Reading the comments from Uganda & India gives me the opportunity to re-enter in to Discussion of Food Safety for Health.
This is a very interesting aspect of food safety and security, wrapping meat for boiling in Banana/leaves (as I have seen it done in Indonesia, too) and even using various leaves of the forest as supportive vegetables (as I have seen it been practiced in some areas of Germany at the end and after the end of WW2).Even using fleshy Grasses collected from unfertilized meadows & borders of paths, roads & near walls, like parts of plants like of Dandelion (before coming up with flowers, they tend to turn bitter at that stage), used as vegetables eaten raw with lemon- or orange-juice and beech-corn-oil as products of the forest or stinging nettles (boiled like spinach).
Almost anything grown as fresh leaves will be known to the eldest ladies living around those places to be edible and tasteful, (some, very few may be bitter and even less will be poisonous, so it's worth while to make a list with shapes of leaves recommended for eating, and to watch the animals!).
Basically most buds, leaves and fruits of the forest are in accordance with and can be accepted by the metabolism of vertebrates which all originated from the forest. Most Plants in any Forest (>90% since 400 Mio years) belong to the eldest sort of Photosynthetic plants, the so called C3-type Plant-Species, which form a Glucose able to be transformed into long-term lasting lignin and wood. As the heavier isotopes in the organic chemical compounds disturb the enyzme-reactions, these C3- species contain two beneficial enzymes, Rubisco and Co-Enzyme A which deselect against those heavier isotopes of the organics matter. This means that both the heavier and the super-heavy and partially even radioactive Isotopes (of Hydrogen: 3T* & Carbon:14C*) and the damaging ROS-Sorts, which signalizes "heavier Reactive Oxygen-Species" (17O & 18O) are slightly but for Consumer's Health very significantly reduced in the biomass and their fruits as Products formed by C3-Plants. Formerly Wheat, Rye, Oats, Rice and Barley, Potatoes, Sugarbeet and all Berries, Cherries, Prunes and Plums, Apples and Pears, Dates and Figs and Oranges and Lemons used to belong to that C3-Sort, producing Dextrose or Grape-Sugar as their common basic Product of Photosynthesis.
So C3-Biomass can be built safer and slightly less "contaminated" with the naturally mutagenic radioactive particles [which because of their relatively long (12 yrs as 3T*) and extremely long radioactive half-life-time (5320 yrs.as 14C*) for > 220 Generations).
Such C3-leaves and -fruits (mostly) are of better Health-Promoting Quality as C3-Products for most vertebrates- [except.for Koala-Bears and Pandas who like best and thrive best on their old and only delicatessen as special leaves (Eucalyptus and Bamboo, resp.].
The other big sort of younger food-plants (arising since 4 Million Years) are called C4-Species and are derived from rather fast growing & relatively draught-resistant papyrus-forming Savannah-Plants.
C4-Plants which happen to have lost the Rubisco-Enyzme and take up more of all Carbon-Dioxides in the air and even of the heavy "brackish' water left (after partial evaporation of the lighter parts of the Water after rainfall).
And as these savannah-derived plants cannot form lignin and glycogen [which alone is able to be turned into long lasting wood and cellulose and fertilizing Humus] their fruits contain the same heavier particles whether it be derived from Millet, or Corn or Sorghum or Cane Their primary sugar is like the Corn-derived Fructose, which may be processed by yeast into an alcohol, the effect of which however has a different metabolism in Liver, Brain and Pancreas.
In those Countries [of Africa, India and South-America], where these fruits are (and still have to be) used as Staple food for the Population, the greatly balancing benefit for the health of the people used to be that the animals [whose meat was used for sustaining the raw-material of protein for the body's build-up for Enzymes] were not allowed to be fed on Corn or Melasse, or Sorghum or Millet, but they had to run about looking for grass, leaves, buds of bushes and trees (C3-Species !!) thus being able to help the Humans to cope with the food on C4 basis and thus to keep the ROOS-species as low as possible. The Beans and Peas used to fill-up C3-Protein too.
As now off recently most of Human Food-Protein being produced by Animals, raised on feedlots being on natural C4(Corn)-Basis or on transgene/C3-->C4- GMO-Soya Basis the now amply available Animal-Protein is derived from short-lived and force-fed animals , specially bred and fed for the cheap and huge Market. But as Basis for the partially sick and starved Population and their hoped for and needed safe & healthy Enyzmes there is mostly & amply supplied Animal Protein which strictly speaking ought to be marked as mostly and generally C4-type Food.
The Typical Connotion of the Fodder of the animal is the typical Connotion of the C4-fodder given for High Weight-Gain and Extreme-Milk-Production in shortest time possible.
If this practice was scrutinated and thoroughly investigated this may be found to be sickening the animals and -eventually on long-term consumption without sufficient C3-Substrates- sickening even the Human Consumers. Same can be seen on Pets as dogs and cats.
Even the horses, if fed on (lignin-deficient-) C4sorts of grass [as in parts of Australia] they suffer [and may die if fodder is not altered] of a Diabetes-like Symptomatic disorder called "Fodder-depending Laminitis".
The Cows kept in Confined Animal Feeding Organization for BGH enhanced Milk-Production at Cost of high turnover of Life (3-5 yrs maximally) have to be "exchanged" as soon as their Milk-production declines, as first sign of metabolic disorders following enhanced feeding of specially energy-dense feedlots for force-fed-productivity.
Near this turning point of life to death it may be shown, that one spoonful of Corn-oil could turn such a borderline-ketotic animal into a manifest-ketosis-sick Cow- which might -if the owner decided to keep it alive- cost more than prospected product-value and the market value of their (sickened) body's meat.
So the best Option is in deed take available leaves for fresh vegetables, reduce the amount of C4 Products for animal feedlots, diversify and increase small holding farmers with protein-supply holding animals that can live on grass and foresteal products (Rabbits, goats and sheep, fowl & ducks) and see for supply on staple food of C3-Plant-Products as far as possible.
Leave and Mark C4-Supply as Emergency-Food only, not for long-term sole supply for the YOPI-Group of Consumers [Young,Old, Pregnant & Immune Disturbed, the Starved &Sick].,
Food is to be supplied as means to build up Health and Forces to Survive, not to create Patients depending for survival on medical Pills or Preparations in Stock.
Then and only then with natural supplies of every country where available the threat of Pandemic Metabolic Syndrome may be averted by the natural resources available in most countries.The urgent need of the starved should best be met with surplus of natural harvests not from the triple use GMO which was produced aiming at either Kerosene-Supply, or Animal feed used under dire Emergency-Conditions as Short-term GMO-Supply for Human Food like Corn- and transgene C3àC4 Soya based Emergency-Food.
Dr.med.Klaus J. Seelig
Germany / Indonesia
Links and resources:
Indigenous Peoples’ food systems: the many dimensions of culture, diversity and environment for nutrition and health
Comparative Assessment of Indigenous Methods of Sweet Potato Preservation among Smallholder FArmers: Case of Grass, Ash and Soil based Apporoaches in Zimbabwe
FSN Forum discussion: Looking back to effective rural practices ... Did we miss something?
The FSN Forum is supported by the project Coherent food security responses: incorporating right to food into global and regional food security initiatives.