The Risks of Consuming Typical Grains & the Healthy Grains to Choose Instead

Posted December 17, 2006. There have been 17 comments

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 thetype 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 actuallyincrease 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.

Preparing Grains

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.

Whole Grain Biotic 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.

Post Categories: Candida

17 Comments

  • what is recipe for quinoa that is soaked for 24 hours? wouldnt it have soaked up all the water by then? how do u cook it so its not mushy? what kind of strainer do u use? thx

    Posted on Oct 18 at 9:13 pm

  • I have been roasting my raw unsoaked quinoa in the oven until lightly golden coloured, then I grind it to a powder and it is consumed in this form. Is this bad?

    Posted on Apr 1 at 11:35 am

  • Correction, millet is a cereal grain NOT a pseduocereal. Only amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa are seeds.

    Posted on Mar 23 at 6:27 pm

  • Carol & Erin,
    As the article mentions, digestive health depends on balanced body ecology: The good bacteria in our gut need to dominate... One of the important ways to do that is to consume a daily dose of good bacteria (probiotics) to help digest our food. Colostrum is also very helpful. (there are kids' version for both).

    Some sources of probiotics: Kefir, Juices like "Good Belly", Tempeh, Kombucha, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, etc. Or you can take suppliments.

    You need to keep these good bacteria fed and healthy. They like onions, garlic, acascia fiber...etc (these are called prebiotics)

    Fish oil is also an important digestive aid

    Posted on Nov 26 at 10:36 pm

  • Carol and Erin:

    We need a balanced ecosystem in order to be able to digest food properly & not experience pain of indigestion after eating. The Good bacteria in our intestine need to be dominating the bad ones. I recommend taking probiotics and colostrum for a while to repair the GI system (there are kids version). Once you have enough good bacteria (probiotics) in your body.. you need to continuously feed them (e.g., fibers: flax, Acasica..etc).

    My favorite product is FiberSmart as it has flax, acasia and some probiotics too. (I think it is excellent for when you have taken your probiotics & replenished your body --note you might need to replenish your probiotics regularily or whenever you feel you're not digesting well: bloating, gas, pain ..etc)

    One of the good books on this is "The Gut Solution" : )

    http://www.amazon.com/Gut-Solutions-Natural-Digestive-Problems/dp/0971930929/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385514632&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Gut+solution

    Posted on Nov 26 at 5:12 pm

  • Now I am confused. I have been preparing quinoa. According to directions on the box: rinse, add to 2 cups boiling water & lower heat, cook 15 minutes. No mention of soaking. Should I keep it in the refrigerator to soak? I will do this and decrease cooking water to 1 1/2 cups. Thanks.

    Posted on Nov 26 at 4:37 am

  • My 7 year old son has belly pain whenever he eats. He doesn't like fruits and vegetables. He'll have those little fruit and vegetable box juice; he's a picky eater. I minimize his dairy intake but nothing changes. I take him to the doctor several times but they cannot find anything wrong.

    Can you offer any help.

    Thank you

    Posted on Oct 8 at 3:28 pm

  • Why do you think some people can digest flour products o.k and others can't? The reason I ask is my toddler has been constipated since she was about 9 months old......when she was 9 months her diet consisted of fruits, veggies ( corn being her favorite) oatmeal and breast milk. Now that she is 2 I am very good about giving her a balance diet. I have been keeping a "poop" journal for about a year now and it seems like anytime she is eating a lot of grains products that when she is constipated when she only eats grains maybe every other day she is fine....We have an appt to a GI dr. just to make sure this is the true cause....... but Why can I digest anything and it seems like other kids are like human garbage disposals but my baby is so sensitve to grain?

    Posted on Sep 8 at 11:45 am

  • I was reading about cereals and pseudocereals (non-grasses), and only quinoa and amaranth were considered non-grass seed-like grains. Millet and rice were considered cereals. Can you clarify this and compare it to what you're talking about in this article?

    Posted on Aug 25 at 2:40 pm

  • It is important to rinse quinoa to remove the saponin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saponin

    Posted on Jul 2 at 2:23 pm

  • Soaking the quinoa is necessary to neutralize enzyme inhibitors and other anti- nutrients. It is not about making it palatable or removing pesticides. It takes a long soaking (24 hours is best) to complete this process-- the natural enzyme releasing process that takes place when the seed is germinating to grow. Over the long haul, eating unsoaked quinoa with the enzyme inhibitors intact could lead to digestive enzyme exhaustion. There may also be other yet undiscovered reasons why quinoa was traditionally soaked before being eaten.
    If you rinse the quinoa well after soaking,--and then cook it with a tiny bit of unrefined mineral rich sea salt (!), the texture should remain resilient. Of course, if you buy it already sprouted and dried, the process is done for you!

    Posted on Oct 7 at 7:41 am

  • I don't bother soaking my quinoa, just add two tablespoons (plus one of buckwheat seeds) and a bit of water, bring to boil and then put on a really low heat with lid on for 20 minutes. And...... if you are going to add anything like chia seeds, nuts, seeds, dried fruits like gojis then DON'T put them in with the cooking quinoa (cooking will seriously compromise their nutrients!!) but what I do is soak them in some coconut water or milk while the quinoa is cooking and then add the two...yum. Finally to give me some extra fats I will dissolve some cacao butter in the quinoa right at the end.

    Posted on Jun 29 at 4:09 am

  • If your using organic quinoa there shouldn't be any reason too waste water on soaking it too remove pesticides I put my organic quinoa directly into my rice cooker 1 cup quinoa 2 cups water and I make enough too feed myself for breakfast and have enough too put in a tuperware for another day. You should soak non-organic grains before consuming them. Fun fact we use 50% of our pesticides on cotton so don't buy cotton clothes if you don't have too new. Also I like too mix in goji berries and hemp hearts with my quinoa. Super food breakfast ahoy!

    Posted on May 10 at 1:23 pm

  • I BUY SPROATED QUINOA AT MY HEALTH FOOD STORE. I THEREFORE, DO NOT HAVE TO SOAK IT. EASY!

    Posted on Apr 11 at 2:58 pm

  • Alesia,

    It is important to soak your quinoa before you cook it. In fact, it is important to soak all grains before eating them. I don't like mushy quinoa either. I soak my quinoa for 15 minutes, then I drain it, and put it in a pot with cold water. Bring it to a boil, stir it once and turn down to lowest setting for 30 minutes. Most recipes recommend to add 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa, this is what makes it mushy. I typically add 11/2 cup of water to a cup of quinoa and it comes out perfectly, much closer to the consistency of couscous.

    Good luck,
    Jessica Enzo Health Coach

    Posted on Jan 26 at 8:20 am

  • Whenever I soak my quinoa before cooking, it comes out sticky. Does your quinoa do the same? After soaking the grains I rinse them then add to boiling water, reduce and simmer until all the water is gone. I am afraid if I soak any longer than overnight, it will turn out really, really sticky and mushy. Can you offer suggestions?

    Posted on Sep 1 at 2:28 pm

  • I boil my Quinoa without soaking it beforehand. Is this okay, or does it destroy certain aspects of the grain ? i boil it then mix in herbs and spices and have it as a rice substitute.

    Posted on May 25 at 4:38 am

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