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Rice vs. Wheat Farming: Nature/Nurture Questions
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China is a good place to look for long-term impacts of different kind of agriculture because it had both rice paddy agriculture and drier grain agriculture (first millet, then wheat) for thousands of years. From Current Opinion in Psychology

Emerging evidence of cultural differences linked to rice versus wheat agriculture
Thomas Talhelm

Highlights
• Historical rice farming linked to interdependent culture.

• Differences tested in China and Japan, as well as in worldwide comparison.

• There is evidence for differences among urbanites with no direct experience farming.

• Rice farming is also linked to holistic thought, fewer patents for inventions.

• Rice cultures are not ‘pro-social’ but rather tight ties, strong division of close versus distant ties.

Roughly four billion people live in cultures with a legacy of rice farm. Recent studies find that rice cultures are more interdependent than herding cultures and wheat-farming cultures. In China, people from rice-farming areas think more holistically and show less implicit individualism than people from wheat-farming areas. These differences are mirrored in micro-level comparisons of neighboring counties differ in rice versus wheat. Research has also found evidence of cultural differences based on rice farming within Japan and around the world. However, we know little about the mechanism of how rice culture is transmitted in the modern world. More research is needed on the mechanisms, as well as other subsistence styles, such as corn farming and cash crops like sugar.

 
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  1. Anonymous[582] • Disclaimer says:

    Maybe… after a thousand years genetics have been selected to the environment of either farming technique? Oh sorry, no evolution above the neck.

  2. Anon[506] • Disclaimer says:

    Rice requires irrigation, plus a large labor force necessary to build the irrigation networks and maintain them. Look up the term, ‘hydraulic despotism,’ which is well-known to anthropologists.

    • Replies: @John Derbyshire
    , @JimB
  3. Anonymous[103] • Disclaimer says:

    I once read a Japanese book comparing the Japanese to the Jews. The book made the point that the rice farming Japanese needed to find the smartest local farmer and then copy him in terms of when to plant, etc.

    The Jewish shepherds (?) meanwhile had to find virgin pastures on there own and the further from other shepherds the better.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5100686-the-japanese-and-the-jews

    • Replies: @syonredux
  4. Anon[506] • Disclaimer says:

    If you’re interested in how food production and food getting, plus the necessities of everyday life determine culture, I suggest you read the work of Marvin Harris, and look at his theory of Cultural Materialism. He’s not popular with SJW anthropologists, but he’s quite a lot smarter than they are.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  5. Dan Hayes says:

    Steve,

    It’s a stretch but were these dichotomies presented in Oklahoma’s “The Farmer and the Cattleman Should Be Friends”?

  6. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:

    Perhaps the most salient point in the long long history of rice culture is the epidemiology of various nasty internal parasitic diseases – apart from malaria – involving various distinctly unpleasant ‘primitive’ flatworms, flukes, nematodes etc etc which all rely upon the human organism for some part of their life cycle.
    The practice of bare foot working in submerged field, stagnant water, warm weather, and the use of human ordure as ‘fertilizing agents’ all, until quite recently, contributed to an enormous disease burden.

    • Replies: @HA
  7. rice culture transmission peaked in 2001 when The Fast and The Furious was released, and has declined steadily since. thank god.

    rest in peace, era of the ricers. your stickers, wings, and mufflers (or lack thereof) won’t be missed.

    more serious question: did the culture of the SUV kill the culture of the ricers?

  8. Cannot speak to the difference between wheat and rice farmers, but I know for sure that I cannot eat the same amount of carbs (noodles, rice and bread) as Japanese people. (I live in Japan now). Seems to me the Japanese digestive system is set up to better absorb carbs without becoming fat. My Japanese friends explain this by saying the average Japanese has a longer intestinal track than the average Westerner.

  9. Also, you can grow wheat far farther North than rice.

  10. You left out the story of wheat farming.

  11. So where does corn (aka maize) fit in all this? And oats?

    The oat barons of Chicago (having abandoned Cedar Rapids) weren’t impressed by the [w]holistic, interdependent, family-based culture of San Francisco, but soon learned their lesson:

    1990

    July 13: After a three-year hiatus, Rice-A-Roni is once again “the San Francisco Treat,” according to its ads, at least. The advertising jingle, first used in 1960, will return to TV on Monday in new commercials for the flavored rice and pasta products. Golden Grain Co., the maker of Rice-A-Roni, is hoping that fond memories of the catchy tune will translate into a fondness for the side dish, which currently has annual sales of $125 million — 126 million boxes per year. “San Francisco is inseparable with Rice-A-Roni,” said Steve Odland, director of marketing at San Leandro’s Golden Grain, a division of Quaker Oats Co. of Chicago. To emphasize the association, the new ads will contain a shot of a cable car.

    The company was not always pleased to be linked with San Francisco. In 1987, when it abandoned the San Francisco slogan in favor of a promise that the dish “would please everybody,” Quaker’s ad manager was widely reported to have said that San Francisco did not have a strong enough food image. Charles Decker, Quaker ad manager, was also reported to have said that there were certain drawbacks in being associated with San Francisco, including its reputation as the center of the AIDS epidemic.

    https://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Rice-A-Roni-spurns-S-F-food-image-6379893.php

  12. dearieme says:

    first millet, then rice

    Typo: you meant first millet, then wheat.

  13. Arclight says:

    Didn’t Nicholas Wade theorize that the more communitarian Asian societies are partly a result of farming rice, which requires a lot of people (not necessarily family) cooperating for a successful harvest, whereas Euros had staples that could successfully be grown by a family?

  14. Aardvark says:

    Speaking of rice culture, I have seen people buy a rice rocket and place in between their crotch and ride it around. As I understood it, the Harley crowd often complained bitterly about how the rice culture had been transmitted to America.

  15. res says:
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    Another possibility: Diet and the evolution of human amylase gene copy number variation
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2377015/

    Starch consumption is a prominent characteristic of agricultural societies and hunter-gatherers in arid environments. In contrast, rainforest and circum-arctic hunter-gatherers and some pastoralists consume much less starch1-3. This behavioral variation raises the possibility that different selective pressures have acted on amylase, the enzyme responsible for starch hydrolysis4. We found that salivary amylase gene (AMY1) copy number is correlated positively with salivary amylase protein levels, and that individuals from populations with high-starch diets have on average more AMY1 copies than those with traditionally low-starch diets. Comparisons with other loci in a subset of these populations suggest that the level of AMY1 copy number differentiation is unusual. This example of positive selection on a copy number variable gene is one of the first in the human genome. Higher AMY1 copy numbers and protein levels likely improve the digestion of starchy foods, and may buffer against the fitness-reducing effects of intestinal disease.

    • Replies: @William D. Wall
  16. • Rice farming is also linked to holistic thought, fewer patents for inventions.

    So ‘holistic thought’ is just being used as a euphemism for being uncreative?

  17. @prime noticer

    And Tokyo Drift?

    You speak too soon, little man.

    We’ll always be here.

  18. Among doctoral students, it is commonplace to meet ethnic East Asian students with incredible abilities to correctly memorize and reproduce analytical detail, but with very little conceptual creativity. It would be so exciting and such a breakthrough if this East Asian cognitive strength/weakness could be empirically linked to average genetic differences using genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Linking such a GWAS difference to rice culture would also be a revolutionary finding, even if not very politically popular.

  19. TWS says:

    Until recently most of my ancestors ate meat, dairy or fish. Few farmed grains. Then it was a back burner activity.

    Look at refined carbs and we become diabetic. I can eat greens, but absolutely no rice. I wonder how many people could we support as hunters or pastoralists?

    • Replies: @Corn
    , @Alden
  20. Sung to the tune of “Rice Is Nice” (The Lemon Pipers):

    Rice is nice, the Chinaman says
    Rice is nice by the Chinaman’s ways
    Wheat is neat, it’s rice on lysergic
    Wheat is neat, unless you’re allergic

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  21. @prime noticer

    so called rice cars were light years ahead of fish and chips eating redneck pick up driving and unreliable disposable german crap moron , cars like the ls 400, NSX, Q 45,240sx,toyota 86 , supra celica , 3000 gtvr4, sti, evo, prelude ,camry,accords,maxima,sentra ser,300zx,miata,millenia, 929,rx7 and rx8,land cruiser ,samurai,montero,probe,skyline GTR ,s2000,4runner, toyota pickups,nissan pathfinder,patrols,hardbodies,tundra t100,the list is endless from that era while germs and americans and fish and chips gave you crap like pickups and four cylinder mercedes 190, range rovers harleys triumphs totally disposable cars and bikes, only things bringing down japanese cars froms 80’s and 90’s are smog regulations

  22. @Dan Hayes

    It’s a stretch but were these dichotomies presented in Oklahoma’s “The Farmer and the Cattleman Should Be Friends”?

    Others have written how cattle herding also gives rise to “honor cultures” where you have to be known as a man who will hunt down thieves and avenge himself in order to survive. There just aren’t that many wheat or rice rustlers (except for the taxman, who according to James Scott, thrived on wheat and rice farmers).

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @JMcG
  23. @NJ Transit Commuter

    My Japanese friends explain this by saying the average Japanese has a longer intestinal track than the average Westerner.

    A longer intestinal tract, while suggesting they have more guts, would also extract more nutrition from the input material and therefore tend to allow them to store more fat in their bodies.

  24. @Dan Hayes

    It is a stretch, but maybe Oscar Hammerstein was on to something when he wrote:

    “The farmer is a good and thrifty citizen,
    No matter what the cowman says or thinks
    You seldom see ’em drinkin’ in a bar room
    Unless somebody else is buyin drinks.”

  25. syonredux says:
    @Anonymous

    I once read a Japanese book comparing the Japanese to the Jews. The book made the point that the rice farming Japanese needed to find the smartest local farmer and then copy him in terms of when to plant, etc.

    The Jewish shepherds (?) meanwhile had to find virgin pastures on there own and the further from other shepherds the better.

    Overlooks the evolutionary impact of the last 1,000 years, which saw the Ashkenazi heavily specializing in “white collar trades”: tax-farming, estate management, money-lending, etc.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  26. @Aardvark

    Your not funny incel , and harelys are a menace, only in ameria can such relics from the 20th century could survive other countries reward quality

  27. HA says:
    @Anonymous

    “The practice of bare foot working in submerged field, stagnant water, warm weather, and the use of human ordure as ‘fertilizing agents’ all, until quite recently, contributed to an enormous disease burden.”

    That’s still the case today, though the reasons likely have more to do with the relatively large amounts of pesticides applied to rice crops. It takes a lot to keep all those “flatworms, flukes, [and] nematodes” at bay.

    I’m not aware of any cross-comparison epidemiological studies on cancer rates among rice farmers, wheat farmers, and urbanites, and given the ever-changing pesticide and pesticide-application regimens, there are a lot of factors to consider and disentangle, but that would be a good next step.

    Once upon a time, farm country was a good place for raising children.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  28. NYMOM says:

    I heard that eating too much rice has caused 30 million Chinese to have diabetes…

    I know the whole growing food thingy led to cities being able to sustain large populations, but I don’t think it’s so healthly for human to eat so much starch. Hunter gatherers are probably overall more healthy.

    But I understand the need to now that we’ve evolved into such a large population…we could never feed all these people w/o starchy products…

  29. @res

    That study showed that Europeans (European-Americans specifically, so broadly NW Europeans) and the Japanese have a virtually equal level of copies of the Amylase gene. Therefore, observed differences in the ability to tolerate carbohydrates between the two groups must be due to some other factor.

  30. Sean says:

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/rice-farming-and-gene-culture-co/

    he authors do not use the term “gene-culture co-evolution” but this seems to be the explanation they implicitly favor. Over many generations, rice farming has selected for a certain package of psychological traits, i.e., less abstract thinking and more functional “holistic” thinking; less individualism and more collectivism; and less impartiality toward strangers and more favoritism towards kin and friends.

    The predominance of rice farming in East Asia may thus explain why East Asian cultures have developed their pattern of psychological traits:

  31. J.Ross says:
    @Anon

    There is also the very interesting book The One Straw Revolution, by a mainstream white collar Japanese guy who quit his job to become a farmer, and laboriously came around to holistic and “hands off” methods close to disused traditional ones.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Corn
    , @Alden
  32. J.Ross says:
    @syonredux

    That’s true but the Japanese at a later point in their history had those things too. It’s not the same characteristic and it might be totally unrelated but they track anyhow.

  33. JimB says:
    @Anon

    This reminds me of how the US lost the Vietnam War by refusing to bomb the dikes and dams along the Red River in N Vietnam.

  34. Anonymous[217] • Disclaimer says:
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    Not all white people, dude.

    Southern Europeans are perfectly fine eating massive amounts of pasta, rice, and bread and not getting fat.

    Stop saying “Westerner” and start saying “NW European”

    Because it’s really just the Anglo-Celtic peoples who are mostly responsible for the obesity crisis within the White race.

    Furthermore, Southern Euros can eat East Asian food and vice versa and be just fine. You can put a Chinese or a Japanese person on an entirely Italian diet and they will be healthy.

  35. Anonymous[582] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dan Hayes

    It’s worth watching Shane 1953 if you haven’t to see the dynamic of different forms of agriculture compete. Great movie.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  36. @Aardvark

    “Rice rocket,” also know as the Universal Japanese Machine (JPM) in my circles.

  37. Dan Hayes says:
    @HA

    HA:

    Farm country might still be a good place to raise kids, witness well-documented lower asthma rates for farm-raised munchkins!

    • Replies: @HA
  38. JMcG says:
    @another fred

    Honor cultures sound great.

  39. HA says:
    @Dan Hayes

    “witness well-documented lower asthma rates for farm-raised munchkins!”

    I’m not able find that. At best, the data I’ve seen are inconclusive, or more worrisome, such as this:

    The independent Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution said it could find no hard scientific evidence that human health was directly affected by pesticide spray drifting across fields, but said there were concerns about a link and not enough studies had been done….

    Members of the group, who visited 13 people reporting illnesses in six counties and considered written evidence from more than 1,000 others, said they had identified symptoms after spraying. They included respiratory irritations, rashes, headaches and asthma attacks. “We were also made aware of less clearly defined symptoms including confusion, memory loss, impaired cognition, dizziness and shortness of breath,” the report said.

    The commission, while finding no causal links between illness and pesticide spraying, also said it was concerned about possible long-term effects and found people suffering from “Parkinson’s-like tremors, allergic reactions, liver disorders and disorders of the immune system”. Evidence from GPs, they said, found “real concerns” that pesticide spraying could be linked to cancer clusters. “Residents [living near fields that are sprayed] are genuinely ill. This is not all in the mind. It is plausible that there is an association between pesticides and ill health,” said commission member Stephen Holgate.

    In any case, regardless of what goes on in UK farms, I was specifically referring to conventional rice farming in the US, which as far as I know requires more pesticides than say corn or wheat farming, but maybe things have gotten better in the last couple of years. Likewise, if the children you speak of were raised on other types of farms, and were situated well away (or at least upwind) from crop dusters and hog manure lagoons, they’ll likely be healthier. My sincere best wishes to you on that regard.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    , @Dan Hayes
  40. Ibound1 says:
    @Dan Hayes

    Then again there is the Bible.

    Abel is a herdsman and sacrifices meat and his sacrifice is accepted.
    Cain is a farmer and sacrifices vegetables and his sacrifice is not accepted.
    And Cain kills Abel.
    And Cain’s descendants found cities and metal working (civilization).

    Kind of a weird story.

    • Replies: @Gabe Ruth
    , @NYMOM
  41. @eastkekestaniisawhiteguy

    1999:

    “Hold my beer….”

    2009:

    (N.B. The unreliable engineering and disposable craftsmanship!)

    “Hold my wine….”

    2013:

    “Hold my saki….”

    2015:

    My money is on the guys drinking beer to keep coming out ahead…until they are replaced by the guys drinking coffee (“Allah forbids it….”) – then, I concede, it’ll be saki all around until doomsday….

    Anyway, you are all over the place. For instance: why the comparison of Japanese sportscars like the Supra to “pick-ups” with no mention of Dodge’s Viper, Ford’s GT, or anything from Porsche, Lamborghini, or Astin Martin? All the melons are bigger than the biggest cherry, after all, but none as tart – one must meaningfully sort the fruit before comparing it.

  42. Anon[249] • Disclaimer says:
    @J.Ross

    There’s a popular Japanese TV show where they locate middle-of-nowhere structures in mountainous areas using Google Earth and send a producer, a camera guy, a sound guy, and a drone operator to go there and figure out what’s going on. There have been some weird ones like highway tunnel ventilation towers and abandoned ski lift structures, but the most common result are old geezers living in the ancestral manse all alone or with a wife, doing a little farming (no pot farmers with machine guns!). But a close number two are young back-to-nature couples who learn how to renovate an old mountain house on YouTube. The access roads are generally really scary. These people will have a mini backhoe and some chainsaws and grow their own vegetables. Some will trap boars for meat or keep chickens.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  43. Dan Hayes says:
    @HA

    HA:

    The way I remember those studies was that children raised in sterile non-farm environment would be more susceptible to asthma than those raised in a non-sterile farm environment. These low-key non-sterile environments would certainly include farm animals with their consequent airborne and hands-on contaminants. Heavy-duty pesticides are another matter entirely.

    And thanks for sharing your most interesting literature search. Another example of the UR being an exemplary information treasure trove!

    • Agree: Autochthon
  44. Gabe Ruth says:
    @Ibound1

    The book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn has a hokie premise, but is otherwise somewhat interesting, and it claims that story was absorbed from an old herder culture that was being wiped out by farmers.

  45. Corn says:
    @TWS

    “ I wonder how many people could we support as hunters or pastoralists?”

    I’ve wondered how many we could support as ranchers/pastoralists myself, both as the son of a late farmer and a man who is disturbed by the rash of “the joys of eating insects and maggots” stories in the news lately.

    • Replies: @TWS
  46. Corn says:
    @J.Ross

    I read that book years ago. It is inspiring if you want to be an organic farmer or big gardener I suppose, but even the Westerner who wrote the foreword admitted many of his farming techniques would be hard to apply to Western (non-rice) farms.

  47. NYMOM says:
    @Ibound1

    “Then again there is the Bible.

    Abel is a herdsman and sacrifices meat and his sacrifice is accepted.
    Cain is a farmer and sacrifices vegetables and his sacrifice is not accepted.
    And Cain kills Abel.
    And Cain’s descendants found cities and metal working (civilization).

    Kind of a weird story.”

    But again makes sense if you figure farming made cities feasible…as herder or hunter/gatherers could never sustain the large numbers that reside in cities…only large scale agriculture can…

    Actually now most small farmers/herders are being put out of business as factory farming is taking the place of smallholders…it’s the only way we could ever hope to feed everyone and even that eventually will be overwhelmed if we keep increasing the populations…

  48. Nietzsche in the Gay Science, Aphorism 145:

    Danger of Vegetarians. The immense prevalence of rice-eating impels to the use of opium and narcotics, in like manner as the immense prevalence of potato-eating impels to the use of brandy: – it also impels, however, in its more subtle after-effects to modes of thought and feeling which operate narcotically. This is in accord with the fact that those who promote narcotic modes of thought and feeling, like those Indian teachers, praise a purely vegetable diet, and would like to make it a law for the masses: they want thereby to call forth and augment the need which they are in a position to satisfy.

  49. Another study making a discovery on par with “eating cheeseburgers makes people fat” – the findings about culture, individualism v. conformity, interpersonal trust and cooperation, etc. have been known to any one with a pulse and two neurons whose had experience with wheat farmers (read “northern Europeans”) and rice farmers (read “Orientals”).

    • Replies: @peterike
  50. @Anon

    In Africa, I presume they trap Boers for meat.

  51. You guys have no clue, do you.

    Just tangentially, this is a Malcolm Gladwell thesis. I thought you hated Malcolm Gladwell.

  52. Dan Hayes says:
    @HA

    HA:

    As a later follow-up to our discussions –

    From the WEBMD archives 6 June 2014: “Prior research has shown that children who grow up on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates possibly due to their regular exposure to bacteria and microbes.”

    • Replies: @HA
  53. As a mestizo raised in the confluence of a bunch of starches (native potato, maize, cassava; and imported plantain and wheat), I can say this is kind of correct. I’d argue it has to do with nutrition and the correlated evolution of peoples with that nutrition for ages. People who like rice more than bread tend to be thinner, but sometimes too thin, thus probably less creative, and more interdependent. People who like bread more probably get fatter, maybe even have more issues (it is the heaviest starch, barring plantains), yet also feel more independent, and at the same time, want to increase their property. Bread takes longer to make than simple steamed rice too. Additionally, rice requires more easily flooded land, thus the higher need for mass public works and probably communal farming. Wheat can be less easily shared, but still distributed enough (see Roman villa, then Catholic distributism lol). Maize is heavy starch when produced into tortillas btw, therefore to the missionaries, Amerindian agrarian empires resembled Bronze Age Semite/Berber ones, and therefore easier to convert than, say, the hunter gatherer Apaches.

    It could also be argued that excessive sugar in place of is in general a bigger downfall-causer, for example I bet Amerindians (specially outside the agrarian empires, but even those in them, as they were in heavy serfdom) and Africans had to rely on fruits and berries more often, therefore making them more prone to insulin problems when heavier starches arrived in their diet. Africans in particular develop a sweet and/or a salty tooth, the latter leads them to combine protein fat and carbs too much and heavily (see AfricanAmerican obese people). Asians meanwhile tend to stick to rice, but the lack of protein and fat (which also affects Amerinds to a degree) makes them sheepish and less inventive to a degree. China and specially Japan have gotten better due to increased meat consumption. It is also noticeable that the North Sea peoples had more meat and dairy than the Medi ones with their fish, lambs, olive oil, and overall omnivory. However the North Sea-ers usually were too sparse in their foods, thus encouraging way too much trade for more; thus, all Europeans got a lot of kicks out of invading the New World and eating its potatoes… until they fried them potatoes, and froze ice milk and sugar, and turned their cultural foods into McDonalds, that is… enthroning nutritional decay for the wasp god of trade…

    • Replies: @Alden
  54. peterike says:
    @Autochthon

    Another study making a discovery on par with “eating cheeseburgers makes people fat”

    Not if you leave off the buns.

  55. Liza says:
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    Don’t quote me, but I heard that the Japanese supposedly have a larger-than-(our)-average pancreas to accommodate all that starch. This is not outside the realm of possibility when you consider how many thousands of years they have consumed a rice-centered diet.

  56. HA says:
    @Dan Hayes

    “Prior research has shown that children who grow up on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates possibly due to their regular exposure to bacteria and microbes.”

    That’s a very good point, but isn’t this just the hygiene hypothesis in action? I think most clinicians are now of the opinion that exposure to allergens in early childhood (as happens not just to farmers’ children, but also to the children of dog and cat owners) reduces the likelihood that a child’s immune system will go haywire and result in traumatic death from exposure to a single peanut, or something like that, and for the same reasons reduces asthma as well. However, the pesticides, particularly the relatively heavy applications used with conventional rice farming, are a separate matter and still an ongoing concern, and not just with regard to asthma. Or at least they were at one time. Maybe the situation has since been ameliorated somewhat, but given the recent problems with Roundup, I remain skeptical.

  57. Dan Hayes says:

    HA:

    Again thanks for your welcome thoughts on this topic.

    Are the ameliorating effects of relatively low-level pathogen exposure an example of hormesis? Or anyway Prof Ed Calabrese would might likely think so?

  58. TWS says:
    @Corn

    I’m thinking all we want to or need to. The reason I say that is I live in cattle country. I like living here and I like my neighbor’s. Yes, I hear the cattle bawling in the morning but that’s better than hip hop garbage coming from an apartment next door. I think about what cities produce and realize I could live without most of the products and people.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  59. @TWS

    What is it of your neighbour’s you like? His cattle? His wife…?

    (I’m only taking the piss.)

    • Replies: @TWS
  60. @the one they call Desanex

    Corn’s like porn, it’s a habit that’s stubborn
    Corn’s like porn, it will leave you forlorn.

    Oats are gross, just food for goats
    Oats are gross, they’re far from the most

    Rye’s like lye: if eat it you will die
    Rye’s like lye: just smell it an’ you’ll cry.

    Spelt expands your belt; it’s better to eat smelt
    Spelt expands your belt; you never will be svelte.

    (Teacher says time some hapless soul eats the poison that is grain, a middle-aged jerk writes a line of execrable verse.)

    Amaranth and quinoa are actually very nutritious, with a hojillion nutrients and none of the well-documented horrors of grains (they aren’t actually grains anyway!) so they get a pass. They are seeds. Grains are #%*[email protected] grass. Eating grass is not any kind of diet for a human, not by dentition, gastroenterology, etc. Which makes sense: if it’s bland and unappetising – or even functionally inedible absent substantial processing (I’m looking at you, Wheat!), and if it has no substantial nutrients (just empty calories), it obviously is not anything humans properly evolved to eat. Grains just represent a kludge sorted out when human tools and thinking outpaced human physiology, concomitantly encouraged as the bastards among our ancestors (who kept right on eating meats, fruits, and vegetables in the temples and the palaces, thank you very much) realised they were a great way to make people fat, stupid, weak, docile, and sedentary – “Make them eat grass!”

  61. @Autochthon

    That’s the spirit, Autochthon! Don’t be afraid to express yourself in rhyme. I like it.

    Interesting stuff about grain. I eat all kinds of grain and never get fat, but I’m not typical; certainly not a typical Southerner. (We have more than our share of fatties.) My wild rabbit, Skippy, likes oats; dry oats, straight out of the carton.

  62. TWS says:
    @Autochthon

    No offense taken! It really is much better in the heartland. The only thing that scares me are Californians.

  63. Alden says:
    @TWS

    I weigh myself about every other day. Every time I eat rice, I gain about 2 pounds which is a lot for me. Too bad because I really like rice. I doubt my British ancestors ate venison and roast pork every day, probably coarse bread turnips beans and dried peas.

    My opinion is all this Asian and Mexican food caused the obesity epidemic rice noodles beans tortillas egg roll wrappers stir fried in oil cheese guacamole sour cream for Mexican food, just teeny scraps of meat, it’s just carbs carbs carbs that turn into blubber.

    Nutritionists claim Asian food isn’t fattening because it’s mostly vegetables and stir fry oils isn’t absorbed. Maybe not fattening for Asians but for me it’s bad.

  64. Alden says:
    @Disordered (with a bad memory)

    Do you ever eat plain corn? It’s massively increased in sugar content in the last 30 years. Probably because so many foods have added corn syrup. Corn’s become as sweet as beets weird and icky.

    For instance, I always kept a big bag of frozen miniature mixed vegetables for home made soup. Suddenly the soup tasted noticeably sweet because of the corn which ruined the soup. So now I have to buy separate bags of vegetables soup. But no corn in soup ever again.

  65. Alden says:
    @J.Ross

    Did he mention the massive massive subsidies the Japanese government gives to very very very small traditional farmers and craftsmen?

    Lots of European countries do the same thing to preserve the traditional ways and crafts.

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