Day 11: Grains

Breakfast: Coffee
Lunch: Chicken and spinach salad with bacon; ½ avocado
Dinner: Burger and chips; cheese salad; 2 cocktails

I had the usual chicken, bacon, spinach salad for lunch. It’s getting boring. Gonna have to work on that.

I had a date tonight so I “cheated” again. The Paleo Diet really isn’t great convo material. I could, and probs should, have avoided grains. Dairy and grains are the two main food types that the Paleo Diet removes. There’s debate about dairy products and when they might be acceptable, or even beneficial, for optimal health. On grains, there’s no debate. Grains are one of the most damaging foods you can eat.

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Grains are made of three parts: germ, endosperm, and bran. The germ is the reproductive part of the grain. The endosperm is mostly starch and protein; the energy the germ needs to grow. The bran is the outer layer of the whole, unprocessed grain. It makes brown rice brown. The bran contains proteins, vitamins and minerals, and for this reason “whole” grains are considered to be healthier than their processed (germ and bran removed) counterparts. However it also contains antinutrients to protect it from being eaten, and these antinutrients can be very damaging to us.

There’s so much wrong with grains, it’s hard to know where to start. Grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye) and the foods that they make (pasta, bread, baked goods) contain phytates. Phytates block the absorption of nutrients in grains. So although whole grains may have more nutrition when it’s sitting on our plate, your body will get more nutrition from eating white rice versus brown. In particular they like to bind to metal ions like calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. The lack of these metals can lead to osteoporosis, anemia, fatigue, or heart problems.

Then there’s gluten. Gluten makes holes in the lining of the gut. This leads to leaky gut syndrome, IBS, Crohn’s etc. It also allows things to pass through that shouldn’t i.e. the stuff that we would normally defecate. So yeah, you’re more likely to have excrement floating around inside you :)

Our bodies think gluten is a foreign body so they create antibodies to attack it. This leads to autoimmune diseases. It has also been associated depression, schizophrenia and a host of other ailments. Take a moment look at all the diseases that gluten is associated with.

There is a suggestion that gluten is black and white, and that only celiacs are affected by it. In my experience this isn’t true. I’m not celiac, but when I removed grains from my diet I noticed that I farted a lot less. Like 90% less. I used to fart all day. When I was studying for exams I had to go to the toilet just to fart. When I went Paleo for a month I didn’t really notice that I was farting less. It was only when the month was over and I reintroduced grains that I noticed the change. The day after I started eating grains again, I had diarrhea, and I’d start farting again. The Paleo crew told me that gluten would cause problems in my bowels, and they were right.

Grains also contain high levels of Omega 6, and they are full of carbohydrates that most people don’t need.

Why are grains perceived to be so healthy?  The original food pyramid was supposed to have loads of fat and only a few portions of grains. That created a problem for the government. If they advocated expensive fats instead of cheap grains then they would have to supply more fat and less grains to the millions of Americans on food stamps. That would be too expensive, and the grain farmers’ lobby wouldn’t be impressed either. So the government swapped fat for grains. Hey, it’s all calories at the end of the day!

Right I’m going to bed I’ll finish this rant later, I’ll throw some more science in next time. I’ll also give the food pyramid a full discussion.