A New Take On Food: The Grains of Wrath

By: Sydney G

Think back to what you ate for breakfast. What about lunch? Most likely your diet is predominantly grains like wheat, gluten, oats, corn, rye, lectins, barley, and more. You’re probably thinking, “I guess I do live off off grains,” and “What the heck are lectins?!” Similar to you, most of the population has no idea the dangers of eating grains nor are they aware of the damage they are causing to their bodies.

Thousands of years ago our ancestors had almost no access to our beloved grains. During our pre-grain days, physical ability and brain function peaked. Coincidence? Not at all! Phytic acid is found in all grains, and it is critical in understanding the dark side of our diets. Essentially phytic acid is a mineral blocker, preventing you from being able to absorb iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper, therefore eating grains actually sucks all the nutrients out of you! For the few worthwhile nutrients you get out of you bread and pancakes, the damage done is much more severe. After hearing the horrors of phytic acid you might be surprised to find that it is easy to avoid, even while eating grains. When grains are exposed to the elements (aka left out in the fields for a while) they get a chance to sprout. Once sprouting, the phytic acid has been broken down AND the vitamin content has increased. Today most grains and grain products you find in stores don’t have the chance to sprout, however you can order sprouted grains online and occasionally find products in specific stores.

Chances are you’ve heard of being celiac; the number of the people affected by the allergy has increased to nearly 1% of the population. That’s a lot in context of how often gluten is found in our diet, which if you’re wondering is daily for most Americans. While many people associate being celiac with wheat specifically, those who are celiac cannot eat rye or barley either. Being celiac actually means the body will not tolerate ANY gluten, which is present in rye, barley, and wheat. Crazy as it may sound, gluten is a horrifying food. A sticky protein, gluten vanquishes the microvilli found in your small intestines. Over time this causes the victim’s body to gain allergies, autoimmune disorders, and digestive complications, regardless of whether they are celiac. Generally speaking, one damaged body part leads to another, and the intestines are no exception. The small intestines are responsible for sending the signal to the gallbladder to begin it’s process of releasing bile salts. With no signal to leave its home, the bile builds up and eventually turns to little stones which need to be surgically removed. Hence the origin of gallstone removal. If you aren’t scared to your gut yet (Get it? But seriously, your stomach must be screaming for help by now), get ready. Just like any villain, gluten has its sidekick: lectins. Lectins aren’t to blame for ruining your intestines, however they certainly aren’t of any assistance. During digestion, lectins aren’t broken down. They also don’t understand the rules of the intestinal tract. Eager for an adventure, lectins enter the bloodstream where they are seen as invasive and set off the alarm. The immune system then responds with an allergic reaction and next thing you know gluten has been added to an ever-growing list of diet restrictions.

To most people, learning the horrors of their everyday meals can be overwhelming. Fortunately, change is always an option. By removing one malicious food, the entire ecosystem of the body can be altered to a happy, healthy environment. Being healthy is more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle!