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 A Grain Free Diet: Why It's Smart And How To Go About It

A grain free diet just makes sense. Grains are nutrient-poor, often contain harmful gluten and a wide variety of antinutrients, require cooking to become palatable, and will addict you.

In this article we'll examine what's wrong with grains and a replacement for them which may strike you as a non sequitur: Fruit.

A Grain Free Diet: How Grains Addict You And Change Your Behavior

Personally, I'd say the most alarming things about grains is what they can potentially do to our minds. We're reliant on our brains to chart our way through this world, and I really don't like it when something impairs mine's ability to do so. Grains are among the foods that can.

Most grains contain addictive opioids. Wheat, for instance, has been found to contain at least 15 opioid peptides (1). In human and animal studies they've shown the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and affect the central nervous Grain Free
                          Diet Grain Productssystem, which has the potential to alter our mood, perception, cognition, and behavior (2).

"I'm cravings some bread" - it's a statement you probably hear pretty frequently alongside groans for pasta and other grain products.

While cravings crop up in response to a lack of carbohydrates and often have an emotional element, very often that craving is spurred by chemical withdrawal. If you've been abstaining from grain products for awhile your system starts to clean itself, and just like a recovering addict you'll start to crave them.

A Grain Free Diet: Grains Cause Mental Illness

Beginning in the 1970s doctors started to notice relapsed schizophrenics sometimes recovered considerably faster if they were fed milk and grain free diets (3).

Many raw foodists report a connection between grains and the disappearance of their mental illnesses. When I interviewed Victoria Everett, she explained how she can more or less turn on and off the schizophrenic voices in her head by including or removing certain foods from her diet, one of which is bread.

Many researchers now recognize that a number of psychiatric disorders such as cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, schizophrenia, and autism seem to have a strong link to gluten, and some patients removing gluten from their diets have seen an improvement or abatement of symptoms. The correlation between gluten and mental illness remains highly controversial, however, with some researchers maintaining that there is no connection whatsoever (4).

Grain Free Diet: Grains are Low-Nutrient Foods Not Worth The Effort Of Chewing

Grains are very low-nutrient foods. Most grains have little or no vitamin A and except for corn, no beta-carotene (a source of A). They contain no vitamin C, and are low in many B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and many other critical nutrients.

Grain Free Diet

Although the average western diet is varied enough and the grains supplemented enough that deficiencies rarely develop, in the developing world, where grains and other low-nutrient staple foods often make up more than 80 percent of a person's food intake, its not unusual for grain-eaters to run into nutritional deficiencies.

Although rare in the west today, civilizations (including the United States) were often plagued by scurvy (lack of vitamin C), pellagra (lack of B3/niacin), beriberi (lack of B1/thiamine), and several other deficiencies caused by diets high in grains and starches and low in fruits and vegetables.

These nutrients and many others, which are found in their greatest concentrations in raw fruits and vegetables, which are critical for human health and vitality. With almost everyone in the developed world today dying many years before their time due to the ravishes of  the preventable and reversible diseases of affluence, it just doesn't make sense to sacrifice your diet's nutrient density by including low-nutrient grains.  A grain free diet is the way to go.

A Grain Free Diet: Gluten Is Dangerous

The majority of grains, including wheat, include gluten, a sticky protein composite that wreaks havoc on the bodies of a many people.

Gluten is the cause of coeliac disease, an autoimmune disease in which the intestines are gradually destroyed, eventually limiting a person's ability to absorb nutrients from their food.

It's unclear exactly how many people suffer from coeliac disease, but it's widely acknowledged that whatever the number is, it's a common ailment and the majority of those suffering from it have never been diagnosed. Some of the more moderate estimates of its incidence rate are 1 out of every 105 people (5), but some medical researchers place it closer to 1 in 70. The older you get the more likely you are to suffer from the disease, with an incidence rate for people over the age of 52 pegged at 1 in 47 (6).

Another autoimmune diseases caused by gluten is dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes horrible skin rashes.

Grain Free Diet Gluten FreeIn both diseases, a completely grain free diet  causes the diseases to disappear completely.

But a huge chunk of the population is what's called gluten sensitive, a catch-all phrase for a wide variety of conditions and symptoms now believed to be at caused or worsened by gluten in the diet.

Many of them are related to degeneration of digestive ability, skin, or the intestines. Estimates of gluten sensitivity range from 30 percent of the population to as high as 50 percent (7).

This barely touches the surface, and as time goes on grains are being fingered as the cause of a wide variety of diseases. In my own life, I was only able to get rid of the colitis I suffered from when I removed all grains and starches from my diet.

A Grain Free Diet: What's The Alternative?

Because grains wreak havoc on the bodies and minds of a very large part of the world's population, it's clear that people would do well to avoid them.

But what's the alternative? Grains, after all, provide the majority of calories to the average person's diet. The replacement has to come from somewhere. Let's review a few options:
  • Meat, Eggs, And Dairy: Animal foods aren't a good replacement for the ones you'll give up when you switch to a grain fee diet. Meat is well known for it's ability to cause variety of diseases, and eggs and dairy are no better. Stay clear of animal foods.
  • High-Fat Foods foods such as oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, and margarine: High-fat foods don't make for good options on a grain free diet in more than minor quantities.  A high-fat diet causes all kinds of problems, including high-blood-sugar-related issues like diabetes. While nuts and seeds a great in small quantities, processed fats like oil and margarine should be completely avoided.
  • Cooked Foods In General: Any sort of cooking is going to seriously degrade the nutrient content of a food, derange it's protein so it's hard or impossible for the body to use, and bring about a host of other problems. It makes sense to avoid any cooked food.
  • Vegetables: Raw vegetables are of course incredibly healthy and you should eat a lot of them, but the problem is they're so low in calories and high in volume that it's virtually impossible to get enough calories to live off of while following an all-vegetable diet. Many people use fats to add to the calories of grains, but as we discussed above, that doesn't work.
So now that we know what won't work, but what will? The answer may not seem like the obvious choice, but it's a fantastically rewarding one.

A Grain Free Diet: The Fruit Alternative

Grain Free Diet Fruit Alternative

Fruit is actually the food choice that makes the most sense for use in supplying the majority of our calories. It's low in toxins, is know to prevent many diseases, and it's also incredibly satisfying. It's the food we evolved eating in the tropical forests where our species had it's start, and we're still adapted to thrive on it today.

A healthy low fat raw food diet gets most of its calories from fruit, but also contains plenty of raw vegetables and a few raw nuts and seeds.

This diet will help you prevent aging, overcome your health problems, and open up a new realm of vitality for you.

A Grain Free Diet: Following Up

Learn how to get started on a raw food diet today.

Decided to go with a grain free diet? Figure out what foods you should choose and what ones you should avoid.

Grain Free Diet Sources:

(1) Fukudome Si and Yoshikawa M (1991) Opioid peptides derived from wheat
gluten: their isolation and characterization. FEBS Lett 296: 107-111.
(2) Zagon IS and McLaughlin PJ (1991) Brain Res. "Identification of opioid peptides regulating proliferation of neurons and glia in the developing nervous system."
(3) Dohan FC and Grasberger JC (1973) relapsed schizophrenics: earlier discharge from the hospital after cereal-free, milk-free diet. Amer J Psychiat 130:685-686.
(4) Schuppan D, Junker Y, Barisani D "Celiac disease: from pathogenesis to novel therapies". Gastroenterology 137 (6): 1912–33. December 2009 doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2009.09.008. PMID 19766641.
(5) Rewers, Marian J. "Epidemiology of Celiac Disease: What Are the Prevalence, Incidence, and Progression of Celiac Disease?". Gastroenterology (National Institute of Health) 128 (4 Suppl 1): S47–51. 2005. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2005.02.030. PMID 15825126
(6) Vilppula A, Kaukinen K, Luostarinen L, et al. Increasing prevalence and high incidence of celiac disease in elderly people: a population-based study. BMC Gastroenterol. 2009;9:49
(7) Braley, James M.D. Ron Hoggan, M.A. and Jonathan Wright. “Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous To Your Health” Avery Trade (August 22, 2002).

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