Why You Should Be Eating Grains

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist February 6, 2012

Are you currently grain free or on the full GAPS Diet to heal your allergies or another autoimmune issue?

Fear not, this can and should be only a temporary situation!

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride MD, author of groundbreaking book Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), writes that almost half the population reports some sort of “allergy” to a food or foods.

Despite this sobering statistic, she estimates that only 1% of people cannot recover from these food allergies (yes, this includes celiac).

This means that only 1% of people really need to be grain free forever.   Going grain free to reverse allergies should be only a 1 1/2 to 2 year process, not a lifelong sentence in the vast majority of cases!

The important thing is to know how to prepare your grains traditionally when you re-introduce them!

Plenty of Traditional Societies consumed grains, some like the Swiss obtained a large share of their calories from sourdough bread.  Hunter-gatherers from Canada, the Everglades, Australia, Africa, and the Amazon consumed a variety of grains, tubers, vegetables and fruits that were available in addition to plenty of animal foods, so don’t fall for the incorrect notion that ancestral societies didn’t eat grains and that it is unhealthy to do so.

And, if you haven’t yet learned to prepare your grains traditionally and are still consuming plenty of modern grains on a daily basis, you better learn quick as the autoimmune/allergy train is coming down the tracks at full speed and it’s headed straight for you (if it hasn’t flattened you already)!

Knowing how to prepare grains traditionally is the only way to consume them long term without autoimmune illness inevitably cropping up, unless you are part of the 1% who needs to avoid them forever.

For most of us, then, traditional preparation of grains is an essential skill in the kitchen, one that must be mastered to experience vibrant health.

Please note that freshly grinding your flour and baking your own bread with yeast is not traditional preparation of bread!

Fresh bread does not necessarily equal healthy bread!

Bread and other grain based foods must be sprouted, soaked, or sour leavened to be digestible and healthy!

If all of this sounds like Greek to you, then you need to consider taking The Healthy Whole Grains E-class that is currently accepting enrollments.

A good way to get a sneak peek about this class is to sign up for the free Webinar on Healthy Whole Grains that will take place this Thursday, February 9, 2012.

Over 1,000 people have already signed up for this Webinar and space is limited, so don’t delay if this important topic is of interest to you.

So, go with the grain, not against it.  It is not necessary to be grain free to be healthy and it’s certainly not very fun – at least not long term.

Eating, after all, is meant to be a pleasant and enjoyable experience and grain based foods no doubt play a big part in that.

 

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Source:  Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, 2009

Nasty, Brutish and Short? by Sally Fallon Morell

 

Comments (151)

  1. Pingback: A List Of Foods That Grains Antibiotics That Do Not | my gluten free diet

  2. OK, I am reintroducing grains. And I feel sick every morning when I wake up (goes away after I eat breakfast). I have tried soaking grains before, and I feel lousier eating those than I do the plain ones. Suggestions?

    Reply
  3. I almost never leave a response, however i did some searching and wound up here Why You Should Be Eating Grains | The Healthy Home Economist.
    And I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright.
    Could it be just me or does it look like some of these
    comments look like coming from brain dead people? :-P And,
    if you are posting on additional online social sites, I would like to follow anything fresh you have to post.

    Would you make a list of the complete urls of your communal pages
    like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    Reply
  4. There is an abundance of evidence that grains are detrimental to a normal gut. Grains are an anti nutrient due to phytic acid. Phytic acid, present in all grains, binds to the intestinal tract and prevents the absorption of nutrients. Why eat grains at all when there are an abundance of healthy alternatives making grains unnecessary? Not to mention the fact that it is nearly impossible to avoid gluten. It’s in deoderant, toothpaste, candies, and on and on. Americans are obsesse with grains. There is hardly any American meal that does not contain some form of grain. Even Soy Sauce has gluten in it. Perhaps the reason that so many people are having an allergic reaciton is because grains today contain significantly more gluten than grains in the 40′s. Grains are in fact unnecessary and if one is allergic, listen to your body and stop eating them.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Proper Grain & Legume Preparation | Butter On The Altar

  6. Pingback: Soaked brown rice pancakes

  7. Pingback: Compare Paleo Diets

  8. I don’t see the benefit of eating grains in this article. Why should I eat grains when I can get the same nutrients and benefits from vegetables, fruits, and nuts and I can avoid phytic acid?

    Reply
  9. I highly recommend the book Primal Body, Primal Mind. It will explain a lot. Unfortunately, I (still) cannot tolerate grains and haven’t eaten them for a year now. My children eat them in limited amounts but do better when I can manage to feed them protein and fat. I just wonder, if even though “traditional cultures” ate grains, what about the eons before that when no grains were consumed?

    Reply
  10. Hi Sarah
    Years ago I bought a baking book called Baking Bread: Old and New Traditions by Beth Hensperger.

    Many of her bread recipes involve what she refers to as a ‘sponge’. Is this the same as ‘soaking’?

    Reply
  11. Sarah,
    8 months ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. My husband and I decided to make our home gluten free. We have seen many health improvements – weight loss, elimination of reflux, etc. A few months ago we both became more interested in optimizing our health further through diet, and I discovered WAPF and have dug in further to more reading and research. We have been eating a Traditional Foods and Gluten Free diet for about 2 months now, and the results seem to be pretty amazing (continued weight loss and health improvement, etc.).

    I have read on several of your blog entries that you now purchase your sourdough bread from the store. As I am a gluten-free Celiac, can you recommend a GF bread at the store? I am still new to Traditional Foods and although I am very committed, I do still find the amount of time I’m spending in the kitchen a bit overwhelming. We would LOVE to make a sandwich once in a while, or have a piece of toast with some butter! A source for GOOD, HEALTHY gluten-free bread would be GREAT!

    PS I do also plan to buy the purchasing guide from WAPF

    Reply
  12. You could, but why bother? The nutritional value of grains is questionable at best. Fiber does nothing to benefit your gut, and in fact may hasten it’s destruction. Wheat is not poisonous to certain people… it’s poisonous to everyone… the only difference is how quickly and to what degree the effects are noticed.

    Reply
  13. My head is spinning from all of these comments…eat grain…don’t eat grain…I think one point that we’re missing here is addressing biochemical individuality. One way to know that you are eating right for your metabolic type is that you maintain a healthy weight and don’t have digestive discomforts or other discomforts such as joint pain, migraines and rashes. However, I know we have put ourselves at higher risk of food intolerance now because of the Standard American Diet and have trashed our digestive tract. The optimal ratio of MacroNutrients (Carbs, Fats, Proteins) can look different for each individual. I also think one’s ancestry plays a huge role in what you can tolerate as well. One persons food truly can be another person’s poison. In my home, we eat a balanced, varied diet – and we are all healthy (thank God) maintain a healthy weight and free of disease – this includes my 66 year old mother. I am however intrigued with some of Sarah’s teaching about preparing grains and legumes and making stocks and fermenting foods – will have to give it a try.

    Reply
  14. Good for you, Nickole. The more you read, the more you’ll realize that grains (especially modern wheat) are not only unnecessary on our diets, they can actually be quite harmful. Some people are more susceptible than others… but why risk all the harmful side effects? Bottom line: you don’t need grains in your diet and if someone tells you that you should be eating them, politely tell them you don’t feel like destroying your gut.

    Reply
  15. I just started reading Wheat Belly and it does seem to make a lot of sense. I just read all these comments and I am just so thankful that you guys are discussing this b/c it really does help me in my confusion about wheat. I am going to continue to read this book for sure now. I think the author has a lot of insight.

    Nickole

    Reply
  16. Ally… you would be surprised. The glycemic index of whole wheat bread is higher than table sugar… and yes, this bread is whole grain. Even some candy bars have a lower glycemic index than whole wheat bread. Carbs (regardless of their source) are readily and easily converted to glucose, provoking an insulin response. The damage caused by grains (especially today’s mutant varieties) is easily avoided… so why put yourself in that situation? The more research I do, the more convinced I am that grains are not necessary and after eliminating them from my diet, I do not crave them.

    I will agree that not all carbs are created equal. However, what carbs you do eat is best obtained from fresh vegetables and some fruits. We were never evolved to eat grain and since we’ve only been eating them for about 10,000 years, we have not evolved to properly digest them. Some people are extremely fortunate and don’t have the same kind of insulin response to grains that most of us experience. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to get yourself a glucose meter and measure your levels after eating a meal of grains. For me, grains are definitely off the list… and it’s time for me to reverse all the years of “low-fat high-carb” nonsense that have left me obese and quite possibly insulin resistant.

    Reply
  17. Sarah, Can you please provide some info on the “traditional” societies and hunter gatherers which consumed grains that you are referencing? All of the research and material I’ve read indicates otherwise, however I am open to learning about the information you have.

    Reply
  18. Hi Sarah, I followed your video and soaked my grains with some vinegar in it. Traditionaly where I come from we don’t use vinegar or any acid to soak. The problem with the acidic solution was that my grains never fully cooked. Last year I tried soaking beans folloing N.McBride advice to add kefir and guess what? WE had to throw them away. I also tried soaking batter for pancakes with some kefir and the batter turned very sour, almost bitter. Please advice me where I went wrong and do you have the same problem. Also do you use pressure cooker to coo your grains? Thank you, Teodora, Bulgaria

    Reply
  19. Dj,

    Thanks for your comment,I am not talking about eating lots and lots of grains and Im certainly not talking about eating “healthy whole grain” cereal – I think we are unaninoumous that is seriously harmful stuff and the fact that you referred to this misses the point.
    Here in Ireland we have a diet that is traditionally quiet reliant on brown soda bread- I used to eat this and frankly two slices with full fat butter was satisfying and didn’t give me sugar highs, I was never overweight and didn’t have the wheat belly but always completely avoided sugar because I was well aware of its harms – I went Paleo because after reading Mark Sisson and other Paleo books, I was convinced, who wouldn’t be!
    If we look at the carbohydrate composition of bread, the most popular stoneground buttermilk type here has 9g of carbs per slice but no matter how much you say carbs = sugar = insulin, I just can’t believe that I would feel the same effect from eating 9 X 1g packets of sugar. Not all carbs are equal because the digestibility of the carbohydrate in the bread would be more complex than simply downing sugar which would no doubt turn straight to insulin.
    If Paleo has had a positive impact on your health, then that’s great. Truly I am delighted about it’s popularity because there is no doubt it is moving people away from processed sugary stuff.
    A few of my friends have just recently begun a Paleo lifestyle and I certainly wouldn’t degrade it given the rubbish they used to eat before – funningly enough they never listened to my lectures about how harmful their fizzy drink addiction’s were in the past but now they are almost high on information and are their favourite line is ‘it’s all about the insulin’!!
    We are all on our own personal journey’s, seeking optimal health is commendable and I simply would like to add some grains back in to my diet and think that perhaps 4-6 slices/ week of spouted spelt bread with butter might be a good place to start. It is always good to use our own intuition and this is how I am using mine. We must think for ourselves – so many people are loosing that skill – I see that in my friends who are now Paleo – their whole lives they ate crap then they read mark’s book and now they are “Paleo” – I’m not saying that is a bad thing but just the fact that they were never able to think for themselves that the food that they were eating was wrong all their lives and these are the kind of people that are incredibly devoted to non grain eating – the people who don’t think and question for themselves – all arguments are rehashed from mark sisson and co’s books/blogs rather than from one’s own mind!

    Ally :)

    Reply
  20. What a poorly written and researched article…and then when someone challenges the content the author either doesn’t respond or merely states that it is not so – there’s evidence-based science for you !

    It is also illuminating that the author admits to actually be following a low grain diet herself despite advocating grains as being healthful – why don’t you eat a higher percentage of grains in your diet if they are so beneficial ?

    The bottom line is that grains contain substances known to be toxic to the human digestive system, but through processing or ‘traditional preparation’ you will remove some of the toxins – sprouting reduces phytic acid, soaking doesn’t ; but there is evidence that wheat lectin actually increases when sprouted !!! It will not however remove the benzoxozinoids that are known mutagens.

    Not to mention that grains today are not the same as ancient grains, or even from recent history, as others have mentioned.

    If you have now, or have recovered from, an auto-immune disease/ grain allergy why would you take the risk ?

    Reply
  21. Pingback: So that’s why I don’t eat wheat… « Forgotten Domestic Arts

  22. Hi,
    I registered for the grain webinar, but didn’t get to watch it, and haven’t received info yet on how to watch the recording. Perhaps the info hasn’t been e-mailed yet, but if it has, I don’t want to miss out on it so I thought I’d check! :) I’m really looking forward to learning about grains as I’m very confused about them right now! Thanks for your great website and information!
    Becky

    Reply
  23. Pingback: "why you should be eating grains" ...UNwise traditions? | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

  24. Personally, I want to know how a diet without grains is “limited”. I keep seeing that tossed around like it’s fact; yet with the incredible variety of meats and vegetables and the countless ways in which they can be prepared… I fail to see how we’re “limited”. There’s more than just eggs and bacon out there. (Although I’m a huge fan of both).

    Ally… grains = carbohydrates = sugar. Obesity does not equal diabetes and just because you are insulin resistant or type 2 diabetic doesn’t mean you will be obese. It is also nearly impossible to overeat on a high-fat, low carb diet… since fat will leave feeling more satiated for a longer period of time. If you consume a lot of grains, you’ll end up feeling hungrier sooner and since grains aren’t all that nutritionally dense, you’ll eat more than you should to keep from feeling hungry all the time. After all, I take a look at what is supposed to constitute a full serving of “hearthealthywholegrain” cereal and I think “I’m supposed to eat less than a cup of this in one sitting and feel full?” Have you ever just ate one serving of grains and said to yourself “Boy, I’m FULL! I couldn’t possibly eat another bite!”? Of course not… and to top if off, even if you eat your fill, you’ll be hungry again in a couple of hours.

    I have yet to see one compelling argument for eating grains. They are completely unnecessary and even potentially harmful to our health. I want everyone who agrees with the author of this article to think about the logic being presented:

    “Get off grains to heal the damage they caused, then once you’re all healed, go back to eating them to start the damage cycle all over again… you can just heal yourself by going back off of them for a while”.

    How about eliminating them and as a result, eliminating the damage they cause forever?

    Reply
  25. Pingback: Top 10 Reasons to Eat Grains | The Liberated Kitchen, LLC

  26. Ally, If you’re sick of eggs, eat something else. Personally, I eliminated grains not only to recover my digestive and joint health, but also to get control of my blood sugar swings. Type II Diabetes runs rampant in my family (though, I do not have it yet, Thank God!), and selectively choosing my carbs, and eliminating grains and starchy foods is the only way to keep my blood sugar from swinging out of control. Given the fact that I just don’t have time to properly prepare grains before eating them, eliminating them is just better for my health. I can get the health benefits from grains, and stay completely satisfied, with other foods, so there is just no need for me to eat them. I don’t miss them at all.

    Reply
  27. I cannot believe you are advocating people with CELIAC’s to eat gluten!!! It is incomprehensible! Celiac’s is an autoimmune disorder that is inherited and can only be controlled by ELIMINATING GLUTEN. As a diagnosed Celiac with a daughter who suffers from this disorder as well, your message to reintroduce gluten (namely wheat) is not only baffling, it can be dangerous.

    Reply
  28. Hi Sarah,

    I have been following a Paleo regime for about two years and find myself questioning it as the benefits were never that enormous given that I always followed a healthy unprocessed, low sugar diet.
    I think for a lot of people who had a habit of over eating due to the addictive nature of the poor food choices they were making find it a novelty to not be constantly hungry so they think Paleo is the holy grail – actually it’s becoming frightening how hard core argumentative and closed minded many “Paleo” blogs are becoming!
    Recently I came across a cookbook of my grandmothers with shopping lists and recipes and they ate much bread that they freshly prepared and never were overweight nor made doctor visits – understandbly they were far more active and had other positive lifestyle factors also – now I feel myself questioning the Paleo ethos and feel that I really am sick of the sight of eggs and would like more variety in my diet.
    In my local health store they sell an organic sprouted spelt bread – 100% sprouted spelt – would this be an okay option to re introduce grains? I am a student living in a house share and grinding my own flour isn’t going to happen for now.

    Thanks,
    Ally :)

    Reply
  29. Wow when I ate a lot of wheat and other grains I got fatter and fatter and fatter until I was about 50 lbs overweight…I also had to have a food of my intestines removed as it was inflamed, infected and almost disintegrated…which would have killed me…

    Now I eat no wheat and no grains and I am losing my fat layer..I can see my ribs again and it is a wonderful site. I feel great. I am watching my muscles grow also…I can now flex my thigh and it does not jiggle it flexes…

    I am NOT going back to eating grains and get fat all over again they are just not worth it.

    One cup of rice breaks down to 6 teaspoons of sugar in the number of carbohydrates..why would I want to eat that much sugar with my dinner? I will stick with a steak cooked in butter, and a bunch of steamed veggies soaked in butter or covered with real cheese and watch my fat layer get even smaller…who needs toast when they can have BACON!!!!

    Reply
  30. People have been on primal for years with no ill effects whatsoever; in fact, they’re healthier for it. “Modern lifestyle”? How about modern processed foods such as sugar and flour? Those are the real problems. I suggest you read this if you believe that we magically adopted to grains:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110615094514.htm#.TzL3QwtnYqs.facebook

    The fact is, we as a species got shorter, fatter and sicker when we switched to agricultural-based diets.

    Reply
  31. I tried going grain free and felt horrible. I was freezing all the time, I live in florida and could never get warm! I now eat a soaked rice dish twice a month, pasta once a month and bread sandwiches a few times a week. All things in moderation. I feel like the primal diet is the new vegan diet. It’s one extreme to another. People feel great at first staring a vegan diet, maybe for a period they need to be away rom those foods but soon thigs begin to go wrong. We simply need a balanced diet!

    Reply
  32. Please add my voice to those wondering about how the title of the article applied to its contents.. Based on your other writings I’ve seen that you do advocate a very sane approach to diet, but I’m still lost on why you think it is necessary to eat grains. Thanks for any illumination.

    Reply
  33. While it’s true that there are those who can eat properly prepared grains without ill effect (there are many with broken metabolisms who can’t, though), it is wrong to say one “should” be eating grains. We can get along just fine without them and did for most of our history as human beings. Whatever nutrition is in properly prepared whole grain foods can be obtained in spades from a diet of non starchy vegetables, low sugar fruits, fish, eggs, nuts, fatty meats and organ meats–no grains required.

    Reply
  34. Like the others, I have not seen you post a valid reason to eat grains. What is their nutritive value? Skip the grain and live longer. Read “Wheat Belly” and become educated. Every fact in the book is backed up with a reference to the study or document it came from. My tribe never had wheat until the 1940′s and since then obesity, diabetes, and all the other side effects associated with that are prevelent. Yeah, I’m off wheat and I’m hoping everyone else will see the light as well.

    Reply
  35. I don’t see where your argument for why we should be eating grains is. All I see is why we need not be forever grain-free if we like to eat grains. Personally, food is more enjoyable without any grains because all the sprouting, fermenting, acidifying, souring, and so on is such a hassle compared to some nice mashed potatoes.
    Joe\’s last post: Collard Milk

    Reply
  36. Wheat, modern or not, sprouted or not, contain toxic proteins and when ingested the body produces antibodies, antibodies often attack the tissues like the gut lining, the blood brain barrier, cartilage. It manifests itself systemically. The antibodies are in your blood, they go where ever blood goes. The antibodies cause inflammation. If you continue to eat wheat you are adding fuel to the fire. If you stop eating wheat and put the fire out, why would you want to start the fire again? I have lived 3 years grain free now and dont miss the pain and suffering it inflicted on me.

    Reply
  37. I’ve been mostly grain free for about eight months with a few lapses with flour based foods and experiments with soaked gluten free grains. All grains aren’t created equal, as in some gluten free grains with low phytic acid being easier to digest. Aren’t flour based foods are harder to digest and more like a starches to our bodies than the whole grain? Sifted, soaked, and soured is better, but possibly not exactly a health food and it takes the place of more nutrient dense foods. As far as dental health goes, the grain and starch category of foods also may upset the balance our bodies need.

    Reply
  38. Ann Marie mentioned about having red dots on her skin as a sign on low thyroid function coming from low carbs. I’ve got red dots too and never knew what caused this. Where did you get this info? I used to be on GAPS, and now am just GF still, so I think I’m getting enough carbs.

    Reply
  39. “Despite this sobering statistic, she estimates that only 1% of people cannot recover from these food allergies (yes, this includes celiac).”

    Sarah, are you saying here that celiac cannot be cured by the GAPS diet to the point that you can eventually go back to eating gluten afterwards? I don’t want to put all that effort into the diet and then mess myself up again if I should avoid gluten for life.

    Reply
    • Kathy, as a celiac sufferer, you have damaged villi in you gut lining called villous atrophy, The only way to know for certain if you can go back to eating gluten containing grains is to do a biopsy. Why put yourself through that. The chance of your gut healing to the point where you can reintroduce grains is very slim. Dr. Thomas O’Bryan is on the Teaching Faculty at the Institute for Functional Medicine. He was interviewed on the underground wellness radio show with Sean Croxton. I recommend you listen in on this excellent podcast. Toward the end of the podcast callers call in to ask the Dr. Questions, there are a few that are in the same boat as you. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2012/01/13/prps–the-secret-weapon-in-treating-neurological-disorders

      Reply
      • i’m no expert but i was watching a youtube video by dr. peter osbourne and he discusses this. he said the biopsy test is really not a good indicator and the only way to know whether you need to avoid gluten forever is a genetic test to see if you are gluten sensitive from a genetic standpoint.

        Reply
  40. I agree- the wheat we eat today is different than the one we use to eat before. What about spelt as an alternative? It is still pretty much untouched… as of right now. I also wanted to ask about wheat germ- does that need soaking? Just wondering- I’m new to the soaking world!
    Thanks for the great info and videos- love them.
    Peas,
    Sharon

    Reply
  41. In the article I never saw a reason “Why you should be eating grains”? Sarah, why do you think we need them? What do you think the problem is with not eating them? Thanks!

    Reply
  42. I guess this point is just not getting through. The wheat being eating today (the 2 1/2 foot semi-dwarf compact head variety) is not even close to the wheat our grandmothers and great-grandmothers ate (the 4 1/2 foot natural head variety). Wheat changed SIGNIFICANTLY in the 1950s and 1960s. The wheat genome is completely different. It isn’t even close to the wheat that was around in Dr. Price’s time. Continuing to tout the benefits of such a horribly unhealthy grain when you have not educated yourself is similar to the folks that tell us that CAFO meat is the same as pastured raised meat. It’s just not true. I would feel better about someone calling a book another “fad book” if they had taken the time to read it and actually investigated the science, research and studies that it cites. Wheat belly is not a fad book and has solid science and research behind it. It was written by a Preventive Cardiologist, Dr. William Davis. I hope you take the time to read it and see for yourself.

    Reply
  43. Yes, soaking/sprouting/souring is a critical step of grain preparation. However, little is ever made of Price’s concurrent finding that all cultures left their bread to age for 2 weeks following cooking, before they were eaten. I find it very interesting that we make so much of one part of the process (a very important part) and yet miss this.

    Reply
  44. After reading all the comments, I have come to the conclusion that one should definitely limit consumption of grains (even properly prepared) but no need to totally eliminate from diet because they are very enjoyable. If one has weight issues or gut inbalance then they should limit even more if not elimate for a while. Sarah says she doesn’t eat much and she is healthy and fit. I trust her opinion. In my case, I need to lose about 10 pounds so I am limiting grains to see what happens. I think it might even help my inflammation. All the comments have been very helpful to me. Thank you!

    Reply
    • @Teresa

      Actually if one have weight issues they likely have a hormonal imbalance. In which case they should increase their carbs (very easy to do by adding grains) to help raise the metabolism and thyroid function. See my comment above with the quote from Paul Jaminet.

      I agree that if someone has food allergies and a leaky gut, it’s best to avoid grains for a period of time while they heal their gut.
      Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE\’s last post: GAPS Diet Myths

      Reply
  45. Interesting debate here. I’ve been on a modified GAPS diet (I do eat some starches as I fear I’d disappear if I left all of them out; I’ve gotten too thin as it is) for the past 3 months. Since I ate mostly gluten-free grains for the past year, it wasn’t too difficult to go off grains completely. If you told the carb-addict (pasta and pizza everyday) me that I should not eat grains 3 years ago, I’d have said you were insane…but I dug myself into a hole and now need to get out an heal. I do hope to be able to eat good sourdough again in the future. I used to always say “there’s nothing better than good bread with butter”. But, I’ve also heard that wheat is not what it used to be. I’d love for someone to provide facts/links to data that proves this statement to be true or false (either way, just so there is clarity). Honestly, I wouldn’t have a hard time believing it considering all the other foods we’ve managed to corrupt in the past 100 years. Dr. Catherine Shanahan (author of Deep Nutrition, Why Your Body Needs Traditional Food-excellent book) , who is a proponent of the traditional diet and WAPF supporter also stated in her blog a while back something to the effect that, and please correct me if I’m wrong, grains should be very limited in our diet as it all goes back to what nutrients the food we eat provides and with the depletion of a very large percentage of nutrients from today’s soil, many grains incl. wheat, oats etc. are not as healthy as they once were. When asked why she eats grains at all, her response was “you gotta live”; as in cause they taste good, not because they are nutritious or necessary for health and well-being. So I think both sides of the argument are correct. You really do have to look at your individual situation, how you react to different food. Our genes vary as our ancestors ate varied diets and hence tolerate different foods differently. Also we all differ in how much damage we and our parents have done to our auto-immune systems and how healthy the genes we’ve inherited are. Good luck to everyone on their quest for health. Salut!

    Reply
    • I don’t understand the argument that grains should be limited because the soil is depleted.

      If that were true, than we should avoid all foods that are grown in the ground including vegetables, because they are also depleted nutritionally due to depleted soil.

      Also there is evidence that our genes change over time. It’s called epigenetics. In fact, Dr. Cate writes about it in her book, Deep Nutrition. There is another book called The 10,000 Year Explosion that goes into greater detail about this. I haven’t read it yet but just ordered it.

      If you check out Stephan Guyenet’s blog, he has changed his opinion based on this book, and he is no longer anti-grain:

      “Update 8/2011: as I’ve learned more about human genetics and evolution, I’ve come to appreciate that many Europeans actually descend from early adopters of agriculture more than they descend from the hunter-gatherers that previously occupied Europe. Also, 10,000 years has been long enough for significant genetic adaptation. Read The 10,000 Year Explosion for more information.”

      http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/07/grains-and-human-evolution.html
      Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE\’s last post: GAPS Diet Myths

      Reply
  46. Well, I am a Wheat Belly follower. I am 67 years old and have been over weight for 35+ years. I was very thin as a child, teenager, and young adult. Then I started gaining weight, and have had one heck of an up and down, always ending up heavier life. I’ve tried every diet that I know of, and I’d lose a few pounds and then fall off the wagon and watch it drive off into the sunset without me. Then, four months ago, I discovered WHEAT BELLY! I read it and began my new lifestyle. Yes, during December I fell off the WB wagon three times. I was absolutely miserable physically. However, when I looked up, the WB wagon was still there waiting for me to get back on. I have not fallen off since, and I truly believe that I never will.

    After four months on WB, I am more than willing to “serve the life sentence!” I have lost 32 pounds. I no longer take Celebrex every day (after 13 years of doing so), because my arthritis pain, along with the swelling, red finger joints, etc. is gone. I no longer take Nexium every day (after 13 years of taking some type of anti-GERD medication) and I no longer have to supplement the pills with Mylanta, because since becoming wheat/grain free, I have absolutely NO acid reflux. In addition to that, I haven’t had any headaches, my blood pressure is lower (still taking meds, because that I will not stop w/0 dr. approval), my skin is not dry and flaky, more energy, and the list goes on.

    I truly believe that you should read WHEAT BELLY and what DOCTOR William Davis has to say, medically speaking, about wheat and grains. He is a cardiologist and he has the research to back up what he says. Don’t condemn him or his “diet lifestyle” just because someone says that grains are okay. They could be wrong!!!!!

    Reply
    • Obviously, you are avoiding wheat because we have damaged bodies from modern living. You are doing well because, just like Sarah said, you need to be able to heal first, then introduce the wheat prepared traditionally. Heal the body…. don’t blame the grain. :)

      Reply
  47. I am totally wheat free and only eat a little rice (no more than 1/2 cup), usually twice a day. Be aware that soy sauce has between 40-60% soy sauce. I used to cook a lot with it but no longer use the kind with wheat in it. This is not a gluten free way of eating, more wheat free. Check out the Wheat Belly book, by Dr. Davis.
    I turned 50 this past September and for about one year I had been experiencing what I thought were peri-menopausal symptoms. I was hungry ALL of the time, tired all of the time, a little moody, and for the first time in my life having a hard time falling asleep. Since dropping wheat from my diet (way of eating), I am now down 15 lbs without even trying, and down from a size 8 to a 6. My stomach is flatter than it has been in some time. I guess the last couple of years my tummy started getting a little pudgy though I exercised a lot; I ran two to 3 times a week and did Pilates 2 x a week. I now do Pilates 2 x a week and walk (no more running) 3 miles three times a week. I am not telling anyone what to do, but I’d highly recommend that you read this book. I am almost done with it. I eat a lot of veggies, a lot of meat, and some fruit, nuts, avocados, and olives. Here’s the blog if you are interested: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/

    Reply
  48. Corn is only GM??? Soy is totally GM! The government subsidizes corn, soy & wheat. This is where our problem is. All 3 of those products are in everything! This is why the world is sick and diseased. All 3 are inflammatory to the human system and should not be eaten by humans. If you have to go through that much trouble just to eat grains, there’s no point eating them. Autoimmune diseases are caused by inflammation. To solve the problem you eliminate the foods that cause it in all forms. You will NOT DIE by not eating bread, oatmeal, corn, soy, beans and rice. You may just live happier, longer and pain free without them. For those who choose to eat them have fun. I prefer a healthy gut :-)

    Reply
  49. Well, let’s see,.. For decades I have had problems that I thought were just part of being human and/or getting old. Headaches, skin roughness, high BP, irregularity, bad blood numbers, joint pain, sleep problems, heartburn, staying a little too heavy, low energy. I thought I felt okay, I guess, but mostly because it was what I was used to.

    Then a buddy told me about how a lot of his problems went away when he stopped all grains. I thought he was pulling my leg. He assured me he wasn’t and dared me to just try it for 30 days.

    My life is different. I lost 10 pounds (6’3″ and 200 now). Lots of energy. A serene and tidy regularity. BP down. Blood numbers improved. Headaches completely gone. Joint pain gone. Easy sleep. Smoother skin. Mellow tummy. No more grains, especially wheat, for me again. Ever.

    There is one disadvantage, though. Sometimes I accidentally ingest some wheat, and it makes me feel worse than it used to. I had some stew the other night that I found out later had wheat flour in it as a thickener. I had a headache, heartburn, and joint pain for two days.

    It astounds me that anyone would ever recommend eating grains. Just from the blood sugar spikes alone, it is a very unhealthy proposition. If grains had some unique nutrient that could not be gotten anywhere else, there might be an argument for it,… but any nutrient the human body could ever need exists in plentiful quantities in meat/fish/poultry/veggies/fruits/nuts.

    I wish you well. By that I mean that hopefully,.. soon you will become a little more enlightened, dietetically speaking.

    Bob

    Reply
  50. Sarah,
    Since you eat properly prepared wheat every day, would you mind saying about how much grains you eat a day? Do you eat grains at each meal. I think grains fill me up better than fat and protein but I should would love to lose a few pounds. Some say cut out your grains and others say just cut down on servings. I appreciate your opinion because you look so fit. (and you don’t do sit ups) lol

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I don’t eat a lot. Maybe 1 slice of sourdough a day. I might also have a bowl of soaked oatmeal for breakfast. I don’t eat a lot and it’s definitely not the basis of my diet like the enormous amount of grains most Americans eat. The basis of my diet is traditional fats – about 50-60%. More fat in the winter, less in the summer (more fruit in the summer suits me but I eat hardly any in the winter except for seasonal citrus from my trees).
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Why You Should Be Eating Grains

      Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Let me add that protein is about 15% of my diet so along with the fat, that leaves only 25% of my diet for carbs and most of these carbs are veggies, seeds, nuts and a bit of fruit. Perhaps only 10% of my diet is grain based? I’m guessing but it is not much by any means. BUT, it is a big problem for me not eating grains. I’ve been grain free and on GAPS for a number of months and there came a point where I knew that it was time to reintroduce and it was definitely the right decision.
        Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Why You Should Be Eating Grains

        Reply
          • Interestingly, Jaminet says that if we want to have babies, be athletic or recover from hormonal or mood problems, we should eat MORE carbs:

            Here’s a quote from his website:

            So a 30-40% carb diet is a neutral diet, which probably places minimal stress on the body.
            A 40-50% diet is a carb-overfed diet, which probably promotes fertility and athleticism.
            A 20-30% diet is a mildly carb-restricted diet, which probably promotes longevity.

            http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5528

            In the past few months, I’ve upped my carbs from a 20-25% carb diet to 35-40% carbs. Since I have done this, I’ve noticed that my body temperature has shot up from the low 97s to 98.2 on average (and it has greatly stabilized). Many of my other hypothyroid symptoms are improving markedly.

            I actually think I need to increase my carbs by adding even more fruit and grains to get up to 40-50% because I’m trying to get pregnant and overcome hypothyroidsim and adrenal fatigue.

            Many of Sarah’s readers (like mine) are women and a good number of us are trying to get pregnant or are recovering from having babies and nursing, I think it’s plausible that those of us in this group should be increasing our carbs, not decreasing them.

            However, if you don’t plan to procreate, are done procreating, don’t have any hormone problems, and are not engaging in excessive exercise, a lower carb (25%) diet is great.
            Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE\’s last post: GAPS Diet Myths

          • Ann Marie,

            I was infertile for years, and it was a primal diet (that eliminated grains) and most starchy carbs were significantly reduced, that restored my fertility. I guess Jaminet can’t always be right.

  51. I feel so much better on a no-grain diet that it’s hard to imagine going back. The only times I miss eating grains are in social situations, such as restaurants, or being a guest in someone’s home. But those are exactly the times when “properly prepared” grains are not an option . . .

    Reply
  52. I’m still not sure why I should eat grains. They don’t have that much nutrients when compared to other whole foods, and there seems to be a heck of a lot of work involved in preparing them.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I wrote another post about this called Why I Don’t Eat Paleo or Primal. The post discusses that the healthiest traditional cultures which had the most excellent physiques and were the strongest consumed a balanced diet that did not tend to either the extreme of vegetarianism or nearly all animal foods like the Eskimos or Masai.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Why You Should Be Eating Grains

      Reply
      • Yeah, but having read some paleo/primal books, they don’t say you have to eat all one way or the other. Paleo/primal is not all meat or all veggie. It’s a mix. So though I haven’t read your post, I am thinking that you are basically stating the contrary…that paleo is all meat, meat, meat, and it’s not. It’s whole foods, healthy fat, and lots of veggies/fruit, some dairy (depending upon who’s speaking. A mix of it all.

        Reply
  53. I’m confused — what are the actual _benefits_ of eating grains? The only one that is really listed in the article is “fun”.

    While I’m willing to accept the idea that properly prepared grains can be healthy, skipping them entirely sounds reasonable too.

    Reply
    • Peter –

      When we restrict our diets by cutting out too many things, it can be hard to eat a balanced diet. You can get enough carbs if you eat plenty of potatoes, squash, and other starches, but most people find that including whole grains is easier and not so limiting.

      When I was off grains I found it hard to keep my carbs up enough. I ended up with these little red dots all over my skin, very heavy menstrual bleeding and cramps, low body temperature, and other signs of low thyroid function.

      Since I’ve added more carbs (and grains) back into my diet, my temperature has come up from the low 97s to an average daily temperature of 98.2. My period is regulating (50% lighter flow and cramps this month) and those little red dots are fading to pink. This is in just the past few months — after doing low carb and less grains for the past few years.

      I also think for people who eat a lot of dairy (like me) you need to keep your magnesium levels up to balance the high levels of calcium. Unless you eat a whole lot of leafy greens such as kelp and spinach and seweed such as kelp (I don’t), the best sources of magnesium are properly prepared whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans.
      Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE\’s last post: GAPS Diet Myths

      Reply
        • I have Hashimoto’s and the idea that all people with Hashimoto’s should not eat gluten is becoming more widely known. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease and they are saying that a huge percentage of people with hypothyroidism have it because they have Hashimotos. A couple of new books on thyroid I am reading and many doctors up on this new information say that people with Hashimoto’s should not eat any gluten containing grains. That gluten is causing the autoimmune reaction that is causing the attack on their thyroid. I don’t fully understand this yet but have been told to be diligent about not eating any gluten. Many people have this problem and don’t even know it. So I’m surprised eating grains improved your thyroid function.

          Reply
        • Can you restate your reply and distinguish between carbs and grains? You seem to be mixing them together, and they are far from being the same thing. (You also lump “grains, nuts, seeds and beans” together).

          Someone elsewhere in this thread mentioned the Perfect Health Diet. I basically follow the PHD guidelines on this: only white rice for grains on a regular basis. Together with wild rice, starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes and other tubers, I’ve never had trouble obtaining enough carbs.

          I don’t pretend to understand the Weston Price diet as well as Sarah does, but my understanding from reading Nourishing Traditions is more of a “not proven guilty” verdict. WP (and Sarah Fallon) do not say anywhere that you need grains, only that they CAN be part of a healthy diet — remember that many traditional cultures did NOT use them as well! When I read posts like this, about the elaborate and time-consuming preparations needed to avoid toxicity, I ask “Why do it at all?”

          Reply
  54. I have a question about the yeast in sprouted breads. I know in a sourdough, the fermentation process uses wild, naturally occurring yeasts, as opposed to the baker’s yeast you would find in a sprouted product. Is there any reason that baker’s yeast should be avoided? Like if there’s a candida issue? Are those two things related?

    Reply
    • Baker’s yeast doesn’t break down the phytic acid and other antinutrietns like sourdough does.

      That said, you can use baker’s yeast if you are using sprouted flour since the seeds have already germinated.

      The very best of both worlds is sprouted flour AND sourdough.
      Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE\’s last post: GAPS Diet Myths

      Reply
  55. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama February 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I keep saying, “No diet that permanently excludes an entire food group is healthy long-term.” And people keep saying, “Yes, but, grains are bad,” (among other things; some of my fans are vegan). And I keep telling them, no exceptions. Yes, sometimes we need a break from grains, or meat, or anything — for a cleanse, to heal, whatever. But not long-term.

    We’re experimenting with sourdough now. The kids are enjoying it!
    Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama\’s last post: Giveaway: Mom Essentials Doctoring

    Reply
      • I am going on GAPS. I just finished reading the book. I’ve been taking Bio-Kult for 2 weeks (slowly ramping up the amount). I have frozen fish fumet in the freezer and have reconstituted it at least a half dozen times (and enjoyed eating the result). I just made raw yoghurt (from raw milk) this weekend for the first time (2 gallons of it). I made Kefir (water) for the first time last week. I have been drinking Kombucha for about a year (I started cooking from Nourishing Traditions about a year ago). I’ve been taking fermented CLO for about a year (w/butter oil). I bought a 5 gallon bucket of Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions (and have been using it liberally). I haven’t eaten any grains for two weeks (I miss my soaked oatmeal just a little). I’ve got Kerry Gold (unsalted) butter. I have a great source for eggs. I hope Sarah will pray for me too!

        Reply
  56. Wow! I am now more confused than ever!!! We started eating whole/traditional foods/WAPF several years back and we all gained weight! I wasn’t willing to go back on our ” SAD diet”, and recently have read “Wheat Belly” and “The Primal Blueprint.” I have cut out most grains from our diet the last three weeks. I lost four pounds the first week, and none since. I went primal because my husband has high cholesterol, and his doc gave him six months to get it down. I thought I’d try eliminating grains. I am already gluten intolerant..sets my abdomen into spasms. I’ve been gluten free for over a year, so going grain free wasn’t too much harder for me. I just don’t know what to believe! It all sounds good, when you hear each side of the argument. I’m so confused!! For me, I just want what will help me lose weight, honestly. And, I haven’t found that balance yet in eating whole foods. Help!
    Kari\’s last post: Organizing My Life-Flour Drawer (before and after)

    Reply
  57. I was off of most grains for a period of time, but have slowly reintroduced them back into my diet. For me it’s all about finding a balance between what I eat and how often. I enjoy things in moderation, and if I feel I’ve over indulged in something I simply back off from it for a while. I do feel our food supply isn’t what it should and could be – too many toxins and GM foods in the majority of available foods.

    Peace. ;)
    Michelle\’s last post: Green Beauty: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for a Naturally Gorgeous You!

    Reply
  58. Hi Sarah,

    I actually have been wondering about this for a while now and am gearing up to do the GAPS diet. So if you have celiac or any gluten intolerance/sensitivity, after doing the GAPS diet will you be able to eat gluten again? I’m assuming properly prepared of course. (I did already read the GAPS book but was still unsure.)

    And how do you know if you are part of the 1% that needs to avoid forever?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist February 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      If you are symptom free on GAPS for 1-2 years and then attempt to reintroduce grains slowly starting with soaked brown rice for example (you need to follow the GAPS protocol for reintroducing would be optimal) and symptoms return with full force, then you can assume that grain free is best for you and act accordingly.

      Reply
      • ok. I just learned from Dr. Peter Osbourne that gluten sensitivity is genetic. If you have it, it can lead to many many diseases, including celiac. If this is true, then those people should never eat gluten. But can you get celiac if you don’t have a genetic sensitivity to gluten? And since celiac is a disease, I’m guessing it can be cured. So genetically gluten intolerant people who developed celiac could cure themselves of celiac, but would never be able to eat gluten again, or perhaps any grains? Trying to sort this all out.

        Reply
  59. Just wondering what you think about the premise stated Life Without Bread, a book recommened by WAPF? … the idea that the body, in general, operates better on fat (from a low grain/carb diet), than on sugar (from a higher grain/carb diet)? There’s food allergies. I get the healing process and reintroduction of grains, but MANY folks are dealing with Insulin Resistance. What about that aspect?

    Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist February 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      Great book. Love how he puts the emphasis on fats which is where it should be. However, life without bread permanently is not optimal for most if the bread is traditionally prepared. Also, most people simply can’t afford to go grain free long term as this adds a tremendous amount of cost to the family food budget. So, if you can eat them and still be healthy, why not? It’s also a more enjoyable way to live and I for one, want to enjoy my food. Eating should be pleasurable not a chore.

      Reply
      • Sarah, One of the main questions posted in the last comment was “what about insulin resistance” but you didn’t comment back on that point. That is my main question. I get the impression that one of the main problems in this country is run away blood sugar and insulin resistance that is causing many of the diseases including all the weight gain. Grains cause a spike in blood sugar and are additive to many people. You may have the metabolism that can handle eating grains or the will power to stop at one piece of bread but many people don’t have this. The question of blood sugar has been brought up more than once in this thread but you have not commented on this. Technically I see the Weston Price Foundation giving thumbs up to books such as “The Primal Blueprint”, “Life Without Bread”, “No Grain Diet”, “Protein Power”, “Primal Body, Primal Mind”, and the “The Diet Cure”. They seem very supportive of eating no grains and the Paleo community. I also don’t see why grains are so important from a nutrition standpoint. What little nutrition they give can be found other places.

        Reply
      • You have said several times that you would rather enjoy your food, and eating should not be a chore. That is a poor argument. First of all, eating grain-free can be very enjoyable (and I find it a bit insulting that you suggest it isn’t). And, when a person has the proper attitude, they won’t feel deprived, either (at least that’s what our guests tell me – they come expecting to feel deprived, but they are pleasantly surprised). Second, what if someone tells you that they find sourdough unpleasant to eat, and in order to enjoy bread they have to have a yeast bread, made from bleached flour? Would you say that’s healthy, because eating should be pleasurable??

        Reply
  60. I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy several years ago and went GF, then went GAPS. I’ve been on full GAPS for a year. I haven’t tried any grains yet and I’m going to hold off for a while since I haven’t really been giving GAPS 100% lately (namely, broth). I would love to eat some good sourdough someday… potatoes, too.
    As for ‘should’, I’m not sure if everyone ‘should’ eat grains. If you feel better without them and have no health issues, then maybe you ‘should’ just stay away. I’m thinking it’s better to go without grains than eat them without proper preparation… JMO, of course.

    Reply
  61. Interesting, I’ve bought sourdough bread before at a local farm near me, but never prepared it myself. That will be next on my cooking skills-to-learn list!

    Reply
  62. Pingback: Precautions & Biblical Considerations for Paleo/Primal/Price Diets - Healthy Families for God

  63. Goodness Sarah, I hope you are right. I was getting really good at sourdough and then I started getting fat. I could not leave it alone. It wasn’t a discipline issue. It was like an addiction. I too had “Wheat Belly”. Do I need to go full GAPS in order to be able to eat properly prepared gain again. I am currently using raw dairy products. Also, the grain naysayers insist that grain converts to sugar so quickly that it plays havoc with your insulin. Even if your gut is healthy, could insulin resistance be a problem?

    Sandra

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist February 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Possibly if a glandular imbalance is present as well. Again, the grains are not the problem. It is modern living which has messed people up and they are becoming intolerant to foods that are fine to eat like traditionally prepared wheat. It depends how far down the rabbit hole one has gone with their health how long it will take to come up for air.

      Reply
  64. Sarah, if 99% of people’s allergies can be healed, does that include lactose intolerance? Both my young daughters (aged 1 and 3) were on GAPS for 6 months and I took them off when they began to drink raw dairy with no difficulty. However, they still can’t tolerate pasteurized dairy. I heard lactose intolerance was genetic, but neither my husband nor I have any issues with it. Did I take them off GAPS too soon, or is lactose intolerance really genetic?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist February 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      I would not consider lactose intolerance an allergy. This is more genetic in origin. Some racial groups do not produce lactase (the enzyme necessary to digest lactose) as well as others. Hence, raw dairy works as lactase is present in raw dairy where it is destroyed in pasteurized dairy.

      Reply
        • Not to be a stickler but Mark McAfee corrected me on this once:

          Lactase is not present in raw dairy; the bacteria that produce lactase are present in raw dairy.

          I do think that 99% of dairy allergies can be reversed. I don’t think that you took them off of GAPS too soon. If they can drink raw dairy, that’s fine (and that is allowed on GAPS).

          I’d keep up with the probiotics. You may find in time that they may be able to consume pasteurized dairy with no problems.
          Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE\’s last post: GAPS Diet Myths

          Reply
          • Thanks Ann Marie – I sure hope so, because it’s getting to be a pain to make them a separate meal every time there’s a pizza party!

      • Hi Sarah,
        I recently read or heard on a podcast (I can’t remember exactly where) that people who have celiac are often diagnosed with lactose intolerance first as the enzymes that digest the lactose are often the first to go.

        I developed horrible lactose intolerance when I was 16, (of course on SAD diet) so I’m wondering, if it’s genetic how did I do well until the age of 16? Also, no one else in my family has it (parents & 3 siblings).

        Also, my digestion is a mess now, I’m sure with multiple food intolerances and leaky gut as well as auto-immune diseases. I’m going to do GAPS.

        Reply
        • I remember having lactose intolerance show up for me somewhere in mid-childhood. However, before that I had other symptoms of milk intolerance: such as chronic ear infections. I think our bodies were reacting to milk & eventually just became unable to handle it at all. Or could it be blamed on something else (such as antibiotics wiping out our friendly gut flora so that’s why we could no longer handle the milk)? I’m sure there’s an explanation somewhere. Good luck on the GAPS. I really want to try it but fear fighting my family about it!
          lisa\’s last post: Thinking About Coconut Oil…

          Reply
  65. Have you read the latest research about how wheat was RADICALLY changed in the late 60′s and early 70′s because of concerns w/world population? Please read Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. There are podcast interviews on Underground Wellness and Living La Vida Low Carb with Jimmy Moore if you don’t want to read the book. The wheat that is out there is no where near the wheat that traditional societies used and soaking/fermenting can’t really help it.

    A quote from his blog (please ignore what i perceive to be an inappropriate/discrediting images on the top of his blog. It is too important of a message to simply dismiss)

    ‘Cause it ain’t wheat. It’s this stocky little high-yield plant, a distant relative of the wheat our mothers used to bake muffins, but genetically and biochemically lightyears removed from the wheat of just 40 years ago. We have geneticists and agribusiness to thank for this transformation from 4 1/2-foot tall “amber waves of grain” to the 2-foot tall semi-dwarf genetic variant now sold to us in the guise of “healthy whole grains.”

    Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
        Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist February 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm

        By the way, my stomach is flatter now than before I had my 3 kids and eat wheat every single day pretty much. The difference is that I DON”T BLOAT from the wheat because I traditionally prepare it. I could have a big ‘ole wheat belly too if I ate modern wheat foods. I also do zero situps. My stomach muscle tone is only average.

        Reply
        • Heh heh heh!! I couldn’t agree more, Sarah. Wheat Belly was written from a perspective different from what you and I and other nutrient dense eaters believe. His message is going to be damaging to some folks, no doubt about it. But that’s just my opinion and I’m sure I’ll catch flack over it.

          Do people believe everything they read without actually THINKING it through?? Yes, I believe they do. When you get to be my age, you will have learned that common sense will tell you that just because it’s between two book covers doesn’t make it true.

          The best (honestly) book I’ve read in ages is one I just finished last fall, called Health at Every Size, by Linda Bacon, Ph.D. WONDERFUL reading. Again, I don’t always agree 100% with everything I read, but Dr. Bacon’s book was more psychological than most. Food is emotional for a lot of people, but SIZE is even moreso. For me, as long as I feel well, I’m good to go. I don’t let things bother me too much about size or food; if I’m hungry for something, I eat it. PERIOD. I don’t make excuses for why I shouldn’t.

          Also, one of my pet peeves is people who think they are “allergic” to something. People can have food sensitivites (which can be overcome sometimes with just minimal effort) and mistake them as an all-out allergy – which is just a load of hooey, IMPHO. Avoiding something you THINK you might be allergic to is a mind-over-matter thing which needs to be turned around and dealt with. If it’s a true allergy, that’s a whole ‘nother thing and then you DO avoid it. But going on the word of some guy who wrote a book and not really testing it for yourself is not really very logical.

          Reply
          • Had the RAST test myself and showed in varying degrees how allergic I was to foods. Lots of foods with little allergies. Some I was off a week, some two weeks, others a month.

            Guess what? My system calmed down. At the end of the month my residual asthma problems that I couldn’t kick out with laco-fermented veggies and raw milk cheeses (which had been working quite well before)….anyway….my asthma turned around! Being away from the allergins for a bit of time IS a therapy. The RAST test and eating less allergin triggers for a short period does work.

            Also, check out cave therapy. Before I knew about eating correctly and the RAST test, I had an unrelenting bout with asthma and had been just hospitalized with it. Meds didn’t take it away or hardly dent it. Desperate, I found a cave in Germany and stayed there for 11 days. Normal therapy is for 3 weeks. In WWII to flee from the Allied bombings, citizens from Cologne would sit in this cave. It was discovered that people with respiratory problems got better.

            I did with cave therapy: again, your body calms down when the allergin triggers are removed. And then you can slowly reintroduce them if you’re lucky.

          • I’m curious why you would think Davis’ advice is “going to be damaging to some folks”? I have a hard time believing that eliminating one food source from our diet would cause damage. Wheat has taken on such a huge “role” in our food culture and so many of us will do anything to keep it in our diet. Why? Many reasons perhaps, but the addictive argument is worth considering. Also, like most grains, it is cheap and accessible (not necessarily a bad thing). But to suggest that our diets will be lacking without it? Not buying that argument. I don’t think we would be having this discussion about any other single food, be it broccoli, bananas, chicken or millet! We Love Wheat almost more than any other food (okay, maybe chocolate!) and I think it’s important to look closely at why that is. Only individually can we answer that question, but being clear on if it is serving us or we are serving it would be helpful. ;) Even prepared properly, it is not the most nutrient dense food. Having said that, I do agree with Sarah that the problem lies more with the host (us), not with the food. Unfortunately most people’s health is so compromised today that wheat should be very far down on the list of foods that will provide optimal nourishment. BTW thank you for the book recommendation! ;)

  66. Hi Sarah,
    I have been grain/starch/refined sugar free for just over 2 years now. How do I know if I am ready to start consuming traditionally-prepared grains, or if I would still need further healing, such as through the GAPS diet?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  67. I am a bit confused by this. Grains cause much inflammation and most are GM now so wheat is not what it used to be. My husband went off grains and starches and finally has good blood pressure. Dr. Mercola talks about a no starch/grain diet.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      This is simply not true. Only corn is GM. That’s great your husband has improved off grains. How long has he been off? If it’s been a year or two, time to reintroduce properly prepared grains. People tend to go from one extreme to another (tons of grains or no grains) and neither one is optimal for most people.

      My husband also benefited tremendously from going grain free for a period of time (he only needed 6 months). He now eats grains a few times a week which works for him and he can enjoy his food so much more now.

      Going grain free is THERAPEUTIC not optimal for long term eating for the vast majority of people.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Why You Should Be Eating Grains

      Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        And, this “wheat is not what it used to be” argument is baloney. What food is what it used to be? Everything is hybridized including pretty much all the veggies. The problem is that people have overconsumed grains that were not traditionally prepared, have taken way to may antibiotics and other drugs and their guts/glands are a mess. Once you heal, you can eat grains fine again.

        The problem is not the grains, it is modern living which takes a period of time to heal from.
        Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Why You Should Be Eating Grains

        Reply
        • Oh YAY!!! I’m so glad to finally see someone stand up and say the same thing I’ve been saying for a long time. The “grain ain’t what it used to be” argument is truly baloney, you’re right about that. Also, the fact that grain effects everyone adversely is nonsense.

          We don’t eat a lot of bread around here, but when we do it’s sourdough. I simply don’t like sprouted breads and neither does my DH. We even eat “regular” bread sometimes – gasp – because DH’s favorite is a recipe I received from his Mom long ago. It’s a whole wheat bread made with honey. Very tasty. We never buy bread at the store anymore, and haven’t for years. Once in a while I will buy Sourdough English Muffins if I haven’t had time to make any, because some mornings I love a good English Muffin with honey and cinnamon and LOTS of real butter. If I’m having soaked oatmeal, I like my EM with just plain butter and I “dip” it into my oatmeal, to which I add dried bing cherries while it’s cooking, then when it’s in my bowl I add a dollop of creme fraiche, some maple syrup or honey, and a little more real butter. Good, hearty, wintery food.

          Reply
        • Sarah, I value your opinion and your blog and so I don’t understand your replies to those alerting you to some new research. I would appreciate your opinion about the Wheat Belly research about what has been done to wheat. It seems like you are completely dismissing it without even reading it or listening to a podcast and that is disappointing.

          Reply
          • I have to agree with Pam a bit here. But also, wheat really ISN’T what it used to be. In the early 1900′s wheat was about half starch and half protein. Between then in now – just a century! – wheat has become about 5-8% protein and the rest is starch! This alongside the rise of HFCS, hydrogenated vegetable fats, and changing eating habits it’s no wonder that everyone is fat now. The thing is that yes, most everything including veggies are hybridized. This is true. But wheat – the staple of the Western diet – changed too rapidly for humans to keep up with and I think that it should be dropped for older grains if at all possible. Like Pam, I find it alarming when WAP-friendly folks take a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude about things. We HAVE to be open-minded and approachable or we wind up repelling the same people we are trying to help. Don’t be all Paul Chek about it! :)
            Mrs. Yoder\’s last post: Giveaway: Wondermill Jr. Contest

      • Hi Sarah,
        I think it’s important to note that some people never do well with grains, even properly prepared ones, despite eating traditionally and having done GAPS. I include myself in this category. Regardless of all the theories and anthropological data, each one of us are unique and it is best to understand what works for us as individuals and listen to our body’s signals. While many cultures thrived on grains, others did not even include them in their diet. They are not a necessity for healthy living and are only a healthy option for some. I would not want people to feel that their diet is somehow nutrient deficient if grains are not included! However, if you can eat them and enjoy good health, celebrate and pass the sourdough!

        Reply
      • Hmm…I’m curious where you get your information that corn is the only genetically modified grain? I’m just wondering as I worked with a nutritionist from England who felt that wheat has been so modified that it can hardly be considered in a food in some cases. I’m not sure where to go for answers, but could you share where you found information that wheat is non-gmo? Thanks.

        Reply
        • I would suggest that Sarah read “Wheat Belly”. It clearly explains what has happened to wheat and it is far worse than GM. The current wheat is a “monster grain”. Everyone should make up their own mind as to what they eat, but for people reading this and other “real and traditional food blogs” that are currently promoting grains in order to promote the E-class of a fellow traditional food blogger, please, please do your own research and trust no one! There is no such thing as “healthy whole grains”. No matter what the government, health agencies, Big Medicine, Big Ag or traditional bloggers tell you. Get educated; your and your families health is so worth it! Don’t keep trying to make a really bad food less bad. Educate yourself and do what you think is right for your health!

          Reply
          • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            If grains are so bad, why did many healthy Traditional Cultures consume them? People who are against grains are never able to satisfactorily answer this question. Therefore, it is not grains that are the problem, it is the person and the degenerative state they are in. Unfortunately, we are all a different generation of Pottenger’s cats aren’t we? Let’s not point the finger at the blameless grain.
            Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Why You Should Be Eating Grains

          • We are NOT “healthy traditional cultures”. The people you refer to ate foods that were raised in pristine, fertile soils that were phenomenally nutrient-dense and so they could afford to displace some nutrition with nutrient-deficient grains. Today’s foods are not as nutritious- our soils are depleted and it is a challenge to get enough nutrition in the diet without displacing them with the further nutrient-deficient cereal grains. Even if every bit of the nutrition were bioavailable, grains are at the bottom of the nutrient density spectrum. Any time you eat them, you are filling up on calories that could otherwise be far more nutritious if sourced from other whole foods.

            I don’t understand why bread-lovers always trot out the Swiss from Price’s book as evidence of “health”. They weren’t as healthy as the other groups he visited who didn’t have as much grain in their diets, and this was in spite of their remaining foods sources being grown in (and grazed on) some of the most fertile soil in the world.

            If you are healthy and lean, properly prepared grains can be a benign indulgence, but they are simply not ever going to be “healthy” or “nutritious”. And FWIW, I didn’t find any arguments in your post for why anyone “should” be eating grains. Saying that someone else does it and is OK, or that some of us can eat them “safely” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for why they SHOULD be eaten.

            ~Huntress

  68. I really wish I could attend this but I have a scheduling confiict :( Darn it!

    Sarah – can you offer some advice on [when it is time] the best grains to introduce to your toddler for the first time? :-) Thanks!
    Allison\’s last post: Priceless…

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