Ancient Grains – Why Bother?

Ancient Grains – Why Bother
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We eat a lot of wheat—pounds and pounds a year per person, mostly in the form of bread, pasta and pizza. Another favourite grain, of course, is rice. In recent years, many “ancient grains”—sometimes called heritage grains or hyped as super grains— have been rediscovered but remain much less familiar. Some (such as farro) are types of wheat or are related to wheat; others are technically seeds (quinoa) but are often referred to as grains, since they are cooked and eaten like cereal grains. All are worth trying because, by and large, they’re more nutritious than the more common grains, plus they add variety to your diet.

The grains described below are good, sometimes excellent, sources of protein and fibre. They also provide minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, along with phenols (antioxidants) and other potentially beneficial compounds; some are rich in vitamin E and B vitamins. In contrast to most of the wheat and rice we eat, these grains tend to come in their “whole” form, with their bran, germ and endosperm intact, which makes them more nutritious, just as whole wheat and brown rice are more nutritious than their refined counterparts. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, another advantage is that several of these grains—including amaranth, quinoa and teff—are gluten free. A downside is their higher cost.

You can prepare these grains as salads or use them in soups and stews (just boil as you would rice). Some, such as amaranth, teff and wheat berries, cook up well as hot cereals. You can also substitute their flours for wheat flour to increase the nutritional value of breads, muffins and other baked goods. An increasing number of packaged foods— breakfast cereals, pastas, breads and pancake mixes—contain these interesting grains, too, though sometimes in small amounts.

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Amaranth. – gluten free, protein, calcium.
Native to both Mesoamerica and the Andes and a major food crop of the Aztecs and Incas, respectively, this tiny grain resembles fine couscous and has a nutty, sometimes peppery, flavor. Popped amaranth is a popular street snack in South America. For a grain, it’s relatively rich in calcium—with about 60 milligrams per 4 ounces, cooked. Because amaranth (like quinoa, see below) contains a good balance of essential amino acids and is particularly high in lysine, it is considered more of a “complete” protein than most grains (and plant foods in general).
Amaranth is almost always whole, since the grains are too small to easily refine. Be sure not to overcook it since it will become sticky.

Farro (or emmer wheat).
Also called Pharaoh’s wheat, this chewy, nutty-tasting grain is a relative of modern wheat that originated in Egypt thousands of years ago. It’s said to have been widely consumed by the Roman legions, and in Italy today it’s a common ingredient in soups and is used as a substitute for arborio rice in risotto dishes (called farrotto). Many pasta lovers prefer pasta made from farro to pasta made from durum wheat. Look for “whole farro” on labels; if it’s “pearled,” it’s not a whole grain because the bran has been removed.

Freekeh (or farik).
Common in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, freekeh refers to a harvesting process rather than an actual grain. The grain, typically wheat, is harvested when it is young, yellow, and soft—at its peak nutrition—and then roasted. Similar in texture to bulgur, it tends to have a smoky, nutty flavor. Though freekeh is being billed as the hottest new ancient grain, it’s still not widely available in stores. You might find it in Middle Eastern or other specialty markets; it’s also sold online.

Quinoa (keen-nyeewah) Gluten free, protein.
Called the “mother of all grains” by the Incas, who considered it sacred, quinoa from the Andes is known for being rich in high-quality protein. There are over 120 varieties, in many different colors. Pale yellow quinoa is most common, though red quinoa contains significantly more phenols and has higher antioxidant activity. Quinoa cooks up fluffy with a nutty flavor. Because the seeds are naturally coated with bitter compounds (saponins, which defend against insects), they must be washed before cooking. Even if the package says the seeds were washed, it’s a good idea to rinse them to remove any remaining bitterness. Kañiwa (kah-nyeewah), quinoa’s smaller and lesser-known red cousin, doesn’t need to be rinsed before cooking because it doesn’t have the bitter compounds.

Teff. Gluten Free. Calcium.
Originating in Ethiopia more than 2,500 years ago, teff (sometimes called taf) remains a staple there, where it’s mostly used to make a spongy sourdough bread. It is one of the smallest grains in the world—so tiny (like poppy seeds) that its bran germ, and endosperm cannot be separated, so it can be consumed only as a whole grain.
According to the Whole Grains Council, there are about 3,000 teff grains in just one gram (1/28th of an ounce). Like amaranth, teff has about 60 milligrams of calcium per four ounces, cooked. Teff is slightly sweet, with white varieties mildest in flavour; darker varieties taste earthier, even chocolate-like.

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Wheat berries.
These are the whole kernels of the wheat plant, from which all wheat products, including wheat flour, are made; only the inedible outer husks are removed. Available in red and white varieties, they resemble short-grain brown rice. When boiled, they have a chewy texture and nutty flavor. Since they are the least processed form of wheat, wheat berries can be even richer in nutrients and fibre than whole-wheat flour. That’s because the processing of whole-wheat flour, even if less extreme than for refined wheat flour, can still degrade some of the kernels’ healthful components.

Are They SUPER?
Labeling these grains as “super”—the latest trend—is over stating their place in a healthy diet. I tend not to label any clean food a ‘Super-food’ we all need a wide variety of foods for health. All whole grains are healthful, each in its own way. Besides the ones listed here, there are other healthful options, including barley (a cereal grain that helps lower blood cholesterol), spelt (an ancient wheat species), millet (a food staple in Africa and Asia), buckwheat (not related to wheat), khorasan wheat (Kamut is the registered brand name) and a variety of pigmented rices, such as Thai black rice (which get their dark colours from antioxidants called anthocyanins). If your regular supermarket doesn’t carry them, look for them at health food stores, specialty markets and on the Internet.

There are many recipe ideas for exchanging modern, processed, nutrient sparse grains with these nutrient dense, unprocessed, whole, ancient alternatives.

Eat Clean. Stay Active. Feel Great

Jax.

To Go Paleo Or Not? PT 4

To Go Paleo Or Not? PT 4

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Evolution of the human GI tract
In Paleo circles, it’s sometimes said that while the world has changed in innumerable ways in the last 10,000 years, our genes have changed very little. And further, that we really only thrive in a world with similar conditions to the Paleolithic era.
Quite frankly, this is not how evolution or genetic expression works.
If humans and other organisms could thrive only in circumstances similar to the ones their predecessors lived in, life would not have lasted very long.
Examples of the ways we have evolved in the past 10,000 years abound.
For example, over the past 8,000 years or so, about forty per cent of us have developed the capacity to consume dairy for a lifetime. As a species, we’re evolving a mutation whereby we continue to produce the lactase enzyme to break down lactose for far longer periods than our ancestors ever could. True, not everyone can digest lactose well, but more of us can do so than ever before.
And studies have shown that even people who don’t digest lactose well are capable of consuming moderate amounts of dairy, tolerating an average 12 grams of lactose at a time (the amount of lactose in one cup of milk) with few to no symptoms.

Additionally, the emerging science of epigenetics is showing that a “blueprint” alone isn’t enough — genes can be “switched off” or “on” by a variety of physiological and environmental cues.

Gut knowledge
Our digestive systems have adapted over millennia to process a low-energy, nutrient-poor, and presumably high-fibre diet. Meanwhile, Western diets have become high-energy, low-fibre, and high-fat.
Our genes produce only the enzymes necessary to break down starch, simple sugars, most proteins, and fats. They aren’t well adapted to cope with a steady influx of chicken nuggets, Potato chips, and ice cream.
So how is it that we can still digest our food, albeit imperfectly at times?
Thank the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut. These friendly critters interact with our food in many ways, helping us break down tough plant fibres, releasing bound phytonutrients and anti-oxidants, and helping us to assimilate many important compounds.
Now, we don’t have direct evidence of which bacterial species thrived in Paleolithic intestines, but we can be pretty confident that our ancestors’ microbial communities would not exactly match our own.
That’s because bacteria evolve and adapt at a rate much faster than our slow human genes. And for us, that’s a good thing.

It helps to explain why, even if the ancient human diet didn’t include grains, legumes, dairy, and other relatively modern agricultural products, we still might thrive on such a diet today – at least, with a little help from our bacterial friends.

The magical microbiome
Thanks to the Human Microbiome Project and other massive research projects around the world, we now know that trillions of microorganisms from thousands of different species inhabit the human body.
In fact, the total genetic makeup of these little creatures is at least 100 times greater than our own! (Essentially, we’re only 1% human. Think about that.)
This vast genetic diversity ensures that our GI tracts can adapt rapidly to changes in diet and lifestyle.
A single meal can change the type of bacteria that populate your gut. And as little as several days on a new diet can lead to dramatic changes in the bacterial populations in your GI tract.
The diverse, complex, and dynamic nature of our microbiome helps to explain why some of us seem to do well on one type of diet, while others will feel and perform better with another type of diet — even though, genetically, we’re all 99% the same!
Many of us can break down the more “modern” food compounds that Paleo advocates claim we do not tolerate well — simply because our intestines harbour bacteria that have evolved to do that job.

For instance, some Japanese people host unique bacteria that can help them digest seaweed.
And many people can alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance by eating yogurt or other probiotic-rich foods that provide lactose-digesting bacteria.
So even if you don’t naturally break down lactose well, it’s possible, through the right combination of foods and/or probiotic supplements, to persuade the bacteria in your gut to do this job on your behalf.
What’s more, the same strategy could also address gluten intolerance. Recent research shows that some bacteria actually produce enzymes that break down gluten — as well as phytic acid — reducing any inflammatory or anti-nutrient effects.
Which, as we know, are two of the main reasons people recommend starting Paleo diets in the first place.

Modern Paleo research
No matter how you slice it, the Paleo proponents’ evolutionary arguments just don’t hold up.
But that doesn’t mean that the diet itself is necessarily bad.
Maybe it’s a good diet for completely different reasons than they say.
To find out if that is so, a number of researchers have been putting Paleo diets to the test with controlled clinical trials. And so far, the results are promising, though incomplete.

Paleo vs. Mediterranean diets
Perhaps the best known of these researchers is Dr. Lindeberg — the one who also studied the Kitavan Islanders. He and his colleagues have conducted two clinical trials testing the efficacy of the Paleo diet.
In the first, they recruited diabetic and pre-diabetic volunteers with heart disease and placed them on one of two diets:
A “Paleolithic” diet focused on lean meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, starchy root vegetables, eggs, and nuts, or
A “Mediterranean” diet focused on whole grains, low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruit, fish, oils, and margarine.

After 12 weeks, the Mediterranean group lost body fat and saw an improvement in markers of diabetes. Four of the nine participants with diabetic blood sugar levels at the beginning of the study had normal levels by the end. That’s a very good result and must have made the participants happy.

But those in the Paleo group fared even better.
They lost 70 percent more body fat than the Mediterranean group and also normalized their blood sugars. In fact, all ten participants with diabetic blood sugar levels at the beginning of the study reached non-diabetic levels by the end of the study.
By any estimation, that is an astonishing result.
Now, these volunteers were suffering from mild, early cases of diabetes. But a second study of long-term diabetics showed that a Paleo diet didn’t cure them but it did improve their condition significantly.

Other research has found:
The Paleo diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean diet.
The Paleo diet improves blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and blood lipids.
However, one caveat: Like most low-carb trials, the macronutrients (especially protein) in these studies weren’t matched.
The Paleo group ate a lot more protein, compared to the other diet groups. Plenty of protein helps keep our lean mass dense and strong, stay lean, and feel satisfied by our meals.
So, we’re not just comparing apples to oranges when protein intakes are different; this is more like comparing grains to goat meat. Literally.

The Paleo diet may indeed be the best plan, but it’s hard to know for sure without direct comparisons that match macronutrients and calories.

Conclusion & recommendations
What does the Paleo diet get right?
A. Despite the faulty evolutionary theory it’s based on, in the end, the Paleo diet likely gets more right than it gets wrong.
B. Paleo-style eating emphasizes whole foods, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and other healthy fats, which is a massive improvement over the average Western diet.
C. Paleo-style eating has been extremely effective for improving several chronic diseases. That alone is a huge plus.
D. Paleo-style eating has made us more aware of how processed and crappy a lot of our 21st century food is.
However, we need more rigorous (and carefully matched) trials before we can reach any definitive conclusions.

What are the challenges?
Despite its obvious benefits over the typical Western diet, the Paleo diet has some flaws.
The evidence for excluding dairy, legumes, and grains isn’t (yet) strong. So as a nutrition coach, I can’t say it’s a one-size-fits-all prescription. Certainly, some people should avoid dairy and gluten, and control legume and grain consumption. But most of us can improve the way we look, feel, and perform without completely eliminating these foods.
The evolutionary arguments don’t hold up. The human body isn’t simply a collection of adaptations to life in the Paleolithic era. Each of us is a dynamic assemblage of inherited traits (and microorganisms) that have been tweaked, transformed, lost, and regained since the beginning of life itself. Such changes have continued over the past 10,000 years — and won’t stop any time soon.

In the broader sense, strictly following a list of “good” and “bad” or “allowed” and “not allowed” foods tends to be problematic for most people. Generally, this approach leads to anxiety and all-or-nothing thinking. Maybe it makes us feel more confident and (falsely) sure of ourselves in the short term. But it’s less effective over the long-term — because ultimately, it decreases our consistency.
This may explain why we are seeing the Paleo diet itself evolve.
It’s evolution, baby
Many Paleo advocates have recently come to appreciate and encourage the addition of moderate amounts of starch (albeit a more limited variety of options than I would prefer), as well as some dark chocolate, red wine and non-grain spirits (such as tequila), and grass-fed dairy.
These additions make life much more pleasant. They make healthy eating more attractive and achievable.
In fact, this new “leniency” may partly explain why the Paleo diet continues to gain traction in mainstream nutrition circles.
Because in the end, moderation, sanity and your personal preferences are more important than any specific food list, anti-nutrient avoidance, or evolutionary theory.

What to do today
Consider the good things about ancestral lifestyles. This includes fresh food, fresh air, lots of movement, good sleep, and a strong social network.
How could you get just a little bit of these in your life today?
Think about how you could move along the spectrum — from processed 21st century life and food — to choices that are a little more in tune with what your ancient body needs and loves.
Learn a little more about your ancestors. Evolution is cool. Dig into your roots: Where did your people come from? What were their ancestral diets?
Keep it simple and sane. Doing a few good things pretty well (like getting a little extra sleep or fresh veggies) is much better than trying to get a lot of things “perfect”.
Stay critical and informed. Avoid dogmatic or cultish thinking. Be skeptical. Look for evidence. Question everything. Primal eating is a super cool idea and may turn out to be more or less right; just keep your late-evolving prefrontal cortex (aka your thinky brain) in the game as you consider all the options.
Help your old body (and your trillions of little buddies) do their jobs. Our bodies are resilient. We didn’t get to be one of the dominant species on the planet by being fussy, delicate flowers.

Nevertheless, think about how you can nourish your body optimally in order to give your body and microbiome the best chance of surviving and thriving.

Eat Clean, Stay Active. Feel Great
Jax

To Go Paleo Or Not? PT 3

To Go Paleo Or Not? PT 3

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Diseases of Wealth and industrialisation

Although furring in arteries may be common, “diseases of wealth” like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases have certainly gone up dramatically in the past 50 years in industrialised countries, especially compared to non-developed populations.
Over the last century — a period that is far too short for notable genetic adaptation — we have radically changed the way we eat and live in the UK.
Today, the average Brit subsists on foods that are packaged and commercially prepared. Rich in refined sugars and starches, highly processed fats, and salt, these foods are designed to be so delicious that the body’s normal fullness signals don’t work and encourage overeating.

Consider: The top calorie sources in the western diet today are
1. grain-based desserts (cake, cookies, etc.)
2. yeast breads
3. chicken-based dishes (and you know that doesn’t mean roast chicken)
4. sweetened beverages
5. pizza
6. alcoholic drinks

These are not ancestral foods. Nor foods that any nutrition expert, regardless of dietary persuasion, would ever recommend.

So when proponents of the Paleo diet claim that our modern Western diet isn’t healthy for us, they are absolutely correct.

But is the Paleo diet really Paleo?
Remember: There’s no single “Paleo diet”.
Our ancestors lived pretty much all over the world, in incredibly diverse environments, eating incredibly diverse diets.

Still, in most cases, primal diets certainly included more vegetables and fruits than most people eat today. So if we want to be healthier, we should do what our ancestors did and eat a lot of those. Correct?

Maybe so… but not necessarily for the reasons that Paleo proponents recommend.

First of all, most modern fruits and vegetables are not like the ones our ancestors ate.
Early fruits and vegetables were often bitter, much smaller, tougher to harvest, and sometimes even toxic.
Over time, we’ve bred plants with the most desirable traits — the biggest fruits, plumpest kernels, sweetest flesh, and fewest natural toxins.

We’ve also diversified plant types — creating new cultivars from common origins (such as hundreds of cultivars of potatoes or tomatoes from a few ancestral varieties).

Likewise, most modern animal foods aren’t the same either.
Beef steak (even if grass-fed) is not the same as bison steak or deer meat. And so on.

This doesn’t make modern produce or modern meat inherently good or bad. It’s just different from nearly anything available in Paleolithic times.
So the claim that we should eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and meats because we are evolved to eat precisely those foods is a little bit suspect. The ones we eat today didn’t even exist in Paleolithic times!

Grains and grasses
Proponents of the Paleo diet argue that our ancestors’ diets could not have included a lot of grains, legumes, or dairy foods. And they contend that the past 10,000 years of agriculture isn’t enough time to adapt to these “new” foods.
This argument is compelling but doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
To begin with, recent studies in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, using more advanced analytical methods, have discovered that ancient humans may have begun eating grasses and cereals before the Paleolithic era even began — up to three or even four million years ago!
Further research has revealed granules of grains and cereal grasses on stone stools starting at least 105,000 years ago.
Meanwhile, grain granules on grinding tools from all over the world suggest that Paleolithic humans made a widespread practice of turning grains into flour as long as 30,000 years ago.

In other words, the idea that Paleolithic humans never ate grains and cereals appears to be a bit of an exaggeration.

Are beans really bad for you?
Grains are not the only plant type that the Paleo diet typically limits. Advocates also recommend that you avoid legumes (beans, peanuts, peas, lentils) — and for a similar reason.

However, the idea that legumes were not widely available or widely consumed in Paleolithic times — like the argument that humans didn’t eat grains in the Paleolithic era — is false.
In fact, a 2009 review revealed that not only did our Paleolithic ancestors eat legumes, these were actually an important part of their diet! (Even our primate cousins, including chimpanzees, got into the bean-eating act.)
Legumes have been found at Paleolithic sites all over the world, and in some cases were determined to be the dominant type of plant food available. In fact, the evidence for wild legume consumption by Paleolithic humans is as strong as it is for any plant food.

What about anti-nutrients?
Okay. Maybe our ancient ancestors did eat a little bit of grain and some legumes — so the argument from history doesn’t really hold.
But Paleo proponents also offer another reason to avoid these foods: Their high concentration of anti-nutrients, which supposedly reduces their nutritional value to zilch.
There’s just one problem with this argument. It’s wrong.
Indeed, research suggests that the benefits of legumes far outweigh their anti-nutrient content, especially in light of the fact that cooking eliminates most anti-nutrient effects.
Lectins and protease inhibitors, in particular, are greatly reduced with cooking. And once cooked, these chemicals may actually be good for us. Lectins may reduce tumor growth, while protease inhibitors become anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic.

Phytic acid
But what about phytate?
Grains, nuts, and legumes are rich sources of this anti-nutrient, which can bind to minerals such as zinc and iron and prevent their absorption. Surely that, in itself, is enough reason to avoid grains and legumes?
Not necessarily.
While phytic acid can be toxic if we eat too much of it, in more reasonable amounts it actually offers benefits.
For example, it can:
have antioxidant activity
protect DNA from damage
be prebiotic (i.e. bacteria food)
have anti-cancer properties
reduce bioavailability of heavy metals like cadmium and lead.
And, in a mixed diet composed of other nutrient-dense whole foods, phytic acid is unlikely to cause problems.

In fact, nearly all foods contain anti-nutrients as well as nutrients — particularly plant foods.
For example, incredibly healthy foods such as spinach, Swiss chard, many berries, and dark chocolate are also sources of oxalate, an anti-nutrient that inhibits calcium absorption.
Green tea and red wine contain tannins, another anti-nutrient that inhibits zinc and iron absorption.
And so on.

Overall, phytic acid and other so-called anti-nutrients probably have a “sweet spot” (just like most nutrients).
Eating none or a small amount might be inconsequential.
Eating a moderate amount might be good.
Eating too much will hurt you.

Grains and inflammation
Another argument for a Paleo diet is that eating grains can lead to inflammation and related health problems.
While this can be true for people with celiac disease (about 1% of the population) and for those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (estimated to be about 10% of the population, if it even truly exists), on the whole, the research does not support this argument any more than it supports the argument about anti-nutrients.

In fact, observational research has suggested that:
whole grains may decrease inflammation, but
refined grains may increase inflammation.
In other words, it appears that processing may cause problems, not the grain itself.
Meanwhile, controlled trials consistently show that eating grains, whether whole or refined, does not affect inflammation at all!

What can we make of that?
At worst, whole grains appear to be neutral when it comes to inflammation.
And overall, a substantial body of evidence from both observational and controlled trial research suggests that eating whole grains and legumes improves our health, including:
improved blood lipids;
better blood glucose control;
less inflammation; and
lower risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.

Eliminating these important foods completely from our diet to conform to anybody’s dietary ideology is probably a poor idea.

Moderation, variety, quality and as little processing as possible are the most important factors.

Eat Clean. Stay Active. Feel Great

Jax

Is Modern Wheat Making You Fat and Sick? – for Kim xx

The scientific explanation for why WHEAT is destroying your body

I saw this and knew I had to comment and pass it on! Especially for Kim as we were talking about inflammation in Pilates last night… This is very relevant.

The government and the media tell you to eat MORE wheat… they call it phrases like “wholesome and healthy”. Cereal boxes claim that it’s a “nourishing breakfast of champions”… But more and more scientists, nutritionists, and researchers are finding very troubling health issues related to wheat components that most people are eating in almost every meal.

And this is about MORE than just gluten too…there are many other problematic components of wheat as well.

I saw this article below the other day and wanted to share it with you:

Is Modern Wheat Making You Fat and Sick?
by TheAlternativeDaily.com

Our hunter gatherer ancestors collected all they could from the ground for food including insects, berries, roots, nuts, etc. In their gathering, they found that the animals were eating grass, and they became curious. They broke it down and somehow incorporated wild wheat into their diet. This grass was called Einkorn and had only 14 chromosomes.

Plants can mate with each other and combine chromosomes. At some point in time, the wild grass Einkorn mated with another type of wild grass and the offspring Emmer ended up with 28 chromosomes – this is the wheat that is mentioned in the Bible. However, this is not the wheat of today, that is for sure.

In the Middle Ages (different from the Paleolithic era) bread was a staple and very common food. Emmer mated with another grass which contributed more chromosomes to result in Spelt, Triticum landraces with 42 chromosomes.

In 1960, when the threat of world population explosion was imminent, there was an investment made in agricultural research where lots of money and time were devoted to new ways to increase wheat yield. At this time, different strains of wheat were crossed over and over again to select certain characteristics and to introduce unique genes.

The resulting wheat yielded up to 10 times more per acre. When this wheat was introduced to many third world countries, famine was greatly reduced within one year. Dr. Norman Borlaug received the Nobel Peace prize for his work creating this high yield strain of wheat.

Because this wheat is so prolific, it has taken over almost all of the world’s wheat supply. There are also about a million acres of what is known as Clearfield Wheat being grown in the Pacific Northwest. It is a semi dwarf strain of wheat that has had its seed and embryos exposed to a chemical, sodium azide, which is an industrial toxin.

The makers of Clearfield wheat claim that their wheat is a result of “enhanced, traditional plant breeding techniques,” making a distinction between genetically modified wheat. However, although no gene splicing techniques were used, many other methods were, such as the purposeful induction of mutations using chemicals, high dose x-ray and radiation techniques to induce mutations coupled with cross breeding. These methods might be far worse than genetic modification, according to Dr. William Davis, author of the popular book, Wheat Belly.

The government says eat more wheat – what is up with that?

The government tells us that we need to eat more grain, which generally means more wheat. In the food pyramid, we are advised to eat 60% of calories from grains like wheat. The new food plate design also tells us to get at least 1/4 of our calories from wheat. Here is why we need to stop listening to what our government is telling us about the food pyramid:

Modern Wheat is a Serious Appetite Stimulant

It is estimated that up to 10% of the population has a sensitivity to the protein in wheat known as gluten (some experts estimate it may be higher, possibly closer to 30%). However, the other 90% of people who consume wheat really should not be eating it either…

Here are a few reasons why:

1. Gluten is a two part protein that is comprised of gliadin plus glutenin. Glutenin has a unique elasticity that gives us the ability to stretch our pizza or bread dough or even spin it over our heads, if we are inclined to do so. Gliadin, the other part of the gluten protein, was heavily studied in the 1970′s by psychiatrists who found that if they took all of the wheat out of the diet of their patients with schizophrenia, they improved markedly.

When they put the wheat back, they found that the condition worsened. So the question asked was what was in bread that led schizophrenics to hallucinate? It was traced back to the gliadin protein which, when ingested, enters the brain and binds to opiate receptors where it stimulates appetite.

In addition, gliadin, acting like an opiate in the brain, has other disastrous effects. For example, people with ADHD become hypersensitive and have behavioral outbursts, people with schizophrenia have major hallucinations, people who are bipolar become increasingly manic and those with eating disorders, such as binge eating, will develop food obsessions.

By 1985, in the USA everything at the supermarket with wheat in it came from the prolific semi-dwarf strain or a spinoff. Interestingly enough, if you compare what happened to America’s weight prior to and after 1985 it is evident that there was an obesity explosion that is still happening today shortly after the “new” wheat was introduced.

A huge increase in the number of diabetics also followed. Although cause and effect cannot be proven scientifically – it seems evident that we have all been fed an appetite stimulant.

2. Modern Wheat Destroys Blood Sugar

Two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar. How does this happen when whole wheat is considered a complex carbohydrate that we are encouraged to eat more of?

The complex carbohydrate of wheat is called Amylopectin A, which is highly sensitive to amylase, which we have in our stomach and mouth. This makes it very easy to digest and raises blood sugar rapidly — even more rapidly and to a higher extent than pure table sugar. Wheat for breakfast (cereal, bagels, bread, muffins, etc), wheat for lunch (sandwich bread), wheat for dinner (pasta, bread, etc), and wheat for snacks (crackers, cookies, etc) results in visceral fat that encircles the intestines, heart, liver and kidneys. Repetitive high blood sugar over and over results in what Dr. Davis calls a “wheat belly.”

3. Modern Wheat Causes Inflammation

When bacteria or a virus enters the body our immune system responds in many ways. Plants do not have the same type of immune system, but they have lectins which are proteins that are toxic to mold, fungi and insects. Some lectins are benign to humans like the lectin found in spinach while some are very toxic. The lectin in wheat (Wheat Germ Agglutinin) is a four part complex molecule.

When this lectin is isolated and given to rats in very small amounts, it destroys the small intestine. Average Americans consume about 10-20 mg of the wheat lectin in a day, that’s enough to do significant damage.

When we consume wheat, the gliadin protein unlocks the normal intestinal barrier and allows foreign substances entry into the bloodstream – substances such as wheat lectin. This is why people who eat wheat have autoimmune and inflammatory distress such as joint inflammation, bowel inflammation, acid reflux, inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the airways etc. In fact, there is not one system that fully escapes the inflammatory assault of wheat.

4. What Happens When We Remove Wheat From Our Diet?

First of all, taking wheat out of the diet is not as easy as might think (although it IS easy if you simply avoid any and all processed foods) – wheat is in a lot of foods – even ones we would not associate with having wheat. For example, wheat is in Twizzlers, Campbells Tomato Soup, taco seasoning, frozen dinners, cereals, salad dressings, granola bars and a lot more.

5. Why is there wheat in so many products?

In 1960, we could find wheat only in things where we would expect to find wheat – breads, pastas, pancake mix, etc. Today is an entirely different story – wheat is in all kinds of foods where we would not expect to find it.

Is it possible that food manufacturers know a little something about wheat as an appetite stimulant (on top of the fact that is it heavily subsidized by our government and therefore artificially inexpensive)?

6. Impact of a Wheat-Free Diet

Dr. Davis tells us that taking wheat out of the diet will result in the following:

Improved weight loss
Reduced appetite
Lowered blood sugar
Reduced joint pain
Reduced inflammation
Improvement in cognitive function
Reduced anxiety
Reduced food obsessions
Reduced blood pressure
Reduced triglycerides
Increased energy
Improved sleep

7. What About Gluten-Free?

Although going gluten free is a good thing because you avoid problems with gluten and gliadin, wheat germ agglutinin and amylopectin A, gluten-free foods contain other potentially harmful ingredients if eaten in large quantities, mainly potato starch, rice starch, tapioca starch and corn starch. These are the only foods that raise blood sugar almost just as high as the amylopectin A found in wheat.

Warning: If you choose to be gluten free, avoid the commercial gluten-free products, at least until you educate yourself on the differences between the various gluten free products on the market.

(note: If you choose gluten-free products, look for products made from nut flours, coconut flour, and bean flours as opposed to rice flours, tapioco, corn and potato starch… my good friend Kelley Herring shows you how to make amazing gluten-free and low-carb desserts here, which all use healthy low-carb, high-fiber flours and natural sweeteners instead of the blood sugar disasters that are most gluten-free products on the market today)

8. What Can I Eat?

Most people make eating gluten-free and wheat-free seem too difficult, but it’s actually quite simple and enjoyable… Eat real, single ingredient non-grain foods as much as possible…

You can focus most of your diet on nuts, healthy fats, organic fruits/vegetables, grass-fed beef and bison, organic chicken and turkey, wild caught salmon, quality aged cheese, organic eggs, coconuts, avocados, seeds, olive oils, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, as well as a variety of other foods that are in their natural state. The more processed and refined a food is, the more likely it contains wheat and other byproducts of the refinement process that are just too dangerous to your health.

Enjoy the amazing health benefits of eating wheat-free!

-The Alternative Daily

There are plenty of foods you can enjoy that are wheat free – I think the best result is that you will have to MINDFULLY select your breakfast. No more grabbing toast or cereal boxes- you can cook scrabbled eggs and a variety of veggies in the time it takes to zap quick cook porridge ( which is the best way I know to gain belly fat and work your way towards diabetes!) look at your shopping list, swap some foods and your weight, bodyfat, gut and skin will all improve!
GO GO GO Wheat Free!!
Jax xx20140610-093751-34671405.jpg

These 4 Foods Accelerate AGING (beware!)

These 4 Foods Accelerate AGING (beware!)

 

Do you eat these harmful foods that AGE you faster?  Some are even deceptively marketed as “healthy”

Avoid or minimize these and look 5-10 years YOUNGER

 

I’m not particularly bothered about getting older, but that’s probably because I think I’m ageing OK.  I’m fit enough to have a go at most things, my lean muscle is good and I keep my body fat% is under control. I feel able to keep up with girls half my age and wouldn’t worry about the prospect of a swimsuit beach holiday..  BUT I think that’s down to the choices I make when it comes to exercise, smoking and alcohol and especially food…..
Due to biochemical reactions in your body that occur with every type of food you eat on a daily basis, some foods age you FASTER than your real age, while other foods help to FIGHT aging.

Eat the wrong foods regularly, and you can look and feel 10 or more years OLDER than your real age (not fun!) … but eat the right foods, and over time, you can start to look 5-10 years YOUNGER than your real age.

 

Three of the processes that go on inside your body that have a MAJOR impact on your rate of aging are called “glycation”, “inflammation”, and “oxidation”.  When we talk about aging, we’re not just talking about wrinkles on your skin or how thick your hair is… we’re also talking about factors that you can’t see, such as how well your organs function, and whether your joints are degrading.

 

Yes, I’m sure you’ll agree this is much more important than just how you look superficially (although improving BOTH IS BETTER!)

So let’s see how your rate of aging can be directly related to the foods you might eat every day, and how to protect yourself…

 


Food #1 that ages you faster: 

Wheat (yes, even “whole wheat”)

Before I tell you why wheat can actually speed up the aging process in your body, let’s clarify some simple biochemistry in your body…

This deals with “glycation” in your body, and substances called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).  These nasty little compounds called AGEs speed up the aging process in your body including damage over time to your organs, your joints, and of course, wrinkled skin.

So with that said, what is one of the biggest factors that increase production of AGEs inside your body?  This may surprise you, but high blood sugar levels over time dramatically increase age-accelerating AGEs in your body.

This is why type 2 diabetics many times appear that they have not aged well and look older than their real age.  But this age-increasing effect is not just limited to diabetics.

So, let’s get back to how “whole wheat” relates to this…

Here is a little-known fact that’s often covered up… but the fact is that wheat contains a very unique type of carbohydrate (not found in other foods) called Amylopectin-A, which has been found in some tests to spike your blood sugar higher than even pure table sugar.

 

In fact, amylopectin-A (from wheat) raises your blood sugar more than almost any other carbohydrate source on earth based on blood sugar response testing.

 

This means that wheat-based foods such as breads, bagels, cereals, muffins, and other baked goods often cause much higher blood sugar levels than most other carbohydrate sources.  As you know now, the higher your average blood sugar levels are over time, the more AGEs are formed inside your body, which makes you age FASTER.

 

You’ve probably heard about the potential health-damaging effects of gluten (also found in wheat) in the news recently, but this blood sugar aspect we just covered is not talked about that often, and is yet another reason to reduce or eliminate wheat-based foods in your diet.  Your body will thank you by aging slower and looking YOUNGER!

 

Another problem with wheat-based foods and aging…

As it turns out, baked wheat products contain carcinogenic chemicals called acrylamides that form in the browned portion of breads, cereals, muffins, etc.  These carcinogenic acrylamides have been linked in studies to possible increased risk of cancer and accelerated aging.  Note that acrylamides are also found in high levels in other browned carbohydrate sources such as french fries or any other browned starchy foods.

Don’t worry though… There’s a trick that you can use to protect yourself from these carcinogenic acrylamides, and it has to do with eating the RIGHT foods that COUNTERACT damage from these nasty chemicals.
Food #2 that ages you faster:  Corn-based foods

 corn syrup, corn cereal, corn chips, corn oil

 

This is quite a variety of stuff that you might eat every day… we’re talking corn chips, corn cereals, corn oil, and also the biggest health-damaging villain that gets most of the media attention, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

We already talked in detail in the last section about wheat regarding the blood sugar process and it’s relation to age-accelerating formation of nasty “AGEs” in your body.

Well, corn-based starchy foods such as corn cereals, corn chips, etc also have a big impact on blood sugar levels and therefore can increase AGEs in your body and accelerate aging.

 

But here’s another nail in the coffin for corn… it turns out that scientists have found out that the fructose in HFCS causes 10x more formation of AGEs in your body than glucose!  Yes, that’s right… that means the HFCS you consume daily in sweetened drinks, and most other processed foods (yes, even salad dressings and ketchup) contribute to faster aging in your body… as if you needed yet another reason to avoid or minimize HFCS!

 

We’re not finished yet… it gets even worse…

Another major issue with corn-based foods and corn oils is that these foods contribute excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids to your diet, which causes an imbalance in your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio and leads to inflammation and oxidation within your body. Another example of corn-based foods aging you FASTER.

 

My advice:  Avoid or reduce corn-based foods like corn chips and corn cereal as much as possible. These aren’t as bad as wheat in relation to blood sugar, and they don’t contain gut-damaging gluten like wheat does, but they are still bad for you.  Corn syrup or corn oil, avoid as much as you can if you want to stay lean and young looking.

 

 

Food #3 that ages you faster:  

Sugar, sugary foods, certain starchy foods
Again, we get back to the relationship between your average blood sugar levels and blood sugar spikes over time, and how that can increase those age-accelerating compounds called AGEs in your body.

Sugar is an obvious one to avoid.  You’ve heard how bad it is for you 1000 times before for many other reasons, including your waistline and developing type 2 diabetes.

But now you also understand the aging effect of sugar.

Instead of sugar, consider using a natural non-caloric sweetener like Stevia in your daily coffee, tea, in baking, and other sweetening needs.  This dramatically helps you control your blood sugar response and thereby help slow aging.

This also means that you should think twice about sugary desserts, sugary cereals, chocolates, and other sweets that are contributing to aging you faster.

 

A good trick to satisfy a sweet tooth is to have 1-2 squares of dark chocolate after dinner instead of a normal full dessert that most people choose.  You only get about 2 grams of sugar in 1-2 squares of dark chocolate as opposed to 40-80 grams of age-accelerating sugar in a typical cake, ice cream, or brownie type of dessert.

 

Keep in mind that some starchy foods like white rice, oatmeal, and white potatoes can also have significant impacts on your blood sugar and thereby can increase formation of AGEs in your body.  These foods are best kept in small portions if you decide to eat them, and balanced with healthy fats and protein to slow the blood sugar response.

 

 

Food #4 that ages you faster:  

Soybean oil, canola oil, or other “vegetable oils”
I know these have been marketed to you over the years by giant food companies as “healthy”, but if you understand the biochemistry and how these highly-processed oils react inside your body, you would quickly see how false that is.

First, anything labelled soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, or cottonseed oil (these are in a LOT of processed foods you probably eat) have usually been refined under extremely high heat and use of chemical solvents such as hexane.

This leaves you with an oil where the polyunsaturated fats have undergone a lot of oxidation and are therefore VERY inflammatory inside your body, producing free radicals, damaging your cell membranes, contributing to faster aging, heart disease, and other possible health problems.

 

If you want to avoid the health-damaging effects of soybean, canola, corn and other “vegetable oils”, make sure to avoid them as much as you can, and instead opt for truly healthy oils and fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, virgin coconut oil (a healthy source of MCT fats), and grass-fed butter (a great source of healthy CLA fats).

 

 

Start you De-Ageing Process Today !!

Sandwich Anyone?

Sandwich Anyone?

 

The wheat we eat today is full of gluten – the stuff that makes it sticky; in fact this stuff is often used as a binding agent for postage stamps yum – not. The wheat we consume today is actually bio engineered to contain 90% more gluten than our grandparents ate, and there is less than half the protein in our wheat today versus 50 years ago. Also while on the subject of nutritional value according to a Rutgers University study it now takes 19 ears of corn to equal the nutritional value of one ear of corn grown in the 1940’s!
It’s crazy, the soil our crops is grown in is so depleted that it is entirely dependant on the chemical fertilizers it is given to grow, so it becomes devoid of the essential minerals we need as humans!
So what happens when we eat wheat – well when you consume wheat, the gluten in it swells in your intestinal tract, often constipating you. Then the immune system is activated to attack that very part of the lining of the intestinal tract, causing bloating, wind, maybe diarrhoea and nausea – these symptoms should alert you to the fact that your body is rejecting the food you’re putting into it. And also the immune system can’t do its normal job of protecting you from viruses – it’s trying to protect you from what you’re eating, so you’re getting sick easier.
Also, when consumed, wheat is more easily transferred to blood sugar in the body than any other carbohydrate. Dr William Davis, a preventative cardiologist, says, “two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar to a higher level than a chocolate snack bar. And then, after about two hours, your blood sugar plunges and you get shaky, your brain feels foggy, you’re hungry.   So let’s say you have an English muffin for breakfast. Two hours later you’re starving, so you have a handful of crackers, and then some crisps, and your blood sugar rises again. That cycle of highs and lows just keeps going throughout the day, so you’re constantly feeling hungry and constantly eating. Dieticians have responded to this by advising that we graze throughout the day, which is just nonsense. If you eliminate wheat from your diet, you’re no longer hungry between meals because you’ve stopped that cycle. You’ve cut out the appetite stimulant, and consequently you lose weight very quickly

So, any one for a sandwich???

Jax© 021011

 

Control Bodyfat and Feel Fantastic !

Food Rule #1.  look out for 17 more very useful rules…..

Carbohydrates don’t need to be eliminated… they are not inherently “bad” in reasonable quantities. But grains and processed sugars in particular should be minimized. So to make things simple, you will be leaner and healthier if you get most of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables instead of grains and processed sugar.

The biggest problem with grains, aside from the abuse to your blood sugar regulation system (pancreas and insulin sensitivity), is that grains contain a lot of anti-nutrients which prevent your body from absorbing some minerals, as well as gluten and other substances that cause chronic gut inflammation. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other tubers have less problems in terms of digestive system inflammation than grains do.

What do I personally do? Well, I avoid grains as much as possible, except on 1 cheat day per week. That will always be a meal dining out, so that we’re never tempted with breads and cereals in our house. I eat whole fruits (never juice) and veggies daily, and might have an occasional potato or sweet potato once or twice a week.

Jax Allen  ps I’d love to hear your comments and questions.  I’m creating a series of online products to help those of you that can’t attend my training sessions and workshops in person.

What would you like to see, learn and understand – Let me know. Jax