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Living With Grains In A Modern World

Posted May 23 2009 10:46pm

Field
tillwe

After reading “The Thing With Grains” this morning I was struck to write a post about grains myself.

Around 10,000 years ago. Our forefathers and mothers were on the brink of ye olde Agricultural Revolution. And, over time, grains became king. But, as countless archaeological findings suggest, people became smaller and frailer as a result of this new agrarian, grain-fed existence.

This really sums up how things happened. The human race sacrificed the time they spent hunting, gathering for growing crops which gave them adequate nutrition allowing the human race to move forward with improving things like technology, creating many of the things we use today. Agriculture also allowed us to expand as a population all be it at the expense of our overall health.

The evidence from archaeology supports the idea that hunter gatherer societies were surprisingly healthy. Skeletons from Greece and Turkey show that average height at the end of the last ice age was around 5′9″. With the adoption of agriculture the figure crashed, and by 3000 BC had reached a low of 5′3″.

Also don’t beleive for 1 second all the Healthy Whole Grain Messages we are thrown in todays society. They are mostly product of the food industry cashing in on cheap to produce foods, which they can easily tout as healthy when in fact these products are sabotaging the nations health.

As for the nutritional value of grains? First off, they aren’t the complete nutritional sources they’re made out to be. Quite the contrary, grains have been associated with minerals deficiencies, perhaps because of high phytate levels. A diet high in grains may also reduce the body’s ability to process vitamin D.

So how do we go about living/eating in a society fueled by grains and market/shop shelves piled high with cardboard like foods….Well I’ll try and steer you through how to best cope…

Managing Grains When Out and About

For me its easy enough to avoid grains when cooking at home. In fact you will probably find that it is easier to create tasty meals filled with variety and colour without grains. There are an abundance of vegtables and meats available, combined with some good seasoning/marinades and you will be able to create nourishing and filling meals in no time.

The challenge comes when out and about, most deli’s are pushing sandwhiches, bagels and other grain based lunches, breakfasts and dinners.

When it comes to breakfast I like to start the day with a bowl of berries topped with nuts, coconut flakes and a drizzle of heavy cream. This for me satisfies the craving for that bowl of cereal I grew up with. I will often follow this with some eggs and leave breakfast at that. A breakfast on the road however can be more challenging especially if your on the go. Usually I ened up having to opt for some Paleo friendly bars along with fruit and coffee, when living in America I found that Greens + Protein bars were perfect and extremely satisfying. One of those with some fruit and coffee will tide me over to lunch time where things get easier. There are some other good on the go options to be had.

- Make your own Flax based muffins/cookies and bring them with you.

- Get an on the go Omelet (sure you can’t control the oil they use but its better than nothing)

- Do a breakfast forager style (fruit, nuts/seeds etc)

- Scoop of natural Whey protein in Canned pumpkin along with a handful of seeds and berries

- If it suits you go on an extended fast until lunch time

All in all though I find that when on the go breakfast is probably the hardest meal to go grain free with especially when in a rush. If your in a sit down cafe its simple just order a full breakfast (eggs, bacon, mushrooms etc) and skip the bread.

Lunch is often easier as places are starting to give more options on salad’s these days. Although if you find a place with some wholesome bread I think having an open top sandwich especially when in a rush is a sensible way to do things without compromising your time or sanity. I think the key thing when trying to eat healthy in the world we live in today is to adapt and be able to make choices without too much thought. I regularly grab a sandwich with a nice simple filling like Salmon or Roast Beef and throw off the top slice of bread using just the base.

When not in a rush sitting down for a salad is a great option. When eating out with friends/family you should find it easy enough to get a piece of grilled meat or fish with a side of vegetables. I have found that the majority of restaurants worldwide will be happy to substitute things like french fries and potatoes for some sort of vegetable side so don’t be afraid to ask.

Snacks are easy just keep things like nuts and fruits with you or available when you feel like a nibble. I like an afternoon treat of a larabar and a green tea is a favorite of mine. Another thing you will find is that in certain countries it is harder to steer clear of grains than others. For instance in the UK bread and sandwiches are everywhere and its hard to get a decent salad. Whereas in the US I found it pretty easy to eat grain free good food wherever I went……

Dinner seems to be an easy task wherever you go with every kind of restarant serving up some type of meat based dish. If you want some really good Paleo food when out and about have a look into a brazillian restarants as they are kings of meat and will serve up some amazing dishes (just steer clear of the rice) have a look here for some inspiration………

- Don’t be afraid of subbing sides when ordering (potatoes for spinach or french fries for steamed broccoli)

- Realise you can only do the best you can do. If that means having an opentop sandwhich when in a rush its a good compromise.

So if you have the know how I am sure you will find it pretty easy to try going grain free even when out and about. Its all about learning to improvise and do the best with what you can. Try going grain free for a while and I am sure you will experience many of the benefits such as clearer skin, better digestion, a leaner body and a clearer mind with more energy. Check out this testomonial below from someone who has been eating Paleo for a while (found in the Paleo Diet newsletter)

“I just wanted to share with you about the success I have had by eating this Paleo way. I have lost 28 lbs in about 9 weeks. I feel so great. It comes off so easily but not too fast. I don’t call it a diet but my life’s way of eating from now on. I started at 202 and am now 174. I am a 46-year-old women and it is not easy to lose weight. I have tried everything and I finally realized all the carbs and processed foods were doing it. I am so happy and thrilled. I just wanted to let you know. I am a school nurse and the weight loss has helped me be healthy for my kids. Did I tell you I am diabetic as well. My blood sugars have been 90 90 90 day in and day out. I am not on medication. I don’t worry about eating fruit because I don’t eat the other junk. Anyway, thank you for your insight. It saved my life.”

Seems pretty promising so give it a go, and if you have been grain free for a while I would love to hear some of the benefits you have experienced….


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