Have you noticed that everyone seems to be talking about Grains lately? Are we suppose to eat them or not? Is there a list of Grains that are better than others and if so, what are they? This short blog will hopefully cover some of those very important and mind boggling questions.
Let's begin with, "What is a Grain":
A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached hull or fruit layer, harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant.
How our Bodies Work:
In 2003, the Human Genome Project showed that most of the time our genes are not the cause of the diseases we see in modern times. It was believed that there had to be 100,000 genes to encode our DNA, one gene for each of the 100,000+ proteins in the human body. This had been the holy grail of human molecular biology for nearly a century.
Disease is not written in our genetic code. So why is humankind plagued with so many diseases? It’s not the genes, but what they’re exposed to that forms disease, and that includes our food and our environment.
A chronically elevated level of the hormone insulin is the number one problem we now have as a society. Insulin’s main job is to regulate sugar levels when glucose is present in the blood. When too much glucose is present, insulin stores it as fat, and when glucose levels are consistently high, cells become resistant to insulin because they’re overloaded. The pancreas begins to produce more insulin to bombard cells, and a vicious cycle begins. This new epidemic in westernized countries is called “metabolic syndrome”, and it comes from eating too many carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates in particular.
Understanding the most popular Grain - Wheat!
Wheat is the third largest crop in the world after rice and corn mainly because it can withstand severe climates. Its earliest known existence is found to be about 9,000 years ago, and today, many experts still believe that, should disaster strike, few nations could survive for even a year without it.
Although grain has been consumed for thousands of years, stored in kernel form and ground fresh, modern wheat is making people sick. Spelt, Kamut, Einkorn, and a few other related grains which are the result of ancient natural crossings also contain gluten, but do not have adverse affects on many who believe they’re “gluten sensitive”. So what’s different about wheat today that didn’t exist in ancient wheat? Just about everything.
1. Modern industrial Milling
Here’s what experts are saying about modern wheat:
Gluten – Gluten is a protein which enables bread to rise by forming gas cells that hold carbon dioxide during fermentation. Modern technology has increased the amount in wheat so that it now contains about 80% gluten.
Lectins – Lectins are so small and hard to digest that they tend to bio-accumulate in your body. They damage the gut lining which leads to leaky gut and other disorders. Lectins also cause leptin resistance, which means that your hunger signal is suppressed and that you’ll be hungry even when your body has had more than enough calories. They’re resistant to heat and digestive enzymes and can bind to almost all cell types, causing damage to tissues and organs.
The Myth of Gluten-Free:
Spelt, kamut and other related ancient grains contain gluten, but some people who claim to be gluten sensitive can eat them without having digestive problems. Why? It’s not the gluten alone; it’s a combination of all the things done to modern wheat and other industrialized grains.
The amount of gluten in modern wheat has been dramatically increased by biological manipulation and is now about 80% of its total protein content.
For the increasing population of celiac sufferers, even minute traces of gluten can cause terrible discomfort, but symptoms of gluten sensitivity are generally much milder and health minded individuals who are honing their diet are turning to gluten-free products.
The food “industry”, never one to miss a good opportunity, is responding with “Gluten-Free” foods by the dozens and, staying true to the nature of industrialized foods, most of it is junk.
Grains, a food group that we didn’t eat for 97% of our human existence, are now at the base of the USDA food pyramid with 6-11 servings a day recommended.
New science is shedding some light on the problems caused by this popular food group, but of all the habits that you can develop regarding your health, dropping the grains from your diet is probably the one that will pay off the most.