Unhealthy response to a healthy food or healthy response to an unhealthy food:
Next, Sayer Ji, in his essay entitled The Dark Side of Wheat, uses the epigenetic concept to make a very interesting arqument:
“Thus, we may need to shift our epidemiological focus from viewing celiac disease as a ‘classical disease’ involving a passive subject controlled by aberrant genes, to viewing it as an expression of a natural, protective response to the ingestion of something that the human body was not designed to consume. If we view celiac disease not as an unhealthy response to a healthy food, but as a healthy response to an unhealthy food, classical celiac disease symptoms make more sense.”
Diarrhea can be seen as the body’s way of expelling a toxin faster and villous atrophy as the body’s way of avoiding aborption of a toxin in order to protect itself. This would therefore be interpreted as the body developing protective mechanisms to chronic exposure to wheat, rather than the development of a genetically derived classic disease process out of the blue.
Wheat, barley, spelt and rye are all grains that contain the protein gluten. Gluten real means Glue! It has actually been used throughout history as an adhesive in many industrialized products such as paint, paper mache, book binding glue and plaster. With this in mind, if you or your patient suffer with constipation and do not move your bowels at least once per day, then you should be thinking about the gluten being ingested and having them eliminate it from their diet for 3 weeks to see if this simple change makes a difference for them.
Even cows that are evolved to eat the mature sprouted form of grasses by grazing are not able to digest the seed storage form of grains and have trouble with gluten. Cows are herbivores and have redundant multi-chambered fore-stomachs that enable them to breakdown cellulose and anti-nutrient rich plants; but, they are not designed to consume grains. “Feeding wheat to beef cattle requires some caution as it tends to be more apt than other cereal grains to cause acute indigestion in animals which are unadapted to it. The primary problem appears to be the high gluten content of which wheat in the rumen can result in a pasty consistency to the rumen contents and reduces motility.”
Evolution of the Human Diet:
I have heard many argue that grains have always been a part to the human diet, so why is it a problem now? But, wheat and other grains have not always been a part of the human diet and actually are a relatively new addition when you look at the historical timeline and evolution of the human diet.
At first, our origins were in tropical rainforests of Africa and our diet consisted mostly of fruits and vegetables. Then, during the Paleolithic Era (60,000 years ago), we did more hunting and gathering and ate meat, nuts, seeds, low starch vegetables, and fruits. It was this diet that allowed humans to migrate North from Africa and spread throughout the other continents. It was not until the end of the last Ice Age or 20,000 years ago that humans began a slow transition to a cereal grass-based diet. This is actually a small amount of time in the overall timeline of the development of the human diet and what we are adept at digesting.
Other Adverse Effects of Wheat:
In coming weeks I will continue to summarize Sayer Ji’s essay, The Dark Side of Wheat by presenting each of the other 6 adverse effects of wheat that he presents:
Damages the intestines.
Causes intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut)
Has pharmacologic effects
Damages organs outside the intestine
Induces molecular mimicry