Why should I Not Eat Grains?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 19:31
Why should I Not Eat Grains? The Research it yourself version

Please forgive the VERY pedestrian descriptions and tone here, we get nerdy with it some other time. The most profound, immediate issue is the relationship between grains and chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.

Lectins and glutens are your first pubmed and google scholar search terms. The crux of the biscuit is that they are proteins found in grains, legumes, and dairy and meat that are fed with grains (it’s the fat of the grain fed animal that is the bitch, for the most part). The most commonly referenced grain lectin is gluten, but its far from the only bitch on the block, and it’s not just wheat that causes the issue, there are nasty lectins in party-grains like groats, oats and quinoa as well, and many more. Minute quantities of Lectins serve some useful work in animals, but foods chock full o’ lectins will tear you up, even in small portions, even once in a great while.

Lectins simply do not break down easily, we just dont have the right acids and enzymes needed to get the job done as some of our cousins in the animal kingdom. These lectins sail downstream through your GI Tract for the most part unscathed, wreaking havoc on intestinal villi, flogging cells and launching a domino effect that causes severely degraded function shortly followed by necropathy. The savagery that goes on in your gut with all this slashing and burning going on leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome (search please), or more directly holes in your intestinal lining that allow bacteria, protein solids and the crumbs and dustbunnies of your food bolus to enter your bloodstream – that’s bad. Very. No good can come from that.

The body will not simply allow foreign substances to roam around where they dont belong and your immune system automatically (keep that word in mind, it’ll be back) kicks in to save you from the flotsam and jetsam washing around in your blood stream. Welcome to the vast and truly destructive world of auto-immune disorders, too heinous to list here, so once again do some research on celiac and the horrors therein. We ALL suffer from one level of gluten/lectin intolerance, some goes mostly under the radar until the damn bursts, some sound off like klaxons going off in a tin closet.

Forget the worst case scenario stuff, like everything from lupus to chronic systemic inflammation disorders (like, say, cancer?) and just consider the effects on your immune system.

Pick a number, 10%? 20%? of your immune systems capacity being, day in and day out, used to combat issues that are caused by what you can choose not to eat by saying, ‘No thanks.’

You are, in effect, walking around every day chronically ill and getting worse. I have heard the comment (more times than I can count) ‘I had no idea how sick I was until I wasn’t sick anymore.’ That chronically compromised immune system sets you up for more nasties: could your body fend off your allergies if it had that 20% of wasted ammo back again? How about skin issues like Acne or dandruff? How about irritable bowel syndrome? Cold and flu? Cancer? Seriously. I have a list of etceteras that could fill a shoebox.

The facts are not just gained from some obscure fossil record of the bones of Pre-agricultural revolution (read: pre-grain eating) peoples, although there is compelling evidence therein. We have oodles of data from present day hunter-gatherer tribes that eat NO grains whatsoever and have profoundly more benign health issues than we-who-know-whole grains-are-good folks. Take into consideration the lack of modern medcare and the potentials of infant death from birth complications, many ‘primitive’ tribes are just plain healthier. They eat lots of saturated fats, lots of animal product, no refrigeration, no sense of a clean cooking or eating environment, some drink alcohol, but the amount of type 2 diabetes is statistically a non issue. Heart disease? Nope, don’t think so. Obesity? almost non existent. Are there a profound number of societal issues that promote their ‘shockingly’ good health? Sure, of course. But it would be ignorance to conclude that they are off the charts of the health-sickness continuum markers simply by virtue of having more free time and lots of sex. hmmmm…. Why do I live here, again?

The fact of the matter is, no matter what anyone says, there is no ‘proof’ in dietary science. I cannot and will never say that ‘this’ proves ‘that’ in diet. I will, however, sing from the highest balcony that REMOVING GRAINS ALLEVIATES ALL OR MOST OF THESE DISEASE FACTORS. No, that is in no way, shape or form ‘proof’, but it works pretty good for someone who is sick who wants to no longer be sick. Pretty much.

Hope that wasn’t too simplistic. To those of you who want this cocktail served neat, no water to dilute the flava, please, don’t ask me to dig up studies. Find the terms that spike your own inner clinician and hit the search trail on pubmed and google scholar.

Courtesy of David Wallach’s (Chef) blog @ Crossfit Rubicon