Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grain Fed

Haven't posted lately because of busy-ness, and distraction in the form of a couple of books by a writer who was new to me, namely Don Winslow. I'm not sure how to categorize his writing, but The Power of the Dog is excellent. Highly recommended.

I continue to run across studies and analysis that reinforce why it is important to eliminate or drastically reduce the intake of gluten grains, particularly wheat.  Now I've seen one that, even if gluten grains were innocuous, makes one wonder what the nutritional point of eating grains is anyway.

In "Evidence of decreasing mineral density in wheat grain over the last 160 years", Fan et al examined whether lower dietary micro nutrient density was the result of soils becoming poorer. I've heard as much many times, and it does seem kind of intuitive that extracting the same minerals from soil by continually farming it with the same kinds of crops would result in less of those minerals in the foods that result. To find out the answer, the researchers analyzed soil and wheat samples that had been archived since 1845. Their findings are quite surprising, at least to me.

The concentrations of iron, copper, and magnesium remained stable between 1845 and the mid 1960s. But since then those levels have declined significantly, while the soil levels have remained the same or risen. Why the drop in the wheat levels? Well gosh, that's when new high-yielding semi-dwarf varieties were introduced and becoming ubiquitous. Agra-business, don'tcha know.  So, we now get higher yields, which improves the bottom line, but at the expense of dehanced nutrition - I know, but 'dehanced' was what came to mind.

So, we're left with a bigger problem: even if our pre-agriculture ancestors had been adapted to eating gluten grains, the genetic makeup of what they would be eating was very different than what is in all those boxes and cellophane packages in the vast center of the supermarket. If grains are relatively new in terms of human adaptation, how well adapted could humans be to the stuff that is so different and really new? Like, forty or fifty years ago.

Now I'm really glad wheat's genetic code has been "cracked". Can't wait for all the enhancements that will be coming online once the folks in lab coats really get to work. We may get new, improved, "heart-healthy" stuff every few weeks. If our bodies could tell us what they think about all this new stuff, I wonder what they would say?

Oh, wait. Maybe they are telling us by way of all the DOCs that beset us. Diseases Of Civilization.


  1. So, any idea how someone used to eating a "normal American" diet goes to eating a healthy diet? Especially one who doesn't cook much at home? What to eat when you go to a restaurant?

  2. @Mary,


    Mark covers a lot of what you're asking about in his blog article.

    When eating out, tell the server you are highly gluten intolerant in order to get menu choices that don't contain hidden gluten.

    Realize that any food prepared with any form of oil virtually guarantees that the oil will be an omega-6 industrial seed oil - highly inflammatory. So, nothing fried and no prepared dressings.

    Restaurant food usually has way too much salt.

    You already know not to eat anything with sugar or wheat/corn/rice in it, except rarely. One has to 'cheat' once in a great while, just for the sake of variety or as a treat.