We should always question our assumptions and be open to change. I’m about to experiment with going 30 days without grains.
At 16, my daily breakfast was half a box of grape nuts with honey and skim milk (and I was supposedly the healthy guy). There was a time that I ate grains with every meal, whether bread, pasta, cereal or rice. Over the last two years, I’ve slowly reduced the amount of grains I consume as part of my nutritional repertoire.
Plenty of folks are trumpeting support for this position. One doesn’t have to look very hard to find anti-grain discussions. From marksdailyapple.com:
The cereal grain family prides itself on its powerful, expansive arsenal of lectins, phytates, gluten, and other antinutrients. A single seed of its patriarch, wheat, can punch holes in gut linings with ease, and cousin oat has managed to obtain official recognition as being good for the heart even as it doses you with gluten. As healthy whole grains, they hide their armaments in plain sight; they cloak their puny bodies in the very poisons for which they are lauded and applauded.
That’s a pretty strong take. I’m not sure I buy it, particularly given my personal experience. When I eat grains, I feel more alert. Of course, there’s a response to that, too.
You may not have an obvious problem now, but that’s only because you’ve grown accustomed to your body and it to your diet. The signals of discomfort are dulled, and the intensity of the pain has reduced.
In fairness, I have never experimented with cutting grains out entirely. It’s possible that I’m used to the response after years of conditioning. My grain consumption now is two slices of sprouted grain toast in the mornings. For a long time, I’d add a cup of quinoa to my greens thinking I needed some fuel for my brain. I may have been wrong.
We now know that the oft-repeated “your brain only runs on glucose!” is wrong. I’ve mentioned it before, and anyone who’s taken the time to get fat-adapted on a low-carb Primal eating plan intuitively knows that your brain doesn’t need piles of glucose to work, because, well, they’re using their brain to read this sentence. Obviously, you eventually adapt and find you have sufficient (if not much improved) cognition without all those carbs.
You know that I reject diet labels. You may have also noticed that none of these arguments are providing any proof to back up their claims. I’m not entirely convinced of either side’s position, so it seems there is only one thing left to do. I’m taking the leap starting tomorrow morning. Breakfast will be 5 whole eggs, a Japanese yam and organic black coffee. I’ll go grain free for a month and see how I function. Perhaps I’ll have a response like Mark suggests:
I felt the same way until I tried ditching them for 30 days. All those little niggling aches and pains and complaints that I figured were just an inevitable aspect of life have disappeared. I feel better than ever.
Damn. I feel pretty good before even starting. This should be fun. I’ll keep you posted.