"roots, Shoots, And Tubers"


Jul 22, 2012
I (I think like many or even most)
read so much Peat dietary stuff
scattered all over the place:
in his many articles,
collected up into Peat repositories online
like Danny Roddy's wonderful "Building Peat's Brain,"
and here and there online in sometimes very long blogs and boards and interviews...
...I have read so much Peat stuff from hither and yon,
that it is sometimes hard to figure out where I read or heard something.

Such was the case with "root, shoots, and tubers."
I couldn't remember where I'd got that Peat phrase stuck in my head.

I found rather quickly the phrase "roots and tubers" connected to Peat,
but it took me a long time to find "roots, shoots, and tubers."
I finally came across it over at Danny Roddy's website:

Carbon Dioxide: The Real Reason Safe Starches Are a Joke

Here is a quote from Peat about it:

"There is a great anti-sugar cult, with even moralistic overtones, equating sugar craving with morphine addiction. Sugar craving is usually caused by the need for sugar, generally caused by hypothyroidism. When yeasts have enough sugar, they just happily make ethanol, but when they don't have sugar, they can sink filaments into the intestine wall seeking it, and, if the person is very weak, they can even invade the bloodstream and other organs. Milk, cheese, and fruits provide a very good balance of nutrients. Fruits provide a significant amount of protein. Plain sugar is o.k. when the other nutrients are adequate. Roots, shoots, and tubers are, next to the fruits, a good carbohydrate source; potatoes are a source of good protein. Meat as the main protein can provide too much phosphorus in relation to calcium."

And that is the only place I can find the phrase.
Danny gives it as a quote from Peat,
but doesn't say where it came from.
I trust Danny about the authenticity of the quote,
but because of that rare appearance of the word "shoots,"
well...as I said in my last post about starches,
I think maybe we should leave "shoots" out of the equation for now,
until we turn up more solid backing.

I suggest we do so because
depending upon how one defines "shoots"
it becomes a very loaded word.

Here's a definition of "shoots":
"The aerial portions of a plant, including stem, branches, and leaves and also, new immature growth on a plant."

With that definition in mind,
we could sweep into a Peat recommended diet
a whole category of stuff Peat elsewhere clearly takes off the table (ha).
Peat elsewhere refers to edible leaves as "foliage,"
and clearly notes the difficulties presented by them in human consumption.
They also would not appear to be a good source of starchy carbs,
which would seem to be pretty much what we're scrutinizing here.

Okay, so we suspend judgement on "shoots."

Returning then to "roots and tubers":
I find this phrase more frequently associated with Peat,
so regard it as reliable.

The big thing for me with "roots and tubers"
is that I had somehow missed the assertion,
apparently by Peat,
that he ranks them "next to fruits" as "a good carbohydrate source":

"Roots, shoots, and tubers are, next to the fruits, a good carbohydrate source."

That's a big deal to me,
because I have long been under the impression that,
following the fruits,
Peat's ranked potatoes and then masa harina and white rice
as qualifiedly acceptable carb sources.

That opens the door to a LOT of carb sources:
yams, sweet potatoes, daikon, turnip, parsnip, taro, cassava, etc.

To tell you the truth, I'm still a little queasy about opening that door very far.
For one reason,
the opening seems to hang on that one sketchily attributed quote from Roddy (above),
which includes the dubious "shoots,"
and is also the only reference I can find
which squarely ranks roots and tubers right after fruits
(and before the grains like masa harina and white rice)
as to-some-degree acceptable starches.
So I wish we could better substantiate those seemingly Peat-endorsed rankings.

We see the phrase "roots and tubers" in Peat's article
Vegetables, etc.—Who Defines Food?
"A particular plant will have a variety of defensive chemicals, with specific functions. Underground, the plant’s roots and tubers are susceptible to attack by fungi and nematodes. The leaves, stems, and seeds are susceptible to attack by insects, birds, and grazing animals...

...and the fruits, when mature, generally contain practically no toxins. Roots contain chemicals that inhibit microorganisms, but because they aren’t easily accessible by grazing animals and insects, they don’t contain the digestive inhibitors that are more concentrated in the above-ground organs of the plant."

So Peat does use the double term (not the triple) "roots and tubers" in his own article.
Notice, however, that there, in what are more clearly his own words,
his endorsement of "roots and tubers" as a food source is somewhat less ringing:
they have less of the toxic defensive chemicals contained in the above-ground parts of the plant.

Along other suspicious lines of thinking,
we have the example of the carrot,
a root.
Peat clearly says the carrot is a "nutritional subtractant"
(I believe those were his words)
but that the fibers have that antiseptic/antibiotic property for which he recommends them.

Haven't I read somewhere that Peat has qualms about eating much sweet potato
due to the fiber content and/or carotene content?

I just wanted to shine the light a little more brightly here
upon this whole "roots and tubers" or "roots, shoots, and tubers" thing.
Still need more light, in my opinion,
but it's a start.

Similar threads