I’ve got some great questions on which grains are okay, as in gluten free or “safe”. My answer? None are really okay or safe, and here’s why.
If you’re eating a grain that contains the protein “gluten”, you’re ingesting one of the most common allergens out there. Don’t see any evidence of common allergy symptoms, like stomach ache or stuffy nose? That’s because food allergies, or food sensitivities, manifest in several different forms, especially sore joints, headaches, skin problems, and auto-immune conditions. Really. The gluten protein is incredibly difficult to digest, for almost everyone. It often goes thru the small intestine IN-completely digested, perforates the intestine wall, and leaks out into the blood stream as a large protein as opposed to tiny amino acids. When our immune system sees the big proteins in the blood, it mounts an Immune Attack, and this can manifest as joint pain or an attack on different organs or systems. Pretty serious stuff.
What if your grains, such as kamult or spelt, don’t contain gluten? They still contain “gliadins”. Gliadins, once digested, become “exorphins”, which are morphine-like compound that bind to opiate receptors in the brain. Their effect is to cause Addictive Behavior, and Appetite Stimulation. Grains (and sugars – both become Glucose in the blood), are as addictive as modern feel good drugs. Ever not been able to stop eating those crackers or sweets, even if you’re full?
What about “healthy whole grains”, like buckwheat, quinoa, or millet?? They get stamps of approval on cereal packages – they must be good, right?
Here’s the carb counts on a few of those:
1/2 c oatmeal 29g carb
1/4 c wild rice 34g carb
2 oz wheat pilaf w orzo 40g carb
1/4c barley 32g carb
1/4c quinoa 30g carb
2oz whole wheat pasta 44g
Note that these serving sizes are really, really, small – not realistic portion sizes.
The point? Grains are really high in carbs. So in addition to the proteins, or the lectins, or the gliadins that are either hard to digest or cause addictive behaviors, there’s the starchy part of the grain that’s incredibly easy – and quick – to break down and send thru the intestine wall, right into the blood stream, as Glucose.
If you’re struggling with weight, or blood sugar problems (more and more normal weight people are having blood sugar issues), you’ve just dumped a load of glucose in your blood that will need to be delt with ASAP. (because high blood sugar is a TOP priority of the body).
What happens with excess blood sugar? It get repackaged as TRIGLYCERIDES and deposited in the stomach area. Here, you can call it belly fat, estrogen belly, wheat belly, or carb baby. Whatever sounds the best.
So back to the beginning. I don’t think there are safe starches – for most people. I think most people should be getting their carbs from fruits and vegetables. I do know a COUPLE of people who eat completely reasonably, and never OD on starchy carbs, but I think they’re the exception, and not the rule. For most of us – normal people – limit the grains if you want to be healthy and lean.
And of course, eat Real Whole Foods:)
PS: Remember I have 2 local workshops coming up on Blood Sugar/Hormones and Digestion – the real keys to being lean and healthy. Information is here: http://www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/workshops