Grains – such as wheat, corn, rye, rice, barley and oats – are a staple part of the modern diet.
They’re cheap, easy to grow and calorically dense. But what may be a dream for the food industry could well be a nightmare for the consumer – you!
Regularly eating grains has been associated with increased levels of allergies, intolerances and even disease. Eliminating them from the diet could be the key you need to unlock a happier, healthier you and the first step to becoming the best version of yourself. Let’s find out more…
We’re Not Designed to Eat Modern Grains
Our Hunter and Gatherer ancestors living in the Palaeolithic era did not have the agricultural machinery we use now. Grains were not a practical food to grow, store or cook. Instead, diets were rich in meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, which – you guessed it – could be hunted and gathered more easily!
As the Paleo era accounts for over 95% of past human existence, our bodies evolved significantly over this time – adapting to utilise these sorts of foods, and not the processed and unnatural foods that we eat in this day and age.
As far as we can tell, this old-school diet protected our ancestors from many of the chronic diseases that are rife today.
It was only during the Neolithic era (the period after Palaeolithic times) that people started focusing on producing sources of starch – especially grains. The introduction of agriculture meant that people could settle in one place and grow their own crops. In addition to this, the invention of pottery made it possible to cook and store grains. As Earth’s population began to increase exponentially, farmers seized the opportunity to feed as many people as possible with one super-crop, and the rest is history!
Wheat’s all the fuss about?
Nowadays, grains are the most widely grown crops in the world and farming methods have evolved drastically to keep up with demand.
Today’s grains are heavily processed, stripped of their nutrients and sometimes even genetically modified. Refined grains are milled to produce a finer texture and improve shelf life. A consequence of this is that the bran and germ are removed – and the fibre, iron and B-vitamins they contain are also lost. The end result: a food which our bodies are not designed to digest – contributing to a whole host of health problems.
Four Good Reasons you Oat to Avoid Grains
- Get your Acid-Base Balanced!
My what?! Acid base balance isn’t the latest yoga move, nor is it a more advanced method of planking! It’s all about how the food you eat effects the pH in your body, creating either an acidic or an alkaline environment. Our bodies are naturally in an alkaline state, but diets high in acid-producing foods create a net-acidic environment.
Most grains in the modern diet are highly acidic, with the worst contenders being wheat, white rice, corn and rye. Eating large amounts of these frequently, as most people do, causes an acid-imbalance in the blood. Keeping things base-ic, the impact this has on your kidneys is that you lose more calcium in your urine. Over time, this can cause bone loss and even osteoporosis.
- Abolish the Antinutrients
The word antinutrient may conjure up superhero imagery but nutrients are certainly no villain, and you don’t want to be eating anything that works against them. Grains have been found to contain chemicals which prevent the digestive system from absorbing valuable nutrients. Antinutrients have been shown to inhibit the absorption of minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium. Compounds called ‘phytate’ and ‘lectins’ are the worst offenders and, you guessed, are lurking in high amounts in most grains.
- Guard your Gut
The vast majority of grains contain gluten – a group of proteins which some people are sensitive to (like Co-Founder Amy who is Coeliac). The most severe sensitivity to gluten is coeliac disease, an autoimmune condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed and less able to absorb nutrients. Only around 1% of the population are coeliac, but many who aren’t sensitive to gluten are still deciding to cut it out.
This is because gluten gluttony has been linked with other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and “leaky gut”.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, modern hybrid grains have been modified to have an even higher gluten content than they would naturally – with the aim of giving your baked goods more elasticity – but the undesired effect of stretching the limits of your gut!
- Make (Neuro) Logical Food Choices
Current research is trying to prove that there is a relationship between consuming grains and brain health. Grains are crammed with ‘simple’ carbs and it is this nutrient which has been linked to neurological conditions, from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s Disease.
The theory is that processed and refined grains raise blood sugars dramatically when consumed, and the knock-on effect of this on insulin secretion can disrupt how substances cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Your BBB is the gatekeeper of the brain, protecting it from toxins and allowing helpful nutrients to pass through. Early research has linked grains with interfering with the BBB and insulin relationship – which can also contribute to the onset of depression, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.
Eat the Best and Leave out the Rest
We hope you’ve realised by now that going grain-free isn’t just about restricting carbohydrate intake or going gluten-free. In fact, following a grain-free diet should automatically encourage you to eat alternatives.
Foods such as sweet potato, carrots, squash and pumpkin are full of complex carbs – which take longer to digest and so release their energy more slowly. Not only does this have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels, but it also leaves you feeling satisfied for longer – and less likely to binge.
A grain-free diet can still be plentiful and varied – fill your boots with meat, fish, low sugar fruit (berries), veg, eggs, and good quality fats. These wholefoods are unprocessed, and undeniably better for us than their grim grain counterparts!
Let’s go over that a-grain!
Diets high in grains have been linked with increased prevalence of nutrient malabsorption disorders, gastrointestinal dysfunction and even psychological conditions. Scary, right? The good news is that by eliminating grains from your diet, you can significantly reduce your chances of suffering from these conditions. What’s more, replacing grains with other more nutrient dense, lower carbohydrate, Real Foods will be a great first step to being the best version of yourself.
For more information check out the following Blog posts:
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.