Delta turned grain-free when she was five months old.

A year ago, we brought our boss home. When I took her to the vet for her first check-up, she emphasised the benefits of a a grain-free diet. Most kittens are raised on the supermarket variety of dry pet food with corn, wheat and soy as fillers. Cats are obligate carnivores and do not need grains. Cats raised on conventional cat food are much more prone to obesity, diabetes and arthritis than cats who have been grain-free.

What about dogs, I asked. Aren’t they omnivores like humans?

Are they okay eating grains? Ideally, a dog’s diet should be grain-free as well, especially if it is beginning to show signs of inflammation in the joints, the vet said. It was the first time I was hearing the words “grains” and “joints” in the same sentence.

I’d experienced joint pains for nearly a decade, mainly in the knees and hips. It would feel worse during exercise or as the day wore on. I’d mentioned it to numerous doctors over the years and was told, rather disinterestedly, that I was “wearing them out ” through strenuous exercise, or was “showing signs of developing arthritis”. Or it could be related to bone loss and hence it was be prudent to “stop being vegan and include more calcium sources like dairy”. So I started eating cheese and yogurt and stopped running. Still, a dull pain in my knees was often my default state, and it would flare up really badly from time to time in the middle of a martial arts class.

Now, it’s true that women are more likely than men to suffer from a variety of chronic pain conditions. It’s also true that doctors take women’s pain less seriously and give it less attention than it deserves. A woman with chest pain is made to wait much longer in an emergency room than a man with the same complaint. And let’s hope she’s not black, ‘cos then she’ll wait even longer.

I’d stopped discussing my chronic knee pain during my annual medical check-ups ‘cos I was tired of being treated like a whiny hypochondriac. I turned to random strangers on the Internet. Based on what Delta’s vet told me, I googled “grains” and “joints”. There is a whole body of scientific literature that discusses the impact the former has on the latter – in humans.

INFLAMMATION

The word that cropped up most often was “inflammation“. Chronic joint pains and arthritis are, most often, not the result of overuse. They are, in fact, an allergic response caused by an overactive immune system that is trying to deal with constant invasions by digestive stressors and toxins. (Link) The increased levels of histamine in the joints leads to swelling, which causes pain.

A simple C-Reactive Protein test helps ascertain the existence of systemic inflammation. Not one of my doctors had ever recommended it.

Lectins are sticky proteins that attach to carbs in the intestinal lining. They are potent stimulators of inflammatory cytokines that promote a host of chronic digestive and autoimmune disorders. (Link)

Lectins are found in a whole variety of foods – grains, beans, seeds, nuts, dairy, vegetables from the nightshade family. Plants use lectins as a defense against hungry animals by inflicting varying degrees of damage (or death) on those that are not adapted to the lectins in the plant. For instance, ricin (found in castor beans) is fatal to humans. Phytohaemagglutnin found in raw kidney beans is less toxic, but can cause serious illness and is destroyed through cooking.

Lectins are resistant to stomach acid and digestive enzymes. They damage the gut wall and make the membrane lining it “leaky”. They then enter the blood stream (along with other undigested non-lectin proteins) and bind to surface cell membranes in arteries and vessels, organs and glands, including the thyroid, pancreas, kidney and adrenals. This causes allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, as well as antigen antibody reactions leading to autoimmune disorders and degenerative diseases.

Gut inflammation and permeation does not always result in full-blown allergies. People who are “sensitive”, but not “allergic” also suffer a whole array of medical conditions, of which joint pain is often a symptom.

Gluten grains

Wheat lectins (gluten and gliadin) are among the worst offenders. A search for “arthritis+celiac disease” yielded over half a million hits.

I learnt of wheat hip, which, like wheat belly, is

… a hotbed of inflammatory activity beneath the surface. The visceral fat of the wheat belly, i.e., fat kidneys, fat liver, fat intestines, fat pancreas, produces abnormal inflammatory signals, such as various interleukins, tumor necrosis factor, and leptin. These are the inflammatory signals that create insulin resistance and diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer.

These same inflammatory mediators are able to enter the joint spaces, such as those in your hips, knees, and hands. This leads to osteoarthritis, the exceptionally common form of arthritis that affects 1 in 7 Americans. In particular, the level of leptin in joints mirrors that in blood, a phenomenon that has been associated with joint destruction.

The previously widely-held notion that arthritis is simply a wear-and-tear phenomenon due to the mechanical stress of excess weight is proving to be an oversimplification. Arthritis is also part of the carbohydrate-driven, weight-increasing, inflammatory condition of insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. (Link)

A review in the New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases caused by gluten. One of them is “osteoperosis”. A good percentage of the population is “gluten sensitive” without having full blown celiac disease and faces serious health risks without even realising it.

In addition to causing inflammation, lectin renders the hypothalmus resistant to leptin – the hormone that signals satiety.

Lectins from grains increases blood triglycerides, which, in turn can block leptin from passing from the blood to the brain.

Wheat Germ Agglutinin, or WGA, (a lectin present in wheat, barley, and rye) actually binds directly with the leptin receptor and prevents leptin binding. (Link)

GMO foods

In the U.S., foods that are genetically modified are not required to be labelled as such. Unless it says “organic” or “non-GMO”, one must assume that it has been genetically modified. That includes most corn and soy. GMO foods have been specifically modified to include lectins with the potential to enhance the plants’ resistance to insect and nematode pests.

Cornmeal Rosemary Cake

BONE LOSS AND TOOTH DECAY

Grains, nuts and seeds are among the richest sources of phytic acid or phytates – the principal form of phosphorus storage in plant tissues. In grains, the phytic acid is concentrated in the bran.

Phytic Acid Levels in some foods

Ruminants like cows have multiple stomachs that manufacture the enzyme phytase in order to break down the phytic acid in plant foods. Humans only have one stomach. We need to either remove the bran from grains/beans/seeds/nuts or soak/ferment them for prolonged periods of time to generate phytase action.

Phytic acid affects bone health by acting as an “anti-nutrient” in four ways.
- it bonds to nutrients like calcium and iron, rendering those, as well as the phosphorous in the phytic acid unavailable for absorption.
- in the presence of phytic acid zince and mgnesium absorption are greatly impaired.
- phytic acid interrupts the metabolism of Vitamin D.
- it inhibits enzymes required for digestion like pepsin, amylase and trypsin.

Drs. Edward and May Mellanby, who discovered Vitamin D, had two famous studies. Both revolved around oatmeal – notoriously high in phytates.

One study showed that the rickets-producing effect of oatmeal is limited by calcium.

Phosphorus in the diet (at least from grains) needs some type of calcium to bind to. This explains the synergistic combination of sourdough bread with cheese. Historically, the cultivation of grains usually accompanies the raising of dairy animals; high levels of calcium in the diet mitigates the mineral-depleting effects of phytic acid. (Source)

Another demonstrated the impact of grains on tooth decay.
It found that oatmeal accelerated tooth decay, which could be controlled by supplementing the diet with Vitamin D and calcium. A grain-free diet supplemented with Vitamin D actually reversed early tooth decay in children. (Link)

Whole grains vs refined
While whole grains have more minerals, the absorption from polished grains may be higher because they have a much lower phytate content. This study, for instance, shows higher iron absorption from white (polished) rice rather than brown rice. Adding Vitamin C (collard greens) to phytate-rich food greatly enhances iron absorption.

We need to either remove the bran from grains or soak/ferment them (as well as legumes, seeds and nuts) for prolonged periods of time to generate phytase action and neutralise the phytic acid.

Phytic acid is not all evil. It is rich in antioxidants, but we get plenty through non-grain foods. Dark chocolate is a very rich source. So are nuts and seeds. Vegetarians, especially, get more than enough from non-grain sources.

Grains high in phytates
Oats, whole wheat, brown rice, barley (all unsoaked/unsprouted)

Bajra/ Pearl Millet pizza crust.

Grains low in phytates
Millets (like ragi and bajra), White Rice, soaked/sprouted whole grains

An Objective Look at Phytic Acid

ACID LOAD

Grains cause an acid-load on the body.

When they are metabolized, they release Sulfur K and other acids into the bloodstream.

In contrast, fruits and vegetables get broken down into bicarbonate when they are metabolized, so they add alkali to the body. And that helps to neutralize acid. Sugars and fats are generally neutral. So when the diet is relatively poor in fruits and vegetables relative to grains and protein, that’s a net acid-producing diet. (Nutrition Action, Nov. 2010 issue)

As we age, our kidney function declines, leading to excess acid in the bloodstream. The body responds to this by breaking down bone and muscle. This leads to porous bones (osteoporosis) in older people and frequent falling (and fractured bones) because of muscle wastage.

DISPLACED CALORIES

Grains occupy real estate in our plates and stomachs that could otherwise be occupied by nutrient-dense, alkalising foods that support bone and muscle health. Now that we have cut out grains, our veggie consumption has doubled.

INSULIN SPIKES

Grains spike blood sugar faster than most other foods. This favours fat storage. (Link)

Glycation – glucose modification of proteins, also causes cartilage destruction. The cells of human cartilage lack the ability to divide, so the cartilage cells you had at age 18 are the cartilage cells that you will hopefully still have at age 80. However, high blood sugars (glucose) glycate the proteins in cartilage. (Source)

WHY EAT GRAINS?

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate very diverse diets averaging over a hundred types of plants and wildlife. Today, 90% of the world’s calories come from 17 agricultural sources and most of them are grains. Why is that?
- they are an easy and cheap source of calories.
- they rank as “comfort food”.
- Carbs are addictive. How addictive?

Let me see if I’ve got this right. A lifesaving therapy is offered to patients who have undergone the misery of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, and who are beyond hope, and this therapy requires nothing more than eating a lot of butter, meat, cream, cheese, etc. while avoiding most carbohydrates. And a considerable number drop out because they can’t give up carbs? (Source)

As addictive as nicotine. Once you get on the seesaw, it’s hard to get off.

BUT WHY BOTHER?

Whole grains, conventional wisdom goes, are “good for you”. As compared to what? Refined grains.

Gluten is toxic. Period. So let’s restrict this comparison to non-gluten grains.

If you take into account how phytic acid affects mineral absorption, brown rice may not be better for you than white.

White rice is essentially nutrient-free pure starch. (That’s why, in the U.S., it is required to be fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals). It spikes your blood sugar, but may not be so bad after a hard workout when you need to replenish your glycogen stores. But a banana is much more nutritious and convenient. You don’t even need to cook it.

How about soaked/fermented brown rice? It has fiber, B vitamins and won’t spike your blood sugar the way white rice does.

Fibre
1 cup cooked brown rice – 4 grams.
A medium baked potato with skin – 4.8 grams.
A medium apple with skin – 5 grams.
A cup of cooked sweet potato – 7 grams.
A medium avocado – 11.8 grams.

As for the macro-nutrient content, brown rice does not hold a candle to any of the above-mentioned foods, not even the reviled potato.

White potatoes have twice as much riboflavin (B2), 2.5 times as much folate, vitamin C, 10 times more potassium, more than 3 times as much iron, and 25% more calcium than brown rice. Sweet potatoes are rich in provitamin A and vitamin C, three times as much B2, 5.5 times as much folate, 9 times as much potassium, slightly more iron, and more than 3 times as much calcium.

(Comparison chart from Primal Wisdom)

No soaking, no fussing. Stick a potato or sweet potato in the oven for a while, add a dab of coconut oil and a dash of spice, and you’re done. Or just eat a raw avocado.

Ragi Porridge

We love ragi porridge, but remembering to soak it before cooking is a pain in the ass. Eggs are easier to prepare and more nutritious.

So why bother?

BOTTOM LINE

My joint pains disappeared after cutting out gluten, my gum sensitivity has greatly improved after cutting out all grains. We don’t miss them and fare quite well without any “cravings”. Last week we went to a pizza place with friends for our “cheat meal” and just didn’t feel like eating any wheat. Both of us ate a salad and came home fully satisfied. Once in a couple of weeks, we may eat a bit of white rice at the Thai restaurant. Or some soaked/fermented brown rice at home. But it’s too much of a bother for the amount of planning and effort involved.

Here’s the million-dollar question.

Veterinary doctors freely advocate cutting out grains in pet diets. Why do doctors treating humans consider it heresy to even suggest it to their patients? Why do they ask someone with joint inflammation to exercise less or start eating dairy instead of simply cutting out gluten?

Most medical professionals, like the rest of us, love their cookies. Grains form such a huge part of the Standard American Diet (and Standard Indian Diet) that asking people to eliminate or even reduce them is like punching their frail old grandma in the ribs. It is likely to provoke a visceral emotional response.

The general mindset seems to be that if it tastes good and doesn’t kill or cripple you in the next hour, it mustn’t be that bad for you. You have to want to be pain-free and fit enough to do what you want really badly to give up something that is everywhere in everything.

We’re glad we did.

Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack. We give it orders which make no sense. ~ Henry Miller

Why Grains are Unhealthy.
10 Reasons to Go Grain-Free.
Be Kind to Your Grains and Your Grains WIll be Kind To You.

Salmon is tastier than oatmeal. ~ Empress Delta

– bee (and jai)

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49 Comments

  1. indosungod says:

    Bee, thanks for the detailed and well researched article(s) on grains. I am not sure I’d completely cut out wheat or grains but ragi and bajra which are relegated to the back of the pantry might henceforth get a front row seat.

    Sugar extracted from corn is now called ‘Corn Sugar’ to take out the negative connation associated with HFCS. Big agro business would do anything to keep people as puppets eating and drinking without giving any thought and blisfully unaware and not associating food with the signals that the body invariably sends us.

  2. Prathiba says:

    I think someone asked this question before. What about quinoa? It is technically a seed ~ a pseudograin. Will you cut that out too?

    • jai bee says:

      quinoa is fine, but it needs to be scrubbed and washed well to remove the saponins (which are lectins).

      scrub, soak, cook …. why bother? if i want protein, i’ll eat an egg.

      • Prathiba says:

        Thanks. I am a carnivore. I eat eggs all the time. I was just looking for a decent option whenever I want to mix my dal/sambhar/rasam with some ‘grainy’ substance and enjoy a good old south indian meal. Dang it, not very happy about the scrubbing quinoa part. Oh well!

  3. Jane says:

    BOY ! Information overload..maybe gluten is clogging my memory ? ;)

    But serisouly , I dont know what to say. You advocated(kinda sorta) veganism SO much and sweared and cussed at dairy and milk.But now you say meat is ok and grains are your worst enemy. It leads me wonder what next ?

    Not hating but just my thoughts on your new venture. And I am glad its working for you.

      • S says:

        I agree with Jane. What next?!

        • jai bee says:

          how does it matter?

          • Jane says:

            True that. It obviously doesn’t matter. But I have been a huge fan of your blog for a while. As a reader it makes me confused when you put out such strong opinions on things and keep changing that often. I dont even know you , but after following your blog for a while , it was shocker to see a chicken recipe here. You can’t do anything about that since its your blog and you will write what you want to. Butas a reader I feel I am getting lost and hence losing interest slowly. But thats just me. You have many readers who want you to do this. But I just don’t get it.

          • jai bee says:

            jane, what do you not get? that i’m trying to live pain-free? and that we’re telling you to ignore most of the b.s. about low-fat high-carb eating we propagated before? ‘cos that’s what caused the pain.

          • Milli says:

            Since you post all these details on your website regarding a food’s chemical composition and its physiological affect, one ques comes to mind:

            Is all this info from internet and books you read or you have relevant qualification like nutrionist to actually validate these.

          • jai bee says:

            it’s all from experimenting on ourselves and from books/ the internet.

    • jai bee says:

      Yes this is our blog and we’ll put what we want to. Whatever we are doing, we are doing it for a reason. It is not on a whim. Bee went grain free four months ago. Not yesterday. It does not matter whether people change their minds but why – in fact all of us do change minds quite frequently on a wide variety of things. Just go back 5 or 10 years back into your life and try to recall your beliefs on any number of things.
      I bet you never even noticed when or how you changed your mind. Here we are changing our minds in front of you (our readers). In 1983 FDA in the US came out and said Fat is bad and as a result a whole generation of people grew up eating low fat foods but during that time sugar consumption has gone through the roof. Now the evidence points to the opposite. Are we supposed to ignore this?
      My feeling is that you got repulsed by seeing a chicken photo on this blog. Tough. But where is the umbrage against the GMO corn that you probably eat where the entire plant is classified as an insecticide? We are glad to have you as a reader and hope to keep you. But first and foremost we maintain this blog for ourselves. At some level it keeps us true to ourselves. This is a lifestyle blog and as our lifestyle changes so will the blog. If you lose interest, there is plenty else to choose from. But I am willing to bet that there are many who appreciate and enjoy the new turn of events at Jugalbandi but we are not embarking on this journey because some of our readers might want us to do this.

      Cheers,

      Jai

      • Mom of 2 girls says:

        Very well said Jai!…I am one such reader who loves the new direction of the blog..

        • H says:

          Jai, no one here can say what you should blog and we all know that. =) And yes, no one is forcing us to read or believe what you write or what you do and so on. And of course changing our opinions is inevitable for a lot of things.

          Point some of us are making is, when you keep opinions to yourself, no one really cares or knows about it. Once you started blogging publicly, and that too with some prolific research and writing skills, a good bunch of us (ok, let’s say just me) have tried to follow a principle or two, whatever works for us, from here. And to suddenly see you guys go to entire another route is a little saddening/confusing/whatever-it-is to sink in. I was thinking for sometime about what made me feel weird, I guess it is the tone in which you guys write things. :D Articles cannot convey tones/emotions, but your/bee’s writing has been/is quite strong always. (for example, I cannot understand why Bee keeps reiterating “meat/egg is way better than this/that grain, why bother?/why spend time?” to someone who asked about a grain/vegetarian options.. such things make strong opinions i mean.) And so the shift is hard to see. More like, religious beliefs!

          Anyway, i’ll skip the meat posts and hope you will put up your vegetarian menu often! :)

          • jai bee says:

            thank you for bringing this up.

            – when someone asks me about quinoa, i tell them why i don’t eat it, which is “why bother?”

            i don’t care whether quinoa is good or bad because there are other things i prefer that aren’t time-consuming to make.

            i simply don’t care if it’s good or bad. and i’m not wikipedia. there’s a lot of info on the internet from people who actually care about quinoa.

            i’m simply explaining why i don’t eat it. i don’t try to second guess why someone else might want to.

            i’m not interested in grain options ‘cos i don’t need them. i’m interested in what i LIKE to eat. as simple as that. is there a reason for me to care about vegetarian options? i don’t see any.

            is that a strong opinion? you betcha. ;-)
            - bee

          • H says:

            lol, i cant “reply” to your comments since that would make the width of the widget unreadable!! funny.

            if not the menu, can you guys at least put up what you have omitted totally, what in moderation and unlimited like the joel fuhrman’s diet plan? I am still curious and confused what you mean when you say grain free.

            //and i’m not wikipedia. //

            //is that a strong opinion? you betcha//

            //You should also note that we have never said that eating meat is bad, or not eating sugar is bad, or not eating grains is bad.//

            //Again please understand that the primary purpose of this blog is a chronicle for us.//

            agree, agree, agree.

            //there’s a lot of info on the internet// – more than what an individual needs in fact. an i have been getting paranoid about it slowly.

            //rather would like people to challenge us with substantive arguments// – i wish, has it happened here already?!

          • Jane says:

            @H :U couldn’t have said it better.

            Its almost like a public figure(the blog ?!) making a radical change. It takes time for people to come to terms with it. But I think I have. Its your lifestyle after all. I still will keep following your blog though. But I am glad my comment sparked a good discussion.

          • jai bee says:

            I would say, that if you go through the evolution of our posts over the past four years…you would see that we have always advocated healthier choices over even today’s or possibly tomorrow’s generally accepted “wisdom”. You should also note that we have never said that eating meat is bad, or not eating sugar is bad, or not eating grains is bad. We gave options to plain refined sugar, or options for different grains. Most, if not all, of that is better than what the vast majority of us still eat. As we progress through this journey of educating ourselves, all we are saying is that if you were with us before, you probably made incrementally better choices like us, but if you continue on our journey we think you’ll be substantially better off in the long run. But you can be a voyeur and/or try the 100s of recipes that the old Jugalbandi posted. That’s up to you.
            What is making you feel wierd is (I think), that the conclusion that we have come to bothers you. So far what we have posted predominantly lay within your belief system and so it was ok. Now it is a bit jarring.
            I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions as to what works best for you. We don’t want blind followers but rather would like people to challenge us with substantive arguments. That enriches us, the blog, and other readers.
            We can’t do much about the tone. What’s the point in writing something wishy washy? Again please understand that the primary purpose of this blog is a chronicle for us. What would be our success rate of sticking to our plans if we wrote with no conviction on our own blog statements like “everything in moderation” is how we should live. The grain experiment will last exactly one day :-)

            I grew up vegetarian, although I eat eggs. When we get around to it (hopefully soon), I’ll post what I eat.

            Cheers,
            Jai

  4. SS says:

    Love your posts as they are very informative and fun to read.

    But arent’t these kind of extremely exclusive diets (be it vegan or grain free or macrobiotic) very hard if not impossible to follow in an average household especailly with kids.

    Someone allergic to a particular food should definitely avoid it. It is also important to make healthy food choices. Otherwise, all foods in moderation should/will be fine.

    I think extremely exclusive diets is just not practical in the long run. But if it worked for you, then it is all worth it I guess!

    • jai bee says:

      so would you tell vegetarians that their diets are extremely exclusive? or eskimos? or maasai who live on milk and sometimes blood?

      a hundred years ago, most households (that didn’t have access to huge supermarkets) followed very exclusive diets based on what was seasonal and grown within a few miles.

      as far as “all foods in moderation”, it depends on what you define as “food”. each person has a different definition. to me it’s more than “edible substance”.

  5. Anon says:

    If meat and dairy are good alternatives, aren’t the sources they come from grain-fed too – chicken, for instance? And I read cattle for beef are often fed on feed containing oats and other grains and not just grass. Would that cancel out the benefits from those foods?

    • jai bee says:

      i don’t eat grain-fed beef. and the chicken i buy is free-range with some percentage of feed as grains (not pellets). i mostly stick to fish. or grass-fed bison and lamb. i only buy dairy that is from grass-fed cows.

      there are a lot of studies and posts about this on the internet.

  6. Mom of 2 girls says:

    Hi Bee and Jai,
    I absolutely love the path you have taken. I can 100% confirm that cutting the grains and increasing good fats such as ghee, grassfed butter, cocnut oil and sesame oil has vastly imporved our dental health as well as other health issues(getting out of the low fat/ refined oils). We eat including our kids eat lots of good fats, grass fed dairy, fermented cod liver oil, kefir and pastured meat and I can say that in the last 1 year (we have been doing it for past year) we all look great and people can see a noticeable difference in our skin and how it glows. My cholestrol level are great and I am losing weight.

    I am going to keep removing /reducing grains from our diet.

    I am not sure what is so difficult to understand about change. Why should anyone keep doing the same thing knowing it does not help them. We are human beings and change is what evolved us to where we are (good and the bad).

    Being the mother of 2 girls, I constantly try to research and look for things that will make my kids healthy and disease free.

    So I am so glad that Jai and Bee have adopted this life style and are able to provide such detailed information.

    Three cheers to you both… Now u have made this blog irresistable to me and people like me.

  7. Hi there,

    Thanks so much for linking to my article on phytic acid!

  8. Lakshmi says:

    Interesting read.. I am still thinking what would a typical day’s menu for a grain free person? Any suggestion?

  9. Manoj says:

    Hi…my wife and I have been following this blog for a while and love all the efforts you put into your posts. Going grain free sure sounds great, but seems really difficult. Perhaps you could provide some meal ideas since you have been on it for a while and what about desserts?? Thanks.

    • jai bee says:

      Will get to meal ideas in the near future. But it is not that hard. For starters, eat exactly as you do but just get rid of the wheat and rice if those are the grains that you normally have. this will make you eat more veggies and larger helpings of other things. What I have found for myself is that, if I feel full after the meal that feeling stays longer, whereas with a grain rich meal, that feeling goes away sooner. But you have to stick with it for a few days before this happens.

      Since we eliminated refined sugar (independent of eliminating grain), our conventional desserts / sweets in the “desi” sense have gone away. But we are creative. There are some options in the Jugalbandi archives that might work.

  10. Jay says:

    I am not a regular reader but hit upon the blog after a while. While I do understand the reasoning behind the overuse of grains, I am not entirely convinced of a predominantly meat based diet. All the omnivores I have observed in the wild go for vegetarian options when available. Moose population in Alaska for example, take a hit only in a bad berry season. In a good berry season, you mostly only see bears stuffing themselves with berries even when preparing for ‘hibernation’. By choice, they seem to be vegetarian. Same goes with apes.
    Even anecdotes I read about people living in traditional ways seem to imply what a feat and feast it is to hunt, kill and eat something. It is not a daily occurrence, it takes a kind of effort and time (we are talking about days sometimes) unknown to modern man. Otherwise they subsist on very little.
    So unless our lifestyle matches that of the researched tribes it is pointless to imitate just their food habits. I do ‘believe’ that for the modern limited activity lifestyle, it is best to stick to foods which take less energy to create (lower in the food chain) since we expend so less energy procuring our food. I am not backing it up by research (I like to think more than research) but it is a line of thought. What say you?

    • jai bee says:

      You clearly are not reading our articles. For e.g., I am predominantly vegetarian (I do eat eggs and consume dairy) and since I stopped eating grains 7 weeks ago, my veggie input has almost doubled. The trouble with popular notions of vegetarian diet is “not meat”. I’d reckon that we eat more vegetables and fruits than most vegetarians. Predominant calories and nutrients come from non meat sources. It’s sometimes ok to express thoughts without research backing, but please read your second sentence. No grains does not mean eat only meat. These are two different things and do not logically follow.

      -Jai

  11. Stacey says:

    Bee- I loved this article! I have really enjoyed the fruits of your research labor. I know I have felt much better since I stopped eating wheat, still working on corn. My allergies aren’t even a fraction of what they used to be. I will continue to work on eliminating the darn tortilla chips. Wonder if this is why the joints in my feet have been really bothering me? Keep up the great articles!

  12. Mala says:

    Hi Jai and Bee,

    Thanks for the 2 part informational post. I am a vegetarian and I think i can relate to the banes of grains. I am trying to eat more healthy and make sure my 4 year old develops good eating habits.

    Are the desi dals like Toor dal, Moong dal and urad dal come under these grains category or are they Ok to eat ? I have moved to whole grains too a few months back and avoid white rice a lot. I will just have to rethink my options and include more veggies and fruits.

    Any help on this query is much appreciated.

  13. Jane says:

    //But where is the umbrage against the GMO corn that you probably eat where the entire plant is classified as an insecticide? //

    Ofcourse there is an unbrage. Infact , I started avoiding foods with HFCS like plague only after I read about it in your blog.

  14. Alka says:

    Oops lots of hot discussions going around here…am not an expert to comment on all this, but my personal experience says that eating what suits your body is best way to eat,irrespective of what Doctors , wikipedia, google,so-called research, NGO’s, Activists, or layman like me says ;-)
    And this reminds me of a quote of G.B.Shaw……”Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don’t eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on.”
    Good luck guys..whatever diet you follow, I wish you both a healthy life !

  15. Kay says:

    Whoa! Damned if you do; Damned if you don’t.

    I for one, am glad that you are grain free and eating good fats. Maybe someday I might follow a grain free diet, but till then I try to be paleo-lite. I try.

  16. `Miri says:

    I have slowly been giving up grains – because I have a rare congenital condition which has slowed down intestine motility and which makes it difficult to digest fibre. Chapatis were the first to go and I now mainly eat white rice. Brown rice and the like are a complete no no. The part where you have written that the lectin sticks to the intestine resonated with me – it’s exactly what it feels like when I have parathas and chapatis. like something is sticking to my gut and not actually getting processed. I know thats not what is literally meant by that sentence and that this is more to do with joint pain and gum decay – but atleast now I don’t feel that I’m losing out on nutrients by avoiding wheat.

  17. Kelly A. says:

    I’m so excited to see this post! I adore indian and in general, spices, but most of the other blogs I follow are paleo. I also got my cat on a grain free canned food about 4 years ago because of his diabetes.

    Rheumatoid arthritis runs in my family and well as other autoimmune diseases. I was getting worse and worse bloating and stomach pain after eating, and finally realized and tested positive for celiac disease. No more wheat for over a year and I’m slowly healing. My shoulder and hip aches are improving too. Look forward to reading your recipes much closer now!

  18. Anonymous says:

    A
    Wish I had seen this blog earlier- looks like u went into Vit D deficiency with ur previous diet-that has been relieved now-ur labs don’t show any Vit D levels- taking supplements does not mean anything!!

  19. Eco Mama says:

    You’ve outdone yourself with this one. Really nice post (but those enticing gorgeous gluten packed photos didn’t do anything to alleviate cravings).

    I would just add that I think the best calcium sources are vegan–nuts, seeds, leafy greens. Bok choy, for instance, is loaded with calcium.

    Years ago it was the vet who enlightened me to the teeth-flossing/heart disease connection when I brought my dog in. He told me that it would lengthen my dog’s life and quality of life to take care of his teeth because plaque from teeth goes into arteries. Back then this was not common knowledge. I figured that if it worked for him, it would work for me and started flossing religiously.

    Like you, I’ve been hearing about how much better companion animals do without grains and how the grains are causing cancer in pets.

    Really loving these posts as they are helping to reinforce my avoidance of grains. Not as far along as you though!
    In solidarity,
    Eco Mama

  20. Hey guys, havent been here in a while and I said to myself. HOLY SHIT, what happened. :)

    Enjoying the new research and quest for pain free living.

    Archana



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