The Trouble with Eating Grains and Legumes

Plants Fight Back with Toxins

Anti-Nutrients and Toxins in Seeds (Grains, Legumes, Nuts, and Others)

Grains, legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, peanuts, etc.), nuts, and other seeds have developed anti-nutritional factors and toxins for various reasons.  These substances are used, in part, to prevent animals and insects from eating them.

Anti-nutrients are substances that block absorption of nutrients, such as iron, zinc, calcium, other minerals, etc., so nutritional deficiencies result.  Also, substances in these various seed types can mimic substances in the body and cause to body to attack itself, which is why the fossils of people who had just started domesticating grains began to show arthritis, an autoimmune disease.  Surprisingly, many of the Western diseases are considered autoimmune diseases: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, various thyroid diseases, multiple sclerosis, Crohns Disease, etc.

While cooking can help neutralize the toxins, some of these substances may still remain.  Soybeans are particularly troublesome since they have more toxic substances than other foods, and they are resistant to heating.  Only fermentation techniques deactivate almost all the harmful substances in soybeans.

Overloading on Soy and Grain Products

Now, with the advent of our modern agriculture, grains are in a great deal of processed foods, even when they shouldn’t be, like cottage cheese and yogurt.  We are overloading on grains, so they are literally killing us.  If Paleolithic people found grains to eat in the wild, they certainly didn’t eat large quantities of them before domestication.

Unfortunately, grains aren’t the only food additives we are overdosing on.  Soy additives, like soybean oil, are also used quite often in processed foods.  According to the Weston Price Foundation’s article “Plants Bite Back,” the combination of soy and corn create a deadly combination, promoting cancer in laboratory rats.  I don’t doubt this at all.  Consuming these products in large quantities negatively affects the hormonal balance and other systems in the body.

Increased Inflammation in the Body –
Overloading on Omega-6

Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Two essential fatty acids that we must get from our food are omega-6 and omega-3 (in fish oil and grass-fed/pastured animal products).  Omega-6 is inflammatory to the body, while omega-3 is considered anti-inflammatory.  Both compete for the same resources in the body to process the substances, so the faster process will win out.  Unfortunately, omega-3 is processed more slowly, so it can become easily outrun by an overabundance of omega-6.

According to research, a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 4 to 1 or lower; however, according to numerous articles I’ve read, most Western diets typically have ratios of 10 to 1 or even 30 to 1.

Since seeds are high in omega-6, and we are overloading on seeds (grains), our bodies are overrun with inflammatory substances.  According to numerous articles I’ve read, including the Wikipedia article “Omega-6 fatty acid,” excess omega-6 is responsible for “atherosclerosis, asthma, arthritis, vascular disease, thrombosis, immune-inflammatory processes, and tumor proliferation.”

Since the American diet is overloading on omega-6, cutting back on the omega-6-heavy foods makes sense.  Be careful of adding too much omega-3 because it can cause blood not to clot, so one could bleed to death.  Or it can interfere with certain medications.  Eat more leafy green vegetables and other foods, like grass-fed and pastured animal products, that are high in omega-3.

We Are What We Eat

Not only are we overdosing on grains, but we are feeding our food animals, like cattle, grains too.  Unfortunately, we are, therefore, eating even more grains and overdosing that much more.

Cattle would normally graze on grass, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Therefore, 100% grass-fed meat is also high in omega-3.  Even though my family and I switched to eat grass-fed and pastured animals for ethical reasons, our choice has turned out to be a healthy one, as well.

People say all the time that red meat is bad for one’s health, but the fact is that grass-fed beef is healthier than factory farm chicken fed on grains.  There is some research that shows that it’s not the type of meat that’s important; it’s the food the animal eats that counts.  If you are eating farmed fish, again you are most likely not getting all the benefits of eating fish.  Animals taken out of their natural environment to feed are less healthy to eat.