1101Lecture 14 powerpoint

Homogeneity and Diversity of Mesoamerican
Maize, beans and squash-classic trilogy
Concept of protein complementarity
-amino acids are nitrogen containing compounds
that are used to build proteins
-amino acids- some are essential in the diet and
others we can make in our body (non-essential)
-also concept of conditionally essential amino
acids- some non essential amino acids can
become conditionally essential
-for example if an essential amino acid, critical
to making a non-essential amino acid in the
body, is missing from the diet then the nonessential amino acid becomes essential
-but such essentiality is conditional upon the
essential amino acid missing from the diet or a
breakdown in the metabolic machinery
Protein complementarity- maize and beans
-maize is lysine deficient- lysine is essential to
-beans are tryptophan deficient- tryptophan is an
essential amino acid
-maize and beans eaten together provide sufficient
amounts of lysine and tryptophan
Maize- preparing corn by soaking in a lime
-Makes niacin more available
- adds calcium to the diet
It has been argued that the beans maize complex,
supplemented with:
vitamin-rich squash, chilis and wild greens
provided a stable agricultural
economy and is one reason why the population of
Mexico grew with considerable accompanying
cultural complexity.
This trilogy is homogenous
-steadiness of diet (time homogeneity)
-found across various economic groups
However the total diet is not truly homogenous
-tortillas with a salsa of chilis and beans
-oranges, limes, bananas, melons and
-stews made of tomatoes, squash and/or
-on festival occasions- turkey is eaten
turkey in a thick chili sauce
A steady diet of the trilogy would not meet what
aspects of a good diet?
One example of malnutrition in Mexico is children
This malnutrition arises from the belief that some
foods are bad for children (eg milk is unhealthy)
concept of when a good food becomes a bad food
Such beliefs are in theory overcome by education
Education about why the bad foods are really good
for children
Education about improvements in sanitationavoiding dysentery
Dysentery is an infection of the intestine causing
Normally the intestine reabsorbs water
However when there is an infection the intestine
becomes inflamed and irritated and loses its water
reabsorption capabilities
Diarrhoea results in the loss of vitamins and
minerals since they are not absorbed by the
Anthropology discussions up to the 1960s regarding
nutrition in Mexico centred on beliefs and values of
the populations being studied ie food choices
depended on the beliefs and values of the
After 1960s -focus of such studies changed to
economic, political features - studied ie food choices
can be changed by working on economic and
political aspects governing the populations
In other words, it was believed that it was more
important to change the economics, politics than to
change the peoples beliefs and values
Question is - does this shift in approach really
Beans and tortillas are highly valued by many
Some consider beans to be food better associated
with the aboriginal community in Mexico
the reason for consideration of beans depends on
economic status
-those individuals with a higher income tend to
look disparagingly at beans believing them to be
“poor peoples” food
thus are food choices being made with racial
-regardless of the reasons for the choice is there a
nutritional impact on those with money?