Dangerous Grains book review: Part 2

dangerous grains

The author, James Braly, states in the first chapter, “…gluten grains,…lack many of the nutrients we need.”

Braly also purports that since the introduction of grains into our diet, our brains are smaller, bones weaker and our stature shorter. This first chapter is about natural selection of the human race and grains. He gives reasons for our ancestors becoming agrarian, discusses genetics, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity symptoms that don’t show up until later in life; after child-bearing years so our “species” can continue. If grains/gluten were really toxic to our bodies, we humans wouldn’t live long enough to reproduce.

“Some individuals produce a liver enzyme capable of digesting gluten, many do not. For the many who lack these digestive enzymes, grains need much more processing than the foods that are common to a hunter-gatherer’s diet.”

Wait a minute. I remember being told that red meat is difficult to digest. I guess it’s the Chick-fil-A cows telling us this!

“Dairy and gluten-grain products combine to make up the top six foods we now eat. Yet, cows’ milk and wheat are two of the most commonly reported allergens in the world. With individuals genetically predisposed to food allergies and gluten sensitivities, eating these same non-ancestral, genetically incompatible foods in large quantities day in and day out, is it any wonder that so many people suffer from chronic food sensitivities?”

It seems I stopped here to look up my medicines to see if they are gluten free. Braly told a story about a man who was told to eat gluten-free and he got better for a little while, but then his health started deteriorating rapidly. It took quite a while but a doctor finally figured out that he was being glutened by his medicines. Seven out of the 11 drugs he was taking contained gluten! So, obviously I wanted to see if I might be glutened by my drugs, vitamins or supplements.

I found two web sites that list medicines and supplements (some) that are gluten free unless otherwise stated. Out of all my drugs, vitamins and supplements I found most in these two lists, but still had to do a Google search for a couple generics to see if they are gluten free. Here are the two web sites:

www.glutenfreedrugs.com/list.htm

www.celiac-disease.com/medications

“Gluten grains are a leading cause of many ailments. Avoiding gluten prevents and often reverses these diseases.

Should you passively wait for the signs and symptoms to arrive before taking action?”

Braly now posits 15 questions for us to ask ourselves; now rather than later. The questions range from: Is anyone in your family diagnosed with celiac or gluten-sensitivity? anyone have type 1 diabetes? thyroid disease? eating habits? do you get bloated? severe cramping? have anxiety or depression? problems sleeping? and on….

Dangerous Grains seems to leave no stone unturned. In his questioning of family illness and eating/sleeping habits, Braly seems to say that just about all of us would fit into having possible gluten-sensitivity.

My husband keeps telling me that gluten isn’t the big, horrible scourge these doctors portray–BUT–what if it is? He’s losing weight without trying, his blood glucose numbers are down near non-diabetic numbers. Seems to me, he’s benefiting from not eating gluten.

Chapter four goes into all the possible tests for gluten sensitivity. My own doctor has done many of them, and they are either negative or normal. So, he doesn’t believe I have a gluten problem. Tell that to my body that handles stress and anxiety better and more clearly!

Braly suggests tests for genetic markers, small intestine biopsy, gluten challenge, sugar-absorption test for leaky gut, blood testing for antibodies. Oh my favorite test–rectal challenge! It involves a gluten slurry, and you don’t drink it–oh my!!!

Once you’ve been diagnosed as gluten sensitive, Dr. Braly suggests counseling. “Dietary exclusion of gluten not only involves battling the physical and psychological facets of this experience, but also requires coming to terms with the socially excluding nature of this diet.

He also suggests joining a celiac support group, bone density testing, glucose-tolerance and liver-function testing. He even has some nutrition cautions: desensitization theraphy (like being desensitized for environmental allergies), making sure you are totally gluten free and not getting “glutened” in small doses like in your soy sauce, medicines, twizzlers or Rice Krispies–yep, the blue box is a no-no. Kellogg’s now has a gluten-free YELLOW box of brown rice Rice Krispies.

Braly also warns against eating fried foods. Apparently, oil heated over and over again converts to pro-inflammatory cancer-causing substances. He suggests we include a liberal amount of omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids every day. Omega 3s are fish, flax and walnut oils. Omega 9s are found in extra virgin olive oil and Omega 6s have a limited intake from vegetable and seed oils. He also suggests we broaden our meat intake to include Bambi, buffalo, rabbit, duck, goose, pheasant, quail–oh, and don’t forget–we must eat the animal’s organs (liver, heart, pancreas and bone marrow weekly–count me OUT!

Braly is a spoil-sport. He doesn’t want us eating the same foods every day, says we’ll develop sensitivities to these new foods. I’ve heard this before. I believe I asked a nutritionist about that and so have conflicting opinions. I personally change up my most favorite grains like rice, oats, and whatever is in Sunshine Crunchy Vanilla cereal. It’s hard enough to eat gluten free without making it harder by worrying about becoming sensitive to the new stuff. I’ll take my chances. Unless, of course, Braly wants to hire a live-in cook for me–OH YEAH ๐Ÿ™‚

Supplements are Braly’s next topic. He named magnesium, calcium, selenium, potassium, B-vitamins, possibly iron, and vitamins A, E & D.

Next, Braly discusses hidden hazards like sharing your toaster with a gluten-eater, don’t share the same butter or peanut butter container, bulk bins are not gluten-friendly because some people use the same scoop in several different bins. Oh, my head is swimming!

I’ve had enough for tonight. We’ve gotten through five chapters, which is close to half the book. We’re definitely making progress ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t know why this book review is different than my other reviews unless I just believe, this particular book has a lot of important things to say and so far, seems to be my favorite.

I will finish my review on the next post.

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