Masa Harina: A Staple in a Peat Diet?

Discussion in 'Starches, Fiber, Legumes' started by narouz, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. narouz

    narouz Member

    Jul 22, 2012
    Masa Harina represents one of those thorny issues in the land of Peat.
    Some would say it okay to eat as much as one wants of it within a Peat regime.
    Others, like myself, think "hmmm...not so fast."
    I think there may be good reasons to limit masa harina consumption if you're trying to eat a "strict Peat diet."
    Masa harina is by the way, as I understand it, corn flour treated with lime--not the citrus fruit lime, but rather the chemical calcium chloride, which changes that flour in some essential ways.

    For starters, here are some things Peat is said to have said:

    This comes via a chain of people relaying what Peat himself eats: ... ssage/5523

    - he avoids all grains. Traditional "proper preparation" methods used
    throughout the world to render them less harmful involved using
    alkaline mediums such as wood ash (as opposed to "acidic" as Sally
    Fallon suggests) and "lime" as in calcium oxide (as opposed to "lime
    or lemon juice" as Sally Fallon asserts). Research shows that that
    these methods will convert some of the tryptophan to niacin. Using
    whey would be especially ineffective as well as problematic due to the

    by a poster called: three3_six6_nine9

    from Danny Roddy's Ray Peat's Brain: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding

    Masa harina (best), white rice or oats, and brown rice. The phytic acid in the oats block absorption of much of the calcium; cooking the oats much longer than usual might improve its nutritional value.

    I can't find the source now, but I've read Peat saying that while at his Blake College his students did an experiment, testing their blood after consuming masa harina in the form of tortillas I believe. Peat said they could not detect any starch...where?...inside the cells of their blood...? At any rate, the experiment caused Peat to believe that masa harina, when treated with lime (calcium chloride, right?) as the students' tortillas had been, was changed into a more favorable grain to eat, if one wanted to eat grain.

    And then of course there is Charlie's recent report of a conversation he had with Peat, which touched upon starch consumption:

    Recently I was having a back and forth with Ray Peat and I asked him whats the best foods I can eat to get me out of the inflammation stage I am in and this is what he said:

    "Generally, the simplest thing is to avoid things with starch and polyunsaturated fats. Milk and orange juice are the safest basic things, raw carrot helps to reduce intestinal inflammation and absorption of endotoxin, liver, eggs, and oysters are foods with a high ratio of nutrients to toxins." Ray Peat

    The devil's in the details here. Did Peat mean to indicate that lime treated masa harina should therefore be consumed in unlimited quantities? Did he mean it was a desirable food to be consumed for its nutrients or carbohydrates on a regular basis?
    I don't think so, but how one views masa harina within PeatDom is one of those thorny issues.
    Anybody have any pertinent expressions from Dr. Peat or thoughts on this issue?
    Please share.
  2. OP

    narouz Member

    Jul 22, 2012
    Wanted to move this stuff over here--Cliff's thoughts on Masa Harina:

  3. ericrlepine

    ericrlepine Member

    Jul 24, 2012
    Medical writer/translator; S&C coach
    Montréal, Qc
    For a starch/grain, masa harina is at the top of the list but, regardless, it is still a starch so, not optimal compared to other more protective/nutrient-dense foods such as dairy and fruits.

    A positive of masa harina is its high calcium content, relative to any other grain/starch which, as was already noted above with regards to tryptophan being converted to niacin due to the processing with lime, will also help in balancing out the usually unfavourable calcium-to-phosphorous ratio of grains, as well as act as a major factor as to whether or not tryptophan gets converted into excess serotonin or into the preferable b-vitamin, niacin.
  4. OP

    narouz Member

    Jul 22, 2012
    I thought the order of preference for starches ran: potato, masa harina, white rice...?
    Maybe you're granting "potato" some sort of hybrid status as Peat seems to suggest:
    "Potatoes are more like a fruit than a vegetable."

    I think it is important to not blithely sweep under the rug the caveats Peat notes
    about those starches
    (and which you include):
    the boiling of rice in lye, :shock:
    the treatment of the corn flour/grits with lime,
    the cooking for over 40 minutes...

    how many "Peatatarians" really do that?