Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Could Grains Be Stealing Your Minerals?

Since I started my practice, I have noticed that nearly everyone is showing signs of Mineral Deficiency. At first, I blamed it on the lack of mineral rich foods in our diets but it is actually more complicated than that.

Gluten Free is the big buzz in food now, but are we looking at it totally crooked?
Our Ancestors and even people from other cultures are still preparing their grains before they eat them. In our fast paced culture, we rely on prepared and processed foods for the bulk of our diet.

As I was growing up, whenever I ate grains, my stomach got upset, so basically as I grew, I stopped eating most things. One thing I noticed that never bothered me was buckwheat. So that has been a breakfast staple for me for years off and on. Also any type of bread without a big slathering of good butter, was completely off my list.

Recently, I came across a great article that explains my grain issues and though I have known about these types of things, when I read it, the lightbulb went off.

About 2 years ago, I started fermenting almost everything because I found my teeth were getting vertical cracks in them and I even chipped one tooth (I figured if my teeth were having issues, what is happening to my bones). I found a great book on healthy teeth and rediscovered fermenting. What I discovered was that my body also started changing. I was within a normal weight but noticed that after 2 weeks of fermented foods, fermented butter oil, raw butter etc. my muscles were growing. I looked in the mirror and I actually look sculpted. I was not working out at the time, and the only change was my diet, so I attributed it to the fermenting. Over time, I gradually stopped fermenting and some of the other things because they are not easily available where I live part of the year and what I noticed was my beautifully sculpted arms disappeared.

Recently I started working out again, and to my surprise, I was not building any muscle. This was totally foreign to me. All my life, if I did only a little exercise, muscles would appear almost immediately. After a month of workout, 3 days a week or more, nothing! Granted, I did not want to be muscle-bound but did want to build some strength.

This took me on a search to dig deeper and I found my old nutritional guru had the answer, Dr Weston Price and an article written by Ramiel Nagel. Nagel interprets Dr. Weston Price and his study of other cultures pertaining to health. Dr Price was in Dentistry and devoted his life to discovering why other cultures had beautifully healthy teeth and basically our culture did not. Turns out a big part involves how we process grains before cooking.

In essence, grains need to be properly processed before you eat them or they rob your body of the minerals it needs for good health. Good mineral content in the body does so much good. Build bones, prevent arthritis, prevent clogged arteries, prevent cramping / help muscles contract and relax, they work with the endocrine system and hormones, keep your hair from turning grey, reduce stress, reduce pain, help your brain think and neurological processing and the list goes on. If you had to pinpoint what your health issue is, could it relate to minerals...my answer is most definitely minerals are involved (or more accurately, lack of minerals)

Now, most of the nature freaks out there like me will get a little overwhelmed by the information on processing grains, so I am going to break it down to a usable system which is better than nothing and highly effective but not perfect. For it to be perfect, it would be hard to actually implement:

Eat none or less than 10 percent of the total combination of grains, beans, and nuts unless you process them correctly. You can eat more if you do some minimal processing (like soaking grains, soaking nuts, soaking/sprouting and cooking beans). Eat good raw butter from grass fed cows with your grains or breads and properly prepared sour dough bread seems to be the best choice, coconut oil is good. Eat grass fed beef (not grain fed!) and keep in mind that animal fat is not all bad.
This are just my guidelines, there is no real science behind it.

Personally, I eat very little bread or things made with flour, I limit my nuts and seeds, but soak them and store them in the freezer until needed. The grain I eat the most is buckwheat and the bread of preference if I eat bread is rye or sourdough. I ferment any flour I use at least overnight because I occasionally like to cook pancakes. I cook soups with bones and eat raw butter on anything I can. I love raw milk when I can get it but in really small amounts, like a half cup 3 times a week at most (lately I have not been taking milk however) I eat very little fruit daily, but keep berries in the freezer as snacks and occasionally each seasonal fruit but rarely overdue fruit (I believe fruit is too sweet for the American diet and causes more harm than good if not controlled). I have not been fermenting lately because I have nearly eliminated grains, but I am going to start again to see if I have the same response as before with increased muscle mass.

I also want to add that I DO tend to eat anything that is served me when I go to a friends house for dinner or out to eat, unless I am in the middle of a cleanse. I think because on a day to day basis, I don't eat poorly, I am able to do this without a setback. Keep in mind that what we do everyday or often weekly, is the norm for us and this is what might need to be evaluated. We still need to live life and enjoy the fruits of life, but some things only on special occasions.

I invite you to discover for yourself what Nagel has to say. I believe you will find it fascinating, however you  may find it discouraging, but if you follow my suggestions above and just simplify it overall, you will find great improvement and not go crazy in the process. Here is the article link: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid

If you still have issues with not losing weight or low minerals symptoms, you should see a therapist who specializes like a naturopathic doctor if you can find one in your area. (I generally find that nutritionist are not trained to understand these things). I am an acupuncture physician with focus on nutrition (which is not the norm) but there may be others out there who are as passionate as I am about all aspects of the healing arts.

Enjoy!

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