Grains even make up most of our favorite snacks and desserts.
And according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society, this is a good thing. These institutions feel that whole grains, such as wheat and brown rice, should be the foundation of a healthy diet.
Do you wanna know what I think? (Since you’re reading my blog, I’m going to assume that you do.)
The USDA, American Heart Association and American Cancer Society are completely WRONG. You do not need grains to be healthy.
Grains and Anti-Nutrients
The main issue with grains is that they contain high amounts of anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients like phytic acid and lectins inhibit your body’s absorption of necessary nutrients like calcium and iron.
For instance, one study found that when male subjects were fed wheat rolls containing 2, 25, and 250 mg of phytic acid, iron absorption was decreased by 18, 64, and 82 percent!
Lectins, when consumed in high amounts, can actually bind to the lining of your intestines and cause intestinal damage. Gluten is particularly troublesome and has been linked to various gastrointestinal disorders, which have been linked to autism.
But Humans Have Been Eating Grains For Thousands of Years!
While 10-30,000 years may seem like a long time to we humans with a mere 100-year life span (at best), it is but a flash in the pan evolutionarily speaking.
Here is an excerpt from Human Diet: Its Origin and Evolution on the increased consumption of grains since the Neolithic Period (when humans settled down and began farming extensively):
Becoming dependent on grains reduced intake of fruits and vegetables, often to 20% or less of total energy intake. Accordingly, access to micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals) previously supplied by fruits and vegetables was substantially decreased.
Of course, cereal grains also provide micronutrients, but not necessarily those to which human biology became accustomed throughout a multimillion-year evolutionary experience, during which fruits and vegetables were the overwhelmingly dominant plant foods.
Quite simply, we have not been consuming a diet high in grains long enough for our anatomy and physiology to have adapted to them in such high quantities.
And while many proponents of a grain-based diet site fiber as a reason to indulge, there is a huge caveat here. The fibers in grains are mostly insoluble.
This means that they lack the ability to absorb water and move comfortably through the body. Think of a harsh bristle brush slowly making its way down your digestive track.
Leave It To the Birds
In short, there is no reason for you to consume grains. Raw or cooked, they’re inferior to raw fruits and vegetables.
If you are having trouble consuming enough calories from fruit on a raw food diet, including some grains in your diet can help. However, I would advise turning to other starches like root vegetables (e.g. sweet potatoes), legumes, oats, and pseudograins like quinoa and amaranth first.
If you wish to consume grains, I’d advise sprouting and then cooking them first. This will reduce the amount of anti-nutrients and improve the overall bioavailability of various nutrients in the food.
Go raw and be fit,
P.S. Want to learn more about the numerous problems with grains and other foods on a raw food diet? Would you also like to learn why raw foods are so amazing for weight loss, energy, digestion, and disease prevention, as well as exactly how you can meet all of your nutritional needs on a raw food diet.
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Post Last Updated: 3/5/2013