The Risks of Consuming Typical Grains & the Healthy Grains to Choose Instead
Most of the mainstream focus with carbs has been on how they affect your weight. However, there are more reasons than weight for deciding which carbs to include in your diet.
The fact is, just like the controversy over "good" and "bad" fats, we see certain carbs as good or bad and it's the type of carbs that matters the most.
Low carb diets had been "in" for years until recently, and so by now maybe you consider yourself an expert on why they aren't good for you. Yet most people still consume a high carb diet, and current market research is showing that the low-carb craze has passed.
Your morning bowl of cereal could be harming your health! At Body Ecology we take a different slant on the carb issue, and I'd like to share this with you. So lets quickly review what you probably already know and then I'll explain some things I hope you will find fascinating, as I do.
Carbohydrates are made up of sugars, both simple and complex. Refined sugars digest immediately (and therefore the term, "sugar high".) Because digestion of refined sugars is so immediate (and there are no balancing minerals) your blood almost immediately becomes too acidic.
That burst of energy that feels so great is soon followed by a "sugar low" … your energy slides way downhill and can even bottom out completely. Roller coaster rides like this affect your behavior, your power to think and focus, your emotions and even your willpower and ability to accomplish. Is it worth it? For me, it's not. My energy is too precious and I try to protect and actually increase it each day.
Why Not To Eat High-Carb Grains, Grain-Based Products AND Even Whole Grains
Grains, breads, flour products and pasta can actually damage your digestive system and feed pathogenic bacteria and yeast.
Flour products are mucus-forming and are basically "glue-like" in your intestines. Since most of the beneficial fiber has been removed from flour products like cookies, donuts, pasta and today's modern bread, they move slowly through your digestive system. With their sticky, glue-like consistency, they literally "gum up" your intestines.
These foods are also very dehydrating. Besides causing constipation, they help you create a toxic environment that is attractive to pathogenic microorganisms like yeast. Please note, I said, "help you create," because it is you doing the choosing and the eating.
While sugar and flour are the most damaging to your colon, even the unrefined "whole" grains that we've been told are "healthy" can wreak havoc on your health.
Whole grains like wheat, barley, rye, oatmeal, spelt and rice are acid-forming. They have a lot of sugar in them. Pathogens (yeast, viruses and parasites) find them to be very sweet foods and thrive on them. The Body Ecology Diet is an antifungal diet, so these grains are strictly avoided if you have a yeast or fungal infection (and it is believed that eight out of ten Americans do have a fungal infection.)
But there's another problem with most grains. Wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt all contain gluten. (Rice is gluten free.). Today 1 out of every 133 Americans has a negative reaction to these gluten grains and are said to be "gluten intolerant." Even worse is a condition called celiac sprue.
The Body Ecology Diet is totally gluten-free. It is perfect for anyone with gluten intolerance or Celiac including the millions of children with autism.
Are millions of people in the US really gluten intolerant or do they simply lack "grain loving" microflora that can digest gluten foods? Are they lacking digestive enzymes to digest grains? Are the grain-based foods they are eating the wrong foods? The Body Ecology Diet helps answer these questions and solve these problems while still providing you many fiber-rich foods.
It All Starts With Your Inner Ecosystem
Just as the Earth has ecosystems that regulate survival and balance, our bodies have an inner ecosystem - and our inner ecosystem must be healthy if we want to thrive, not just survive.
A healthy human intestinal ecosystem (inner ecosystem) is made up of the friendly microorganisms (microflora) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong. These microflora work to protect us by digesting our foods, strengthening our immune systems, guarding us from parasites and other pathogens in our foods. They literally make vitamins (Bs and K) right down inside us, and they do so much more.
Unfortunately, many people take drugs and lead overly-stressful lifestyles. They eat high- sugar foods and foods that are processed and fried. They take in the wrong kind of fats and oils and the animal proteins are overcooked.
With deficient amounts of digestive enzymes they still try to digest all of these foods, yet most don't yet understand the role of the inner ecosystem and have not made any effort to establish or maintain one. Most people live with "gut dysbiosis" that makes us intolerant to most grains.
Healthy Carbs … The Body Ecology Way
On the Body Ecology system of health and healing there are four grain-like seeds that are encouraged: millet, quinoa ( keen-wa), amaranth and buckwheat.
These seeds are very ancient foods used by man for thousands of years. In fact, buckwheat (not related to wheat at all) and amaranth are thought to have been cultivated about 6000 years ago.
Quinoa was revered by the Incas who are said to have been the greatest agriculturists of all times. Millet is an ancient grain brought to America by African slaves. They are amazing foods and are gluten-free, high in protein and high in fiber. While these grains may not yet be familiar to you, they are readily available in health food stores and some supermarkets.
The grain-like seed amaranth is very palatable, easy to cook, versatile and can be a healthy part of your diet.
Here is some more essential details on each:
Amaranth - contains B vitamins, calcium, iron and Vitamin C. Amaranth may help lower cholesterol.
Buckwheat - rich in flavonoids like rutin and a good source of magnesium, buckwheat is good for your cardiovascular system. It's a valuable food for those with diabetes, as it can be helpful for regulating blood sugar.
Millet - a good source of manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium, millet is beneficial for your heart.
Quinoa - a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous, and riboflavin (B2). Quinoa may be helpful if you have migraines, diabetes or atherosclerosis.
Millet, quinoa and amaranth are alkaline-forming, while buckwheat is acid-forming. Acid-forming is not necessarily "bad." Please don't think good or bad when it comes to acid and alkaline, think balance.
Ideally a Body Ecology meal might have about 20% acid-forming foods like animal proteins or buckwheat combined with 80% alkaline-forming foods like vegetables, ocean vegetables and cultured vegetables. However, at times when you are too toxic and very acidic, meals that are 100% alkaline-forming will work best for you.
Overall Benefits of Body Ecology Grains
These grain-like seeds are very nutrient-dense and act as antioxidants. Besides being a significant source of proteins and minerals they contain B vitamins. They help your body make serotonin which makes you feel happier while providing a calming, soothing effect on your nervous system.
This is one of the reasons we recommend a dinner meal consisting of these grain-like seeds combined with a wide variety of vegetables, ocean vegetables and cultured vegetables. These foods are all easily digested and will help make you feel sleepy at bedtime.
Did you know that eating grain-like seeds (and even whole grains that are properly digested) can help balance your hormones? They contain fiber to help sweep excess environmental estrogens (xeno-estrogens) from your intestines so they can't be reabsorbed. One of the many roles of beneficial microflora is to also help regulate hormones in the gut.
It is always recommended that you soak any grains or grain-like seeds for a minimum of 8 hours. 24 hours is even better. Grains have phytic acid in them (as do nuts, beans and other seeds) that makes them difficult to break down in your digestive system. Since most people have weak digestive systems, eating grains without soaking them could cause symptoms of digestive upset. And as you are already learning, improper digestion leads to a toxic body.
Trouble Digesting Grains?
As mentioned above, poor digestion of grains and gluten intolerance is common when your inner ecosystem lacks the "grain-loving" microflora to digest them. Understanding the value of fermented foods, I found a product that would help solve this problem…and it is now a staple in my own kitchen.
BE Wholegrain Liquid is a wonderful probiotic liquid (to be taken like a supplement, not like a beverage that you drink in full) made with a variety of whole grains that are fermented with friendly bacteria and the beneficial yeast Sacchromyces Boulardii. Buckwheat, millet - and even wheat, oats and rice - are fermented together to make this wonderful product.
In BE Wholegrain, the hard-to-digest protein structure of the grains is broken down for you so you can receive the benefits of the grains and the probiotics.
BE Wholegrain Liquid provides the "grain loving" microflora that help you digest gluten, plus it provides you with probiotics that are essential to a healthy immune system.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I also often put a few spoonfuls of a fermented liquid like BE Wholegrain into my grains (and grain-like seeds) when I soak them. I let them soak longer than usual (36 - 48 hours). The microflora in the soaking water softens the grains even more. You'll find your grains and grain-like seeds even easier to digest this way. You might want to try this if your digestion is very sensitive or if you are introducing the grain-like seeds to your baby.
Even though some of the ingredients in the BE Wholegrain contain gluten prior to fermenting, fermentation breaks apart the gluten. Many people find that they greatly benefit from the BE Wholegrain since the microflora have altered the grains, restructuring the gluten protein to make it more digestible.
After about ten days on this probiotic liquid you may also find yourself tolerating all grains better than ever before...even those grains containing gluten. I personally find one must be on fermented beverages and cultured veggies to really benefit from eating grain foods for as long as they live. Otherwise true grains should be avoided in your diet.
Besides being a great digestive aid, BE Wholegrain Liquid is also rich in B vitamins and therefore has a calming effect on you. We often combine it with sparkling mineral water and stevia for a healthy alternative to soda pop. It is very popular with our children in our BEDROK group.
When to Add Other Grains Back into Your Diet
Once your inner ecosystem is healed, you may want to start adding whole grains back into your diet.
I recommend avoiding wheat products for good, however. Hopefully, you won't even want them. Today's wheat is nothing like the ancient wheat of long ago. No one seems to do well on it. If this seems impossible because you and your family are practically living off wheat-based foods right now, try a short-term experiment. Go ten days without it and see how you feel. Then add it in and decide if it's right for you.
Make sure to prepare all grains properly as note above, in order to aid your digestion. And include fermented foods and drinks to give your inner ecosystem the boost it needs to keep you in balance!
A FINAL NOTE: Are Vegetables Carbohydrates?
At Body Ecology we don't think vegetables should be in the same category as grains or seeds. They need to be in their own separate category simply called "vegetables."
We do define them as starchy or non-starchy, however. We also label them as coming from the ocean or grown on land. Yes, vegetables do contain some sugars, but they are alkaline-forming in the body and contain lots of important vitamins and minerals.
Certain veggies like beets and sweet potatoes become very sweet when baked. (They are not so sweet if eaten raw.) Since the Body Ecology diet is an antifungal diet, we avoid the very sweet vegetables if they are cooked until the inner ecosystem is well-established and the beneficial microflora are thriving inside your intestines. The microflora then consume the sugar.
We also always include fermented foods, like cultured veggies, to help digest all the natural sugars in that meal. You won't find a more well-thought-out or complete way of eating than The Body Ecology Diet.