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should people eat any grain?

 
pollinator
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One more thought:

Could it also be that our climate has an effect on what we are supposed to eat?

The people of the north may do better eating a more meaty/fatty diet in the winter and transition to fruits and vegetables in the spring summer and fall.

The people further south where it doesn't freeze might do better to eat less, if any, meat/fat having fruits and vegetables year-round.  Thier fats would be provided by nature in the fall in the form of nut crops.
 
master pollinator
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:

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.



Humans seem to be opportunistic omnivores, as far as our teeth and digestive systems tell us.  Many groups of humans have stored various foods for the winter or hard times.  The tendency to grow a lot of storable food (grain) seems to be a feature only of civilized humans, though non-civilized humans collected and ate grass seeds.  They might have stored some of these seeds. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:
The people further south where it doesn't freeze might do better to eat less, if any, meat/fat having fruits and vegetables year-round.  Thier fats would be provided by nature in the fall in the form of nut crops.



Here in my region summer is a time of dormancy, not abundance, of plants, especially in drought.  A readily available food here at 30 degrees north latitude during summer is meat.  The natives ate a lot of bison.    Fruits and vegetables available now are prickly pears, sotol, and if you're lucky, persimmons.  Growing fruits and vegetables here is very difficult without irrigation, and even with it, difficult because of the abundance of critters who see the green garden as a beckoning oasis amid the parched landscape.  It might make more sense to be a meatatarian and eat a lot of varmints. 
 
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I'm in the middle of a little experiment that everybody should attempt at least once:

For the first time in my adult life, I went without any form of grain for three days.

I had plenty of vegetables, fat, fruit, nuts and chocolate. The feeling wasn't altogether a comfortable one,
because I had to really stuff myself about twice a day to stop the hunger, but was fine after that.
I invariably ate my daily bar of chocolate in one go, and felt a little sick after that (the usual reaction, then) but today I experienced something that went way beyond:

I made a buckwheat pancake, a small one, with only 30g of buckwheat flour.

A few minutes after I'd eaten it, I experienced a HUGE high - the last time I had this king of blood rush, hands trembling and all, was when the oral surgeon had to give me three times the normal amount of narcotic during surgery!
And in addition to that, I immediately had to eat everything within reach.

If eating a whole bar of sugar-loaded chocolate merely causes a bit of uneasyness, yet a few grams of flour shoots you into orbit after a mere three days of abstinence, I think I'll abstain from now.

 
steward
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I almost never eat any kind of grain - except in the form of chicken Wheat and I don't like each other, and I tend to balloon up with grain. I can keep my weight down if I stay way from grain and too many potatoes.

That being said, grain products are a treat for me, especially nice when I am really active, like say stopping at a bakery when on a 2 hour bike ride. Grain then doesn't effect me at all.

If I eat bread without exercise - well it is pretty much a guaranteed nap. I have done this when I need to sleep.
 
Presenter
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Location: Tampa, Florida
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Grains are fine if carefully prepared. The reason some are coming to the extreme conclusion that grains are bad is because most folks have terrible digestion anymore and can't handle them.

The problem is not the grains, it is folks' guts.

Heal the gut, the grains digest fine.

Numerous traditional societies consumed grains and were perfectly healthy - even superior to physique and strength to those that did not eat any grains (The Dinkas of Africa ate grains and were superior in physical form and stronger than the Masai a neighboring tribe that ate no grains).

If one needs to go off grains for awhile to heal the gut, that is of course fine, but thinking one has to eliminate them forever to achieve maximum health is a fallacy.

We eat grains in my home as I feel they are important to a balanced, nonextreme diet. They were also a big part of the diet of Northern Europeans which is my cultural heritage, so not to eat them would be foolish given the genome I was born with.

 
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Here is how to eat whole organic grains



  1. soak for 24 hours to neutralize the phytic acid factors

  2. one example would be brown rice with 33% wheat berries

  3. another is homemade bread that needs slow fermentation of a day or more in
    a cool or cold place.

  4. Eat in isolation meaning>

  5. make a meal of only whole grain bread or only brown rice or only millet
    and so on

  6. do not eat grain with other foods

  7. chew thoroughly

  8. to repeat--- eat grain as an isolated meal

  9. a few slices of dense homemade bread is in fact a meal. It will fill you
    up.



The one food you can eat withe grain to improve grain digestion-
____pickled_____
be it a little kraut or a dill pickle spear but I would start with only 100% grain meals
The grain problem for weak digestive systems starts with eating grains as part of a diverse normal meal
 
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I think that grains are addictive. I read that there is some stuff in it that gives this opiate like feeling. First I didn't believe it. But after being w/o, I really started to crave grains like crazy!
People always focus on the gluten. I think it is more complicated than that. The grain want to reproduce, and therefore protects itself from being eaten by having anti-nutrients. I used to soak, then sprout the grains before cooking/baking. It's much better, but... still, I believe that somehow, we were not meant to eat it. Btw, I am talking of all grains, including rice, millet, buckwheat etc...
For me there's no way around it: grains block me up, even sprouted bread...
About beer: there is something about it I find nourishing... the yeast/fermentation process... But I have heard, long ago, people made beer out of OTHER stuff than grains: pumpkin beer, chestnut beer. Have never tasted it, but I really look forward to some day.
Grains have taken over our lives, they are everywhere.
Grains are great to feed "the masses", wheat/flour is easy/cheap to store. And look what they give to starving people in Africa for instance? grains. That's how they end up with malnutrition and the starving kids have these bloated stomachs... Bloating is a serious side effect of grain eating. I now have totally eliminated all sort of grains, and have pumpkin or potatoes or other tubers/veg instead... So much better
 
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wheat is traditionally a winter crop (in the middle east)..
 
Posts: 79
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+1 for bumping this thread, y'all. One of the best I've read in the forums!
 
pollinator
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Keira Oakley wrote:
Grains are great to feed "the masses", wheat/flour is easy/cheap to store. And look what they give to starving people in Africa for instance? grains. That's how they end up with malnutrition and the starving kids have these bloated stomachs...



Actually those distended stomachs on the starving children are due to kwashiorkor, which is a severe protein deficiency: they eat only carbohydrate/grain and don't have any protein. It's a really serious condition and they can die of it.
 
Keira Oakley
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And instead of beer, one could go for MEAD, made from honey. I tried one fermented in a traditional way, it was nice. Even though I rarely drink nowadays, I think that I would go for that stuff in colder countries...
 
pollinator
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Or hard cider! Currently very trendy and a favorite of mine. Actually, I sampled cyser which is mead & cider together.
 
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One thing no one has mentioned yet is nutrient density of grains. From all the books I've read on the subject, grains contain minute amounts of nutrients and minerals. I noticed after eliminating grains from my diet, I eat about half the amount of food I used to because I'm just not very hungry. I read a book by Chris Kresser "Your personal paleo code". In it, Chris rates food from most nutrient dense to least. I think this was the order: organ meats, fish, red meat, chocolate, chicken, legumes, grains. Even if gluten wasn't poison, is it really in our best interest to fill out diets with empty calories?

Also, I chose to not eat grains for ecological reasons. Wheat cultivation destroys soil (Unless it's grown permaculturally, in which case it would eventually want to success to forest in my region). I also read Wheat desertified the Fertile Crescent. How many little animals and insects get pulverized during the cultivation of wheat?

Whether we are "designed" to eat it or not (for the record I believe we have not yet evolved to thrive on grains) I think there are many reasons to avoid them completely. And I think we should be careful what we wish for. We could "evolve" to thrive on grains, but we might become more bird-like. Although, wings would be cool.
 
pollinator
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Re: Jocelyn's friend, I have one whose gut pain resisted all the docs; she was living on Nexium.. til a therapist suggested apple cider vinegar in water every day... voila! a bona fide miracle, with my own eyes :)

Ditto the praise for Nourishing Traditions, and Dr. W Price's original research in multiple primitive cultures, published in the '30s

My personal theory, from observing birds and bovines, is that they are indisputably 'designed' to eat seeds and grass....(all grain is grass).... and I am not so designed, so I eat the birds and the bovines :)

Just btw, I was astounded to learn that the Green Revolution hybridization produced wheat that is now 1.5 ' tall, and has 28 chromosomes... not the original 14 in heritage wheats, the 'amber waves of grain' that grew 3-4'!)

Here's an interesting article, reconfirming the healthful benefit of loooooong sourdough rising/fermenting for bread, and the benefit of the 'different' grains used in Europe.
http://www.wholeliving.com/183942/our-daily-bread



 
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2 ft tall wheat doesn't wave all that much:)
 
John Master
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Also a Wapf author Chris Masterjohn wrote one of the best articles on wheat. Reading this article kept me from needing to read multiple different books on the topic to form my opinion on what to eat and what to avoid when it comes to grains. http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/10/wheat-belly-toll-of-hubris-on-human.html
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
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That is an excellent, thoughtful article.

 
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I think many people with gluten intolerance do not have the proper microorganizms in their gut because it is not in foods from most sources. This is one reason I garden using biodynamic methods. I buy kamut and spelt grain and also rye and fresh grind it. I grow my own OP corn and amaranth . I make breads using homegrown walnuts, persimmon, dried pears,squash or sweet potato ,fresh eggs and fresh ground flour,local butter, molassas and cane sugar or honey. I freeze this bread for eating in the summer or for travel . They are a nutrient powerhouse and mostly grown on my own soil with my own compost. I eat no more than a slice or 2/day along with homegrown meats ,veggies and fruits from my garden
 
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This thread (and I only read down about half-way on the right-hand screen bar margin thing) was thoroughly engaging. I'm now in the process of trying out which grains and which dairy products I can put back into my diet after a time of eliminating a lot of them. But I'm from Kansas and I love wheat. What I don't love (and if you've driven through Western Kansas, you'll know what I mean) is seeing huge piles of wheat stacked up on coop yards because there isn't even enough silo space for them. I have been experimenting with growing grains on a small scale for several years and I want to go down that path some more--especially now when it's clear that I really don't want to eat grain too much--but the occasional taste of home-grown cracked wheat, perhaps even soaked overnight, is well within my grasp. I am currently waiting for the next dry spell here in Northern New Hampshire to harvest the world's smallest patches of wheat and rye. Thanks for all the good conversation.
 
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The question to this thread is "should people eat grains?"

I've been a grain eater my entire life without any side effects. I gave up bread when I tried Paleo/Primal and then Keto style eating. Inevitably, I missed breads at first.

I recently decided to eat anything and everything again. Boyo, did I gain 15% total body mass in under 2 months. It was a lot of fun, but I felt awful, often.


In order to lose that weight, I became enamoured with a water only fast. My previous best was 3 days, so I went 12 this time.

Upon resumption, I ate anything I wanted, without slow reintroduction of food groups (experiment). Edema, diarrhea, etc.

But, whats interesting is that I cannot tolerate grains/ breads of any kind now. I make all my own, organic and regular Walmart special and the effects are incredibly painful in my tummy.

So I went the other way - carnivore - and its been terrific. It solves so many problems: growing food, all the extra tools one needs, all the back breaking work to go with it.

Carnivore seems so much simpler: hunt for your food, and buy when you run low. It was like an epiphany to me: how to simplify my life (and I don't need vegetables it turns out - I am doing better on this way of eating and I see even mental health benefits (!)

YMMV.
 
pollinator
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I'm not a fan of this kind of should, nor most shoulds in general. People should do what works for them, and their own health issues. In experimenting with my diet in regards to being diabetic, I have found grains to be tolerated better than some other starchy carbs, like sweet potatoes, but that is for me.

 
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paul wheaton wrote:I never did like beer.  I've tried it a dozen times or so and never understood why people seem so keen on it.

So .... how long does it take for humans to evolve .... and how long ago did we start eating grain?  And how long ago did we start cooking food?


Try chestnut beer, I have friends who are trying to move into the gluten free beer business and chestnuts, being low oil and high carb are ideal for that.

As for evolution, all it takes is one conception that produces the right error in the genetics and it starts. Being mother nature, she makes billions of fatal errors in the process, many that we never even realise.
 
pioneer
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Julie Pratt-Willey wrote:So, now we have NO commercially available whole grain flour or breads, you have to grind your own to get whole product.



Commercially available whole grain flour
 
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Anyone mentioned spraying grains (and other produce) with glyphosate just before harvest.  Not sure when farmers start doing that,think not that many years ago. Glyphosate was patented as antibiotic . Our gut microbiome is getting compromised each generation.....without that ...hard to digest anything.

We should be able to eat anything ,unless your body tells you otherwise..... just don't stress about it...too much anyways …. Glyphosate and other toxins,emf pollution all around us ,shouldn't kill us as fast as stress    


 
nancy sutton
pollinator
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Just read a (IMO) fantastic book...'Grain by Grain' about an 'industrial traditional' Montana wheat/cattle farmer, who took a long, interesting route to 'organic ancient wheat' (among other amazing destinations!).  In Chapters 13 and 14 he tells how he was involved in studies comparing health effects of 'modern' wheat and ancient wheat.  What a revelation!!  Apparently wheat CAN be the staff of life.  BTW, author is Bob Quinn.  I think he helps answer the OP"s original question.  I'm off to make some spelt bread, for starters :)
 
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