Grok On Agriculture
Is grain bad for us? For years we`ve been told it`s healthy. Have we been mis-guided? Let`s look at a piece of the controversy.
Good or Bad?
Grain came into existence roughly 10,000 years ago. Sounds like a really long time doesn`t it? Put it into perspective by countering it with the approximate 200,000 years that homo sapiens have been roaming the earth. Doesn`t really sound that long compared to that does it? Only twenty percent of our evolutionary time has been infuenced by agriculture. When our former hunter-gatherers started growing grains, the population exploded because of the constant supply of calories and villages started popping up. That is the time frame in which Homo sapiens become shorter with smaller brains, more cavities, and weaker bones. Infectious diseases started appearing and according to the World Health Organization, we have been gaining one disease per every year since the 1970`s. Coincidence? Maybe. But I think it has to do with the food supply and the integration of grains as a staple food source. Same genes, same homo sapiens, different environment, worse health.
What was puzzling to me when I first started listening to Grok, and I`m thinking it`s puzzling other people just like me, is the fact that the government has been telling us for a very long time that grain should be a staple in our diet. Why would they steer us wrong? I don`t know the answer to that. I`m wondering if it`s connected to subsidies and politics, and money, but that`s just me thinking. I have no solid base for that thought. I`m sure I could find one after reseaching for awhile, but for the sake of this article I`ll stick to the health part.
Think of a grain of wheat as a baby plant. In order for the wheat to pass on its genes and multiply, the seed must make it into the ground, sprout, grow up, and repeat. Just like everything in nature, the grain has a defense mechanism against predators so it can reproduce and complete its life cycle. It doesn`t have fangs or claws, it can`t run, it has no wings to fly away....how does it protect itself? Well, it has a bunch of chemical defenses such as gluten, lectins, and phytic acid, among others. These chemical defenses block the absorption of vital vitamins and minerals, disrupt digestion, and cause systemic inflammation. Most of the primal and/or paleolithic world refer to them as anti-nutrients, and all grains include some of them. After our ancestors began incorporating grains into most of their meals their health began to decline.
In the late 1970`s another shift happened. Up until that time the obesity rate in America stayed at a stead twelve percent of adults. Not a great number, but not too bad considering we have a steady supply of food without hunting and gathering it. Unforunately that trend didn`t hold. In the early 1980`s, the obesity rates began their constant ascension up the chart. Currently, we are at a thirty percent adult obesity rate and seventy percent are considered eith obese or overweight. If percents aren`t you`re thing, let`s translate that into one in three American adults are obese and two of the three are overweight. Personally, I don`t like those numbers. They scare me for my children and grandchildren. Why the change from the mid-seventies to now? What happened to the stability of the twelve percent obesity rate that we held for so long?
I think alot of it is because of the low-fat craze that began in the 80`s. People were being told that fat and cholesterol were killing them. My problem with that statement is we had been eating animal fat for thousands of years. Granted, wild game is much less fatty than the feed lot animals we have been conditioned to accept as ok, but it is still animal fat. We were told to avoid fat and eat all kinds of processed, low fat, grain based stuff. I`m sorry, I can`t bring myself to call it food. Call me a food snob, it`s not the first time and it definately won`t be the last.
Besides the anti-nutrients in grain, the other downer is that they raise your bodies` insulin levels. All carbohydrates do this by the way. Insulin is what shuttles nutrients into various cells in your body. You eat carbs and insulin does what it needs to do with them. If you eat too many carbs, such as someone who is told to eat all low-fat, high sugar, refined grain products they wanted might do; without exercising at an insane level, your body pumps too much insulin and you get insulin resistant. That`s not a good thing.
When you`re insulin resistant your body can`t process any amount of carbohydrate. It turns to body fat, and the more fat you have, the more resistant you get. The more insulin resistant you are, a lesser amount of nutrients are being shuttled to your cells, meaning you stay hungry even though you`re eating, so you eat more carbs that your body can`t tolerate. It`s a vicious cycle; one to not get on if at all possible.
To make matters even worse, many of the ingested carbs are made of sugar, or its cheaper, wide spread alternative, high fructose corn syrup. Both forms are high in fructose, which the liver turns into liver glycogen, which is a type of carb based energy, until its liver glycogen stores are full. The stores fill up fast, and unless we burn it off, which for most is not likely, the fructose turns to liver fat.
The all too common low-fat, high sugar, high refined grain based diet ,has given us a society full of obese, diseased people. The great news is that we can change it on an individual basis. It`s actually pretty easy and quite tasty to do so. Ditch the bread, ditch the grains, and reduce your overall carb intake. You will feel better and your body will respond favorably.
For The Record
I am not a doctor, or a nurse, or a certified nutritionist. I am simply a mom, a wife, and a health enthusiast who has looked for the best and most efficient way to fuel my body. I have used myself as a human guinea pig over the course of many years and for close to the last year I have been researching and testing out a more primal way of eating and living. I`m passing these experiences on to you in case it may help someone who is hurting and/or searching.