Why Some Like It Hot Food, Genes, and Cultural Diversity

ISBN-10: 1597260916
ISBN-13: 9781597260916
Edition: 2006
Authors: Gary Paul Nabhan
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Description: Do your ears burn whenever you eat hot chile peppers? Does your face immediately flush when you drink alcohol? Does your stomach groan if you are exposed to raw milk or green fava beans? If so, you are probably among the one-third of the world's  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Island Press
Publication date: 6/7/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 244
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

Do your ears burn whenever you eat hot chile peppers? Does your face immediately flush when you drink alcohol? Does your stomach groan if you are exposed to raw milk or green fava beans? If so, you are probably among the one-third of the world's human population that is sensitive to certain foods due to your genes' interactions with them. Formerly misunderstood as "genetic disorders," many of these sensitivities are now considered to be adaptations that our ancestors evolved in response to the dietary choices and diseases they faced over millennia in particular landscapes. They are liabilities only when we are "out of place," on globalized diets depleted of certain chemicals that triggered adaptive responses in our ancestors. In Why Some Like It Hot, an award-winning natural historian takes us on a culinary odyssey to solve the puzzles posed by "the ghosts of evolution" hidden within every culture and its traditional cuisine. As we travel with Nabhan from Java and Bali to Crete and Sardinia, to Hawaii and Mexico, we learn how various ethnic cuisines formerly protected their traditional consumers from both infectious and nutrition-related diseases. We also bear witness to the tragic consequences of the loss of traditional foods, from adult-onset diabetes running rampant among 100 million indigenous peoples to the historic rise in heart disease among individuals of northern European descent. In this, the most insightful and far-reaching book of his career, Nabhan offers us a view of genes, diets, ethnicity, and place that will forever change the way we understand human health and cultural diversity. This book marks the dawning of evolutionary gastronomy in a way that may save and enrich millions of lives.

He is a prize-winning author & naturalist, lives in Tucson, where he is director of conservation biology at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum & cofounder of Native Seeds/Search.

Introduction
Discerning the Histories Encoded in Our Bodies
Searching for the Ancestral Diet: Did Mitochondrial Eve and Java Man Feast on the Same Foods?
Finding a Bean for Your Genes and a Buffer Against Malaria
The Shaping and Shipping Away of Mediterranean Cuisines
Discovering Why Some Don't Like It Hot: Is It a Matter of Taste?
Dealing with Migration Headaches: Should We Change Places, Diets, or Genes?
Rooting Out the Causes of Disease: Why Diabetes Is So Common Among Desert Dwellers
Reconnecting the Health of the People with the Health of the Land: How Hawaiians Are Curing Themselves
Sources
Index

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