Grain has never played a major role in the human diet until the last century. Let me say that again: Grain has NEVER played a major role in the human diet until the industrialization of our food supply in the early 1900’s. Until we’d sold our soul, and collective health to the marvels of industry and distribution, most people survived by eating the animal products nearest them. Someone living on the coast would primarily eat seafood. Those living inland would hunt or raise domesticated animals.
Things have changed for modern eaters. Meat and dairy no longer make up the bulk of our diets. Instead, people tend to eat a lot of bread. And if they are eating meat and cheese, what are the odds that there are two pieces of bread slapped onto either side? Pretty good odds.
This situation has created some serious health problems that you need to know about.
Why Today’s Grains Are Harmful to Human Health
It’s important to understand that today’s grains are not like the grains your grandparents ate. The grains people eat today have been genetically modified to increase crop yields and reduce the amount of work it takes to raise those crops. While changing the genetics, food companies have significantly increased the amount of gluten in grains. Since the human body isn’t designed to digest such large amounts of gluten, it can experience a host of illnesses, including Celiac’s disease and leaky gut syndrome.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes small intestine damage when the person eats gluten. Leaky gut syndrome is a gastrointestinal problem that makes the digestive system permeable. As the name suggests, people with leaky gut syndrome have digestive systems that essentially leak. And let’s be clear: the systems upstream and downstream of your leaking stomach are not designed to properly deal with the kind of leakage we are describing here. Things can get pretty ugly, pretty fast with this syndrome.
Grains also contain a chemical called phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks iron absorption in the body. In fact, it can even rob existing iron and calcium from your body. This effect has the strongest impact on the skeletal system. People who eat large amounts of phytic acid often lose bone density, which leads to brittle bones, osteoporosis and other ailments.
Of course, grain-based foods are loaded with carbohydrates that will make you gain weight. If you eat a lot of bread, then your waistline will expand.
Why Your Love White Bread So Much
“If grains are so bad for you, then why do we crave white bread,” you might ask. Shouldn’t our bodies communicate how destructive this food is? In some ways, your body is sending out the right message by giving you an upset stomach, flatulence and constipation. But unfortunately, your stomach doesn’t have full control over what your body craves.
In addition to having more gluten than bread from the past, today’s bread also contains a protein called gliadin. Gliadin is especially prominent in restaurant bread that has a chewy center and crunchy exterior. Gliadin also happens to stimulate your brain’s opiate receptors. In other words, restaurant bread gets you slightly high, which makes you want to eat at the restaurant more often.
It’s very sad how many health problems in the United States come from greedy industries that put money before people. But that’s the world we live in, and you need to learn to protect yourself.
What If You Want to Keep Eating Grains?
While it’s best to completely avoid grains, how realistic is this really?
Most people simply do not want to give up breads and other grain-based foods. I mean I’m writing this having had a marvelous Italian dinner last night that would have been perfect if I’d just grabbed a few of those buttery bread sticks they left on the table. It almost physically hurt to not grab one the moment I saw them. So this is going to be a tough road…
The good news is, there are some steps you can take to minimize the negative effects of eating grains. If you feel that you must eat grains, PREPARE THEM YOURSELF. I cannot stress this enough. And now that you have taken control over your grain preparation, here are a couple of essential tips to improve the quality and nutrition of the grains you are preparing:
• Soak grains overnight to remove some of the phytic acid.
• Choose bread made with sprouted wheat flour.
• Make bread with sourdough starters instead of baker’s yeast.
Another thing that can really help, even with restaurant bread, is a strong dose of digestive enzymes to break down grains. What happens without enzymes is that the negative effects of grains can run rampant, potentially causing health problems like gut inflammation, diarrhea, anxiety, depression and Celiac’s disease.
There isn’t a completely safe way to eat modern grains, but you can minimize the damage by improving your gut, improving the grains you do eat, and taking digestive enzymes to optimize your digestion.