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Put down the bagel…. (part 2)

July 8, 2010

ENDURANCE Thursdays are back at CrossFit IoTA.  If you’re finding it hard to get your endurance workouts in and staying motivated to get them done, head on out to our box in Smithfield.  We’ve got a few athletes training for the Top of Utah Marathon and we’ll be happy to help you get ready too!

DIRTY, DIRTY GRAINS:  by Kara Graetz

 “Grain consumption has been linked with allergies, food sensitivities, auto-immune disorders, colon cancer, pancreatic disorders, mineral deficiencies, celiac disease, epilepsy, dementia, autism, schizophrenia, just to name a few,” (Loren Cordain, The Paleo Diet, 2000).

Grains as we know them are the reproductive structures of the plant. As a result, they contain energy sources for the developing plant embryos. As such, they contain numerous mechanisms designed to prevent things in the wild from both consuming and killing these precious embryos and preventing abnormal germination. They’re not unlike any other mama out there.

One way of preventing abnormal germination is by sequestering key nutrients like calcium, zinc, and magnesium. This is done with substances called Phytates, and most primarily Phytic Acid. Phytates are “anti-nutrients.” (Anti-nutrients essentially make nutrients unavailable.) Phytates bind to metal ions, and is thought to be a key reason why predominantly grain consuming societies tend to be shorter. Beans also contain phytates.

Gluten is the protein of the grain. It is further categorized as a lectin. Lectins contain enzymes that repel and destroy. This is one defense mechanism to keep the embryo from being eaten in the wild, similar to thorns on a cactus. Once ingested, these lectins go to work on our digestive tracts, and most specifically, the microvilli that help digest and transport food. This attack process can a) weaken the lining of our digestive tract, and b) create an auto-immune response in the body. Our autoimmune system reacts not only to the damage occurring to our microvilli, but also to the particles that escape our digestive tracts and migrate into our blood stream– before the microvilli have a chance to filter and redirect. This is known as “leaky gut syndrome.” The gut becomes leaky in the sense that bacteria, fungi, parasites and their toxins, undigested protein, fat and waste normally not absorbed into the bloodstream in a healthy state, pass through a damaged, hyper-permeable, porous or “leaky” gut.  Once these particles enter our blood streams the immune system mounts an attack against these invaders. Further, the particles often resemble elements that are similar in structure to other proteins in the body, which stimulates the production of antibodies that have an “an affinity for one’s own tissues,” (Wolf, 5).  A lifetime of this process results in numerous conditions, and leaky gut syndrome is almost always associated with autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is defined as one in which the immune system makes antibodies against its own tissues.  Draw the link!!! Diseases in this category include lupus, alopecia, rheumatoid arthritis,  multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroiditis, Celiac Sprue, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, urticaria; hives, diabetes and Reynaud’s disease.

Celiac and Crohn’s are the most commonly known diseases in terms of grains. However, though not everyone shows a full blown celiac response, this irritation is present with VIRTUALLY ALL GRAIN CONSUMPTION in EVERYONE. Repeated attacks on our bodies weaken our systems…and you know what they say, preventative medicine is the best medicine.

For more reading on this subject, check out the following links:

Whole grain goodness 
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