With the popularity of paleo diets and Dr. David Perlmutter’s book “Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers,“ it’s time to remind ourselves that our bodies are still fashioned after the cavemen.
As strange as it may seem, genetically, we have changed very little since the “modern” human being appeared over 40,000 years ago. It’s a topic I’ve been writing about for over 25 years, so I’m happy to see that it’s “an idea whose time has finally come.”
Domesticated whole grains as well as their refined by-products like flour, bread and pasta are a relatively new addition to the human diet.
Dr. Richard Kunin, an orthomolecular surgeon from San Francisco says it best, “Grains are really Johnny-come-latelies on the nutritional scene. Meats, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts and vegetables have had a considerably longer historical alliance with the human gut. Almost as if to make up for lost time, grain has deluged man’s diet and this excess increasingly appears to have something to do with common major and minor ailments.”
Grains and grain products are associated with a whole range of health challenges. Sensitivity to grains that contain gluten (the protein fraction of the grain, which gives it its resilient quality), mainly wheat and rye, and to a lesser extent barley, not only cause gluten intolerance, but can develop into full-fledged celiac/sprue disease (an autoimmune disease of the small intestine).
When my clients first went on my two-week Fat Flush, I noticed something very interesting. When they stopped eating carbs, especially grains, they began reporting that their brain fog, disorientation, mental acuity, migraines, arthritis, eczema, intestinal gas, bloating, stomach aches, acid reflux, depression, and even IBS started to improve. Some people even lost a pound a day!
We now know that many of the most common grains can trigger inflammation, food cravings and elevated blood sugar and insulin spikes which prompt fat storage. They also contain addictive gluteomorphins that mimic the effects of opiates resulting in biological addiction. By eliminating them, each and every one of us can reset metabolism and activate our innate ability to lose weight and burn fat.
Gluten and grain intolerance have been on the rise for the last two decades and seem to match the rise in brain-related health issues like anxiety, depression, dementia, ADHD and more. In the last decade alone, gluten intolerance levels have increased from 1 in 2,500 worldwide to 1 in 133. It’s become so common that almost every supermarket has a “gluten-free” section, and at most chain restaurants you can order off a special gluten-free menu.
But, what’s to blame?
Toxic pesticides and herbicides may have something to do with it. A study in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine found that in the mid-1990s almost 100 percent of wheat crops were treated with an unhealthy dose of Round-Up herbicide during the final ripening period to “brown out” the unripe kernels so they weren’t rejected by the big grain brokers and mills.
Could the problem with wheat, gluten or grain sensitivity be how it was grown, processed or even milled, rather than with the grain itself?
In any case, it may be time to start eating like a caveman, or what I’d like to call a “Paleo Fat Flusher” —
- Eat fat and quality lean protein to lose weight. Flax oil, fish oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, olive oil, butter, and cream are essential and healthy sources of fuel for your brain and body. Eat grass-fed beef, organically raised poultry, limited cold water fish, and pastured free-range eggs.
- In place of grains, stick to starchy veggies like squash, sweet potatoes, yams, peas, rutabagas, and turnips.
- Load up on greens and non-starchy veggies for salads, sides and snacks.
- Nibble on nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds instead of bread, muffins and crackers.
- Use flours from almonds or coconut for your baked goods.
- Supplement with probiotics. Disturbed gut flora is usually prevalent with individuals that have any type of grain intolerance.
Learn more about At-Home Gluten Intolerance Testing>>
Have you removed grains from your diet? Share how it’s affected your health—post a comment below.
DeCava, Judith, LNC, CNC, “Why Can Grains Be Such a Pain?” Price-Pottenger Journal, Spring 2010, 34(1): 6-11 citing Walt Kawecki, “Roundup-Treated Wheat,” Wise Traditions, Fall 2006, 7(3):3; S Gibson, et al, “A Clinical Evaluation of a Wheat-Free Diet,” J Nutritional & Environmental Med, 1995, 5:243-53.