9

votes

Are Seeds Grains? Are Seeds Paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 29, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Very naive question; I feel stoopid because after all this time I should know this and it's difficult for me to find an answer on the Interwebs:

Are seeds grains?

If the answer to that is "sometimes", then my follow-up question is: what is the rule to determine if/when seeds are grains or not?

I'm asking myself this because: I want to eliminate grains from my diet and I've succeeded in eliminating 85% of grains. But there are some seeds I want to keep in (Psyllium seed husks for example; Chia is another example) and I'm not sure how grain-y they are or not...

Related question: are seeds paleo? I think so (a caveman could just pick them up and eat them, right?) but I'm not sure...

morgan

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 02, 2010
at 01:09 AM

@Jason T --- I'd be curious as to the ostensible benefits of phytic acid. Could you point me to some sources?

5472f6c94387c7fc82a04da4885363b0

(353)

on June 01, 2010
at 02:06 AM

I don't know a whole lot about phytic acid, but from what I've read it's both good and bad. Personally I throw a tablespoon in a shake some days and have zero negative reaction. It's one of my more favorite additions.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 31, 2010
at 12:30 AM

@Melissa -- people dropping out of chia studies says it all for me. :)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on May 29, 2010
at 09:47 PM

It's interesting because the book Wild Health presents the theory that people who are unwell often crave bitter foods. Numerous studies of the chimps in Gombe show unwell chimps going after disgusting-tasting bitter foods that healthy chimps shun. The theory is that some bitter compounds can fight illness and parasites.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on May 29, 2010
at 09:45 PM

Cordain pointed out that in many chia studies people dropped out because of stomach effects. I ate chia a few months back and it did upset my stomach. The dose makes the poison though and I wouldn't be adverse to adding a teaspoon to a smoothie if my stomach weren't so ornery.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 29, 2010
at 09:37 PM

What about the levels of substances like phytic acid and its brethren?

9a31a49fb83bfe06863ef6d6d05f73fc

(145)

on May 29, 2010
at 03:29 PM

Interested in an answer to this as well.

  • 78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088

    asked by

    (1670)
  • Views
    17.1K
  • Last Activity
    1431D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

6 Answers

3
5472f6c94387c7fc82a04da4885363b0

(353)

on May 29, 2010
at 09:08 PM

I'm looking at my package of Salba (a version of Chia seeds). Per tablespoon:

  • 2740 mg of Omega-3
  • 760 mg of Omega-6
  • 250 mg of Omega-9
  • 400 mg of Saturated fat
  • 230 mg of Monounsaturated
  • 4.5 g of carbs (.4 g of soluble fiber and 3.7g of insoluble)
  • 2.5 g Protein

Just like butter, chia may not be paleo but that doesn't mean it's bad for you. Now maybe the quality of the Omega 3's are lesser than that of fish oil (I have no idea) however those numbers seem pretty impressive to me.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 02, 2010
at 01:09 AM

@Jason T --- I'd be curious as to the ostensible benefits of phytic acid. Could you point me to some sources?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on May 29, 2010
at 09:45 PM

Cordain pointed out that in many chia studies people dropped out because of stomach effects. I ate chia a few months back and it did upset my stomach. The dose makes the poison though and I wouldn't be adverse to adding a teaspoon to a smoothie if my stomach weren't so ornery.

5472f6c94387c7fc82a04da4885363b0

(353)

on June 01, 2010
at 02:06 AM

I don't know a whole lot about phytic acid, but from what I've read it's both good and bad. Personally I throw a tablespoon in a shake some days and have zero negative reaction. It's one of my more favorite additions.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 31, 2010
at 12:30 AM

@Melissa -- people dropping out of chia studies says it all for me. :)

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 29, 2010
at 09:37 PM

What about the levels of substances like phytic acid and its brethren?

3
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 29, 2010
at 07:46 PM

@Morgan

I would frame this question around what makes something Paleo or "not-Paleo" in the context of the diet.

[Bear with me here -- I will be painting a picture with broad strokes.]

Let's start with grains. Why does it behoove us to avoid eating them? Well, because grains are seeds of grasses and theses grasses don't want their seeds to be eaten. So, what they do? They have evolved defenses such as the substances that the grasses make sure are present in the seed --- these substances are toxic to humans. We too have evolved to understand this. That is why our taste buds signal to us that we are eating something undesirable when it is very bitter. Try biting into an unripe apple or perhaps an acorn (neither of which are grains, but the point stands) -- see what your mouth tells you: BITTER! TOXIC! SPIT IT OUT!

For the record, there are animals who have evolved to be able to eat grains/grasses. We are just not one of those animals.

But now you are saying but what about fruit-bearing plants (such as berries etc etc) -- don't they want their seeds to be eaten and spread?

They want their fruit to be ingested, but don't want the seeds to crushed and digested. That is exactly why the flesh of an pear/apricot/apple tastes sweet, but the seeds most certainly don't b/c of the toxin amygdalin.

(Why do you think modern agri-business has developed seedless watermelon and seedless grapes?)

So, in your case, I would apply this paradigm to Psyllium seed husks and Chia seeds and see what conclusions you draw....

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on May 29, 2010
at 09:47 PM

It's interesting because the book Wild Health presents the theory that people who are unwell often crave bitter foods. Numerous studies of the chimps in Gombe show unwell chimps going after disgusting-tasting bitter foods that healthy chimps shun. The theory is that some bitter compounds can fight illness and parasites.

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on May 29, 2010
at 05:41 PM

There is evidence that paleolithic peoples consumed small amounts of seeds. I recommend growing your own pigweed (the wild version of amaranth) to get an idea of how small the harvest is from wild plants.

Small amounts of seeds might be paleo. When I grew pigweed I harvested a handful. I recently harvested some domesticated coriander seeds and maybe got 20 or so.

Seeds are tiny...a cup or more would be pretty hard to gather in the wild. Sometimes I like seared tuna with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, but tahini= too much omega-6. Use them as flavorings rather than foods.

1
A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

on May 29, 2010
at 05:52 PM

Robb Wolf mentioned in his interview with Jimmy Moore, that he was looking into the gut-irritating properties of seeds and nuts. If they do turn out to be irritants then they are probably best avoided for anyone with leaky gut.

I personally have a BIG problem with sunflower seeds, can't moderate them at all, can literally tuck away 1,500 cals of seeds if not paying attention. Cut them out completely when I realised how high they were in O6.

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 29, 2010
at 04:21 PM

couple ways to think about this: 1) your desire for quality fats in your diet (in which case 99% of seeds and nuts and grains are out cuz theyre loaded with PUFA

2) did paleo dudes eat them?

3) are you concerned about fiber?

Myself, i avoid them all pretty rigorously. Sometimes as a snack at a bar or something ill eat some walnuts or almonds but thats about it. Im avoiding excessive omega 6s and veg oils in general.

I figure that paleo groks prolly did eat some when they found them. This of course brings in questions like how different were those seeds/nuts from our own modernday ones, did the groks eat them as is (ie raw), what percentage of an actual day's food did the gathered nuts/seeds compose, etc.

I mention fiber only cuz you specifically mention psiullium. Personally i completely avoid the stuff. I have only read negative things about it. Most times i find people taking it for its poop-aiding capabilities. However, i consistently find that as long as your eating fresh vegetables daily you shouldnt need any additional help in moving your bowels. Avocados are a great combo or fat and roughage always remember. Before bed have a whole bunch of romaine and guacamole and you should be good. Again, thats just a specific recommendation as regards psyillium taken for its fibery qualities.

0
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on November 08, 2011
at 10:54 PM

The only 'seeds' you should be consuming are inside berries. Chia is good too!

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!