War & Peace On Planet Earth
Our brothers and sisters, the plants, don’t appreciate us human beings eating them.
The almond tree is no exception.
Human beings have bred the worst poison out of sweet almonds — cyanide — so almond militias are left with small arms weaponry like oxylates, phytates, tannins, and enzyme inhibitors.
Plants manufacture weapons of herbivore destruction to exterminate us — anti-nutrients and anti-metabolites like …
oxylates / phytates / tannins / lactic acid / flavonoids / glucosinolates / saponins / antifolates / formic acid / carotenoids / cannabinoids / protease inhibitors / lipase inhibitors / amylase inhibitors / cyanogenic glycosides / polyunsaturated fatty acids / highly unsaturated fatty acids, etc.
A plant offers us a piece of fruit, and we bite off the hand that feeds us.
This really ticks off a plant, so it adds anti-nutrients and anti-metabolites to their green little hands to eliminate us pesky humans.
And, it signals — via infrared radiation — all its brothers and sisters to do the same.
“Hey, are you ready for this?,” yells a plant. “A vile human being just chewed off one of my hands! Unlock your arsenal and get ready for these evil barbarians. More of these foul creatures are lurking in our neighborhood.”
Pokeweed (poke salad) is the plant world’s model militarist.
Nettle is a role model too.
We odious humans have sussed out how to outmaneuver both of these armed-to-the-teeth flora by COOKING them.
SPROUTING, SOAKING, COOKING, and FERMENTING foods neutralize many plant poisons.
1) Fermenting generates its own brand of poisons.
2) Overcooking generates poisons.
3) Sprouting and soaking are the most poison-free of these four methods.
What did the almond tree say to the dandelion?
“We tricked these wicked talking apes into thinking raw salad was good for them, but now I’ve got even better news.
“They’re eating our most toxic brothers and sisters, and actually calling them superfoods!
“And here’s the kicker. They’re eating them raw!
“Let’s honor our selfless brothers and sisters — the superfoods — for sacrificing themselves for the greater cause of plant biota.”
Order of Toxicity (from least to most) …
“Shhhh!” warns the almond tree. “A human may be hiding behind a rock and listening.”
“We’re protected by Mother Nature,” replies the dandelion. “The human behind that rock might be a politician who doesn’t want his fellow beings to live long enough to collect their Social Security.
“And all glory, morning or otherwise, to our benefactors, the opium poppy and the coca plant, who infiltrated the minds of school administrators and superintendents in 1893 to hasten the Descent of Man and serve the Ascent of Plants.”
Carl Zimmer (“The War Between Plants and Animals,” Discover, Jul. 1993) wrote …
“But why did plants do so well in the Paleozoic? One reason, says Olsen, is that nothing was around yet to eat them. Vertebrates first came on land about 360 million years ago, but almost without exception they were carnivores: reptiles and amphibians feeding on fish, insects, or one another. Evolving a digestive system able to handle terrestrial plants– complete with grinding teeth, symbiotic gut bacteria, and a powerful gastrointestinal tract — is no easy thing, and it apparently took reptiles tens of millions of years to do so.
“Once they did, though, the reward was huge. The first herbivores appeared 300 million years ago, and by 260 million years ago fossil remains show that ecosystems had changed over to the ecological pyramid we’re accustomed to, with a few carnivores at the top and huge numbers of plant eaters at the bottom.”