Thursday, October 23, 2008

You Are What You Eat: Grains

You Are What You Eat!: Grains
By Paul Chek, HHP, NMT
Founder, C.H.E.K Institute


The story or grains is part and parcel with the story of bread, neither of
which the human machinery is designed to function on optimally. While I'm
sure this comment is a surprise to some of you, significant amounts of
scientific evidence suggests that for all of human evolution -- right up
until approximately 10,000 years ago -- the primary staple in the diets of
most civilizations was animal meat.

There were times when meat was scarce for a variety of reasons but, in
general, our consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds was
seasonal and supplementary. Most of the animals we ate, such as deer, were
plant eaters. These animals had condensed nutrition in their meats (1
pound of meat contained the nutritional equivalent of several pounds of

Such a nutrient-dense source of nourishment allowed us to have sustenance
during the winter months when we had minimal food storage methods other
than the cold itself. Although many argue (mostly from an emotional bias)
that we must have carbohydrate sources to function, current biochemistry
reveals that we do have the capacity to convert some fat molecules
(glycerol) into carbohydrates.1

While there are many controversial theories as to why we began farming, it
is more commonly agreed on that we began farming practices, or nurturing
the growth of specific plant species and domesticating animals no longer
than 20,000 years ago and more likely as soon as 10,000 years ago.2 During
this time, there has been a progressive increase in the consumption of
grains and grain-based products, yet this time period is but a flash in
the scope of human evolution, during which our digestive machinery was

The Science of Farming

Before the advent of factory farming, grain was partially germinated
(sprouted). This resulted from being sheaved and stacked in fields, which
stood for several more weeks before threshing. During this period, the
grain seeds were exposed to rain and dew which soaked into the sheaves.
The grain could pick up this moisture and, with heat from the sun,
conditions were ideal for favoring a degree of germination and enzyme
multiplication in the grain.3

The process of sprouting not only produces vitamin C; it changes the
composition of the grain in numerous ways that make it more beneficial as
a food. For example, sprouting increases the content of such vitamins as
vitamin B, B2, B5 and B6. Carotene, which is converted to vitamin A,
increases dramatically -- sometimes eight-fold.

Even more important in today's climate of indigestion, is that phytic
acid, which is a known mineral blocker, is broken down in the sprouting
process. Phytic acid is present in the bran of all grains, the coating of
nuts and seeds and inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron,
copper and zinc.

These inhibitors can neutralize our own digestive enzymes, resulting in
the digestive disorders experienced by many people who eat unsprouted
grains. There are many scientific indicators linking grain consumption to
rheumatic and arthritic conditions as well.4 Complex sugars responsible
for intestinal gas are broken down during sprouting and a portion of the
starch in grain is transformed into sugar. Sprouting also inactivates
aflatoxins, which are toxins produced by fungus and are potent carcinogens
found in grains.

By purchasing your own organic whole grains and sprouting them before
making your own breads or cereals, you can save yourself from the unwanted
effects of phytic acid; you can also buy sprouted breads in many health
food stores.

Phytic Acid -- The Hidden Problem

Phytic acid is also present in the coatings of seeds and nuts. As I am
sure you are aware, many health and nutrition experts advocate the
consumption of nuts and seeds and they are prevalent in many health food
bars. Unfortunately, eating nuts and seeds without soaking them for at
least 8-12 hours to break down the phytic acid can produce the same enzyme
blocking and mineral blocking effects eating un-sprouted grains can, which
is one of the reasons many of my clients find great relief when removing
grains from their diet, particularly those containing gluten.

As is the norm when studying scientific or lay literature on any topic,
there is always opposition among experts -- and so it is in the case of
phytic acid (phytates) and the potential problems it can cause.

Some experts claim cooking and processing, as in the making of bread,
break phytic acid down and nullify its effects on those consuming
processed grain products. While my clinical observations suggest the
opposite, some interesting test results with regard to zinc deficiency
support my contention that merely milling grains into flour and baking it
may not break down phytates.

In 1964, it was found that boys in Iran and Egypt had severely
underdeveloped testicles. Tests showed they had extreme zinc deficiency,
yet zinc was plentiful and widely consumed in those countries. It was
discovered that zinc was bound by phytates in the bread they ate. While
the bread contained a great deal of zinc, it was useless because it was
locked up!5 This important finding will become even more important in
understanding the potential downfalls that come with over-consumption of
processed grains.

White Death

While there is little argument that whole-grain cereals and breads are
more nutritious and provide more fiber and aid detoxification, care must
be taken to avoid consuming ill prepared or processed grains.

As you are surely well aware, we have not only deviated far from our
ancestral diet, but we are in the era of highly processed foods. Food
manufacturers have clung to public misperceptions with regard to white
foods, particularly white breads, white rice, white sugar and white table
salt, all of which are commonly referred to as white death by most
nutrition experts and naturopathic physicians, and for good reason!

White flour became popular sometime prior to 1872, when the roller mill
began to replace the stone mills of old. White flour, known to be better
for making pastries and baking in general, was only available to the rich
prior to advent of the roller mill because its production required
significant manual labor, which only the rich could afford.

Stone mills have no mechanism to remove the germ from the flour so the
flour had to be sifted through silk filters over and over again until if
finally reached a cream color, similar to that of milk. This
labor-intensive process resulted in white flour, then a product perceived
as one of royalty. The inability to afford white flour resulted in it
being sought after by the poor, much the same as the chair was sought
after by Egyptian peasants prior to their common use, as the chair was
only used by royalty at one time.

While the poor had developed a taste for white flour and a desire for the
sense of stature they must have felt it afforded them, they were
nonetheless developing an attraction to a nutritionally deficient food

With the advent of the roller mill, the baker was able to produce white
bread at a cost most anyone could afford, all the while the nutritious
portions, the bran and germ of the grain were generally fed to pigs and
other farm animals! Not long after white flour was accessible to all
classes, cereals began to suffer the same fate, losing their nutritional
value due to processing.

Today, the nutritious portions of the grain are sold off to health food
stores and supplement manufacturers, so in effect, many of you pay for the
same grain two or three times in the form of flour, fiber to combat
constipation and finally vitamin supplements such as vitamin E from wheat

- - - - - - -

More Nutritional Deficiencies

While there are a number of nutritional deficiencies in white flour when
compared to its stone ground counterpart, here are a few of the less
technical ones:

Zinc, which naturally occurs in the outer portions of the grain, is milled
away in the production of white flour. This disrupts the natural ratio of
zinc to cadmium so that the zinc-cadmium ratio is reversed. Any cause of a
zinc shortage in the body is a cause for concern because this very
important mineral is a catalyst to numerous enzymatic and hormonal
functions, not to mention being essential to protein synthesis and
reproduction, the importance of which will become evident below.

White flour contains only 13 percent of the chromium, 9 percent of the
manganese and 19 percent of the iron that is contained in whole wheat. Due
to the fact that many of the B vitamins are concentrated in the outer
parts of the grain, white flour is deficient in B vitamins.6

White flour does not contain the germ of the wheat, which is a potent
source of vitamin E, resulting in a high potential for vitamin E
deficiency in those whose diet is inadequate for vitamin E sources and/or
comparatively high in bread-stuffs.7

Research shows that since as long ago as the 1950s, conventionally farmed
American grains have been low in protein quality and quantity. So much so,
that whenever the United States tried to give its surplus grains away to
countries with starving populations, they would not accept our grains if
any other country was offering theirs. They had found that the deficient
U.S. grains did little to maintain or improve the health of the starving.8

After 130 years of consuming highly processed grains in the form of
breads, pastries and cereals, chronic disease states are rampant among
most industrialized nations, with the greatest prevalence in England,
which has the greatest consumption of white flour, white sugar and tea per
capita. Unfortunately, the United States is a strong second!

Infertility Strikes

Not surprisingly, we appear to be continuing another trend that began with
the introduction of the steel roller mill -- a declining birth rate.

The more bran and germ millers extracted from flour, the lower the birth
rate per 1,000 people in England between 1872-1945.7 Today, things are not
much better. Artificial insemination is a big business and, if not for
advanced medical technologies, we would be losing a huge amount of babies
who wouldn't have survived even 100 years ago.

Additionally, there are significant reductions in sperm counts among
males, which may well be the result of both over-consumption of highly
processed foods and toxicity in our food supply and our ecosystem.

According to a recent analysis by University of Missouri epidemiologist
Shanna Swan9, the average sperm count of men in the United States and
Europe has plummeted by more than 50 percent since the late 1930s. This
finding fuels ongoing concerns that male reproductive health may be

Based on 61 studies published since 1938, involving a total of nearly
15,000 subjects, Swan found that average sperm counts among healthy
American men have dropped from 120 million sperm per milliliter
(million/ml) of semen in 1938 to just over 50 million/ml in 1988, a
decline of 1.5 percent per year. In Europe, sperm counts have fallen to
roughly the same level, though twice as fast, at 3.1 percent each year
between 1971-1990.

While environmental chemical exposure is suspected, there is very likely
that malnutrition, secondary to consuming too many processed foods, is a
real possibility. Francis Marion Pottenger Jr., MD demonstrated that
feeding cats processed foods led to numerous disease processes,
infertility and eventually extinction!

The Feedlot Pyramid

Over the past 21 years that I have been consulting people with physical
and dietary complications and challenges, I have seen a distinct pattern:
The over-consumption of processed carbohydrates! Most people get their
dietary education from watching TV commercials and reading magazines.
These are the two worst places in the world to acquire nutritional
information because this is exactly where big industry plants its hooks
into you.

Figure 1
Another problem was the boom in running and triathlons, which resulted in
the production of numerous popular books on how to eat for success in
these sports. The diet plans in these books commonly resemble the USDA
Food Pyramid (Figure 1), which is commonly referred to as the USDA Feedlot
Pyramid by nutritional experts such as Dr. Barry Sears (author of "The
Zone Diet") because such dietary proportions are far better suited to
fattening animals than they are to health and vitality!

Unfortunately, the USDA food pyramid is used as a guideline by most school
cafeterias preparing food for your children!

An additional problem that has come part and parcel with increased
mechanization of food processing and the desire to increase shelf life of
foods has been the addition of sugar to what was originally a potentially
good food -- natural unprocessed cereal grains.

When ground to the particle size used to make white flour, the flour
covers 10,000 times the surface area of the grain itself. The result is
that when you eat a processed food product like white bread, cookies,
donuts or classic boxed cereals, you are eating a high starch (high sugar)
food that will be absorbed at almost the same rate as straight table
sugar! While considering that, review these statistics from the book
"Crazy Makers" by Carol Simontacchi, who compares the sugar content of 1
ounce of Pepsi (1.2 teaspoons of sugar) to common breakfast cereals:

Lucky Charms = 2.8 teaspoons per ounce
Froot Loops = 3.3 teaspoons per ounce
Cinnamon and Spice flavored Quaker Instant Oatmeal = 4.3 teaspoons per
Additionally, in his book "Beating the Food Giants," Paul Stitt shows us
the average breakfast cereal today ranges between 46-53 percent sugar!
With this knowledge, watch how much sugar people add to their cereals
before eating them and how much soda pop is consumed in concert with many
of these non-foods!

An Insulin Epidemic

We have an epidemic on our hands with insulin insensitivity (Syndrome X),
adult onset diabetes and obesity! We have children consuming massive
quantities of sugar and food additives, most of which, like sugar are
stimulants. White flour is literally a sugar in itself, and where it is
mixed with fats in processed foods, the fats are commonly hydrogenated and
rancid, increasing your susceptibility to a number of disease processes.

I suggest the following CHEK Points to improve your health and vitality:

Before entertaining consumption of grain foods, always exclude all grains
except corn, rice, buckwheat and millet for two weeks. If you feel a
noticeable improvement in your health and well being, you are probably
gluten-intolerant. When you start eating grain foods again after two weeks
off, start slowly and eat only one grain food to minimize the possibility
of a potentially uncomfortable reaction by the body; diarrhea and stomach
pain is common among those that are gluten-intolerant!

Minimize all consumption of commercial and processed grains and
grain-based products.

If you plan to eat any grains at all, restrict yourself to organic,
unprocessed corn, rice, buckwheat or millet, rotating them on a four-day
cycle. Only eat them after they have been presoaked for at least 12 hours
to break down the phytic acid.

If you enjoy grain-based breakfast cereals, purchase only whole organic
grains, soak or sprout and make your own breakfast cereals. There are a
few companies that make reasonable boxed breakfast cereals, although my
suggestion is to stay away from any processed, cooked grain products

If you enjoy bread, buy only sprouted whole-grain breads that contain no
additives or preservatives. Use the above cereal guidelines to choose your
breads and determine if you are gluten intolerant.

Avoid any conventionally prepared pasta. Purchase only organic rice pasta
or gluten-free pasta if you are gluten-intolerant. Pasta is considered to
be one of the foods most heavily laden with pesticide residues!

Apply the soaking principle to all seeds and nuts. Pour the water off the
nuts and replace it each day. Keep refrigerated while storing once soaked.

Never eat more grain-based foods than ideal for your metabolic type with
regard to how much carbohydrates you should be eating.

Paul Chek, Corrective, Holistic Exercise Kinesiologist and certified
Neuromuscular Therapist, is the founder of the C.H.E.K Institute in Vista,
Calif. A sought-after consultant to sporting organizations, his services
have benefited numerous professional sports teams and athletes.

Paul has produced over 60 videos, 17 correspondence courses and is the
author of several books, audio programs and articles. For more information
on Paul's recent book "How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy!" or his popular
"Equal But Not The Same" correspondence course, or for any of Paul Chek's
other courses, videos and books call 1-800-552-8789 or 760-477-2620 or
visit online at Feel free to request a catalog of
CHEK Institute products.

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