There is nothing beneficial in grains that you cannot get elsewhere in your diet, but lots of bad qualities unique to grains. We do not need grains for fiber, vitamins or minerals. Our bodies prefer to receive fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and carbohydrates from colorful vegetables. In fact, the way that wheat has been produced, processed and added to food in the modern Western diet has resulted in increased systemic inflammation, widespread gluten intolerance and higher rates of celiac disease (from 1/650 to 1/120 within the last 50 years).
Gluten from wheat, semolina, smelt, kamut, rye and barley poses more risks than benefits in the diet even for people without celiac disease. Humans are not designed to thrive on a grain-heavy diet like the typical American diet, and grains promote leaky gut, raise blood sugar, compromise digestion and immune function, and cause fewer nutrients to be absorbed into the body. Grains are just empty calories, unnecessary for health, and health-damaging to very many.
The best way to test if you should eliminate wheat and other grains from your diet is to cut them out for at least 2 weeks to one month, and then add them back in and note how you look and feel over the following days. Notice your energy level and focus, mood, digestion, sleep quality, skin’s appearance, muscles and joints
The following are all common signs of gluten intolerance:
- Gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation
- Keratosis pilaris (“chicken skin” on the backs of arms)
- Fatigue or brain fog
- Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as thyroiditis,Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis or M.S.
- Neurologic symtpoms such as tingling or numbness, dizziness or loss of balance
- Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS, or fertility problems
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Inflammation, or pain
- Mood issues such as anxiety or depression, mood swings and ADD
Dr. Erin O’Maley