In my last post on grains, I shared my conclusions that...
Let's take a look at the causes and some simple solutions.
Contributing Factor: Hybidized wheat.
Modern day wheat has been hybridized to make it easier to grow and harvest. It may be more convenient for the farmers but it's not convenient for our brains or digestive systems!
The protein content (gluten) is now very complex compared to ancient wheat berries. It is much harder to digest.
Another problem with wheat is thay it contains gliadins which are addictive!
According to Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, gliadin breaks down into "exorphins." In an article on his website entitled The Gliadin Effect.
Dr. Davis explains that "Exorphins cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to opiate-receptors to induce appetite, as well as behavioral changes, such as behavioral outbursts and inattention in children with ADHD and autism, hearing voices and social detachment in schizophrenics, and the mania of bipolar illness."
And that is just the beginning of the list of symptoms that exorphins are responsible for. What a sad tale of destruction to the human body, mind, and soul!
Solution - Choose and enjoy other grains that have been left unchanged by human hands. There are so many to choose from - emmer, einkhorn, spelt, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, teff, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum....
Problem: Eating food made from refined flour.
To make flour white and lighter, food manufacturers separate the bran and germ from the kernel. Guess what gets lost during this process? Valuable minerals, vitamins, and and fiber! Without these nutrients, there is less overall nutrition to feed our bodies. And, the remaining starch and protein is much more difficult for our bodies to digest.
Solution - Let's eat our grains whole! Whole, unrefined grains help supply the body with the nutrition it needs for optimal functioning. We like to buy organic whole grains and grind them ourselves in our high speed blender. One day, we hope to have a counter top grain mill.
Problem: Eating undercooked grains.
When wr don't cook or bake our grains for a long enough period of time, the starches do not get broken down into smaller components that can be easily digested.
According to Dr. Agatha Thrash who conducted research into this, "Grains should have a lomg, slow cooking period, preferably one to three hours. Phytic acid, which ties up certain minerals, is destroyed by long cooking. The physical units of the grain are softened and prepared for better digestion with the long cooking period. It is likely that much of the food sensitivity manifested in adults to grains could be avoided by attwntion to cooking time."(1)
Solution - We can improve the digestibility of the grains we eat by:
I am eating all raw right now, so I soak and then sprout my grains before I eat them. My favorites are buckwheat, rye, hulless oats, and barley. Kholorasan wheat and teff are ok, and I'm not a fan of quinoa or amaranth.
I chew the sprouted grains really well so that they are even more digestible (remember that we digest starches in our mouths) and they keep me nourished and satisfied. No food cravings for me!
I think that sprouted grains really are one of the keys to having success on an all raw diet.
Problem - Eating quick breads raised with baking soda or baking powder.
Baking soda and baking powder have been staples in many of our kitchens for years. Yet the truth of the matter is that both of these ingredients cause inflammation in our stomachs.
For proper digestion, our stomach environment is stongly acid. Baking soda is alkaline and therefore neutralises the acid. Without the acid, proteins cannot get broken down and they putrefy and release all kinds of harmful toxins into the system.
"...all baking sodas and baking powders either leave residues in the breads that injure the body, or they damage the grains during the cooking process, making them less nourishing." (2)
Solution - Save your digestive system and stop eating baked goods with baking soda and baking powder in the ingedients list. Learn how to bake quick breads without them. It is possible! Here is a simple 3 ingredient recipe for oat bread and a recipe for raw sprouted rye (or any other sprouted grain) bread.
Problem - Eating yeast bread before the yeast germs are killed.
It is standard practice to eat yeast breads hot out of the oven. Think submarine sandwiches pizza, hot rolls, and cinnamon buns....
What is all that yeast doing to our bodies?
"Yeast used for leavening does not damage the grain. There are some volatile substances left in the bread after the fermentation process that will completely evaporate after 1-3 days. Yeast bread is much more healthful a few days after baking. The conditiining of the crumb proceeds during the first three days, making the bread more digestible and easily cut." (3)
Solution - Wait a minimim of 24 hours, and up to 3 days before tasting that yeast bread!
Problem - Not chewing grains long enough.
We have a digestive enzyme (amylase) in our saliva that digests starches. When we chew too quickly and swallow before the saliva has had a chance to mix with the food, we are not giving the starch a chance to break down.
Solution - We really need to take the time to s-l-o-w down and chew our food well so that the salivary amylase has a chance to mix with the starch and digest it properly. Chew to a cream or better yet, a thin soup consistency before swallowing.
Problem - Not enough variety.
Every culture has it's favorite grain. For us North Americans it is wheat. Wheat is in practically everything! I have learned along the way that having the same thing every day can lead to allergies. It is important to eat a varied diet.
Solution - Get adventurous and go for different grains. Try whole grain buckwheat flour instead of regular flour next time you make pancakes. Or, try quinoa in your next tabouli salad. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Hopefully reading this will encourage you to dig a little deeper and do your own research before you dismiss grains altogether.
My research on this topic has led me to the conclusion that there is more to the issue than whether we should eat grains or not. There is a spiritual parallel that is unmistakeable. That, I'll share with you in an upcoming post.
Where do you stand on the great grain decision? If you do eat grains, which one is your favorite?
Follow my journey as I return to the original plan for living and eating...