14 October 2010

Eat Your Drugs, Billy, So You Can Grow Up Big and Strong


While consuming certain drugs can get you locked up and labeled as a criminal-for-life, the truth is that everyone is constantly consuming drugs of all kinds. In their food, their drink, even the air they breathe. Your body itself is constantly busy synthesising drugs that affect your moods and your motivations. Your life as a drug.
...unripe bananas contain the neurotransmitter serotonin. When you eat an unripe banana, its serotonin is free to act upon the serotonin neurons within your digestive tract.

...potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants contain solanine and α-chaconine, substances that can enhance the action of acetylcholine, a chemical in your brain that is vital to memory formation. Your mood might be enhanced slightly by eating fava beans because they contain L-DOPA, a precursor to the production of dopamine, the reward chemical in your brain. Whether these food-borne compounds actually affect your brain depends upon how much you consume and your own personal physiology. This might explain why some people find it quite rewarding to eat potatoes or eggplants.

Morphine-like chemicals capable of acting upon the brain are produced in your intestines when you consume milk, eggs, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, pumpkin, and various fish and grains. Dairy products in particular contain a protein known as casein, which enzymes in your intestines can convert into beta-casomorphin. In newborns, that beta-casomorphin can easily pass out of the immature gut and into the developing brain to produce euphoria.

The pleasurable feeling produced by this opiate-like compound in newborn mammals after their first taste of their mother’s milk is believed to encourage the infant to return again and again for nourishment. Thus, being able to experience the euphoria induced by this opiate-like chemical has life and death consequences for the newborn child. _Seed

Many herbs are thought to have aphrodisiac and other drug-like properties:
Aphrodisiac Herbs Part I
Aphrodisiac Herbs Part II

The difference between what society sees as "drugs" and what it sees as "food" is likely to become even more insubstantial, as synthetic biologists begin to modify food plants to produce drugs and drug-like chemicals. Imagine a tomato plant, for instance, which excreted a cocaine-like substance into its fruit. Would the police have to arrest you for eating a BLT?

There are few limits to what jazzed up food plants and animals could produce, if properly modified. That could make the culinary arts and the act of eating far more interesting down the road.


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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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