Monday, January 25, 2010

Tuesday - Active Rest

Active Rest Day

Find something fun and active to do. Play a sport, go for a hike, go rockclimbing, or just get out and enjoy the beautiful state of Washington!


A little dramatic, yes, but not too far from the truth. Grains are NOT HEALTHY, no matter how ‘whole-grain’ or ‘unprocessed’ they are, that can actually make them worse. There are many reasons for this, but let’s start at the beginning:

Organisms tend to thrive when they are in the environment that they evolved in; this is a basic rule of biology. Departure from such an environment, such as in a drastic change of diet, may cause numerous problems to arise; this is what has occurred in the human population today. The average American’s diet is composed of about 72% of foods our ancestors didn’t eat (you can see why our country has the obesity epidemic that it does now).

Today, I'll focus on grains.
Grains weren’t a large part of humans’ diets until somewhere around 10,000 years ago. With the Agricultural Revolution came grains, a new, carbohydrate-rich energy source! Exciting? Maybe not. Grains carry with them a whole host of harmful substances, besides their blood sugar and insulin spiking ability (that‘s a whole other topic).

Gluten, a protein found in many grains, irritates the gut, so much in some people that it can cause an illness called celiac disease, where the a strong autoimmune reaction occurs and the villi (small fingerlike projections in the intestine that allow for absorption of nutrients) are slowly eroded by the body’s own defenses. This process occurs every time gluten is consumed, and the villi are eventually not able to absorb nutrients properly from the gut. Celiac disease occurs in about 1 in 135 people that are have no increased risk factors. Many more people however show an immune reaction to gluten, showing that very possibly, many more people are sensitive to gluten.

Lectins act on wounded cells in the GI tract and stop them from repairing the plasma membranes, which are ruptured from insoluble fiber consumed in the diet. When these cells die, a portal to our body is created where intact proteins and other substances can pass through and enter our bloodstream. These intact proteins and other substances trigger the immune system and inflammation is increased throughout the body.  When an immune response is acute and severe, this can lead to an allergic reaction. (It’s no wonder that peanuts, which also contain lectins, are a major allergen) Otherwise, this inflammation can go unnoticed, and may only make itself known after much damage has been done. This can lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome. Legumes also contain high levels of lectins, and nuts and seeds do as well to a lesser extent. Some of the lectins are destroyed through cooking, but large amounts remain.

Phytates and other Antinutrients are substances that are found bound to the micronutrients found in grains, legumes, and other foods, making them unavailable for absorption in humans. The iron in beans, and the other minerals in those "nutrient rich grains" pass right along into the toilet. Some of the antinutrients are destroyed while cooking, but many remain, especially with today's cooking methods.

More Reading On Grains

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