What I’m about to reveal about grains is based upon empirical evidence.
Nothing has had a bigger impact on my life, my wife’s, my friends and my clients lives than grains.
If there is one major piece of nutritional advice that you need to seriously take note of then this one about grains is it!
OK, lets dive into it…
Grains are seeds. Examples include:
- Corn (yes it’s a grain)
Grains are excellent for business because they have a long life and store well, unlike fresh vegetables.
It is important to realise that we have been living and evolving without grains for millions of years. In terms of human evolution grains are a relatively new addition to our diet.
What is Wrong with Grains?
# 1 – Heavily Sprayed With Chemicals
Similar to many other non organic foods, grains are sprayed with Pesticides, Herbicides, and other chemicals to keep bugs and insects from destroying the crops. As I’ve mentioned in other articles ingesting poisons from pesticides takes a lot of nutrients from the body as you try to neutalise all those ill effects.
Lets put it another way:
“If someone handed you a small vial of poison every morning to go with your breakfast would you drink it?”
# 2 – Grains are Highly Processed
- The Bran (The outer layer, hard and full of Fibre and Nutrients)
- The Germ (Nutrient Rich Embryo that sprouts)
- The Endosperm (Mostly Starch and makes up most of the grain)
Unfortunately when grains are processed both the Bran and the Germ are removed leaving just the Endosperm or the part made up of mostly starch, which is sugar!
The food industry now knowingly having removed all the nutrients from the grain try to put the nutrients back into the grain by adding synthetic vitamins.
As you know, we come from nature and so don’t like things that don’t come from nature. Digesting synthetic vitamins takes more nutrients from the body as it struggles to digest them.
# 3 – High in Carbohydrates
As you can see from above, the majority of the grain is made up of starch, which is a white tasteless sugar (glucose to be more precise). If the grain is processed then almost 100% of the grain is starch.
So put another way White Flour is pure sugar! Whole Wheat Flour has less sugar because it includes all 3 parts of the grain but it is still high in sugar.
Sugar is our worst enemy; it increases demands on our hormonal system as insulin fights to maintain blood sugar equilibrium, it damages blood vessels and arteries, and it forces the body to store fat in our adipose tissue.
# 4 – Very Addictive
Grains contain Exorphins which are morphine like compounds which basically get us excited and make grains very addictive, so one reason why we crave grains is because of the Exorphins. You can read more on Exorphins and Food Heroin in this excellent article by Eric Yarnell
Grains are also addictive due to their sugar content. When we eat grains it spikes our blood sugar levels that leaves us feeling energised, alert and happy. But the highs never last too long and as blood sugar levels drop the cravings begin.
The higher we climb the harder we fall. This starts off a vicious cycle of eating grain based foods like breads, cakes, cookies to lift us up and then getting dropped like a stone as our blood sugar crashes.
# 5 – Causes Mineral Deficiency
Phytic acid is in a lot of grains. This specific acid binds with the minerals in our body like Calcium and Zinc and stops our body from absorbing them. Phytic Acid also helps to eliminate these minerals from our system.
So if you eat a lot of grains, then it’s very possible that you’re also mineral deficient.
One way to get around the problems of Phytic Acid is to ferment, sprout or soak the grains. That’s why I always recommend to clients if they can eat things like oats, for example, to soak them overnight because that eliminates or practically removes most of the Phytic Acid problem.
So a little tip for you: soak, ferment or sprout as much as possible.
# 6 – Gluten Sensitivity & Intolerance
Gluten (Latin for Glue) is a protein contained in grains like Wheat, Barley and Rye. Gluten adds a gluey, fluffy texture to foods. So the lighter and fluffier your bread or cake the more Gluten it usually contains. Processing is often used to increase the Gluten content because everyone wants a light fluffy cake right?
Unfortunately, the gluey structure of Gluten does not generally agree with our digestive system and most people now suffer from some kind of Gluten Sensitivity without realising it.
Sensitivity to Gluten causes an immune reaction, that can show its ugly head in many different areas. A lot of people associate Gluten Sensitivity with just bloated bellies, but it can affect you from head to toe.
Gluten Sensitivity can:
- Block blood into the brain
- Cause skin problems
- Respiratory problems
- Mental disorders
- Physical disorders
“In fact, the New England Medical Journal associated 55 different diseases with gluten sensitivity”
One of the most extreme diseases caused by gluten sensitivity is called Celiac Disease. Those suffering from Celiac disease have destroyed their Microvilli and Villi in their small intestines.
The small intestines main job is the absorption of nutrients found in food. In our small intestines, we have tiny needles called Microvilli and Villi. These little fingers run all around our intestines and increase the surface area.
If you suffer from Celiac disease then your Villi and Microvilli will have atrophied, and been destroyed. The small intestines become smooth with no Villi. When you have little or no Villi then absorption of nutrients from foods becomes very difficult.
The only conclusive way to check for Celiac Disease is by taking a biopsy of the small intestine and examining the Villi and Microvilli content. No Villi means you have Celiac Disease.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Damage to the small intestine through excess consumption of gluten can also lead to leaky gut syndrome.
As the cell walls of the small intestine become irritated and damaged greater permeability can occur. The result is foreign bodies, like badly digested proteins, that can pass through the cell wall and into the blood stream. These foreign invaders are then attacked by the immune system resulting in food sensitivities and allergies, they can also cause autoimmune disorders of the body.
Gluten is Everywhere
So you may be thinking about avoiding Gluten but unfortunately gluten is in more things than you may think.
Gluten causes fluffiness and stickiness so you can find it in:
- Stamps and Envelope Adhesives
- Sausages and Hamburgers as Fillers
It’s used in everything.
It could be time to become a Gluten detective, like me!
Gluten Cross Contamination
Another problem with Gluten is the wide spread cross contamination within factory’s.
Take oats for example, that don’t naturally contain gluten. But if the oats are processed in the same factory as something that contains gluten, like wheat, then the oats can become cross contaminated.
It only takes a miniscule amount of gluten to cause a reaction in your body if you’re sensitive to gluten. Don’t think you need to eat tons of flour or gluten to have a problem. Simply using a lipstick or shampoo that has gluten in it can cause a problem.
Don’t think that you cannot absorb Gluten through the skin because you can. Gluten will permeate the skin just like Steroid Creams or Nicotine Patches do!
If you are sensitive to gluten then cross-reactivity can also be a problem. With cross reactivity the body starts to associate similar things to gluten and react to those as well. For example if you drink your tea with a biscuit then the Gluten from the biscuit can become associated with the tea and caffeine.
One of the most common cross-reactivity foods is Casein which is the protein in dairy products. Think Cereal with Milk.
So often when people eat dairy products, they’ll have a reaction even though there’s no gluten in the food because there has been cross-reactivity from the gluten.
So I always insist that my clients avoid gluten, but also avoid dairy as well just to make sure. Research shows that most people that have got gluten issues also have dairy issues as well.
Cross reactivity foods include:
How to Deal with Grains
As you can see from the list above there are many reasons not to eat grains. Grains are one problem and then grains that contain Gluten are an even bigger problem.
Not only are most grains low in nutrients but they are high in sugars (cause weight gain), chemicals (take nutrients from your body) and have the potential of causing a whole host of diseases.
Lets Take Action!
Here’s my 3 step plan that you can try to first determine your reaction to Gluten:
Step # 1 – Remove all Gluten for 30 days
If you want to know if you have Gluten Sensitivity issues and I’m sorry to say that most people do, then remove Gluten from your diet for 30 days.
This means going totally Gluten Free, so avoid all foods that contain Gluten such as:
- Sausages and Burgers
Most supermarkets now have a Gluten Free section and most foods have a requirement to list whether they contain Gluten. So become a Gluten Detective and keep an eye out!
Go here for a good list of Foods Containing Gluten
Step # 2 – Introduce a Small Amount of Gluten
Now comes the real test. If you have been strict and avoided Gluten for the complete 30 days then I can guarantee you will have lost weight and feel 10 times better.
But, to see if you do have Gluten Sensitivity issues try eating a small portion of grains that contain gluten (a slice of bread for example) and then gauge your body’s reaction.
Look out for the following symptoms:
- Bloating and Cramping
- Fatigue and lack of Energy
- Skin Irritations
- Lack of positivity
- Headaches and Clouded Thinking
If you experience any of the above or indeed any negative effects then chances are you’ve got Gluten Sensitivity Issues.
Step # 3 – Make Your Choice
Now you have a clear choice. If you reacted to Gluten then you need to pay attention, fast!
Gluten is simply not for you and you will need to avoid it as much as possible. If you don’t pay attention then disease will follow. It may sound drastic but you may only be a few steps away from Celiac Disease and then a whole host of other problems.
If you didn’t react to the Gluten then you can do what I do and that is avoid grains as much as possible but treat yourself every now and then.
For example I may have a Croissant on the weekends. But to be honest with you, there are so many Gluten free options out there that you never need to go without.
Try baking your own treats: Gluten Free Brownies made with 90% Dark Organic Chocolate are heavenly
We all eat far too many grains. They have become a staple choice for breakfast (Toast), for Lunch (Sandwiches), for Dinner (Pasta), and for Treats (Cakes & Biscuits).
Our survival is not dependent on grains and as you can see they don’t really offer a nutrient rich food. Non organic grains are covered with chemicals that draws existing nutrients from the body. Grains are high in starch, which means high in sugar and not only cause fat storage but hormonal issues too. Those struggling with blood sugar issues like diabetes should certainly be very weary of grains.
Finally, many grains contain Gluten that has found its way into almost all prepackaged foods. Gluten Sensitivity is on the rise and many of use suffer with Gluten issues without even knowing it.
I urge everyone to take part in my 3 Step process above and witness for yourself the huge impact that eating no grains can have on your health.
Are you willing to give up Grains for 30 days?