Oh, For The Love of Bread (Continued…)

Ok, so I realized that my previous post didn’t cover everything I wanted it to. I rewrote it so many times, and I got overwhelmed by looking up references to use that I posted it without making some important points. I ask that you keep an open mind when reading this, and realize that if you are truly interested in making changes for your health that sometimes you need to look in unconventional places when the conventional stuff just isn’t working for you.

The three basic problems with grains include phytic acid, lectins, and gluten.

Phytic Acid:

I already cover this, but to summarize, this is an anti-nutrient and prevents your body from absorbing vitamins. High consumption of phytic acid can lead to vitamin/mineral deficiencies and osteoporosis. This can happen in diets consisting mainly of grains which are not processed properly. Unfortunately phytic acid is found not only in grains, but also legumes and nuts.

Lectins:

Also found in legumes and nuts. (To me, this seems to indicate that many we shouldn’t be eating seeds of any kind, since essentially that’s what these food groups fall into.) Lectins are a plant’s form of natural defense to protect its species, essentially making its seeds toxic to ensure its survival. [1] Lectins can cause diarrhea, nausea, bloating, vomiting, and most concerning, immune system response. Many believe they can also cause a problem called leaky gut, which results in damage to your intestines and can also trigger immune system response. [2] The lectins seem the most concerning to me and are the real reason why I have gone grain free, and may eventually go legume and nut free as well.

Gluten:

Works with the lectin to cause damage, inflammation, and immune system response. Think about it, if gluten is causing an allergic reaction, there is going to be inflammation, so there is a very viable link to autoimmune issues here. Also, celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disease.

Many people claim that grains cause a wide variety of health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, hypoglycemia, autoimmune diseases, and many more. Why were these health issues not seen thousands of years ago? There are a few possible reasons. Traditional methods of grain preparation removed much of the phytic acid and lectins. Consumption of grains was not as high as it is today, except during times of famine. Also, the plants themselves were different back then. The plants used for mass grain production today have been “bred” to create reliable plants, and some have even been genetically modified. And really, who knows if these health problems didn’t exist back then? Life spans were much shorter and they didn’t have doctors with the knowledge and medical equipment we have today.

Some people feel that low consumption (not daily) of grains is perfectly healthy today, so long as they are prepared properly. I will not address this today, but it involves soaking, fermenting, and sprouting to remove some phytic acid and lectins. Maybe someday I will try this if I ever decide to reintroduce grains to my diet.

As I mentioned before, I started this in an attempt to figure out why I got sick and to see if there was something I could do about it. Up to this point I have made small changes, such as removing chemicals and other toxins from my environment, but I haven’t really noticed a difference since doing so. I will continue to stay away from these things though, because I believe they aren’t good for me and I know that a lot of cleaners and scented products can affect my asthma. As I continued to search for more possible causes for autoimmune diseases, I began to read about various diets. One is the anti-inflammation diet (which includes many different variations.) Many people talk about staying away from inflammation causing foods as a cure for autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, and many other ailments. Depending on the author, this ranges from red meat, nightshade vegetables, yeast, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and any processed food. I then came across the paleo diet, which promotes the consumption of vegetables, and animal meats and fats, but restricts ALL processed foods, grains, legumes, nuts, dairy, and more. Basically if you can’t find and gather it on your own in the wild, or hunt it, then you shouldn’t eat it. I feel that the paleo diet might be a little overboard, but I haven’t ruled it out. Other diets include the GAPS diet and more. Based on information that I read, I felt that a grain free diet was the first place to start. I plan to eliminate legumes, and possibly nuts if it seems to make sense, but I am taking it one step at a time. Eliminating too many foods and completely changing your eating habits can be frustrating and difficult, so I want to take baby steps to ensure I will be successful. If you truly feel that foods may be causing your health problems, then it is important to use that as your motivation. If your only intention is to lose weight, then you might find it difficult to find motivation to get through the cravings. When your health is at risk, a simple craving is much easier to work through.

For the sake of keeping this post fairly short, I will not go into my experiences just yet. Don’t worry, I have already typed up the next post, so I will have it to you very shortly.

Good reads:

Here are some posts on the subject of grains that I have found interesting.

http://wellnessmama.com/575/how-grains-are-killing-you-slowly/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-grains/#axzz1oSrjWYTp

http://zentofitness.com/whats-the-problem-with-grains/

References:

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC157596/pdf/1090347.pdf

[2] http://www.vrp.com/digestive-health/lectins-their-damaging-role-in-intestinal-health-rheumatoid-arthritis-and-weight-loss

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, scientist, nutritionist, or in any way qualified to give you medical, diet, or any kind of health advice. Please remember that my posts will always be about my opinions and personal experiences. Always seek professional advice before making any diet or medical changes.

Photo credit: NiinaC

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