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Old 10-27-2011, 05:57 PM   #1
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What did the IceMan eat?

I watched Nova last night, about more of the findings that the scientists and doctors are discovering about The IceMan, who was killed over 5,000 years ago, and lay frozen beneath so much ice, preserved all this time. Murder.

They named him Őtzi. One of the things they examined was the contents of his stomach as he had eaten a good and filling meal before he set out. Einkorn wheat and Ibex wild goat.

They absolutely got good DNA from deep within his bones. He had brown eyes, closely related to today's people of Sardinia, and he had Lyme disease, arthritis in a knee, the beginnings of calcium deposits in his heart arteries, atherosclerosis. They found he was lactose intolerant, but stated that almost all humans were at that time, and the adaptation to handling new foods comes on strong and fast (Őtzi is only 250 generations removed from us) and by now 40% of the world can handle dairy and lactose, except in Switzerland, where a whopping 85% of people are able to tolerate lactose completely!

Interesting show.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:31 PM   #2
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I watched Nova last night, about more of the findings that the scientists and doctors are discovering about The IceMan, who was killed over 5,000 years ago, and lay frozen beneath so much ice, preserved all this time. Murder.

They named him Őtzi. One of the things they examined was the contents of his stomach as he had eaten a good and filling meal before he set out. Einkorn wheat and Ibex wild goat.

They absolutely got good DNA from deep within his bones. He had brown eyes, closely related to today's people of Sardinia, and he had Lyme disease, arthritis in a knee, the beginnings of calcium deposits in his heart arteries, atherosclerosis. They found he was lactose intolerant, but stated that almost all humans were at that time, and the adaptation to handling new foods comes on strong and fast (Őtzi is only 250 generations removed from us) and by now 40% of the world can handle dairy and lactose, except in Switzerland, where a whopping 85% of people are able to tolerate lactose completely!

Interesting show.
Cool!!! That is so interesting.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:30 PM   #3
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I watched that last night, too! I love shows like that!
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:42 PM   #4
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I wonder why so much of Switzerland is lactose intolerant, did they say why?
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:49 PM   #5
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I wonder why so much of Switzerland is lactose intolerant, did they say why?
I think Pat said it said that 85% were lactose tolerant, not intolerant. At leas that is how I read it and I find this very interesting. The whole thing is just interesting to me since most believe the Ice Man age was eating just meat/fat/protein and not much else.

If you have ever read any of the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel she did LOTS of research on what man was eating way back then and it seems there were much more grain, fruits (berries) and nuts then originally thought.

Guess Ice Man wasn't THAT LC, huh!
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:55 PM   #6
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I saw that show, too. There were a few new things in it, like you said, the eye color and lactose intolerance parts since they sequenced his DNA. Most of it was a re-hash of what they've already learned about the guy. My husband, who was only marginally familiar with it, was fascinated by the whole thing, especially the copper axe and the "forensic" aspect of it all.

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I wonder why so much of Switzerland is lactose intolerant, did they say why?
Actually, it's not. Only about 12% of Swiss are lactose intolerant. 5000 years ago, though, the mutation for lactase persistence hadn't quite caught hold in the population and spread around because dairy farming was apparently just started to get popular in that part of the world. Being lactose intolerant is actually the normal human condition after about age 5. Being able to produce the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the milk sugar lactose, after that age is a fairly recent mutation in humans and only present in populations with a history of dairy farming. Here's a good little tutorial on it I use in my biological anthropology classes: Human Biological Adaptability: Nutritional Adaptation
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:57 PM   #7
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I think Pat said it said that 85% were lactose tolerant, not intolerant. At leas that is how I read it and I find this very interesting. The whole thing is just interesting to me since most believe the Ice Man age was eating just meat/fat/protein and not much else.

If you have ever read any of the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel she did LOTS of research on what man was eating way back then and it seems there were much more grain, fruits (berries) and nuts then originally thought.

Guess Ice Man wasn't THAT LC, huh!
Actually back then (30,000 years ago), there weren't any domestic grains.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:08 PM   #8
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Speck, I read with great interest a paper about the current thought that what foods you can tolerate with ease, that another may have trouble with, can have a great deal to do with the genetic lines you descended down from. I think examples given were utilizing wheat nutrient with ease as opposed to not tolerating it, and that some people had more difficulty with red meats as they descended from coastal people who relied so heavily on fish protein over the many generations.

Any suggestions of sites I might find interesting on this general subject?
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
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Geeze, Pat. Not really. Everything I know on the subject has been cobbled together from a paper here, an article there, a book now and again, a documentary or lecture from time to time. In my discipline, the area that concentrates on the topic is called nutritional anthropology. I googled that to see if I could find something for you, and I found this: Encyclopedia of Food & Culture I've spent the last little while reading a few entries and it might be of interest to you, or maybe not. It really depends on what group of people you're interested in knowing more about, or what food item, or what time and place, or what gene, etc. This encyclopedia seems to have entries on darned near everything!
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:49 PM   #10
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I can't tell yet whether it will get into the subject of food tolerances/intolerances by bloodlines or not, but it looks like it's going to have hours of interesting reading. Thanks!
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:38 AM   #11
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Pat- just in the mddle of reading Wheat Belly, he talks a bit about Einkorn wheat.... the original wheat.... and how it is NOTHING like the gmo wheat we have nowadays. very interesting book!

Beeb- I adore all the Clan of the Cave Bear books! She must have spent countless years in research. I have read them all twice.... and dh has just bought me the latest one!

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Old 10-28-2011, 04:27 AM   #12
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Pat- just in the mddle of reading Wheat Belly, he talks a bit about Einkorn wheat.... the original wheat.... and how it is NOTHING like the gmo wheat we have nowadays. very interesting book!

Beeb- I adore all the Clan of the Cave Bear books! She must have spent countless years in research. I have read them all twice.... and dh has just bought me the latest one!

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I wonder what this author is talking about in his book? GMO Compass is the big organization that keeps track of Genetically Modified organisms of the world. We don't have gmo wheat anywhere in the food supply at all. Would the author have been talking about anything else, like selecting the grass with the most seeds to plant next year? Selective breeding and cross breeding techniques of various grasses to blend two together maybe? Because if he's claiming gmo wheat, that sounds more like a sky-is-falling scare tactic. ?

"..........Right now, no genetically modified wheat is being grown anywhere in the world. Plans to introduce GM wheat in North America were abandoned in 2004. Nevertheless, scientists are still exploring ways of improving wheat using genetic engineering.........."

"..........In 2002, Monsanto, the world's leading agro-biotech enterprise, submitted an application to the United States and Canada for the approval of an herbicide resistant, genetically modified wheat cultivar. Two years later, Monsanto withdrew its application.........."


I was interested in reading more about that early wheat found in the IceMan's tummy, and found the following about it. Also found out that it was so low in gluten that they wouldn't have been able to make bread out of it.. more a dry cracker sort of product. ACK. There goes my favorite use for the wheat... bread!

"..........In contrast with more modern forms of wheat, there is evidence that the gliadin protein of einkorn may not be as toxic to sufferers of coeliac disease.[4] It has yet to be recommended in any gluten-free diet. Einkorn wheat does contain gluten but is different from most wheats in that it contains only 14 chromosomes as opposed to 28 in emmer or 42 in modern wheats. This alters the gluten structure which may be why it does not affect those with gluten intolerance as much as other wheats.........."

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Old 10-28-2011, 07:25 AM   #13
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I dont remember where I saw or read it and it may be what your talking about Pat. I saw a video or talk show awhile back with a doctor talking about how the wheat we eat now is very different from the wheat eaten many years ago.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:37 AM   #14
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I wonder what this author is talking about in his book? GMO Compass is the big organization that keeps track of Genetically Modified organisms of the world. We don't have gmo wheat anywhere in the food supply at all. Would the author have been talking about anything else, like selecting the grass with the most seeds to plant next year? Selective breeding and cross breeding techniques of various grasses to blend two together maybe? Because if he's claiming gmo wheat, that sounds more like a sky-is-falling scare tactic. ?

"..........Right now, no genetically modified wheat is being grown anywhere in the world. Plans to introduce GM wheat in North America were abandoned in 2004. Nevertheless, scientists are still exploring ways of improving wheat using genetic engineering.........."

"..........In 2002, Monsanto, the world's leading agro-biotech enterprise, submitted an application to the United States and Canada for the approval of an herbicide resistant, genetically modified wheat cultivar. Two years later, Monsanto withdrew its application.........."


I was interested in reading more about that early wheat found in the IceMan's tummy, and found the following about it. Also found out that it was so low in gluten that they wouldn't have been able to make bread out of it.. more a dry cracker sort of product. ACK. There goes my favorite use for the wheat... bread!

"..........In contrast with more modern forms of wheat, there is evidence that the gliadin protein of einkorn may not be as toxic to sufferers of coeliac disease.[4] It has yet to be recommended in any gluten-free diet. Einkorn wheat does contain gluten but is different from most wheats in that it contains only 14 chromosomes as opposed to 28 in emmer or 42 in modern wheats. This alters the gluten structure which may be why it does not affect those with gluten intolerance as much as other wheats.........."
Hi Pat!
Yes.. cross breeding is what I meant....when I said gmo...I just meant altered!
Just me getting my expressions crossed.
The wheat nowadays is so much more complex, taking on the characteristics of each new strain it is bred with, plus the artficially given characteristics bred into it, such as mold and pest resistance.
The author met a lady who grows this Einkorn today...she is founder of The Heritage Wheat Conservatory (Heritage Wheat Conservancy).
he bought some einkorn flour...and make a loaf, alongside a normal refined flour loaf.
Like you said, due to the gluten it was much less stretchy...and the final loaf was much heavier, denser and strong tasting...a nutty flavour!
It would be fab to try something like this...the founding bread of the ones we have today.
I bet my tummy would be much more receptive to it...though my wallet would probably not!
Wonder what the iceman would think of your artisan loves...probably that they we some kind of "magic" foodstuff!
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:45 AM   #15
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I was reading about some of the varieties, and of course we can get flour to use from some of the old varieties too.

I do think a lot of folks wouldn't be very happy with some of the old varieties ground into flour for their baking purposes... like, WTH? This flour doesn't work worth a darn!

I gotta' have the new kind of wheat flour that makes my loaves of bread. Goin' for my Wheat Belly here.

ETA: I was reading that the old Einkorn wheat variety is still grown in several parts of Europe. Maybe you could find some?

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Old 10-28-2011, 07:51 AM   #16
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I was reading about some of the varieties, and of course we can get flour to use from some of the old varieties too.

I do think a lot of folks wouldn't be very happy with some of the old varieties ground into flour for their baking purposes... like, WTH? This flour doesn't work worth a darn!

I gotta' have the new kind of wheat flour that makes my loaves of bread. Goin' for my Wheat Belly here.

ETA: I was reading that the old Einkorn wheat variety is still grown in several parts of Europe. Maybe you could find some?
I listened to a podcast with the author of Wheat Belly, and he said he did get some ancient wheat strain (can't remember if it was Einkorn or what), and he ate it and didn't have the gastric distress that he typically gets when he eats modern wheat.

So, yeah, his n=1 experiment was that ancient strain was much better for him.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:04 AM   #17
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I listened to a podcast with the author of Wheat Belly, and he said he did get some ancient wheat strain (can't remember if it was Einkorn or what), and he ate it and didn't have the gastric distress that he typically gets when he eats modern wheat.

So, yeah, his n=1 experiment was that ancient strain was much better for him.
From what I have read about the various strains of wheat available now, the new varieties are the ones that are higher gluten, so it stands to reason that those would be the varieties that the largest percentage of people would have trouble with in their gut.

On this Nova science program on the IceMan, when they were discussing diet, they indicated that humans are able to change in the direction of digestibility of new foods relatively fast (as far as evolution goes). They pointed out the evolution of man's ability to tolerate lactose to the extent we do today, was a mere 250 generations, when everybody was lactose intolerant previously.

I expect most humans can eat wild grass seeds and early wheat varieties, and probably the older wheat varieties too by now, just some bloodlines not able to tolerate the newer wheat breeds yet.

Wish I could adapt to eating all the fallen leaves around here instead of having to rake them.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:32 AM   #18
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Actually back then (30,000 years ago), there weren't any domestic grains.
True, but the grains that were earliest to be domesticated were those that needed little but encouragement to grow where people wanted them to. Barley, millet, and einkorn wheat are three of the oldest grains we know humans to have eaten, and their wild counterparts look almost exactly like their domesticated cousins. A handful of grain here and there is not unheard of even in hunter-gatherer cultures.

Compare this to maize, which had to be bred and bred and bred to make it the kernels bigger and easier to get to and easier to get off the cob. Ancient caches of maize show us that wild maize was tiny and hard to harvest. You couldn't just take a handful and eat it as you walked.

I read "Guns, Germs, and Steel" a few years ago, and it completely changed how I looked at the discovery and conquest of Oceania and North/South America.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:48 AM   #19
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True, but the grains that were earliest to be domesticated were those that needed little but encouragement to grow where people wanted them to. Barley, millet, and einkorn wheat are three of the oldest grains we know humans to have eaten, and their wild counterparts look almost exactly like their domesticated cousins. A handful of grain here and there is not unheard of even in hunter-gatherer cultures.

Compare this to maize, which had to be bred and bred and bred to make it the kernels bigger and easier to get to and easier to get off the cob. Ancient caches of maize show us that wild maize was tiny and hard to harvest. You couldn't just take a handful and eat it as you walked.

I read "Guns, Germs, and Steel" a few years ago, and it completely changed how I looked at the discovery and conquest of Oceania and North/South America.
I believe that *wild* early humans would most certainly have gathered grass seed. And whatever seeds he could find from whatever plants were going to seed at that time of the year.

I don't think we were stupid back then. I don't think it would take too much brain power to understand if you gather grass seeds and strew them on the earth, new grass would grow up next year, producing even more seeds. So if you weren't planning on too much movement outside of that lush valley, that would be a way to assure more food for the future.

I wonder if it's possible to order variety wheat flours online. It would be fun to taste what some of these early seed grains taste like. I know there is a BIG flavor difference between ground white wheat varieties and ground red wheat varieties.
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:04 AM   #20
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From what I have read about the various strains of wheat available now, the new varieties are the ones that are higher gluten, so it stands to reason that those would be the varieties that the largest percentage of people would have trouble with in their gut.

On this Nova science program on the IceMan, when they were discussing diet, they indicated that humans are able to change in the direction of digestibility of new foods relatively fast (as far as evolution goes). They pointed out the evolution of man's ability to tolerate lactose to the extent we do today, was a mere 250 generations, when everybody was lactose intolerant previously.

I expect most humans can eat wild grass seeds and early wheat varieties, and probably the older wheat varieties too by now, just some bloodlines not able to tolerate the newer wheat breeds yet.

Wish I could adapt to eating all the fallen leaves around here instead of having to rake them.
Ask Ouizoid or Beeb...they come up with some awesome and inventive recipes!
Bet leaves would fit perfectly into a DD, to!

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Old 10-28-2011, 11:07 AM   #21
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Ask Ouizoid or Beeb...they come up with some awesome and inventive recipes!
Bet leaves would fit perfectly into a DD, to!

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Maybe I could grind them and use them like Psyllium husks.
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Old 10-28-2011, 02:42 PM   #22
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Pat- just in the mddle of reading Wheat Belly, he talks a bit about Einkorn wheat.... the original wheat.... and how it is NOTHING like the gmo wheat we have nowadays. very interesting book!

Beeb- I adore all the Clan of the Cave Bear books! She must have spent countless years in research. I have read them all twice.... and dh has just bought me the latest one!

Hugs
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Thread jump, sorry! How do you like the last book? I just can't get into it for some reason.

And Speck, you are right, and these books Jo and I are talking about where from right around the time of the decline of Neanderthal man. Very interesting books!!
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:03 PM   #23
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Maybe I could grind them and use them like Psyllium husks.
Not a good idea!!! You CAN eat the seeds of grasses and trees, but not said blades of grass or leaves. I read a study where it took this guy years to figure out that he couldn't eat grass or leaves without , but if he ate the seeds of the grass and trees, ground up and use as a flour product it worked very well. Also, we can boil and grind acorns with the same end result: A flour to use in making bread. I have done this, not too tasty, though and very time consuming in preparing the acorns.

I'll just stick to unprocessed grains for now!
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:42 PM   #24
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Thread jump, sorry! How do you like the last book? I just can't get into it for some reason.

And Speck, you are right, and these books Jo and I are talking about where from right around the time of the decline of Neanderthal man. Very interesting books!!
I read all of the books, loved them. And the time is set at 28-30,000 years ago -- give or take a couple thousand years.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:02 PM   #25
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True, but the grains that were earliest to be domesticated were those that needed little but encouragement to grow where people wanted them to. Barley, millet, and einkorn wheat are three of the oldest grains we know humans to have eaten, and their wild counterparts look almost exactly like their domesticated cousins. A handful of grain here and there is not unheard of even in hunter-gatherer cultures.

Compare this to maize, which had to be bred and bred and bred to make it the kernels bigger and easier to get to and easier to get off the cob. Ancient caches of maize show us that wild maize was tiny and hard to harvest. You couldn't just take a handful and eat it as you walked.

I read "Guns, Germs, and Steel" a few years ago, and it completely changed how I looked at the discovery and conquest of Oceania and North/South America.
All grains are derived from teeny tiny grass seeds. The effort it took to get enough of these seeds was far greater than the calories they provided until people started domesticating them, and when they did, it took literally thousands of years for them to become predominant in the diet. We see the first domestication of grains only about 12,000 years ago, and it would take 6000 years before people based their civilizations on them. Hunter-gatherers never relied on grains. They did recognize them as fall back foods, this is evident in the archaeological record and by contemporary foragers.
I love that book. Certainly answers a lot of questions, doesn't it?

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I believe that *wild* early humans would most certainly have gathered grass seed. And whatever seeds he could find from whatever plants were going to seed at that time of the year.

I don't think we were stupid back then. I don't think it would take too much brain power to understand if you gather grass seeds and strew them on the earth, new grass would grow up next year, producing even more seeds. So if you weren't planning on too much movement outside of that lush valley, that would be a way to assure more food for the future.

I wonder if it's possible to order variety wheat flours online. It would be fun to taste what some of these early seed grains taste like. I know there is a BIG flavor difference between ground white wheat varieties and ground red wheat varieties.
Humans have been in our present form for about 200,000 years. For all but the last 12,000 of those years, no grains were in our diet. Seeds, nuts, berries, leafy veggies, small relatively sour fruits, gourds, tubers, and lots of animal protein and fat comprised the diet. Humans were smart enough to recognize that the effort needed to strip weeds and grasses of their tiny seeds expended more calories than they provided, except in the most extreme need. Being as smart as we are, we figured out how to breed plants and animals on our terms and for our needs. It's similar to how you've imagined it, but not so simple and took a whole lot longer.
Grain (and other plant and animals) domestication took place at different times, in different places all over the world, and what exactly was domesticated was reliant upon what was available in the natural environment. Those populations that have a longer history of consuming certain grains have less health problems than those more recently exposed to it -- take wheat flour's devastating health consequences among Native Americans today for example.
Also, the adaptability and impact of different genes is not the same for every gene and every trait. For example, the gene for lactase persistence has a simple relationship -- one gene, one trait. The same is not true for the metabolism of grain related foods. It's taken longer and it's not simple.

This is what I do for a living ladies. I don't want to get on a soap box but, call it a compulsion, I have a need to try to clarify things.
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