’t a fad paleo diet, so starches play a large role. Let your food be as natural as possible. Starchy foods that can be consumed raw should be consumed raw. Don’t eat beans raw. Stay away from highly processed foods. Urban troglodyte, do your own cooking!



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