In my own quest for better health I realized that diet was critical to good health. Here’s why I went grain free and 5 reasons to quit grains.
Early in my practice I realized that supplements alone would not help people with serious chronic conditions. like diabetes, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, cancer, etc. These problems have to be evaluated from many angles, with the basic building blocks (or rebuilding blocks I should say) residing with diet overhaul.
My issues first started with an overgrowth of Candida.
I avoided all yeast and foods that support yeast such as sugar, yeasted bread, concentrated sugars in fruit, fruit juices, dried fruits, mushrooms, alcohol – see the Anti-Yeast Diet here.
Back then, it wasn’t as sophisticated and well-explained as it is now and it didn’t insist on being completely grain free. Rice and rice cakes were allowed.
Needless to say, it was very restrictive. But the diet, along with targeted supplements seemed to cure me of the candida overgrowth.
By the way, I’m pretty sure that the reason I developed Candida in the first place was because:
a) I was under a lot of stress in Chiropractic College
b) I was following a vegetarian diet high in carbohydrates and legumes (none properly prepared)
Even though I thought I was cured of the candida, I went on to develop multiple chemical sensitivities, sinus problems, headaches and food allergies.
I was allergic to everything I was eating. This is something I find in patients as well, when we do allergy testing. This clearly indicates leaky gut.
It was shocking at first to think of going off all grains. Patients balk at the thought and so did I. After all, most of us eat a diet chock full of foods that incorporate grains.
What would we eat if not grains?
When I went on the SCD I felt better almost immediately. For folks with serious health issues like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), autism, thyroid disease and other autoimmune diseases, it can take longer to start to feel better.
However, I have seen astonishing results when patients completely avoid all grains – including the non-gluten grains – and follow the diet to the letter.
Phytic acid is an organic acid that is present in the bran or hulls of all seeds (so this includes all grains and nuts) and blocks the uptake of critical minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc. Phytates have been studied extensively and findings show that phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in third world countries.
In order to remove the phytic acid in grains (as well as legumes, nuts and seeds) you have to soak and/or sprout the grains in a warm acidic solution. Covering the grains with water with added yogurt, kefir, or even lemon juice, in a warm place over night will help remove this harmful substance.
This procedure will also add value to the grain as it increases B vitamins, carotene and enzymes that aid in digestion, while at the same time it decreases the enzyme inhibitors that are also present in the unsoaked grains.
Since the Sad American Diet is full grains that are not properly prepared and therefore have little available nutrition, we have many people that are over weight but starving for nutrients. This is obvious in the sky rocketing rate of obesity in America today.
Sadly, there are no commercial grain products (with some small exceptions) that are properly prepared so the minerals are not at all available.
Inflamation is, arguably, the basis of many diseases. Grains have several inflammatory substances such as, phytic acid as mentioned above, as well as gluten, and lectins. Additionally grains promote an acidic pH in the body which is known to be inflammatory.
Recent studies have shown an association between gluten and weight gain.
Glutins can be problematic for many people who may be unaware that they harbor gluten intolerance. In a previous post I talk about the problems with gluten and celiac disease and the alarming increase of adult onset celiac.
Lectins may be the next largest area of research. Studies suggests that lectins may play a role in promoting the following conditions: inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, glomerulonephritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, retinitis and cataracts, as well as congenital malformations, infertility, allergies and autoimmune problems.
Whether they are whole grains or refined grains, they still have a high glycemic index level and are absorbed very rapidly – much like a candy bar. This occurs especially if grains are eaten without any fat or protein.
Many snack foods are pure carbohydrates from grains and these are highly glycemic and cause an insulin spike. Eat like this for years and you are on the way to disregulated blood sugar or diabetes.
Even properly prepared grains can do this to a susceptible person. If the food is not broken down properly, the large food molecules are released into the blood stream. The immune system will react to these large molecules as if they were foreign invaders and initiate an immune reaction.
This is how leaky gut develops. If the offending foods are continuously eaten, this becomes a vicious cycle of immune reactions and damage to the gut lining.
Grains came on the scene only 10,000 years ago (the blink of an eye in evolutionary standards). Our digestive systems have not adapted to this newcomer. We are much better at eating traditional foods such as meat, fat, vegetables and fruits.
Additionally, wheat has been genetically manipulated (hybridized) over the years and the DNA codes are totally different today. This is a different food and many people have not adapted to it. It is especially clear when we talk about strains of gluten and the processing of gluten to make it more profitable for food manufacturers as I did in a previous post about celiac disease.
Importantly, all non-organically grown wheat is subject to tons of pesticides, specifically Monsanto’s Roundup. This product has the herbicide glyphosate in it which is used to kill weeds. However, it is also heavily sprayed on the wheat the last few days before harvest to dry the wheat and make it more manageable for harvesting.
You must read more about the dangers of glyphosate in order to fully appreciate how devastating it is to the human gut lining, animals feed genetically modified soy and corn and the environment in general.
Conventional wheat products are poison. Avoid them to stay healthy. Better yet, go grain free.
The key to good health is a healthy microbiome. You may be shocked (or surprised) to find out that there are 10 times that amount of bacterial DNA in each and every one of us.
That makes us more microbe than human. Perhaps we are just walking containers for the bacteria – many of whom are essential to human life.
Are you as fascinated by the microbiome as I am? Are you hoping for a cure through this new research explosion?
Check out my newest ebook, Heal Your Microbiome Optimize Your Health – on sale today!
Like this article? Get many more and tons of information and instructions on using grain free flours in my fantastic kindle books. You don’t need a kindle to read them, as Amazon offers a FREE reader for all devices, on the sales page for each book.
These recipes are suitable for Paleo, SCD, GAPS and all grain free eaters.
Inspire Your Real Food Healing Journey with my FREE Grain-Free Meals e-Cookbook and Getting Started email series!