So, what are grains and what am I including in this Blog?
Well, I like to divide grains in to two separate teams. Those that contain Gluten and those that don’t.
The most common Gluten Containing Grains include:
Wheat, Barley, Oats, and Rye
If you go in to your local supermarket and pick up pretty much anything in a packet (we are talking processed foods here), you will find that gluten is EVERYWHERE!! It’s not only in the obvious stuff such as crackers, cookies, breads, Pasta etc, but it’s also in lots of not so obvious sfuff too!
Packaged meals, ready meals, TV Dinners; Sauces and condiments (including soy sauce), breakfast cereals, even some processed meat products contain wheat too!
So why are they so bad I hear you ask?
Well unfortunately our wheat has changed pretty drastically over the last couple of hundred years. Due to the fact that we wanted to produce more wheat that had higher yield, increased pest resistance etc., we bred wheat to ‘create’ a new version of wheat that would achieve this – this produced a wheat with a higher number of chromosomes than the simple Einkorn or even the Emmer Wheat that was previously eaten.
You can think of this as a version of ‘genetic modification’ really. Due to the structural changes that were made to the DNA of the plant, we could never really be certain that this new plant was suitable and safe for human consumption – even if they chose to test it…. which no one did.
Its only several decades later that we are starting to see some quite startling correlations between wheat and degenerative diseases.
Am I gluten intolerant?
Well, Gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease are two different things! Just because you have no obvious symptoms or you think you aren’t ALLERGIC to gluten, doesn’t mean that you are not INTOLLERANT to gluten.
Intolerance to gluten can be very insidious and you may present no symptoms at all for many years. It is important to realise, however, that just because you are experiencing no outward symptoms, this doesn’t mean that no damage is taking place.
Even a ‘mild’ intolerance (one that presents no outward symptoms initially) can, over the long term, cause physical damage to the mucosal barrier of the gut. This barrier is intended, among other things, to stop unwanted particles passing through and entering the blood stream.
The effect of this long-term intolerance is damage to the villi and microvilli (the finger-like protuberances and the tiny ‘hairs’ covering them). These structures progressively flatten out in a process called villous atrophy. Crypt Hyperplasia and leaky gut syndrome follow, and now, guess what, those undigested particles of food coursing through your blood stream have to be cleaned up by your body’s immune system.
After this process has been going on for some time, the same immune antibodies can actually start to recognize your own body tissues as ‘invaders’ too! This is where auto-immunity starts! Depending on the tissue that your immune system decides to attack, you may see this present itself as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, Hashimodos Thyroiditis, Allopecia etc, etc…
Some more of the problematic physiological changes associated with grains can be attributed to:
Phytic Acid – the ‘defence system’ of the grain (also found in seeds, nuts, and beans). This is the plants way of ensuring the seed or ‘fruit’ survives and is either not eaten at all by predators, or, if it is eaten, it passes through the digestive system intact. If this is the case, the plant wants to ensure no damage is done to the seed so these chemicals produce a toxic reaction in the digestive system to encourage the animal to pass it and spread the seed. Phytic Acid also binds to minerals which prevents absorption AND draw minerals from our body. (The highest Phytic Acid content is actually in soy – you can read more about Soy here )
Amylopectin A – wheat bread actually has a higher glycemic index (around 72), than table sugar (59). This means it has a greater effect on insulin (and therefore a greater effect on increasing bodyfat) than sugar! The Amylopectin A in wheat is RAPIDLY digested by the amylase in your saliva and digestive system which means that your blood sugar will skyrocket with wheat consumption. After your blood sugar increases, your pancreas will crank out the insulin in order to lower blood sugar (blood sugar is actually toxic if allowed to remain in the system for too long – hence the diabetics’ problems with eye and nerve dysfunctions). This will encourage the laying down of that lovely visceral fat around your mid-section. A similar process applies to other foods that rapidly increase your blood sugar levels too – most grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and obviously sugar-containing foods.
So how much sense does this make; most people are aware that they should REDUCE their dietary intake of sugar right? This is not a contentious issue at all – its good advice. BUT, when you consider that wholewheat bread has a HIGHER glycemic index (increases blood sugar faster) than sugar, why are we still being told to eat more wholegrains?????
Agriculture only been around for 10,000 years and we have been around much longer (2.2 million years or so!!) So, how did we survive for so long if eating wholegrains is so important for our health? Well, simply put, they are not! There is no reason WHATSOEVER for us to eat grains! Relatively speaking, we have not eaten grains for very long at all, and the modern day modified and processed grains for far less time than that. This is a VERY new food.
IF you have ANY of the following conditions, you should try a GRAIN FREE diet for 30 days – even if you don’t think you have an intolerance) and I can almost guarantee you will see and feel the benefits in only 30 days!
ANY Autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohns Disease, Hashimodos, MS, Allopetia, Ulcerative Collitis etc
ANY skin condition
ANY form of irritable Bowel Syndrome or Gastro-intestinal pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhea.
Excessive Belly Fat – Visceral fat behaves differently to fat in other areas and even produces estrogen – man boobs anyone!
Neurological Disorders including Parkinsons Disease, Neuropathy, and Alztheimers.
Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes
Let me know if you want to try it and need some further help.
As usual, if you have any questions about your own health, or the health of a loved one, please feel free to email me for advice.
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‘Wheat Belly – Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight’ by Dr William Davis, MD
‘The Paleo Solution’ by Robb Wolf
if you would like to purchase any of these books, you can do so here.
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