Anti-Sugar Elitism

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7Wannabe5
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Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:45 am

I've lately been amusing myself with an attempt to create some very basic systems models involving energy flows. For instance, I am constructing a model that divides my land use between photo-voltaic cells and food crops. A new piece of information I happened upon is that sugar cane converts solar energy into stored carbohydrate 16X more efficiently than some next best options such as potatoes or corn. So, it occurred to me that it might be the case that the current world population of humans would not be able to be fed with the current level of acreage devoted to agriculture without a relatively high level of sugar calories in the average diet. Therefore, there will be a growing divide between the low protein/high carbohydrate/low acreage diet of the masses and the high protein/high acreage diet of the moneyed elite who are able to afford beef or tofu. IOW, it might be possible that what most members of this forum would consider to be some form of healthiest diet can't currently be afforded for most citizens of the planet unless a good deal more acreage is devoted to thoughtfully considered food production. IOW, "Let them eat cake." might have been prescient, especially if you consider that acreage that might become devoted to crops is likely to be acreage that is currently devoted to some form of wilderness.

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vexed87
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:44 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:Therefore, there will be a growing divide between the low protein/high carbohydrate/low acreage diet of the masses and the high protein/high acreage diet of the moneyed elite who are able to afford beef or tofu. IOW, it might be possible that what most members of this forum would consider to be some form of healthiest diet can't currently be afforded for most citizens of the planet unless a good deal more acreage is devoted to thoughtfully considered food production. IOW, "Let them eat cake."
Animal protein is high acerage, certainly! Plant based proteins not so much. Conventional nutritional wisdom overstates the amount of protein required to maintain good health and it certainly doesn't have to come from animals, I'm sure most of the ERE community agree? The regional equivalents of rice and beans will do for most of the worlds population, they already are doing so! However, thinking beyond conventional industrial agriculture food systems and more in line with homesteading/permaculture principles, animal protein still has it's place in extracting nutrients from 'waste' or other unpalatable plants/animals which will/cannot be consumed by humans, or from land not suitable for human suitable crops and this can be achieved at relatively little cost if the right systems are in place, so animal protein does not have to remain a status symbol as fossil fuel energy dwindles. That said, not many will be eating beef regularly unless they have access to enough land for pasture.

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Chad
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Chad » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:09 am

Some other points:
- It's difficult to find a complete plant protein.
- Meat has some specific nutrients outside of protein that are very difficult to get from plants.
- Sugar is just calories and doesn't have any real nutrition. Great for getting fat for winter or when doing tons of outside work. This is one of the reasons why MREs are so high in calories.
- Leads to a bunch of lifestyle diseases.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:12 am

@vexed87

Plants that produce human food that is high in protein, such as beans, are generally rather carnivorous themselves. They exude sugars from their roots which attract very small animals that live in the soil, then they extract the nitrogen from the bodies of the very small animals. So, if you are a thoughtful permaculture gardener of soybeans who is concerned with soil conservation then what you are really doing is raising/maintaining some healthy diverse flocks of tiny animals that live underground with which to feed your soybeans with which you will feed yourself. If you are a conventional soybean farmer, you will be feeding your soybeans with nitrogen fertilizer produced through a process that uses petroleum, which was obviously formed from smushed bodies of ancient life-forms. So, if you are made out of meat, you really can't remove yourself from the meat cycle. However, it seems to me that peeing on your permaculture bean crop which is growing within short-walking distance might be about the best you can do, maybe depending on whether or not you can bring yourself to kill a rabbit.

Anyways, it follows that when you till and amend the same patch of soil, this is basically the same process as when nomadic humans used to cut the skin and drink the blood of living animals they domesticated. It tends towards weakening the system and increasing the likelihood of pathogen growth. That's why the practice came to be outlawed by many religions, and remains a powerful myth in the form of Dracula etc. Also related to the likelihood of the current water shortage in California being correlated with future increase in deaths due to malaria.

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vexed87
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:29 am

Chad wrote:Meat has some specific nutrients outside of protein that are very difficult to get from plants.
Namely B12, but I understand that B12 is mostly manufactured by bacteria in soil and is then simply and conveniently concentrated diligently by animals within their own muscles. Now we so carefully and obsessively wash our produce for fear of consuming "dirt" but more recently pesticides, we "need" to obtain it from meat! :roll:

I suspect the problem is that homo sapiens, the amazing generalist adaptive species that we are, have migrated outside our jungle of origin and have mostly abandoned the ecology we are adapted to... perhaps all these nutrients were widely available in plant form in that time and place... now we have no choice but to consume the animal meat to survive, that or supplements. I'm not saying that we are not adapted to consume meat, clearly we are, but just not a regularly as some people do.

Remember to get our calorie requirements from leafy greens only we must generally consume large quantities, so the apparent shortage of nutrients in plants may well be moot. No doubt, with large quantities required, diversity will be sought out naturally, unless of course one is happy to eat nothing but lentils :roll:

P.s. Not attempting to derail this topic, its fascinating! :)
Last edited by vexed87 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:45 am

7wb5, I enjoy your posts, simply as a spectator. You seem to put too much thought into combining other's processed data, and extrapolating results.

By this, I mean you will take a bit from this source, and a bit from that, and a factoid from a third, stir, heat to a hard ball, and pull like taffy.

The results are always entertaining, but I wonder if you might benefit from more raw data.

I recommend you spend a few hours on Google maps, in satellite mode. Look at the margins of cropland. Look in the states, and look at various other areas of the world. Look at the patterns of land use.

What you see may surprise you. It did me.

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vexed87
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:48 am

INTP... cough ;)

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vexed87
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:50 am

Riggerjack wrote:What you see may surprise you. It did me.
Ohh ohh, let me guess, all by running fresh water/flood plains? (mostly!)

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:03 am

7W5 , you once advised me to eat worms for low land-use protein. If you're feeding them with waste scraps, your footprint may be negative.

Also , nitrogen fixing plants like soybeans get their nitrogen from Rhizobium bacteria in the soil, which obtain it directly from the atmosphere. It's not just from dead bugs and worms.

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Chad
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Chad » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:10 am

vexed87 wrote:
Chad wrote:Meat has some specific nutrients outside of protein that are very difficult to get from plants.
Namely B12, but I understand that B12 is mostly manufactured by bacteria in soil and is then simply and conveniently concentrated diligently by animals within their own muscles. Now we so carefully and obsessively wash our produce for fear of consuming "dirt", we "need" to obtain it from meat! :roll:
Kind of. The bacteria really live in animal stomachs and find their way into dirt through the animals waste product. It would take a lot more dirt than a dusting on a few vegetables to get your B12. Also, not a lot of vegetables are grown with animal manure now and I really don't want it on my vegetables, so I'm washing them.

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vexed87
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:14 am

@Chad, it's probably a chicken and the egg scenario, because where did the bacteria come from in the first place? If the animals couldn't live without the cobalt in the b12 it had to come from the... ;)

@ThisDinosaur, quite right, ultimately, most of the nutrients in any area that supports life now came from barren rock and minerals way before the soil and plant life established itself, it's just recycled and extracted in continues cycles or moved around by animal activity, geological and meteorological processes.

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Chad
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Chad » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:51 am

vexed87 wrote:@Chad, it's probably a chicken and the egg scenario, because where did the bacteria come from in the first place? If the animals couldn't live without the cobalt in the b12 it had to come from the... ;)
The origins aren't really pertinent. All that matters is how we can currently get it, which is meat.

The bacteria is in the soil, but not in large quantities in top soil because the bacteria that produce B12 are anaerobic. It is in deep soil because there is low oxygen content down there. Most of the bacteria that produces B12 in top soil is coming from animal waste. Though, I'm unsure how long it lives after that due to the higher oxygen content. So, while it is possible it originated in the deep soil, it is really only available in decent quantities from animals.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:03 am

@Chad,vexed87, ThisDinosaur: I should note for the record that it is my belief that humans are "naturally" omnivorous scavengers. I am considering bacteria to be a tiny animal (animus)because it moves itself through its environment, but it is true that it gets nitrogen from the air because it is the most primitive meat. Most recent research indicating that chimpanzee bands that inhabit the sort of savannah/forest-jungle realm where humans likely evolved are more likely to eat a higher proportion of meat than the 3% suggested in the article below, but also that hunter/gatherer human bands generally grew more starchy crops than previously estimated. Obviously, I am using the Potawatomi band as my reference because they inhabited the realm where I am currently conducting my permaculture project.



https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/gu ... himpanzee/

http://www.usd116.org/mfoley/pot/food.html

@RiggerJack: I would note that I did make use of the verb "amuse" in the first sentence of my first post on this thread ;) I am not sure what you wanted me to see on google maps? I have lived in wilderness, farming, suburban and urban areas of Michigan, so I am not completely clueless about land use patterns. For instance, I know that the table sugar I use is derived from sterile hybrid variety sugar beets which are grown on very large farms that make use of leased advanced robotic equipment and are located around 100 miles from me. The beets are processed into table sugar by a collective formed by these farmers. Using this technology, one human can farm approximately 200 acres of sugar beets. Modern irrigation methods are used on crops in Michigan, but due to generally steady moderate rainfall throughout the year, they are not as strictly necessary as in regions such as California.
Chad said: So, while it is possible it originated in the deep soil, it is really only available in decent quantities from animals.
This is kind of like saying that petroleum is really only available in decent quantities from gas pumps. OTOH, I have some doubts about the energy-use efficiency of using a high-powered blender to whir chard into a form that can be quickly swallowed by a human, as though the blender can function as a make-shift version of a cow's rumen, reticulum and omasum. I am burping for hours every time I let my BF make me one of his horrible green smoothie concoctions.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by jacob » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:12 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:A new piece of information I happened upon is that sugar cane converts solar energy into stored carbohydrate 16X more efficiently than some next best options such as potatoes or corn.
This is why sugarcane works for ethanol/biofuel production but not corn. That's good for Brazil (who can run a biofuel program and have the EROEI math work out) and some of the southernmost US states, but sugarcane doesn't grow well at high latitudes.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by brighteye » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:18 am

You not only get meat from animals, but a good portion of fat as well, people often seem to think animal=protein.

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vexed87
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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:51 am

Modern humans may well have backed themselves into a corner of dependency of on animal meats because of the custom of washing and peeling of root vegetables. Think about all the discarded organic material, there goes your B12! There is little occurrence of B12 deficiency in developing nations where diets haven't been modernised and very little meat is consumed. Most strict vegans who don't eat junk processed food also rarely develop deficiencies in B12, at least where consideration has gone into planning of diets.

Eating animal blood, guts, tendons and mucus is preferable in some cultures to eating decayed animal feces, I get that, but as far as dependency on massive demand for acreage to feed animals goes, combined with rising population and falling energy supplies, ERE folk may need to find any alternative source of B12 unless they want to see a steep rise in food costs as the years go by ;)

I know I'll take slightly soily root vegetables and early retirement any day, YMMV! Manure, if well rotted/composted, manure, animal or human poses little health risk to humans.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by jacob » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:19 am

The body has something like a 5 year stock supply of B12. It's not something one needs daily.

Some vegans spray it directly into the mouth.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:51 am

7, what else, besides sugar, are you growing in your permaculture project? How much land do you have and how many people are you planning to support? (I think you had said just yourself +/- one maybe grandkid.)

I've been reading about the Grow Biointensive method, but I'd prefer a higher protein per calorie diet than their implied one. They don't think much of soybeans, which have the highest protein per acre of any food except hemp.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:16 am

I can say with a fair bit of certainty that for my body the old adage that "a calorie is a calorie" does not apply. I'll rank my sweet tooth up there with anyone's, but the truth is that how much of what hormones get activated due to what I eat matters. Of course a more sugar laden diet than I already have would shorten my lifespan which would serve to mitigate a potential overpopulation problem. I think using sugar cane's energy efficiency to make electricity to electrify fences to keep the beef cattle from getting away would be a happy compromise :)

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Ego » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:02 pm

The op is nothing more than a magnificent rationalization for self-harm. The more intelligent the human, the better we are at concocting excuses to justify the satisfaction of immediate desires, which may explain the fact that intelligence and rationality are not correlated.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by MZMpac » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:08 pm

Touchy topic--like politics almost.

Excess sugar is the bane of the western diet, make no mistake. Evidence is quickly mounting, and the studies that demonized fats a few decades ago were lobbied and leveraged by the sugar industry.

There's nothing wrong with a plant-based diet per se, but the issue it tends to be mostly carbs for those who follow it.

One thing I quickly noticed about "ERE" diets is how carbohydrate-dominant they are. And anyone who has tried to cut the grocery bill will notice that you either need to cut back the quantity of food you eat, or the quality, e.g. start eating cheap abundant carbs for just about every meal.

So for those of us who dont want to pump bread, legumes, rice, and other sugars into our body everyday, we have to pay a bit more for food or find other solutions.

Hunting is great, but poses some opportunity cost problems. 1) you need to know how to hunt; 2) you need to have land access to a productive area without too much public competition; 3) you need to have a strategy WRT when and how you hunt; and 4) hunting trips cost money.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by chicago81 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:32 pm

I used to eat a lot of cheap carbohydrates (such as rice, pasta, corn, beans, etc) for the majority of my calories. But I noticed my health was declining quite a bit. Always sluggish, always feeling bad, always hungry, sores on my skin would take forever to heal, I began to gain some weight (not obese, but more weight than normal.) After I switched to a diet much higher in fat, and with almost no sugar or carbs (except from nutrient-dense green veggies), it cleared up just about all of those issues. My diet now is slightly more expensive, but not outrageous since I hardly ever feel hungry and I eat less overall.

Some of the reading I've done online leads me to believe that the ability of one's body to cope with carbohydrates can vary widely based on genetics from person to person. The stuff I've seen suggests that the high-carb/sugar diets we have in western societies today may be playing a major part in the large incidents of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. From my own anecdotal experience, I tend to believe it. (When I see something in the grocery store like a canister of oatmeal with a big "Heart Healthy" logo on it from the American Heart Association, I kind of laugh inwardly, thinking it is such a big lie.... at least for me.)

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by BRUTE » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:43 pm

has 7wannabe5 checked out Joel Salatin's books about farming grass fed beef and chickens? it's pretty low cost, low impact, and it can be done on lots of land that can't grow crops well due to soil or logistics (can't walk a bunch of corn plants up a mountain).

and as brighteye said, the nutritionism-based view that "animals==protein" and "plants==carbohydrate" is unproductive. animals have tons of fat, which is very healthy and contains more than 2x the energy per weight that carbohydrates or proteins contain. there are also some healthy plant fats that can be used to supplement energy, like coconut oil, avocado, olive oil..

thirdly, the government heavily subsidizes corn, wheat, and sugar because they are considered "staples". of course, this makes them much cheaper and helps ignore the negative externalities of such practices, like leaching the soil of nutrients. to a degree, meat is also subsidized, but likely not to such a degree.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:11 pm

My point was that if you look at marginal farm country, you will see circular crops. It's not that the land is in short supply, but that the cheapest irrigation system is just a sprinkler system on a pipe that moves in a circle. We are nowhere near capacity in agriculture. When prices go up, irrigation will improve. There is no need to factor calories per acre to feed the masses. Farmers will just grow whatever they think will make them money with the fewest risks. When rainfalls get less dependable, irrigation systems will advance. And then farmland will expand.

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Re: Anti-Sugar Elitism

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:01 am

Ego said: The op is nothing more than a magnificent rationalization for self-harm.
Nope, 'cause I am an elitist too ;) I've just been trying to do the math related to my stated goals of successful completion of perma-culture project, financial independence, and achieving something resembling the hip-healthy (healthy, hip) fitness profile of Iskra Lawrence on or before Autumnal Equinox 2022. IOW, part of what I am doing is trying to figure out which particular version of Elitist Diet will not prove counter-productive to the above goals, and be in best alignment with my other preferences. At the moment, it's looking something like Fructo-Pescetarian-Freegan/Scavenger.

OTOH, according to the internet, table sugar (from cane and beets, not even including corn syrup etc.) currently accounts for 325 calories/day of the average American's diet. Since the average American is probably 20 or 30 lbs overweight, in theory, dependence on table sugar could simply be eliminated and both the health of American's and the health of the rain forests (level of atmospheric CO2 processing) could be improved. However, since the U.S. only imports around 15% of the table sugar we eat, most of the massive world-wide production of cane sugar must be consumed mostly by poorer residents of poorer countries. If sugar cane currently provides just 10% of the calories of the average human, and those calories were to be replaced by lentil calories, since lentils are 1/10th as efficient at photosynthesis, overall agricultural land use would have to be doubled!!!
ThisDinosaur said: 7, what else, besides sugar, are you growing in your permaculture project? How much land do you have and how many people are you planning to support? (I think you had said just yourself +/- one maybe grandkid.)
I am way too lazy to process sugar beets, so I have no plans to grow them. I currently own about 1/3 acre which is almost all vacant and sunny except for my small camper footprint. My goal is to meet the nutritional needs of 2 humans with a mostly closed loop system on this small acreage. It is not my intention to only eat what I grow or raise, but I am currently experimenting with altering my diet to maximize self or local-within-bike distance food-sufficiency.

The sugar issue comes into the equation(s) because I am already successfully growing a heck of a lot of fruit, and I have foraging/scavenging access to even more. So far, I have sour cherries, apples, wild plums, black raspberries, blackberries, red raspberries, gooseberries, black currants, mulberries, apricots, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, hardy figs, hardy kiwis, olives (marginal greenhouse),hops and rhubarb . My annual crops this year were tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, arugula, mesclun mix, onions, shallots, basil, acorn squash, patty pan squash, mystery squash, bush beans, variety herbs. I tried to establish almonds, hazelnuts and heart nut (Japanese sport walnut), but only the heart nuts survived. Next year, I intend to establish more nuts, asparagus, paw-paws and a variety of vines and ground-cover crops. On my third lot which I didn't even touch this year, I plan to try staple crops of hull-less oats, corn and beans that are good for drying, and more winter squash.

So, I am going to have very little problem meeting the nutritional requirement of 16 servings /day of variety of fruits and vegetables needed by two humans. I am going to have some problem coming up with the total calories required by two humans (especially if 1 human is doing some manual labor to grow/harvest/process food), and meeting fat and protein needs is almost certainly going to be problematic (especially if 1 human wants to attain elite fitness profile of Iskra Lawrence) unless something like fishing the Detroit river or raising meat rabbits is added to the cycle.
IlliniDave said: I think using sugar cane's energy efficiency to make electricity to electrify fences to keep the beef cattle from getting away would be a happy compromise :)
They won't let me keep a cow in the city. Photo-voltaic cells are much more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity than photosynthesis followed by burning. Although, of course, as Jacob noted, producing the cells is energy intensive, so they are expensive to purchase. So far, I only have a 60 watt portable unit, 85Whr lithium battery bank, a crude makeshift solar food drying unit, and a clothes-line. I eventually plan on adding a water pump and gravity battery, because it would be super-cool, although not very efficient. If I want to survive the Michigan winter in my camper, I will have to use propane. So, I am thinking I will migrate south via Megabus and bike, but I haven't done the math yet.
MZMpac said: Hunting is great, but poses some opportunity cost problems. 1) you need to know how to hunt; 2) you need to have land access to a productive area without too much public competition; 3) you need to have a strategy WRT when and how you hunt; and 4) hunting trips cost money.
True. In theory, there are enough deer in Michigan that every citizen could cull a goodly portion of venison per year, but I do not see me doing that. However, if I am successful at even closely approximating my fitness goal, I see little problem in continuing to engage in primal barter with the men of my region to acquire some of my protein requirements until I reach the age at which I am due to collect Social Security payments. I also own a copy of a book entitled "Basic Fishing: A Beginner's Guide", and it is possible that I will raise quail and/or rabbits.
chicago81 said: After I switched to a diet much higher in fat, and with almost no sugar or carbs (except from nutrient-dense green veggies), it cleared up just about all of those issues.
BRUTE said: and as brighteye said, the nutritionism-based view that "animals==protein" and "plants==carbohydrate" is unproductive. animals have tons of fat, which is very healthy and contains more than 2x the energy per weight that carbohydrates or proteins contain. there are also some healthy plant fats that can be used to supplement energy, like coconut oil, avocado, olive oil..
I am planning on growing nuts and sunflower and squash seeds, and experimenting with processing them into oil, although it does seem like a lot of work for somebody as lazy as me. I have a friend within biking distance who raises goats, chickens and hogs on his urban farm, so barter is another possibility.
RiggerJack said: My point was that if you look at marginal farm country, you will see circular crops. It's not that the land is in short supply, but that the cheapest irrigation system is just a sprinkler system on a pipe that moves in a circle. We are nowhere near capacity in agriculture. When prices go up, irrigation will improve. There is no need to factor calories per acre to feed the masses. Farmers will just grow whatever they think will make them money with the fewest risks. When rainfalls get less dependable, irrigation systems will advance. And then farmland will expand.
Where will the water for irrigation come from? Studies have already been done to research ridiculous mega-projects such as somehow funneling the fresh water from the Great Lakes westward, and they have been found to be not viable. Conventional agriculture wastes a lot of water and soil due to run-off. The first objective in any permaculture project is to figure out how to increase the water vector and close the water cycle. This is relatively easy to do in Michigan due to steady moderate precipitation throughout the year, and ready availability of materials with which to amend soils towards humus/loam, but much more difficult in other regions. Storing water in the soil itself, which is possible if it is amended towards humus, sponge-like consistency, is the best method. Creating swales, ponds and other reservoir systems can also help. Thickly planted perennial tree crops also create micro-systems that greatly conserve and recycle water due to alteration of evaporation/respiration processes versus conventional annual mono-crop. That's why a human diet that is more heavily based on fruits (fructose) and nuts may prove more sustainable.

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