Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why we don't want to eat Grains

This is my first post on basic Primal notes, and I explained why I'm doing this here.

All of these are condensed versions of the information I found on www.marksdailyapple.com (which is why you see the image here as well.)  All direct quotes will be given in italics.

The obvious place to start is with grains which are the biggest NO NO in Primal eating. Let's look at the reasons given for not eating grains :

"Apart from maintaining social conventions in certain situations and obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains."

 The main culprits are wheat, barley and rye, though other grains are not recommended either. All of the reasons given for eating grains don't hold water.
  • You don't need them for fibre because if you eat enough fruits and vegetables you will get all the fibre you need.
  • These supposed "healthy whole grains" aren't really all that healthy after all. The large salad that he recommends you eat for lunch has much more vitamins and minerals.  (And my feeling is that filling up on bread just makes you less likely to eat that salad - another con.)

The Cons of eating grain :
  • They play havoc with Insulin and other hormonal responses.  Grains are carbs and all carbs get broken down to glucose. Too much Insulin and your body stores your food as fat rather than using it as fuel.
  • Grains also cause inflammation which we all now know leads to any number of diseases.
  • Grains contain anti-nutrients (lectins, gluten, phytates) which cause Leptin resistance which in turn can lead to obesity.
  • They also inhibit the natural repair system of the GI tract.  
  • A diet high in grains may also reduce the body's ability to process Vitamin D (Could this be why we all seem to be so deficient in it these days?)
  • Grains are insidious.  According to the dictionary insidious means "producing harm in a stealthy, often gradual manner; Intending to entrap, alluring but harmful; treacherous."  Grains are all of these things.
About 1% of the population is Celiac and completely intolerant to grains.  I think they are the lucky ones because they find out very quickly not to eat them. Of the rest of us, scientists now believe at least one third of us are gluten intolerant or sensitive, and many believe the number is actually much higher.

The worst thing is we are oblivious to this.  We don't actually feel that bad after we eat grains so we don't know there is anything wrong. Meanwhile these intolerances over time can build up the inflammation response and cause dermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux and other digestive conditions, as well as autoimmune disorders.

Not nice.  And scary because most of us that suffer from these things have no idea that grains could possibly be the cause.  Of course nobody is saying if you suffer from any of these conditions grains is definitely the reason, but I would think removing grains from your diet would be the way to find out.

And it seems that Oats, even though long thought to be very healthy, are almost as bad as wheat in that they contain the same anti-nutrients and therefore cause the same reactions in your body.

Mark did an N=1 test on himself and found that half an hour after eating oatmeal he experienced brain fog and a general unwell feeling which only lasted about half an hour but pretty well put him off eating it again.

As for rice, the trouble makers here are all found in the bran.  One of these,  phytate, renders minerals useless, which is why white rice eaters have a better mineral balance than those who eat brown.

The bottom line seems to be that white rice, though not as bad for you as the rest of the grains, doesn't really have any nutrients to add either, so it's basically a filler.
And wild rice is classed similar to brown rice in that the bran is the problem.  Sprouting seems to help but is probably more trouble than it's worth.

When we talk about grains we've got to include corn as well.

 " .... In fact, we hate corn.  Now, we're not talking about the occasional corn on the cob at the family BBQ.  That's probably not going to hurt anyone.  But corn should not make up the veggie section of your meal plate, because it's a high-glycemic sugarfest.  In sum: corn is not a vegetable, and it's a worthless grain."

I don't really think there is any more to add, do you?

Summary : Oats is better than wheat but worse than rice, and as for rice "where rice belongs in your life depends on where you fall on the metabolic derangement continuum. "

My Plan of Action :
  • Grains, especially wheat, just aren't worth eating.  If someone at a party or special occasion becomes insistent that I eat grain, I'm going to tell them that I've just found out I'm Celiac.  In this case I personally think a white lie is better than feeling sick just to please someone.
  • As for indulgences, I go out for sushi once a month with my son and thoroughly enjoy it.  I stick to white rice in my rolls and eat lots of sushimi leaving as much of the rice as I can.   
  • I also have chilli once a month and a few corn naco chips with that.
I think this fits pretty well into the 80/20 rule.  In his posts Mark admits to having the odd indulgence, and since Rob Wolf also talks about having nacos more than occassionally, I think I'm in pretty good company.


If you want to read a more detailed explanation, here are the links where I got the information above : www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy

Here are a few other links on grains if you have the time and the inclination :
www.marksdailyapple.com/will-eating-whole-grain-fiber-help-you-live- longer/

Still not enough for you?  Just go to Mark's site and enter "grains" in the search box.  The posts I've listed here are just from the first page of links.  There are 9 other pages, which by my calculation gives at least 90 more articles you can read.  And if you looked up individual grains such as  rice, corn excetera  ... well I didn't even bother to count how many posts you will find on those.

And you were thinking I was exaggerating about information overload ???

Much as I might complain about all the posts I had to go through, I totally agree with Mark about grains and I'm really grateful he brought this knowledge to my attention. I realize now that when I ate them I felt horrible (sleepy, brain fog, sore joints, no energy) and now that I've given them up I feel so much better, and it's only been a few months. Imagine how much better I'll feel after a year, or two, or three .....

Great health is definitely worth the effort. For you and for all those you love as well.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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