For the past couple-three years, I’ve cut my intake of wheat way back, keying on the simple carbs, or high-glycemic carbs, the glucose/insulin spike, since processed wheat shoots your blood sugar through the roof just like, or more, than table sugar. So you’ve got the health consequences of constant glucose/insulin spikes—such as training your body to burn glucose instead of fat, and store the fat, plus developing insulin resistance over time, and now your cells aren’t absorbing proper nutrients and releasing toxins, so your energy plummets and health suffers and you become fat, sick, and nearly dead

Not to mention that today, we’ve also got pesticides and herbicides (additional toxins) genetically modified grains (possibly even further unfit for human digestion), and some 40 years ago they stopped adding iodine to bakery products and instead started adding bromide (a toxin—you know, like what’s in household cleaners), leading to a general iodine deficiency in our diet (now we’re back to thyroid complications again) and we’re instead ingesting toxic bromide…insane!

So I avoid bread and pasta altogether, limit my pastries (usually indulged on the road while at work) to once a week (on “cheat day”), and try to stick to thin-crust pizza (again, only on cheat day), that sort of thing. During this process, I’ve generally followed Dr. William Davis’s Wheat Belly series, and Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.

But over the past two weeks, I’ve been delving into the whole wheat (grains) thing more in-depth, and have begun discovering not just the high carb/high glucose/high insulin aspect of ingesting grains (seeds of grasses), but all the toxicity problems associated with it, and all the serious health issues it contributes to, and not just from the glucose/insulin response.

Mammals that eat grass (ruminants) have multiple stomachs/stomach chambers/digestive processes to adequately digest it—humans weren’t meant to, or designed to, eat grass—even the seeds (grains)—regardless of how we process it beforehand.

But I’m flabbergasted, just now learning how grains not only contribute to the more known health problems like Celiac Disease, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and “Leaky Gut” (intestinal permeability), but also trigger not only allergies—including asthma—but many autoimmune disorders, such as thyroid, arthritis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, pancreatitis, all sorts of inflammatory issues…

According to Dr. William Davis, in his book Wheat Belly Total Health:

“Molecular mimics can also come from food, especially foods that we are not fully evolutionarily adapted to consuming. The products of bovine mammary glands—dairy products—added to the human diet at about the same time that grain consumption became a part of the human experience, trigger human antibodies against dairy proteins, such as bovine serum albumin, casein, and bovine insulin. These antibodies have the potential to launch a misdirected immune attack against pancreatic beta cells, resulting in some cased of type 1 diabetes. Likewise, proteins in the seeds of grasses can fool the body’s immune system due to their resemblance to human proteins. The gliadin protein of wheat, with the identical proteins in rye and barley, and a similar protein in corn, is the model for this process of molecular mimicry from grains.”

“The prolamin proteins of grains—the gliadin of wheat, secalin of rye, hordein of barley, and zein of corn—initiate the small intestinal process that gets the fires of autoimmunity burning. And they do so in more than one way. You could even argue that prolamin proteins are perfectly crafted to create autoimmunity.

Prolamin proteins of grains are masters at molecular mimicry. The prolamin proteins have been found to trigger immune responses to a number of human proteins, including the synapsin protein of the nervous system; the transglutaminase enzyme found in the liver, muscle, brain, and other organs; the endomysium of muscle cells; and the calreticulin of virtually every cell in the body. If sequences in the foreign proteins resemble sequences in a protein of the human body, a misdirected immune attack can be launched, sending antibodies, T lymphocytes, macrophages, tumor necrosis factor, and other weapons of the immune apparatus against the organ. Some targeted human proteins, such as transglutaminase and calreticulin, are ubiquitous and can therefore be associated with autoimmune inflammation of just about any organ of the body, from brain to pancreas.

Molecular mimicry is not the only means by which grains provoke autoimmunity; they also do so my increasing intestinal permeability. We’ve discussed how prolamins can resist digestion. When they remain intact, they bind to the intestinal lining and initiate a unique and complex process that opens the normal intestinal barriers to the contents of the intestines, such as food components, and to bacterial components and by-products, such as bacterial lipopolysaccharide—a potent driver of inflammation.”

“Grain prolamins increase the expression of the zonulin protein that, in turn, opens up the normal barriers—”tight junctions”—between intestinal cells, allowing unwanted peptides and bacterial components into the bloodstream, where they can trigger an immune response. Besides gliadin and related prolamins, the only other trigger of this form of intestinal permeability are intestinal infections, such a cholera or dysbiosis.

This means that gliadin and related proteins of grains are the first step in initiating autoimmunity, a mechanism that has nothing todo with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Susceptibility of various autoimmune diseases can also be determined by genetic patterns, but in a staggering proportion of cases, the initiating event boils down to a single factor: consumption of grains.” 

With today’s literal epidemic of obesity and diabetes, the contribution of ingesting grains to the glucose/insulin spike, the shifting of the body to burn glucose and store fat, and the long-term consequences of insulin resistance, should be the headline of every news source; and perhaps it IS becoming more mainstream knowledge—though most people I speak with—even at the gym—are completely ignorant of this aspect of wheat/grains. And just look at people’s carts at the grocery store. Grains, grains, grains, sugar, sugar, sugar…

But now, with the prevalence (and growing) of autoimmune disorders in our society—such as hypothyroid (what is it now? Reports vary, but I’ve seen estimates upwards of 40% or higher of the population in the US), chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, allergies/asthma, the list goes on—I think it’s downright tragic that the issue of ingesting grains, and their contribution to the triggering of such disorders, isn’t being shouted from the mountaintops. I’m totally perplexed at this reality.

So suddenly, rather than simply viewing processed wheat products as simple carbs, or high-glycemic, and knowing how bad eating such products will make me feel in the short term, and how it will negatively impact my health/body composition in the long term…now I view ALL grains/grain products as TOXIC. We are literally poisoning ourselves when we eat wheat/grain/corn products.

And simply knowing that total elimination of grains/grain products could reverse the health issues I’ve been struggling with (particularly fatigue/low energy issues, other low thyroid symptoms, and the arthritis/joint pain, particularly in my hands—which is quite disconcerting for a writer and drummer) for the past couple-three years is an exciting proposition, as I’ve tried nearly everything else, with limited results.

Yeah, I’ve managed to lose quite a bit of body fat (30+ lbs), by attacking the glucose/insulin side of the equation—but I still struggle with fatigue/low energy/brain fog, and other classic low thyroid symptoms (dry skin, hair loss, facial edema, excessively cold hands & feet, etc), and quite a bit of joint pain, and muscle pain (though the fibromyalgic symptoms have been greatly reduced already, likely through juicing/exercise).

So, I now plan to attack the autoimmune side of the equation.

Time to completely eliminate all wheat/grain/corn products, thus eliminate the autoimmune response to them, which could very well be the root cause, or trigger, of many if not all of the autoimmune symptoms I’ve been grappling with in recent years.

But why am I just now learning of this? Why isn’t this front-page news, across the country?