In our mixed up crazy world we have to believe that the almighty dollar has influenced all aspects of outr life including our diets. That's right; the large majority of what you believe to be healthy or unhealthy is influenced by government sponsorship of a particular industry and lobby groups so powerful they make the KGB look like kids with cap guns.
IN this third installment of Man Can't Live by Bread Alone we look primarily at the economic reasons why grains are so prevalent in our society.
Let's start with common breakfast foods. Like most people you probably enjoy a few eggs now and again. But you are limiting yourself on how many you consume because you don't want to raise your cholesterol levels and you are also consuming a lot of fat with each egg. Think again. The majority of negative studies concerning eggs were funded and published by the the Cereal Board in Canada and the US; one of the biggest pushers of grains. Again if eggs come from free range chickens they can easily be a highly beneficial source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are very heart friendly. Further more the dietary connection between regularly consuming cholesterol containing foods and having a high level of cholesterol is very weak. In fact lowering your dietary intake of cholesterol in most cases raises you blood cholesterol levels. Your body will produce cholesterol whether you consume it or not so your actual cholesterol levels are more of a genetic preset. However switching to an alkalizing diet will drastically improve your LDL cholesterol levels, but this could be a whole new blog on it's own.
Secondly, the studies didn't differentiate between the two types of cholesterol. Eggs do raise cholesterol, but it's HDL cholsterol that is raised-the good kind.
Corn is another common grain that has crept it's way in to every facet of our food chain. While technically corn isn't even good for animal feed as any meat raised on corn will be very high in omega 6 fatty acids which isn't good in the long run. Animals like humans are meant to be raised on diets that contain a high amount of live green products.
You see corn used to be dirt cheap. So not many people grew it because you would have to have a massive farming operation to make a decent buck. Then the government subsidized corn farmers to grow corn, because it was such an easy crop to grow, especially for the northern states and southern Canada. Sooner or later they had more corn than theyh knew what to do with so they began finding ways to produce different products with corn, hence corn starch, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, etc. and a whole host of other corn products that make otherwise decent foods very unhealthy because of its poor nutritional content and extremely high glycemic index. Now these corn byproducts and host of others are present on almost every food lining grocery store shelves from ice cream to breads to meat to fruit snacks.
Potatoes are yet another example of a food that was barely edible for animals yet soon began to become a staple for humans. 100-200yrs ago they weren't too bad but with the mass degredation of the food chain potatoes have become a definite no-no. Probably first becoming a regular at dinner tables with the advent of the Irish potatoe famine, but once the famine stopped people couldn't let go and so a whole host of potatoe derived products were born.
Another example of sponshorship would be that the Wheat Board in each respective country helped sponsor the food giude or pyramid and the subsequent mass education program that promoted 10-15 servings of grains. While my initial beef with the whole food guide thing is that they failed to properly educate consumers on what a serving is, and furthermore the concept of a serving has changed drastically from 50-60 yrs ago. Compare a slice of bread from 1965 to 2008 and I think you may see a 30-40% increase. Finally in the last two years the medical community has begun to wake up and at least realize that vegetables should at leat be on par with grains at 9-13 servigs per day.
My contention with grains being the base of the pyramid is that grains are easily the most dispensible part of it. Every nutrient contained in grains can easily be found in any other food group and likely in greater quantities too. IN a future blog entry I will outline what my food pyramid would look like.
In short many cultures have survived thousands of years without grains in their diet so why start now? Secondly myself and many of my clients have avoided grains for several years and not only suffered no ill effects but felt energized because of it.
Whether or not you agree witgh me is okay but if you think you need grains to be healthy and vital try 30 days without it and I bet you won't want to go back.