Approximately 70% of all American calories come from a combination of the following four foods: wheat, dairy, soy and corn - assuming, that is, we exclude calories from sugar.
How could this be? After all, doesn't the USDA Food Pyramid emphasize whole grains like wheat above all other food categories, and isn’t dairy so indispensible to our health that it is afforded a category all of its own?
Unfortunately these “authoritative” recommendations go much further in serving the special interests of the industries that produce these commodities than in serving the biological needs of those who are told it would be beneficial to consume them. After all, grains themselves have only been consumed for 500 generations – that is, only since the transition out of the Paleolithic into the Neolithic era approximately 10,000 years ago. Since the advent of homo sapiens 2.5 million years ago our bodies have survived on a hunter and gatherer diet, where foods were consumed in whole form, and raw! Corn, Soy and Cow's Milk have only just been introduced into our diet, and therefore are “experimental” food sources which given the presence of toxic lectins, endocrine disruptors, anti-nutrients, enzyme inhibitors, indigestible gluey proteins, etc, don’t appear to make much biological sense to consume in large quantities - and perhaps, as is my belief, given their deleterious effects on health, they should not be consumed at all.
Even if our belief system doesn’t allow for the concept of evolution, or that our present existence is borne on vast stretches of biological time, we need only consider the undeniable fact that these four “health foods” are also sources for industrial adhesives, in order to see how big a problem they present.
For one, wheat flour is used to make glues for book binding and wall-papering, as well as being the key ingredient for paper mache mortar. Sticky soy protein has replaced the need for formaldehyde based adhesives for making plywood, and is used to make plastic, composite and many other things you probably wouldn’t consider eating. The whitish protein known as casein in cow's milk is the active ingredient in Elmer's glue and has been used for paint since ancient times. Finally, corn gluten is used as a glue to hold cardboard boxes together. Eating glue doesn't sound too appetizing does it? Indeed, when you consider what these sticky glycoproteins will do to the delicate microvilli inside our intestines, a scenario, nightmarish in proportions, unfolds.
All nutrients are absorbed in the intestine through the microvilli. These finger-like projections from off the surface of the intestine amplify the surface area of absorption in the intestine to the area the size of a tennis court. When coated with undigested or partially digested glue (glycoproteins), not only is the absorption of nutrients reduced leading to malabsorption and consequently malnourishment, but the villi themselves become damaged/dessicated/ inflammed and begin to undergo atrophy - at times even breaking off. The damage to the intestinal membrane caused by these glues ultimately leads to perforation of the one cell thick intestinal wall, often leading to "leaky gut syndrome": a condition where undigested proteins and plant toxins called lectins enter the bloodstream wreaking havoc on the immune system. A massive amount of research (which is given little to no attention both in the mass media and allopathic medicine) indicates that diseases as varied as fibromyalgia, diabetes, autism, cancer, arthritis, crohn's, chronic fatigue, artheroscerosis, and many others, are directly influenced by the immune mediated responses wheat, dairy, soy and corn can provoke.
Of all four suspect foods Wheat, whose omnipresence in the S.A.D or Standard American Diet indicates something of an obsession, may be the primary culprit. According to Clinical Pathologist Carolyn Pierini the wheat lectin called "gliadin" is known to to participate in activating NF kappa beta proteins which are involved in every acute and chronic inflammatory disorder including neurodegenerative disease, inflammatory bowel disease, infectious and autoimmune diseases.
In support of this indictment of Wheat’s credibility as a “health food,” Glucosamine – the blockbuster supplement for arthritis and joint problems – has been shown to bind to and deactivate the lectin in wheat that causes inflammation. It may just turn out to be true that millions of Americans who are finding relief with Glucosamine would benefit more directly from removing the wheat (and related allergens) from their diets rather than popping a multitude of natural and synthetic pills to cancel one of Wheat’s main toxic actions. Not only would they be freed up from taking supplements like Glucosamine, but many would also be able to avoid taking dangerous Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol, Aspirin and Ibuprofen, which are known to cause tens of thousands of cases of liver damage, internal hemorrhaging and stomach bleeding each and every year.
One might wonder: “How is it that if America's favorite sources of calories: Wheat and Dairy, are so obviously pro-inflammatory, immunosuppressive, and generally toxic, why would anyone eat them?” ANSWER: They are powerful forms of socially sanctioned self-medication.
Wheat and Dairy contain gliadorphin and gluten exorphins, and casomorphin, respectively. These partially digested proteins known as peptides act on the opioid receptors in the brain, generating a temporary euphoria or analgesic effect that has been clinically documented and measured in great detail. The Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Magdeburg, Germany has shown that a Casein (cow's milk protein) derivative has 1000 times greater antinociceptive activity (pain inhibition) than morphine. Not only do these morphine like substances create a painkilling "high," but they can invoke serious addictive/obsessive behavior, learning disabilities, autism, inability to focus, and other serious physical and mental handicaps.
As the glues destroy the delicate surface of our intestines, we for the life of us can't understand why we are so drawn to consume these "comfort foods", heaping "drug soaked" helping after helping. Many of us struggle to shake ourselves out of our wheat and dairy induced stupor with stimulants like coffee, caffeinated soda and chocolate, creating a viscous “self-medicating” cycle of sedation and stimulation.
As if this were not enough, Wheat, Dairy, and Soy also happen to have some of the highest naturally occurring concentrations of Glutamic Acid, which is the natural equivalent of monosodium glutamate. This excitotoxin gives these foods great "flavor" (or what the Japanese call umami) but can cause the neurons to fire to the point of death. It is no wonder that with all these drug-like qualities most Americans consume wheat and dairy in each and every meal of their day, for each and every day of their lives.
Whether you now believe that removing Wheat, Dairy, Soy and Corn from your diet is a good idea, or still need convincing, it doesn’t hurt to take the “elimination diet” challenge. The real test is to eliminate these suspect foods for at least 2 weeks, see how you feel, and then if you aren’t feeling like you have made significant improvements in your health, reintroduce them and see what happens. Trust in your feelings, listen to your body, and you will move closer to what is healthy for you.
This article owes much of its content and insight to the work of John Symes whose ground-breaking research on the dangers of wheat, dairy, corn and soy have been a great eye opener to me, and a continual source of inspiration in my goal of educating myself and others.
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