The tragedy of grains

Somerset, 18 June 2023—


I’ve talked previously about the need for experimentation to find your optimal diet. Now I want to talk about the case of grains. I’ve come to question if any amount of grain is healthy at all. Because they transform in sugar when we digest them—so no wonder the body can crave them. That sugar can feed yeast and all sorts of parasites that use us as hosts. You could hold the same argument for fruits themselves and yes, too many fruits in the diet is not a good thing either!

Ah, sometimes I wonder, what’s left to eat? When you think you’ve finally found the ideal food, some new information comes in seemingly contradicting what you heard before… Let’s take the example of beans, lentils and peas (of the legumes family). One one hand they have a great nutritional profile. But, on the other, they’re packed with anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and lectins… You’ll always read something for or against a food, and it can become a nightmare to choose what is good for you…

Except that it shouldn’t! The body has its own intelligence and it knows what is good for you. Your job is to listen to it, and notice the correlation between what you’ve eaten and your health, energy levels and mood.

The problem with grains

Emerging from a recent detox really made me realise one thing: how much mucus and phlegm are produced because of my intake of grains. Something felt really wrong…

So, what if we had made some primal error on what is a good food for us? The advocates of the paleo diet for example argue that humans have not had the time to adjust in terms of evolution to cope with the modern western diet. You need to roll back the clock to a time when there was no agriculture. This diet says no grains and no dairy; which in itself is healthy. What if we were about to re-assess as a species what is best for a human body and move away from the restrictions of the past that have conditioned our diet. We may have high technology to do space travel, but how about taking care of our bodies and ending the epidemic of illnesses that plague the modern world?

Our societies are designed around a limited amount of staple foods such as grains and dairy, But in my own experience they only cause mucus and inflammation. I’ve even had some moments of clarity coming out of that detox when I felt that grains are really only a cheap source of calories devoid of much nutrition. It just fills me up but my body didn’t want that anymore… Grains such as wheat, rice or corn are omni-present in the world and that’s difficult to avoid them—oh, and I thought eating gluten-free was already the challenge… Looking on the bright side, now I have only 25% of the average food section of a supermarket that’s any relevant to me. Makes the trips shorter!

In the end, I believe each of us has a diet that is optimised for his genetic code and it’s up to us to find out. Believing that the billions of humans that make up humanity can thrive on the same diet with a few selected staple food is nonsense. Concentrating the calories intake on a limited number of staple foods is not healthy.

Grain alternatives

Luckily, there are alternatives. Look at the three pseudo-cereals: quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. Try grains low in lectin such as millet, sorghum and teff. Experiment, taste new flavours and see how your body responds.

The other discoveries

I think the journey of self-discovery never ends… Another recent realisation came from the use of stimulants. Let me explain.

I had cut coffee and had been going for decaffeinated for years now. Except that, that was still coffee. That means: there is still caffeine in significant amounts (the decaffeination process does not remove 100% of caffeine!). And then there was tea… also a stimulant. Oh, and did I mention chocolate? Yep, chocolate is high in caffeine. Coffee, even decaffeinated, too. And tea, even decaffeinated, also.

We’ve built a civilisation that’s normalised stimulants and that’s just shocking when you really take hold of it. Remove stimulants from your life and you shall set yourself free. At least, give it a try and see what’s to take away for you.

The bottom line

What we put inside our body through our mouth has a primordial influence on our life. On our health, on your mood, even on our thoughts! There are neurons in the gut and if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that certain type of food attract certain type of thoughts. Healthy food will likely make you feel nourished and joyful. Fried, processed and junk food will lead to negative thoughts instead…


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