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should people eat any grain?

 
pollinator
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i did see a thing on food network about corn going through your body undigested..yet almost every culture int he world uses one of 4 grains, oats, corn, wheat or rice.



corn that is treated with lime to make nixtamal is fully digestible unlike say corn on the cob, which i bet they were talking about. people have been treating corn like this for quite a while to get all of the benefits of eating corn.

for everyone else, i only saw one small mention by paul for sprouted grains. they are completely different than the refined grains 90% of the population eats. far more nutritionally superior.

 
                                
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Hubert, I have also noticed my body seems a lot happier with lime-treated corn than not.  No doubt the lime destroys undesirable elements.  As usual, the traditional methods are effective. 
 
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In Mexico, lime has been added to corn long before Columbus was born.  A traditional tortilla cannot be made without lime and lard.  (Flour tortillas were unheard of until the USDA dumped surplus wheat in all of the border towns.  It was half the price of corn, so the poor people tried it.)

In Peru, the Incas used the coca leaf for stamina at high altitudes.  As you put a leaf in your mouth to chew, you dipped your stick (like a bamboo skewer) into your pouch of "cal" (lime), and sucked on it.  Lime activated the chemicals in the coca leaf to relieve the symptoms of "altitude sickness".  To this day, every hotel in the high altitudes offers "tea for the altitude" to their guests, because it works...lime is added to the tea.
 
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Looking to nature for an answer, I think if we were designed to eat grains, then we would have a gizzard.

Now, that's not to say that grains might no be helpful to mankind in certain desperate situations.

But, if we do not pause to look at the overall design, and we just assume than man's evolved brain is smarter than Nature, or God, or Source, or whatever belief you may hold, then we could probably come to the conclusion that grains are a really great thing, to be eaten all the time.

Personally, I am inclined to trust the Natural design much more than someone in a lab coat, or someone trying to sell me something, or someone who wants to control me, or someone trying to maintain a position, or someone trying to save face, or, well.. anyone  .

Jim
 
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speaking from a biology perspective our specific adaptation for eating grains can be seen in the flat grinding teat at the back of our mouths and the enzyme amylase in our saliva which is necessary to the breakdown of starch into simple sugars. without the amylase starch would have no nutritive value for us.

signs of cooking have been found over a million years old, plenty of time for some evolutionary adaptation to cooked foods.

interesting that someone brought up beer as the beverage stems from a very old method of making grains more palatable, smashed up grain was mixed with a little liquid and allowed to ferment then eaten like mash, which sounds delightful to me.

I think a lot of the problems with eating grains come from industrial modification of grains, to make white flour removes a whole lot more from the wheat than just grinding it does, and anyone familiar with whole grains knows that fresh ground flour from whole grains will go rancid in a matter of weeks or less

I also think a lot of the "don't eat  ____" that we are seeing today comes from nutritional research of limited scope being misinterpreted. further I think that  what you should eat depends both on who you are and what you are doing. for example when I am very active say when I was bybylcling 10+ miles to work daily I absolutely must have about 3500-5000 calories a day and most of that from starchy foods. when I am inactive I can eat a lot less, but if I shift to less than 30% of my calories being from complex carbs I need several more hour of sleep a day. and I do mean complex carbs eating sugars gives me energy spikes followed by crashes.

so my answer to weather people should eat grains is, if you feel good when you eat grains do it. if you have problems try something else.
 
Jordan Lowery
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keralee i dont think its that the lime destroys anything in the corn. im pretty sure its more to make the stuff in corn more available. like how jonh mentions the lime "Activates" the coca leaf.

im with brice moss. i cant imagine living without grains, when i don't eat them i am not as satisfied both physically and mentally.

i am totally with everyone on the heavily process grains though. pure crap.

 
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RawVim wrote:
Looking to nature for an answer, I think if we were designed to eat grains, then we would have a gizzard.



We were given brains and the ability to conceive and use tools instead. So we grind the grains and ferment/cook them before eating.

Brice Moss wrote:
I think a lot of the problems with eating grains come from industrial modification of grains, to make white flour removes a whole lot more from the wheat than just grinding it does, and anyone familiar with whole grains knows that fresh ground flour from whole grains will go rancid in a matter of weeks or less



The method of cooking also matters. Grain that has been fermented for a long time also gives the enzymes in the grain time to break it down while the yeast and bacteria do their thing. Commercial bread is over mixed ... oxidising the flour... to shorten the rise time. That bread (should you wish to use that term for what comes out) is about 2 hours from the time the first water goes in till the baked loaf of "bread" is done. A wild yeast loaf starts a week ahead for the starter.... after the starter and water are added there is at least 2 or three hours ferment... (sometimes days) followed by another 2 hour rise. All this before it gets baked.

This is not to mention the various non-food ingredients added to increase "shelf-life" (hey, if my bread tasted that bad, it might need shelf-life too).
 
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Soaking corn in lime water makes the Niacin available but I am reasonably certain that they did it to remove or soften the hard pericarp of the dried kernel.  Modern bread products not being as healthy as they were before the advent of commercial bakeries is due the time factor as has been stated multiple times.  All of the genetic modifications and even bleaching of flour does not remove the "phytates" from the grain.  No matter what the ethnicity and what the ancestral diet.  Grains were soaked and usually in some sort of acidic liquid or fermented usually in water.  Grains eaten without soaking block mineral absorption in the small intestine.  Soak your grain for 6 hours or more, 12 hours is better.
 
                                
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I am reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories"  by Gary Taubes.  It is a look at all the medical studies on nutrition, heart disease, cholesterol, fat and carbs over the last 100+ years.  Okay, it's a tough read, very scientific, heavy on names, dates, places etc.  And.....yea.....it's a bit boring at times. 

BUT, what is most amazing is how a study comes out with a completely different end result than the doctor or scientist WANTED it to come out and so they just disregard that information and say what they want.  Of course fat is bad, everyone knows that, but the study says something else, but we already know that fat is bad, so we aren't going to talk about the study, we'll just keep on saying what we already knew..............

If you want to dive into the politics of the medical studies and heart disease, diabetes and carbohydrates then get this book.  It has opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking about food.  I recently began a lowered carb diet.  I really don't think I can go 0 carb cold turkey.  I'm following the 100 carb per day recommendation from that move (in the other thread Fat Head).  So, if I want pasta for dinner I have no other carbs that day.  AND, I do not have any medical issues so I look mainly at carbs from bread, grains, pasta etc.  If there are trace carbs in kale I really don't count that.  Why?  because what ever nutrient that are in kale out way any carbs that are present.  Also I saute kale in bacon fat, butter and olive oil that I mix and keep in my fridge.

I will admit I love bacon and have always considered it a indulgence.  Now I have bacon a little more regular and a bagel is an indulgence.  It's quite flip flop from how I was raised!!  However, I have always had croutons on my salads, so now I just have some bacon, chopped up, and I really don't miss the croutons!!

I am a "round American woman" and I didn't get this way eating high fat and a lot of meat.  I got this way with carbs plain and simple.  It isn't an easy road, and eating out is now a break in the diet because the world is carb, carb, carb, carb.  However it is MORE filling, I am not getting the crazy cravings that I have always lived with.  Now spaghetti night is a treat and steak night happens more often.  I am eating WAY more veggies and sweet treats are more "treats" than an everyday thing.  Not easy when you are a pastry chef who's specialty is cake.  We shall see.

Tami
 
Dave Bennett
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Chefmom wrote:
I am reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories"  by Gary Taubes.  It is a look at all the medical studies on nutrition, heart disease, cholesterol, fat and carbs over the last 100+ years.  Okay, it's a tough read, very scientific, heavy on names, dates, places etc.  And.....yea.....it's a bit boring at times. 

BUT, what is most amazing is how a study comes out with a completely different end result than the doctor or scientist WANTED it to come out and so they just disregard that information and say what they want.  Of course fat is bad, everyone knows that, but the study says something else, but we already know that fat is bad, so we aren't going to talk about the study, we'll just keep on saying what we already knew..............

If you want to dive into the politics of the medical studies and heart disease, diabetes and carbohydrates then get this book.  It has opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking about food.  I recently began a lowered carb diet.  I really don't think I can go 0 carb cold turkey.  I'm following the 100 carb per day recommendation from that move (in the other thread Fat Head).  So, if I want pasta for dinner I have no other carbs that day.  AND, I do not have any medical issues so I look mainly at carbs from bread, grains, pasta etc.  If there are trace carbs in kale I really don't count that.  Why?  because what ever nutrient that are in kale out way any carbs that are present.  Also I saute kale in bacon fat, butter and olive oil that I mix and keep in my fridge.

I will admit I love bacon and have always considered it a indulgence.  Now I have bacon a little more regular and a bagel is an indulgence.  It's quite flip flop from how I was raised!!  However, I have always had croutons on my salads, so now I just have some bacon, chopped up, and I really don't miss the croutons!!

I am a "round American woman" and I didn't get this way eating high fat and a lot of meat.  I got this way with carbs plain and simple.  It isn't an easy road, and eating out is now a break in the diet because the world is carb, carb, carb, carb.  However it is MORE filling, I am not getting the crazy cravings that I have always lived with.  Now spaghetti night is a treat and steak night happens more often.  I am eating WAY more veggies and sweet treats are more "treats" than an everyday thing.  Not easy when you are a pastry chef who's specialty is cake.  We shall see.

Tami

I have type II diabetes.  I recommend Diabetes Solution by Richard K. Bernstein M.D. whether or not you have any blood glucose problems.  It has some eye opening nutritional information that hasn't been adulterated by any sort of funding from the food industry like most "scientific studies."  I eat 15 grams of carbs per meal per day.  That is what is best for me.  It is not difficult if you know how to use the carbs.  Regarding fats.....fats are not bad for you..... I suggest this more truthful information regarding fats:
http://westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/561-know-your-fats-introduction
 
John Polk
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For your "spaghetti night", try spaghetti squash instead of pasta.  As a veggie, spaghetti squash is quite bland, but slathered with a good spaghetti sauce, you will hardly notice the difference.
 
Dave Bennett
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I eat spaghetti squash but........  I make my red sauce with red bell peppers and 1 tablespoon of a sun dried tomato paste that I make.  It is impossible to taste the bell peppers.  I cannot eat tomato.  Too much sugar.
 
                                      
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I tend to think that anything (in the context of eating things, that is) that has been done by humans for over a thousand years is probably not incompatible with a good human diet. Even if you can't just take a bunch of wheat or rice off the stalk and start chewing, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be doing it. If it were bad for people to eat grains, then there would not have been a universal human tradition of eating grain-based foods. There is a reason "bread" has at times pretty much been a synonym for "food."

I think there is a parallel between grain and soy, in that you can't just take a pod of soybeans and stick it in your mouth without getting sick, or at least a bit uncomfortable, but that hasn't stopped people from making tofu for thousands of years and allowing it to become a staple in their diets.

I do agree with Paul and Michael Pollan, that modern people eat WAY to much grain, and we need to be relying much more on green, leafy foods, or succulent fruits and veggies, but to take grains out of your diet entirely (disregarding gluten issues, as there's been plenty of discussion about that above) is superfluous and, IMHO, pretty silly.
 
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Seems for some people consuming grains is a huge issue, the problem being that most of these people don't even know it...


Do you or any of your family members regularly experience common digestive complaints, such as heartburn (reflux), indigestion, bloating, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea? Do any of you suffer from eczema, asthma, dyslexia, learning disabilities or depression? Have your children received labels such as autism, ADD or ADHD? Do you wonder if there is a common link between any of these these things?



The GAPS Diet (http://www.gapsdiet.com/FAQs.html)


"One Man's Meat is Another Man's Poison!"

Gluten intolerance is a subset of GAPS. Gluten is a large protein molecule and is quite difficult to digest, even for people with a healthy gut. People with abnormal flora and hence damaged gut function are much less able to break gluten down. In those people where gluten absorbs partially digested the immune system can develop antibodies against it, which leads to celiac disease.

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet has its foundation on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) created by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas to heal digestive disorders.  SCD gained great popularity after a mother, Elaine Gottschall, healed her own child and became an advocate for SCD.  Elaine Gottschall is also the author of the popular book Breaking the Vicious Cycle. Intestinal Health Through Diet.



My family has just started exploring the GAPS diet.  We've seen many health improvements from going gluten free, adding grass-fed animal fats back into our foods, slow cooked broths, fermenting and soaking.

"Should People Eat Grain" is to general a question IMHO - how about . . . .
Should everyone try Healing their physical/metal/emotional Issues Through Diet and Nutrition - YES!  Will we all follow the same path - NO, no absolutes just individual journeys.



 
pollinator
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Here is a good article from the Weston Price Institute. It is just a good summary I thought.
http://westonaprice.org/food-features/why-we-crave
 
Len Ovens
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John Polk wrote:
For your "spaghetti night", try spaghetti squash instead of pasta.  As a veggie, spaghetti squash is quite bland, but slathered with a good spaghetti sauce, you will hardly notice the difference.



We also use zucchini for spaghetti. We have a device that looks like a peeler, but makes lots of thin strips. We find we like the taste better... even in salad uncooked.
 
Len Ovens
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Jami McBride wrote:

The GAPS Diet (http://www.gapsdiet.com/FAQs.html)
My family has just started exploring the GAPS diet.  We've seen many health improvements from going gluten free, adding grass-fed animal fats back into our foods, slow cooked broths, fermenting and soaking.



The GAPS diet can be very effective and the book explains the workings of the gut very well too. Mrs McBride explains some of her thinking about genetics and gut problems over generations as well as how some things are passed from generation to the next aside from genetics... in fact quite a lot is passed as the unique biologic mixture the mother carries on and in her body. She is very candid about how little we (mankind) know about how this stuff works. She considers The GAPS diet and the SCD diet to be the same even though the GAPS diet tends towards more biological content. As Mrs Gottschall who did much of the recent work with the SCD diet (it has been around from before she started using it) says, she understood the need for probiotics and did recommend the basics then recognised, she felt she did not have the time to really research the length and breadth of this biology. The same can be said for sea vegetables which are very healthy but not included in either diet. They are not excluded because they are known bad, but because they are not known SCD ok.

In other words the designers of both these diets freely admit that what they have laid out is incomplete and that much more research needs doing. My sense though, is that research will not get done real quick because there is no money to be made. The research that has been done, has for the most part been done by parents of children with problems at their own expense. It has been a labour of love.
 
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forgive me if this has already been pointed out.......
if you look at what nature tells us about the food we eat.....it would say that grain is a "storage food" humans started cultivating grains, corn, beans, starchy potatoes, carrots and beets to store over winter to feed their animals and themselves. it has the ability to be stored for the long term.

these "storage foods" as we eat them have the same tendency...to be "stored" in our bodies. saved as energy reserves for long winters etc. this has been very practical for humans over the centuries.

Nature tells me that grains are a supplement to eat when the fresh food is gone....it seems to be more of an insurance to keep from starving in the winter and spring. and also a means to keep our meat animals alive so we can eat them instead. the chickens , pigs, goats and cattle should eat the grains and then we should eat the animals :0)

we could almost see high carb foods as the longest standing addiction of humanity. we NEED them to make us HAPPY..Cakes, cookies, chips, crackers, candy.....not just for surviving the winter but ALL THE TIME.

Should people eat Grain?............YES! just enough to keep us healthy and alive. Fresh food is the better choice on a regular basis.
 
Dave Bennett
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In my opinion that was very well stated Thelma.  According to my research, the earliest "cultivated" crop in North America was Sunflowers.  That makes a great deal of sense to me since it was a species of "grass" that grew wild all over the Great Plains. 
 
                                      
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Dave Bennett wrote:
In my opinion that was very well stated Thelma.  According to my research, the earliest "cultivated" crop in North America was Sunflowers.  That makes a great deal of sense to me since it was a species of "grass" that grew wild all over the Great Plains. 



I have recently fallen in love with eating sunflower seeds. It is a great way for my sleep-deprived self to keep from falling asleep while driving or reading. It seems like they are not very efficient at putting calories in one's body though, since it takes hours to eat a meager amount of calories from sunflower seeds, and I have to wonder how many calories I am using up just cracking all the shells open?
 
Brice Moss
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The clever fellows cultivating them no doubt loved the tasty root tubers, as I understand the seeds were mostly boiled for oil
 
Dave Bennett
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Brice Moss wrote:
The clever fellows cultivating them no doubt loved the tasty root tubers, as I understand the seeds were mostly boiled for oil

That's what they did.  Boiled the seeds for oil and ate the roots.
 
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Except sunflowers aren't grass!   

Humans stored food even when they didn't grow grains - grains became popular with settled populations and study of ancient bones shows peoples who relied on grains for the majority of their diet suffered from famine and poor health more than those who had a more varied diet.*

*opinion based on reading 

reference:  #9  "Agriculture is difficult, dangerous and unhealthy".  http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Jason_Godesky__Thirty_Theses.html#toc10

More about growing food:  http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2008/05/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words.html
 
Dave Bennett
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Except sunflowers aren't grass!   

Humans stored food even when they didn't grow grains - grains became popular with settled populations and study of ancient bones shows peoples who relied on grains for the majority of their diet suffered from famine and poor health more than those who had a more varied diet.*

*opinion based on reading   

reference:  #9  "Agriculture is difficult, dangerous and unhealthy".  http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Jason_Godesky__Thirty_Theses.html#toc10

More about growing food:  http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2008/05/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words.html

.I did not say sunflowers are grass.  I said "grass."
 
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Brice Moss wrote:
speaking from a biology perspective our specific adaptation for eating grains can be seen in the flat grinding teat at the back of our mouths and the enzyme amylase in our saliva which is necessary to the breakdown of starch into simple sugars. without the amylase starch would have no nutritive value for us.



Yes, but those are not so specific to grain - there are other non-grain plant foods that need to be chewed, there are non-grain starchy foods that need enzymes to convert the starch into sugar.

My take is that modern humans have dramatically increased the amount of grain in our diet since the agricultural revolution, and that many people would benefit from reducing that percent. But I don't see grain as forbidden fruit - our ancestors probably ate some grain in the fall even going back a million years or more.
 
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The grinding teeth are probably for nuts, as raw grains are virtually indigestible.
 
Dave Bennett
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Paleo Gardener wrote:
The grinding teeth are probably for nuts, as raw grains are virtually indigestible.


I agree. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Dave Bennett wrote:
.I did not say sunflowers are grass.  I said "grass."



"Ok" 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jonathan_Byron wrote:
But I don't see grain as forbidden fruit - our ancestors probably ate some grain in the fall even going back a million years or more.



Yes, probably a small handful of seeds per day or so during the ripe seed period, as you say Fall and probably summer in some areas.  But not as the majority of the diet year round....

Modern human skull shape seems to be influenced by a diet of a large amount of cooked or otherwise processed food, since we don't have the big jaw muscles needed to support strong grinding or tearing teeth, leaving more room for our big brains.  So cooking food might have started before our brains got nearly as large as they are now.
 
Brice Moss
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Paleo Gardener wrote:
The grinding teeth are probably for nuts, as raw grains are virtually indigestible.



methods for preparing grains and soaking the tannins out of nuts are both almost as old as domesticated fire, so these are a part of many of our ancestral food supplies.

of course talking about ancestral food supplies is a bit problematic as what was eaten depended a lot on which tribe they were part of  and all those genetics are kinda mixed up at this point so I expect the only way to find the right diet for any given person at any given stage of life involves a little geusswork some trail and error and lots of luck.
 
John Polk
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Brice Moss wrote:
The clever fellows cultivating them no doubt loved the tasty root tubers, as I understand the seeds were mostly boiled for oil



The sunflower seeds were also ground into a flour used for making breads.

As the "4th Sister", it was most commonly grown on the north edge of the garden, where it would look over the crops throughout the day.
 
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John Polk wrote:
The sunflower seeds were also ground into a flour used for making breads.

As the "4th Sister", it was most commonly grown on the north edge of the garden, where it would look over the crops throughout the day.

  Rocky Mountain bee plant is the 4th 

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CLSE
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Brice Moss wrote:
methods for preparing grains and soaking the tannins out of nuts are both almost as old as domesticated fire, so these are a part of many of our ancestral food supplies.



    True, but that doesn't mean our bodies have adapted to eating grains. Soaking and sprouting grains does remove some of the problems associated with them, but not all of them. Grains, even when properly prepared (and especially when they are not soaked or sprouted before cooking) still contain various digestion-inhibiting enzymes and gluten itself does not get digested that well. It bears remembering that the whole point of a grain is to not be eaten. Only creatures with specific adaptations (grain-eating birds, rodents, etc) can digest it without harm. There was once a species of grain-eating humans (with large jaws designed for grinding raw grain), but they went extinct while we, the meat-vegetable-and-nut-eating humans survived.
       That said, SOME grains are OK. I eat some myself. If I had acreage to grow my own food on, I wouldn't eat any. Mostly because growing and processing my own grain would be a PAIN compared to other permaculture crops.
 
Brice Moss
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Paleo Gardener wrote:
    True, but that doesn't mean our bodies have adapted to eating grains. Soaking and sprouting grains does remove some of the problems associated with them, but not all of them. Grains, even when properly prepared (and especially when they are not soaked or sprouted before cooking) still contain various digestion-inhibiting enzymes and gluten itself does not get digested that well. It bears remembering that the whole point of a grain is to not be eaten. Only creatures with specific adaptations (grain-eating birds, rodents, etc) can digest it without harm. There was once a species of grain-eating humans (with large jaws designed for grinding raw grain), but they went extinct while we, the meat-vegetable-and-nut-eating humans survived.
       That said, SOME grains are OK. I eat some myself. If I had acreage to grow my own food on, I wouldn't eat any. Mostly because growing and processing my own grain would be a PAIN compared to other permaculture crops.



I do not believe our digestive system is so limited in its abilities as that, bread and beer has been a staple of may diverse cultures for long enough to be evolutionarily significant, also each grain is quite different I do prefer whole (brown) rice and breads with long low temperature rises to let the yeast do its thing. oats  have also never given me the slightest bit of digestive issue, everyones experience will differ. I tried a very well thought out low carb approach a few times and the results for me are catastrophic the time I kept it up for three weeks my sleep needs more than doubled and my ability to sustain effort was reduced to the point where my daily activities became a chore. Admittedly my focus did improve and if I did not prefer to lead a very active lifestyle the increased focus may have been worth the disadvantages. Others who tried the same plan with me reported wonderful results, and indeed seemed to do well.

since then I have been careful not to put my ideas of the best diet onto others
 
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Having not read much of this thread I just wanted to put in my support for the grain-free lifestyle. I've cut out grains and the majority of legumes while increasing my meat and especially fat consumption over the past 2 years.

I've literally never felt better and I dropped 50 lbs without any effort at all.
 
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While everyone is one Weston Price you need to check out his book. It's a long read but well worth it.

WESTON PRICE
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Oh, there is one thing that I forgot to mention: fermented grain products like sourdough have virtually none of the negative effects of other grain. Apparently the yeast and bacteria digest the phytic acid which our body cannot deal with. So sourdough is fine (sourdough pancakes anyone?). Another thing to think about is that we all have imbalanced gut bacteria, so initial responses to natural diets may not be good.
 
Jordan Lowery
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sweet! good to know. i got some sprouted sourdough cinnamon rolls in the cob oven right now.
 
Brice Moss
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It amazes me how well this thread has worked out with so many points of view all contributing valuable points and no fights even though all of us have strong feelingsom the topic.

I want to thank everyone who participated so far.
 
pollinator
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I haven't really researched this - it is just a thought:

When are grains "in season"? 

As my garden becomes more productive I am eating more seasonally.  Could it be that we are designed to eat seasonally, rotating through different foods?

Right now I am eating eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes, herbs and muscadines.

The fall is coming and we will transition into apples and assorted leafy greens.

If I didn't store any foods then we would transition into carrots, pecans and leafy greens for the winter.  With bits of meat or eggs throughout the year.

In the spring and early summer lots of berries and some root crops.

In the more northern climates only meat/fat would be available throughout the winter months.  I believe that is what the indiginous people of the north survived on during the winter months.

So my point is - could it be that we are 'intended' to eat grains when they are in season as many of the other animals of the earth do?  Unless we are more like rodents and are intended to store food for the winter.  Lets make that bees - I prefer being compared to a bee.
 
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