Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Grains, a double edged sword

Grains have been a staple for any and all agricultural based societies, and in the last 40 years or so the push for "whole grains" has gone from primarily breads to sugary overly processed junk foods. So what makes this intense push for whole grain consumption so dangerous? The agonizing side effects that are drastically on the rise... grain allergies!

Grains contain lectins (sugar binding proteins) and they don't break down very easily. They do a very good job resisting even the most extreme environment of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, even when they've been soaked and cooked prior to consumption. In fact more than half of these lectins consumed can remain "immunologically" intact within the digestive tract, and as with all partially undigested foods this can lead to serious damage. As those with food allergies know all too well, when any concentration of undigested food particles enters the intestines the intestinal wall becomes compromised allowing some particles to pass through. Once in the bloodstream these foreign proteins wreak havoc on the body, and in response the body's natural defense is for the immune system to wage an all-out attack. This natural inflammatory response is the allergic reaction that allergy sufferers are all too familiar with. But here is where things get a bit more "cloak and dagger"...

"The profound destruction that lectins are capable of lies in the autoimmune response they can trigger. The protein sequence in some lectins is almost identical to tissues in the human body. Once the lectins pass through the compromised tight junctions and into the bloodstream, they cause tremendous and tragic damage in a process called molecular mimicry." The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith page 150-151

They can resemble or even mimic protein sequences in other grains which can cause those with a gluten allergy to be allergic to gluten free grains or vise versa. Perhaps even more dangerous though is their ability to mimic protein sequences within the body itself, such as joint cartilage or the sheaths that cover nerves. Others mimic sequences found in various organs like the kidneys and pancreas. This basically results in the body attacking itself.

So what does all this mean? From the author of "The Vegetarian Myth" Lierre Keith's point of view, we (humans) are meat eaters and are not designed by nature to consume grains, especially not to the extreme that we as a society do. From my point of view... I don't know if I have a definitive opinion yet, but being as driven as I am to achieve optimal health without the aid of modern medicine I am surly open to new theories; so long as their not backed by greedy corrupt mega corporations.

I will say though that knowing this (possible truth about grains) makes me very happy and proud of my freezer full of local organic grass-fed meats!

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