Saturday, February 28, 2009
starches and grains
I thought Dr. McDougall's newsletter this month gave some good arguments for eating starches and grains. He points out that humans have been eating this stuff for 3000-10,000 years and our genes have adapted to digest them (making us different from chimpanzees in that regard). Some of the raw food promoters say we should be eating like the apes and chimpanzees since we are so similar--so greens, fruits, and nuts. This is pretty similar to what Dr. Fuhrman recommends too but he also recommends cooked food including cruciferous vegetables, beans and some grains and starchy vegetables. Fuhrman recommends eating much more greens and cruciferous vegetables than McDougall. McDougall argues that we should follow the same diets several non-western cultures follow(ed) (the ones who haven't adopted the Standard American Diet yet), which are mostly starch-based, because these societies are (were) long-lived and healthy. I think there is merit to that, but I agree with Fuhrman that we shouldn't just copy a successful way of eating if we think we can also improve on it. Not only that, many of us don't figure this out until middle age, so not only do we want to improve our health but we probably have to make up for years of abuse. So piling on the greens and cruciferous vegetables probably does some good. So overall, I still think Fuhrman is the best program. And he is an active MD, and has treated tens of thousands of patients. There's nothing like first hand experience. But McDougall's newsletter did remind me that our bodies have adapted to handle starches and grains and they can be a healthy part of our diet and provide us needed calories. Fortunately, sweet potatoes fall in that category. I am in love with sweet potatoes. and beets. but sweet potatoes even more. And I shouldn't forget brown rice. I'm going to make some tomorrow to eat with our chili. I think it helps me digest beans more.