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You're only half human

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You're only half human

Postby Kay » Tue 10 Apr 2018 08:13 GMT

I found this article fascinating.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43674270

Some of it was a bit over my head but as a keen cook I was particularly interested in the bits about obesity and allergies.

I tend to think that a lot of this "free-from" stuff is catering to what is a bit of a fashion fad. There are few people who are truly intolerant of gluten (coeliacs) but these days gluten-free is quite main-stream, as is dairy-free and the whole "free-from" scene.

But fair enough, there's evidence to show that "modern life" and processes have created foods that irritate the gut more. And it's interesting how being obese or not is affected so much by your microbiome (see mice experiment). I wonder where that will lead to. Perhaps they'll make edible tablets from the faeces of slim people and sell them to fat people as an aid to weight loss. Stranger things have already happened.

PS: I wonder if there could be money in selling one's poo.
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Re: You're only half human

Postby ruggie » Tue 10 Apr 2018 12:31 GMT

Some of those 'free-from' fads can actually harm you. 'Everything in moderation' is probably a fairly safe approach. That was indeed a fascinating article, and it motivated me to search TED. Here's a talk I found https://www.ted.com/talks/rob_knight_how_our_microbes_make_us_who_we_are

This 2014 talk talks of a 10 to 1 ratio, which the BBC article updates to nearer 1 to 1.
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Re: You're only half human

Postby Kay » Tue 10 Apr 2018 15:12 GMT

Thanks for the TED link. Amazing stuff! But I wonder - if you can use microbiomes to cure so many diseases, how might that reduce our own responsibility to care for ourselves? I mean, why bother cutting down on junk food, overeating, sugar, etc, if you can just get some of a slim person's microbiomes and not become obese? :twisted:

BTW, which "free-from" fads did you have in mind when you said some of them could be harmful?
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Re: You're only half human

Postby Graeme » Tue 10 Apr 2018 16:30 GMT

You'd have to be certain the new bacteria were free from harmful bugs, introducing, say, a strong strain of Clostridium would be a disaster. The biome is almost self regulating but gets disturbed when we ingest too much of the wrong sorts of foods (burgers, fries and coke spring to mind) too much of that and the wrong bugs get kick started and the balance changes. Some infections and the mis-use of antibiotics can do the same thing. The changes in balance makes those new fortified bugs increase in number and exert a stronger influence on the body and brain. The desire for more foods that feed the bad bugs can increase and the bugs then grow which makes it hard to break that particular cycle. Fecal transplants have shown great promise in IBS and other biome disorders but for me I'd need it dried and in capsule form. Even then I'd probably need a couple of beers to gag it down....although when I think back I've probably eaten worse things. :vomit:
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Re: You're only half human

Postby ruggie » Tue 10 Apr 2018 18:06 GMT

'Gluten-free' diets were what I had in mind. Take a look here https://nutritionfacts.org/2016/02/23/how-a-gluten-free-diet-can-be-harmful/

But this also highlights the fact that many 'xxx-free' products are not totally free, and in serious cases that matters - and the fact that although 'xxx-free' the products are often contaminated with stuff that is harmful.
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Re: You're only half human

Postby Kay » Wed 11 Apr 2018 06:50 GMT

Graeme - LOL! Go on then, what's the worst thing you've ever eaten?

Ruggie - thanks for the interesting link. Personally I'm not bothered about having any gluten-free stuff but as a keen cook, I need to include such things in my repertoire. In ye olden days it was essential to have a few token veggie recipes. These days it's the "free-from" stuff.

Actually I never had a problem feeding vegetarians as I was a strict veggie myself for several years. I only went back to eating meat when I worked in Pakistan. Vegetarianism was pretty much unheard of there and it was a case of eat meat or die. Whilst I still eat meat all these years later, I probably only have it two or three times a week. That's not deliberate, often I only notice afterwards that it was a veggie meal. But going veggie is also very fashionable these days.
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Re: You're only half human

Postby Graeme » Thu 12 Apr 2018 00:28 GMT

Well, I could start with Army food and combat rations but then they actually weren't that bad. I have eaten crickets in chocolate which were crunchy and sweet but had a most peculiar aftertaste. I tried Habanero chile pepper ice cream which feels cold then hot then the brain freeze/burn is intense almost enough to make you vomit. Everyone has eaten worms I guess. The absolute worst was jellied moose nose served at a party I went to in Prince George at a Son's of Norway supper many years ago. You had to try the food before they would tell you what it was, and that was a bit chewy somewhat slimy and tasted so much worse once I knew what it was. :vomit: I guess it actually tasted like tongue really but it was the thought as much as the mouth feel and taste. Yuck!
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Re: You're only half human

Postby Dave » Thu 12 Apr 2018 18:20 GMT

I think the worst thing I've faced and then failed to eat was probably tarantulas - Kay was all for me having a go in Phnom Penh a few years back, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

But that's just primal fear kicking in. The worst thing I've ever eaten (apart from Parma Violets, which I've always loathed) was probably snails. Little bits of rubber with particularly tough chewy bits which I imagine are the soles of their "feet", and no taste to speak of. The best thing that can be said for them is that they're usually drowned in garlic so you notice them less.

We used to be regular customers at a Korean restaurant in Dhaka which had the mysterious menu item "B. Boi Top & Hell". It turned out to be snails, imported from Korea in tins. That word Hell seemed particularly apposite.

When I was a kid I used to think shellfish were disgusting - mostly because they looked wrong. One of my pals when I was nine used to eat cockles from a jar. Urgh! Scallops are lovely, mussels are not bad, and I've managed raw oysters. But I've never yet come around to cockles.
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Re: You're only half human

Postby Graeme » Fri 13 Apr 2018 04:59 GMT

Oh but the cockles in Kent are delicious. My wife used to go cockling as a kid (she lived in Birchington) and her mum would keep the cockles in a bucket of water and throw flour in to help fatten them and sweeten them then boil them up. I tried them as well as muscles and scallops and lobster (the cockroach of the sea) and they were all yummy. Might have been the garlic butter and wine though. Snails are okay too, a bit chewy maybe but not on my list of inedibles. I have been offered deep fried chicken feet and what looked like chicken giblets but I just couldn't..the feet were just too feety looking.
You have me at tarantulas, there is no way I could eat one, whole or otherwise. That would be a step too far, maybe if they ground them up and served them in haggis without telling me I could but otherwise I'll pass!
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Re: You're only half human

Postby Dave » Sat 14 Apr 2018 06:49 GMT

"Feety looking"... I know exactly what you mean. As it happens, I'm heading to the Far East tomorrow for a week's work. I'm torn between wanting not to pass up an amazing opportunity to broaden my culinary horizons, and instinctive revulsion for yucky stuff. I'll tell you how I get on after I'm back next weekend.

Going back to the original subject, I think I'm in agreement with the rest of you. Food hygiene and quality are both important and higher standards have improved health massively, but we overdo it sometimes - like the "clean eating" and "gluten-free" fads. Grr!
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