Strap in folks, this is going to be a bit of a long one.
Last Thursday night at our Whole Life Challenge kick off seminar, there was a very emotional question asked about us proving what we believe to be true about nutrition – grains especially.
I often tell people in their Intro’s that we sometime find it easier to change someone’s religion than change their diet. Food is woven into the fabric of our family history, our relationships, our geographic pasts and travels, and our culture.
To change what we eat, takes not only a leap of faith, but equal faith that alienation or separation from the above mentioned won’t happen with the change of diet. Eric said it best when he stated truthfully that he was worried his friends wouldn’t hang out with him if he went Zone or Paleo.
So let’s talk about the grain issue. I was asked to come up with peer-reviewed studies to “prove” that eating grains was harmful to your health. Below are the best studies that I found both for and against ingesting grains, as well as some other resources for and against.
http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/success-stories/ (feel free to read the book Wheat Belly)
As with most dietary issues, all kinds of factors go into each outcome, as well as the studies. Thus us presenting both sides of the coin. (do some research on eggs, or on dairy and you’ll get equally conflicting results)
So there you have it. Sort of. Believe it or not, it was hard to find exact studies either way. There were a ton of people’s opinions; many of them highly respected in their fields, but not a lot of true, peer-reviewed, double blind studies. There is also some reading between the lines with outcomes – replacing white flour, sugary cereals, and the like with either whole grains or no grains will give you a positive outcome in comparison to the old eating habits. Also, many people on both sides of the fence have books and products to sell you backing up their opinions.
That all being said, here’s our official take on grains and how we’ve developed it.
I believe that what I see, hear, and experience first hand in real life, far outweighs what was created in someone’s else’s lab or in a study. After Eric and I have run over 100 people through various dietary challenges at CPC and Ali and I have run equal numbers of people through grain elimination periods in our acupuncture practice, we have never had anyone come back to us and report the following:
- Sinus flare up
- Asthma flare ups
- Allergic eye issues
- Eczema flare ups
- Psoriasis flare ups
- Gastrointesinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, irritable bowel
- Menstrual issues such as cramping, emotional swings, pain and bloating
- Menopausal issues such as night sweats, mood swings
- Aspergers/ ADHD increasing
- Arthritis pain increaseing
- Fibromyalgia worsening
- Weight gains
- And more.
Now take a look at the above list and know that we’ve had people come back to us and report firsthand that every single one of those ailments had either significantly lessened in either frequency and/or intensity or completely resolved themselves – all after grains were eliminated from their diets for under 30 days. This is in addition to significantly more people that we’ve talked to from other gyms.
Is this a direct correlation that we could prove in a court of law or under academic or scientific scrutiny? Not at all. Is it enough for us as coaches and for me as a health practitioner? Absolutely.
But what about the French? Or the Japanese? Or any other country that eats grains and seems to be doing better than we are health wise? This is also a question that we get from time to time so I’ll address it.
How are people in those cultures faring better than Americans when they eat what we tell you not to? Simple – we have no idea. My best educated guess is that through a combination of both genetics but more importantly lifestyle and other dietary choices, people in the above mentioned countries are not as susceptible to the diseases that we are here in the U.S.
It may not actually just be a singular grain, or a singular dairy isolate that’s getting us, but more so the prevalence of extremely low quality food (especially in lower income areas where the disease rates are the highest), the prevalence of fast food and soda, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle that’s kicking the shit out the collective American health. How hard has it been for any of you to find ways to eat three to five meals a day without any single product with wheat in it? Do you think you shop like the rest of America? Me either.
Yes, the French eat bread and cheese while washing it down with wine and cigarettes. They also walk a lot more than we do and legally aren’t allowed to work more than 35 hours a week (this gives them more time to practice saying “I surrender” in German). Virtually every Japanese male smokes cigarettes. They also walk a ton and eat fish and seaweed at almost every meal. Health is hardly ever the response to one isolated aspect.
Do we want you to take what we tell you with blind faith? Absolutely not, thus the point of this and every challenge putting you at the forefront of the experimentation. Test this out for yourselves, do your own due diligence and see if your body reacts positively or negatively.
At the end of the month, if you feel great, stick with it. If you feel like crap, go back to eating how you used to secure in knowing that despite what other people say, us included, you know your body and it’s preferences.
Traver & Eric
10 Min to find max height box jump
ME set at 50% of last round of 5
3 Rounds FT:
200 m Farmers Carry
50 double unders