This is a marvellous collection of Taoist perspectives on why eating grains is very, very bad. The whole history of this subject is fascinating and obscure, but basically rummages around in the early period of recorded Chinese history, pitting the Confucianists – cherishers of law and order, hierarchy, doing the right thing and following orders, not to mention believers that being a grain-eater is the mark of a Civilised Man – against the Taoists – who gave us kung fu, flying, yin-yang theory and the Tao Te Ching, not to mention the belief that grain-eaters are condemning themselves to stupidity and early death.
I know where my allegiance lies…
The old-time-Taoists were the original anti-civ renegades. Left in their hands, the whole structured society thing’d fall apart, which is just as they’d like it. Read this post with half an eye on Derrick Jensen and the wider anarcho-primitivist critique of civilisation and you might find yourself wondering just why we eat so much grain-derived food these days.
My favourite quote from the site is this:
Therefore, by giving up starches one can become immune to weapons, exorcize demons, neutralize poisons, and cure illnesses. On entering a mountain, he can render savage beasts harmless. When he crosses streams, no harm will be done to him by dragons.
Disclosure: I’m four months in to a non-grain diet. I call it the Barbarian diet, because I’m not particularly interested in being paleolithic. As you probably know, I study Chinese Medicine, so I’m interested in food as medicine. I check my pulses, watch my tongue and so on. I’m keeping an eye on things – so far, so good. I feel great. I think there’s space for introducing a few herbs to balance out the increased fat content. It’s a journey. But, the longer I go without eating grains (and keeping the carbs generally very low) the more I’m convinced that we’ve taken yet another seriously weird turn in relying so heavily on them for sustenance. More and more, they strike me as the food of a land that has exceeded its carrying capacity, food that keeps the body alive enough to work, but little more. Food, in fact, for a subjugated population who exist largely as a work-force to keep the machinery of Civilisation ticking along… But, then, I’m not well-known for my balanced opinions.
Grains? Food of the oppressor! No, thanks.