The Paleo Diet- The Horrible Truth about Grains

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So one of the biggest things that people despise about the Paleo diet is the fact that it removes things like grains, dairy, alcohol, and processed sugar from your diet. I want to strongly encourage you to keep in mind that this diet gives you so many options when it comes to the foods you can eat it’s not going to pigeon- hole you so that you are eating the same 6-12 meals every week, over and over again.

It gives you the freedom to make your diet as simple or complex as you want to. If you’ve got a simple palate you know what you like you can simplify your meals and your meal plan. If you have time to cook and you love to experiment with different things and check out new recipes, paleo has plenty of variety that you can use in your everyday diet.

Let’s get back to some of the aspects that people don’t like that much about paleo. This will give you an idea of why the paleo diet stays away from grains, sugars, dairy, and alcohol.

Let’s start with grains. So why is the paleo diet so opposed eating the big three grains, as I like to call them? The big three grains are wheat, rye, and barley. The research has shown us that there are some very interesting and chaotic things that happen inside of our body when we are digesting these particular grains. I want to take this dense science and break it down into smaller components that are a little bit easier to digest.

So what is it about wheat, rye, and barley that is so tough on our digestive system? The first thing about them is that they’re covered in a coating that serves as a defense mechanism. Now over the years things evolve. We evolved to adapt to our environment and some foods have evolved as well so that they can better adapt to and survive in their environment. Grains have been able to modify themselves to avoid harvesting and predation. They developed a coating (bran) and other protective elements that wreck our digestive tract as it goes through our bodies.

There’s one major mechanism that most all grains have that make it really hard for us to digest. Lectins in wheat, like WGA (Wheat Germ Agglutinin), can travel through our entire digestive system and remain largely intact. Think about something like corn and how corn comes out whole even after you digest it. Well there’s a similar process that happens when you’re digesting wheat and grains. Your body can’t break it down completely. So what does that mean for us, as they travel through our stomach or intestines?

We have villi and microvilli (small hairlike structures) on our gut lining and the walls of our intestines. These structures absorb essential nutrients from the foods we eat. When these intact lectins travel through our digestive system almost completely intact, they damage these villi and microvilli and begin to create tears in our gut lining.

As these lectins pass through our digestive system, our antibodies begin to treat them as foreign invaders because of the damage that they are causing our system. Our antibodies attach to these lectins and begin to code themselves according to their protein structure, so that our system can fight these “invaders.” Know what the proteins in most grains are? Gluten.

In short, this is how we end up contracting allergies, potentially celiac’s, and certain autoimmune diseases and other health conditions. One of the worst parts is that that we begin to develop allergies to similar protein structures. We not only develop an intolerance or allergy to gluten, but also to similar protein structures. It is not uncommon that you see people get allergies from harmless, simple foods like beef and apples.

If you thought that paleo was grudging on wheat, rye, barley, rice, oats, and quinoa just because of the weight loss, muscle gain, and leanness benefits, think again. What gluten and these lectins can do to our digestive system and body can be devastating and life changing.

Wheat, rye, barley, and other grains have been associated to put you at a higher risk for developing health conditions and diseases like

-Infertility
-Osteoporosis
-Sjogren’s
-Diabetes
-Hashimoto
-Arthritis
-Depression
-Lupus
-Multiple Sclerosis

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