Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel is a history of earth’s continents with theories on how one of them came to exert influence on the others. With the help of guns, germs, and steel, Eurasians introduced their language, writing, technology, and domesticated animals and plants to other continents.
The Fertile Crescent
Around 6500 B.C., the Fertile Crescent was a centerpiece of early civilization. It contained dense cities created by food surpluses from rich agriculture providing for non-farming people.
Why this geography? It was positioned for a perfect storm of climate, domesticated animals, and a healthy mix of wild plants. The wild plants were then domesticated and became cultivated crops.
Were these domesticated crops different than on other continents? Absolutely (*).
Of the eight ‘founder crops’ developed in The Fertile Crescent, two were wheat and barley; two were lentils and beans (pulses), and one was a fiber crop, flax. Wheat and barley are rich in carbohydrates, pulses in protein, and flax, a source of fiber and oil. The result is the Mediterranean diet … a blend of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It’s this mix that provides superior fuel for the human body.
The Fertile Crescent Lessons For Living Well with Diabetes
What’s this to do with living well with diabetes?
Nutrition is the foundation for living well with diabetes. Do it right, and we have the right fuel for our bodies. It took four decades for me to find 40-30-30 nutrition … a mix of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% healthy fats. It’s made a huge difference living well with type 1, and yes … it’s a variation of the Mediterranean diet.
I find it fascinating that the best in world nutrients provided in The Fertile Crescent over 8,000 years ago are an outstanding fuel source for those living with diabetes today.
(*) Of the eight domesticated crops in The Fertile Crescent, only two plants, flax and barley were wild on other continents. But those places needed other essentials inherent to The Fertile Crescent. Check out chapter eight in Guns, Germs, and Steel for more.