The Impossible Guide to Grains
Everything you wanted to know about grains (they’re not as good for you as you probably think they are).
TLDR: Don’t eat them unless you have a good reason to. They’re overrated.
The Impossible Guide to Grains Index
- Grains = Carbs
- Gut Lining & Your Health
- Using Carbs Effectively
- Not So Bad Grains
- What About Fiber, Vitamins & Minerals?
- Grains Videos
Grains = Carbs
First things first, grains are essentially carbs. They do contain other nutrients but the main component of most grains is a carbohydrate.
There are a lot of problems with grains.
This could be its whole own section. Possibly up to one third of all Americans have a gluten sensitivity. So what’s that? A gluten sensitivity is essentially an allergic reaction that can result in fatigue, joint pain, acid reflex, and infertility. Watch the videos below for more information on this..
Do You Have Gluten Intolerance?
Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You
These are not nice guys. They bind to insulin receptors and can imitate insulin (which can prevent fat loss). They can cause nutritional deficiencies and allergic reactions as well intestinal distress by damaging your gut. They can also be responsible for leptin resistance, which can be a cause of obesity.
Phytates help plants store phosphorous. They usually come from bran and seeds and aren’t digestible for humans. On top of that, they make minerals unavailable for your body to use.
Grains can cause a wide variety of allergic reactions. Here are just a few:
Celiac disease is essentially your body’s internal allergic reaction to gluten. Not fun.
Wheat allergies are not necessarily the same as Celiac disease. Wheat allergies occur when your body reacts to proteins because it sees them as threats. Also, Celiac disease is genetic. Wheat allergies are not.
- Lactose intolerance
- Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS)
How Grains Affect Your Gut Lining
Grains can have a devastating effect on your digestive tract.
The long and short of it is that your body cannot break down the proteins from grains very well. When they go through your digestive tract, they imitate other proteins and cause your immune systems to attack not only itself but also the proteins that it’s imitating. That might not sound like a big deal, until you realize that protein might be attached to your pancreas and that your pancreas might be under attack as well. Pretty soon, your pancreas is done for and you’re diabetic. Fun.
This whole process repeats itself in various ways with different grains and proteins and causes gut irritation and systemic inflation and it increases your likelihood of developing an autoimmune disease. That’s just the start. A partial list of other problems associated with this phenomenon include:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Safe to say, it can really mess you up.
Using Carbs Effectively
There is a place for carbs. Maybe not grains but carbs do serve a purpose.
If you want to build size or run a marathon, carbs can be great for giving you quick energy and boosting your calorie intake.
But if you see carbs as fuel, you’ll understand why most people do not need them. When people guzzle down carbs day after day after day and sit on their couches watching TV, it’s like they’re filling up their cars for a cross-country trip but then sitting it in a parking lot. At least in this situation, the car maintains its size. Unfortunately for humans, this is a recipe for absolutely blowing up.
If you’re active and have strength or athletic goals that require carbohydrates, by all means, use them, but use them strategically and don’t down a box of Lucky Charms just because today is Tuesday.
Even if you do choose to use carbs, you can usually get them from much better sources than grains. Find the safer versions of carbohydrates and go to town when you need ’em.
No So Bad Grains
Talking about the best types of grains is like talking about the best type of addictive drug. It’s sort of an oxymoron. That said, here are some of the best of the worst:
Quinoa, Amaranth, Buckwheat
These are are gluten-free grains. Quinoa, while technically not paleo, still contains a ton of protein. These foods also contain a lot of other nutrients as well and, because of their relative obscurity, they haven’t been bred and modified as much as popular grains like corn have.
Hemp, flax and chia are technically seeds, so they’re good to go. You may want to soak them before you consume them though.
Rice is usually considered safe on the paleo diet. While it carries a high carbohydrate content, it does not contain gluten and therefore doesn’t cause many of the negative effects that most grains cause.
If you don’t have time to properly prepare brown rice, you’re better off choosing white rice, as it requires less preparation. Be advised that this food is essentially pure carbohydrate.
Granola can be a good option if you make sure to drop the grains from ’em. Substitute nuts for the oats or wheat that’s typically found in them and you’ve got something delicious.
Of course, if you need carbohydrates, you can always source them from some safe starches like squashes and sweet potatoes, which will give you the carbs you need without giving you the badness that comes bundled in for free with most grains.
Just stay away from it. Far, far away.
What about Fiber, Vitamins & Minerals?
As for vitamins and minerals, you’re right! You need ’em! But you can get them from vegetables or from an enormous salad. You don’t need a ton of grains to get them.
Loren Cordain talks about Grains, Paleo Eating, Autism
Is Bread Killing You?
- Less Bad But Not Good: Pseudograins And Non-Gluten Grains – Paleo Leap
- Dear Mark: Gluten – Mark’s Daily Apple
- Why Grains Are Unhealthy – Mark’s Daily Apple
- Nondigestible Carbohydrates and Mineral Bioavailability – The Journal of Nutrition
- How Grains Are Killing You Slowly – Wellness Mama
- Insulin-Like Activity of Concanavalin A and Wheat Germ Agglutinin—Direct Interactions with Insulin Receptors
- How To Keep Feces Out of Your Blood Stream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days) – The Blog of Tim Ferris
- Eating Grains Can “Tear Holes” in Your Gut – Mercola.com
- Ditch Grains Now: You May Have A Leaky Gut & Not Know About It – Primal Toad
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