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Old 02-17-2018, 01:38 PM
Marcus Flavius Marcus Flavius is offline
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Wheat bran, soybeans, maize, and dandelion greens

How long could a healthy person subsist on such a diet? Months? Years? Their whole life?
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:49 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Given that the person starts out healthy, and merely has to subsist, then they'll do pretty well. Obviously they will subsist for the rest of their life on any diet, but this one is fairly well balanced. I'm not sure how well the lack of animal product and wheat germ will do with some nutrients like the B vitamins.
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Old 02-17-2018, 02:57 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Given that the person starts out healthy, and merely has to subsist, then they'll do pretty well. Obviously they will subsist for the rest of their life on any diet, but this one is fairly well balanced. I'm not sure how well the lack of animal product and wheat germ will do with some nutrients like the B vitamins.
Actually, you would not do well on such a diet, since plant foods generally lack vitamin B12. (Wheat germ, but not wheat bran, may have some, but not a lot. Vegans normally have to take supplements to get enough B12.) A deficiency in B12 this will eventually lead to anemia and other health problems. However, since the body can store B12 it may take some years for a deficiency to manifest itself.

Last edited by Colibri; 02-17-2018 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:42 PM
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Any person, healthy or not, can subsist their whole life on any diet, or even without eating at all. It's just a question of how long that life will be.
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:15 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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One other problem: A lot of the vitamins you're getting are going to be coming from the dandelions, but those are seasonal, only at their best for about a month or two each year, and don't preserve well.
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:44 PM
Marcus Flavius Marcus Flavius is offline
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One other problem: A lot of the vitamins you're getting are going to be coming from the dandelions, but those are seasonal, only at their best for about a month or two each year, and don't preserve well.
Canned dandelion greens?
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:49 PM
DinoR DinoR is online now
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Does that diet allow adding salt?

As much as we tend to think of sodium as a thing to minimize because of ease of access, it's an essential nutrient. If you don't get enough it an kills you. A quick search shows corn and dandelion greens carrying a decent amount. Wheat bran and soybeans have minimal sodium. 58 mg per cup of white corn and 42mg per chopped cup of dandelion greens. Comparing to calorie counts, as long as you make sure you focus on getting enough corn and dandelions, it's possible to keep enough salt to meet the 500mg daily recommended minimum without overeating.

Where does the person eating that diet live? How much time outdoors do they spend? Are they non-white or elderly? Is a tanning bed considered an approved "dietary supplement" under that plan?

I noticed something else looking at the information for those foods to find sodium. Not a single of those foods contains dietary vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency increases the rates of heart attacks and can make injuries more severe due to weaker bones. The bright side is that we make our own with exposure to enough UV B radiation. Getting that in northern climates where the winter sun is too low in the sky for effective UV B penetration can be difficult even for those who are as fish-belly white as the stereotype of my Irish ancestry suggests. Someone who's darker skinned or older has bigger issues since they produce less for the same exposure. The vitamin is at least fat soluble. People can store it up for winter with enough exposure the rest of the year. There's not really a dietary makeup plan if winter finds someone eating that diet using up their potentially smaller reserves.
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:15 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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I suppose in principle you could can dandelion greens, but I've no idea where you would find such a thing, unless you're canning them yourself at home. And there's often some loss of nutrients in canning. You could also in principle freeze them, but frozen greens of any sort usually end up pretty gross (still edible, but much less palatable).
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:54 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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The diet is highly dependent on the dandelion greens, so not really practical without a year round supply. There are other leafy greens that could substitute, but then there's no obvious point to the restricted set of foods in the OP anyway.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:02 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Yeah, I'm kind of wondering about the backstory, too. Why those particular foods? They're all relatively cheap, and the combination of them is fairly close (not quite there, but close) to being nutritionally complete, but then, both could be said of a lot of other foods. Why not, say, rice, beans, cabbage, and milk (which would be both more complete, and easier to find)?
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:15 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Milk is not natural unless you're a baby cow.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:25 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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By that standard, no human food is natural. It's a lot more natural for a cow to give us her milk than it is for a dandelion to give us its leaves: Cows have been bred for that, and it's now part of their biology, but dandelions haven't.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:27 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Don't cows eat dandelions?


Okay, I'm being obtuse.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
The diet is highly dependent on the dandelion greens, so not really practical without a year round supply. There are other leafy greens that could substitute, but then there's no obvious point to the restricted set of foods in the OP anyway.
I feed dandelion greens to our tortoise as a part of his diet. I bought a beautiful bunch a few weeks ago. Indeed, I can buy them year round if I wish. Maybe they're greenhouse grown?
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:20 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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I suppose in principle you could can dandelion greens, but I've no idea where you would find such a thing, unless you're canning them yourself at home. And there's often some loss of nutrients in canning. You could also in principle freeze them, but frozen greens of any sort usually end up pretty gross (still edible, but much less palatable).
There actually is or was a brand of canned dandelion greens from Belle of Maine. I canít tell if theyíre still sold anymore, but have been around since the late 1800s. It looks like the last reference I can find to them being sold is from about a decade ago, but I didnít look too hard.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:38 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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I feed dandelion greens to our tortoise as a part of his diet. I bought a beautiful bunch a few weeks ago. Indeed, I can buy them year round if I wish. Maybe they're greenhouse grown?
It's been over 20 years since I had an iguana to feed. We only found the dandelions in the spring time. I suppose they could be grown year round in hot houses or different climates if there's enough demand.

There are plenty of other leafy greens available, the diet in the OP really relies on those for vitamins, wheat bran is pretty empty, corn has limited nutrients and may be difficult to digest for some people, that leaves it up to the greens and soy beans to provide the majority of necessary nutrients. Replace the bran with whole wheat and the corn with some animal products and you'd have a much more well balanced diet.

ETA:
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
There actually is or was a brand of canned dandelion greens from Belle of Maine. I can’t tell if they’re still sold anymore, but have been around since the late 1800s. It looks like the last reference I can find to them being sold is from about a decade ago, but I didn’t look too hard.
Ugh, does not sound appetizing. But I suppose if the greens are farmed then they might as well be canned or frozen like other vegetables.

Last edited by TriPolar; 02-18-2018 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:52 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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One other problem: A lot of the vitamins you're getting are going to be coming from the dandelions, but those are seasonal, only at their best for about a month or two each year, and don't preserve well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Flavius View Post
Canned dandelion greens?
My store sells fresh dandelion greens all year round. Although at times those "fresh" greens have probably been stored awhile.

Myself, I freeze the ones I harvest myself. It preserves nutrients quite well. Given modern preservation methods their seasonality is not an obstacle to this plan.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:56 PM
Marcus Flavius Marcus Flavius is offline
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The reason I ask is because I'd like to subsist on this diet for a few months, to train myself to eat simply and for sustenance rather than taste pleasure, and also save time and money on food. I think, as Tripolar said, it would be beneficial to consume whole wheat bread ("lean" whole wheat bread with nothing but flour, water, yeast, and salt) along with wheat bran. I do not consume any animal foods.

Last edited by Marcus Flavius; 02-18-2018 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:56 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Huh, whenever I've bought dandelion greens (even in season), I've had to have them special-ordered. I'm jealous.

EDIT: For a few months, that diet should be just fine. But dandelions wouldn't be part of my "not for taste pleasure" diet.

Last edited by Chronos; 02-18-2018 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:58 PM
Marcus Flavius Marcus Flavius is offline
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Huh, whenever I've bought dandelion greens (even in season), I've had to have them special-ordered. I'm jealous.
You buy dandelion greens? The damn things are literally everywhere in the spring and summer.
I plan to start out doing it for only a few months but eventually permanently make it my diet.

Last edited by Marcus Flavius; 02-18-2018 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:38 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Well, it's just not Easter dinner without dandelion salad, but sometimes when Easter comes early, and you're in a cold climate, there just isn't any on the ground yet. And while it's fun and not too time consuming to harvest it, cleaning it takes way too much work. So yes, a few times, I've cheated and just bought it from the store.

And the plants are around for most of the year, but they get very bitter after they bloom. That's what limits their season.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:46 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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Anyone wants to come to my lawn all summer can have all the dandelions any person could want.

Seriously, the lack of B12 will doom any vegan diet. Does anyone know if the supplements are from an animal source. Incidentally, I think ants are a good source.

Although it may be that dandelions and corn are good sodium sources, mightn't it depend on the amount of sodium in the soil? Also I wonder if some other trace nutrients might be missing in such a restricted diet.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:50 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Come to think of it, would that diet have enough fat? That's another essential nutrient that Americans don't usually need to worry about, but which is relevant for extreme diets.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:59 PM
Marcus Flavius Marcus Flavius is offline
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Come to think of it, would that diet have enough fat? That's another essential nutrient that Americans don't usually need to worry about, but which is relevant for extreme diets.
Corn and soybeans have a good amount of fat, hence corn and soybean oil.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:20 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Seriously, the lack of B12 will doom any vegan diet. ... Incidentally, I think ants are a good source.
Herbivorous animals get much of the B12 they need from insects and other small animals that they ingest with their food. So you might be OK if you let weevils develop in your rice and beans and didn't remove them when you cooked them.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:22 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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So where do the bugs get the B12 from? At some point there has to be some organism that actually produces the stuff.

(and why do I get the feeling that the answer is going to be "symbiotic gut bacteria"?)
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:47 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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So where do the bugs get the B12 from? At some point there has to be some organism that actually produces the stuff.

(and why do I get the feeling that the answer is going to be "symbiotic gut bacteria"?)
It appears to be that way. Even the B12 humans produce in their guts can't be absorbed, although it leaves open the possibility of humans being the source of their own B12.

Marcus Flavius, are you ruling out consuming animal feces?
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:22 PM
Marcus Flavius Marcus Flavius is offline
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It appears to be that way. Even the B12 humans produce in their guts can't be absorbed, although it leaves open the possibility of humans being the source of their own B12.

Marcus Flavius, are you ruling out consuming animal feces?
No need, B12 supplements exist.
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