Grains: Gluten, rice, corn, oats

Phase out grains and gluten Dr. TheresaI generally recommend eating little or no grains, or their by-products such as vegetable seed oils.

Some people may tolerate grains better, or have no problems with inflammation or weight.

How humans evolved
What we call a grain is actually a grass. Corn, oats, rice are all grass. Grains are seeds from grass. Humans cannot digest grass. We also cannot digest seeds from grass until they’ve been processed.

In the circle of life, grass is intended for grass-eating animals (herbivores), which can digest it. We cannot digest grass, so we can eat these animals or their products. Animals help the grass grow by trimming it down so it grows back. They also cannot fully digest the seeds, but animal digestive systems slightly digest the seeds and then deposit them in new places in manure. So there is symbiosis between plant and animal — and the human who eats animal products.

About 10,000 years ago, humans learned to plant grass and cultivate it. This increased starchy yield from grains and provided a good source of storable energy. With basic food prep — mainly grinding and cooking — humans made grains digestible and a source of energy.

Cultivated agriculture has increased the size and yield of grain seeds. Grains have allowed humans to feed more people, but not as well.

Industrial grain processing
Grains require varying amounts of processing, some of which seems harmful to human health. Humans may have pushed a good thing too far.

With processing, one gets from grain: a lot of starch, a little oil and bit of protein. In the industrial era, processing uses high pressure and high temperature to extract oils such as corn oil and canola oil. As the processing intensifies, byproducts are beginning to affect more people. Symptoms include allergies, inflammation and digestive problems. These are signs that the body is overwhelmed.

Problems of grains for human diet
Grains lack certain nutrient building blocks, especially if your diet relies on them excessively.

Wheat slice scale Dr. TheresaGrains cause reactions in humans. Vegetable oils especially are inflammatory. Humans may not be intended to eat a lot of these vegetable oils, no matter how they are processed. For cooking, use coconut oil, ghee, butter or other alternatives.

Glutens include wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is a protein that seems to be allergenic for many people. It causes allergic and digestive problems because the body reacts to the foreign proteins.

The grains themselves (and the soils they grow in) have been depleted by increasingly intensive industrial cultivation and processing of monoculture grains.

Specific grains
People often ask about specific grains. When I’m not concerned about my weight, I occasionally eat quinoa, rice and maybe perhaps some steel-cut Irish oatmeal that is gluten-free.

The least harmful is probably rice because it is gluten-free and generally less inflammatory. But rice can cause weight gain in people who are intolerant of carbohydrates. I eat quinoa, mostly because it’s interesting and I think it tastes good. Oats are generally gluten-free but sometimes contain gluten because they are processed in the same factories.

Soy
Soy is not a grass. It’s a legume. See separate article Soy is not a health food.

More information
The book Wheat Belly by cardiologist William Davis.

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