DERRICK HUNT remarks on one reader’s recent comments about grain eating…
Patricia Webb (Feedback 23-8-2003), suggests that eating grain is bad for us. Most animals on this planet can be categorized as being either herbivorous or carnivorous. Humans however, along with bears, and pigs, are classed as omnivorous, which amounts to saying that they will eat just about everything in some shape or form. Moreover, this omnivore status is reflected in the length of our gut, or intestines.
Herbivores have extensive intestinal tracts, and, in the case of ruminants, more than one stomach, such being necessary to extract all the nutrients available in a relatively poor herbivorous diet. Carnivores on the other hand have short intestinal tracts. Meat is a rich
source of nutritional energy to those animals able to catch it and digest it. Were the carnivores’ intestinal tract as long as that of the herbivore, the meat would decay, and go rotten in the long passage through the intestines, giving rise to intestinal tract cancers over time, no doubt.
Omnivores such as humans have intestinal tracts which are midway in length between those of the herbivore and those of the carnivore. The lesson of this is that humans require a mixed diet to attain optimal health. Obesity is caused by too high a calorific intake relative to the metabolic rate, no matter what the dietary input making up that excessive calorific intake.
Patricia Webb also suggests that the Adam and Eve story dates to the time of the abandonment of the nomadic hunter/gatherer lifestyle for fixed agricultural settlement. It is probable that 'Eve', as the gatherer, was the first agriculturalist. By accident or design, some of Eve's gathered grain was scattered about their campsites, where it germinated, in more ways than one! Thus it came about that there was a reliable source of food to be had at those campsites when animal meat was difficult to come by. It was also Eve who was probably the first to domesticate livestock. To this day, in the remote regions of New Guinea, a woman with a human child at one teat, and an orphan piglet at another teat, is a common enough sight to be seen. Thus, Eve's temptation of Adam was to cease to be a nomadic hunter, and to settle down as a fixed agriculturalist instead. With settlement and the selection of high yielding grains came greater population densities,
and the consequent rise of civilisations as we have known them.
Ultimately however, whatever we eat, it is all dependent upon the process of photosynthesis, whereby flora, be it phytoplankton, or arboreal forest giant, captures the photon energy of the Sun, and it is thus the Sun's photon energy that animates us all, wherever we be in the food/energy chain. Thanks be to Ra, the Ancient Egyptians would have said, and justifiably solar so. Therefore how fitting it is that crop circles in sunlit cornfields about the verdant 'pyramid' that is Silbury Hill appear to herald 'developments' in the continued evolution of Humankind.
To be true vegetarians would require intestinal tracts on a par with those of elephants, who must spend many hours eating in order to fill their rumbling intestinal tracts to gain the sustenance necessary to their survival.
To be nuciferous, or a nut eater, would require that we live in a world of forests, like our chimpanzee cousins and the squirrel! Moreover, a nut is a seed, and so it is a cereal is another seed, or nut, if you like.
Let them eat cake, Marie Antoinette is purported to have said. What she should have perhaps added is: if they can grow the required essential nuts!