Sunday, 13 June 2010

Damage of grains

Bread: A Shocking Truth

Warning: reading the following article may lead you to give up bread.

Are you up for the challenge?

You know that you are on a serious raw food diet when you constantly hear these two questions: 1. Where do you get your protein? and 2. What is the cooked food that you miss most?

Well, I get my protein from what I eat.

And I miss grains.

Yes I do. I miss everything about them. I miss the smell, the taste, the sense of fullness. My memories from childhood take me to large dinners with family and friends where pizza and pasta were served in such an abundance that to the eyes of a little kid, I was practically swimming between spaghetti, dancing on the pizza plates, and surrounded by hot and smoky mozzarella. I remember well those evenings of eating out at pizzerias with my mom and dad. The sweet anticipation while waiting to be served; the waiter walking proudly towards us holding a smoking plate just out of the oven (during my childhood, especially in Italy, the concept of already prepared and frozen pizza was to be avoided as much as illegal drugs), smiling to us and smiling. Me and my brother would jump out of our chair, and attack the 15-17 inch pizza and have the best time. Of course the smell of pizza still brings back all the pleasant memories, despite the brain dictating the new rules (grains are bad!!! Bad!!!!) the mouth will still scream: “pizza is good! Good!”

Frankly, there is only one way to go: knowledge (with a few learning challenges along the way).

Note: try to be raw for a couple of year and then have a pizza or a sandwich, you will see.

I hope the following information about grains will help strengthen the will to overpower the palate. With profound understanding, sooner or later the best choices are made with ease.

Let’s point out a crucial concept: what is edible food? When we look around it seems that the average person makes food choices based on taste. How many times have we heard that “it tastes so good, that’s why I am eating it”. Given that taste is very important and anthropologically, an excellent tool to help living creatures choose food, we have to introduce a new term: to be edible, food needs to be both tasty and nutritious. I don’t accept the nutritious without the tasty and likewise, I don’t accept the tasty without the nutritious (empty calories).

Unfortunately, most of today’s mass produced foods are seriously depleted of nutrients and are packed with chemical additives. One such food is bread. Today’s bread is a mass produced product that is reliant on various biochemical processes, with an increase use of genetically modified compounds.

The grain used in industry bakery is specially milled to smash apart the carbohydrates it contains, reducing the nutritional quality of the grain but increasing the capacity of the flour to absorb water and be processed faster by the yeast and enzymes. At least 90% of the nutritional value is lost during due to a depleted soil and modern processing. (Proper growing and milling methods are necessary to preserve nutrients and prevent rancidity.) Also, as many of these chemicals and enzymes are classed as “baking aids”, not ingredients so they don’t have to be declared on the labelling of the bread products.

10 things WRONG with modern Industrial Bread.

1. Additives

  • Bleach: Freshly milled flour has a yellowish tint and a poor baking quality. Chlorine dioxide and benzoyl peroxide are used to bleach flour. Chlorine dioxide also matures the flour and forms compounds such dichlorostearic acid that remain in the flour. Chlorine dioxide destroys Vitamin E and reacts with certain proteins to form methionine sulfoxide, which is known to cause central nervous system damage in humans.
  • Doug conditioners: also called maturing agents. They improve the texture, appearance, and shelf life of bread. Most common: sodium stearoyl 2 lactylate, calcium stearoyl lactate, barley malt, ethoxylated and succinylated monoglycerides and polysorbate 60
  • Emulsifiers: enable the dough to hold more gas and therefore grow bigger, make the crumb softer, and reduce the rate at which the bread goes stale.
  • Reducing agent: for example L-cysteine hydrochloride (E920). Cysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid used in baking to create a stretchier dough. It may be derived from animal hair and feathers or human hair (cheapest source). Keratinous protein from human hair is extracted using hydrochloric acid and water. After several days, the keratin becomes L-cysteine.
  • Preservatives: used to prolong shelf life (eg calcium propionate and vinegar).

2. Too much salt. This results in increased risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases. Also salt is considered an ageing agent for the human body.

3. Hidden trans fats
. Hydrogenated fats are hard fats and when added to bread, they work with the gluten to create a stiff dough that will rise very quickly and retain its structure during the baking and cooling processes.

4. Overuse of yeasts
. Industrial bread uses 2-3 times the usual amount of yeast compared to traditional bakers. This creates more gas, and therefore a spongy leaf. The overuse of yeast is linked with the increased yeast intolerance seen in the current population (irritable bowels, rashes, candidiasis). Another concern is the genetic modification of yeast, which makes bread rise more quickly.

Dubious enzymes: Enzymes are proteins that speed up metabolic reactions and can be extracted from plant, animal, fungal and bacterial sources. Loads of enzymes are used in baking. Since they are called “processing aids”, they don’t need to be declared on product labels. Many bakery enzymes can be allergenic. Moreover, genetically modified enzymes can be added to bread to help to keep the moisture longer (which is why bread becomes hard after few days). Genetically modified enzymes are not declared on the label.

6. Pesticides residues
: Contemporary farming uses pesticides, many of which act as xeno-oestrogens. Xeno-oestrogens have been speculated to be one of the reasons why now a days girls and boys enter puberty earlier than in the past. They have also been linked to increased infertility and hormone-related cancers. The most common pesticides detected in bread are chlormequat ( a plant growth regulator used on various crops), glyphosate (used as a desiccant), malathion (insecticide), and pirimiphos-methyl (insecticide).

7. Grains are highly addictive
, due to some opioid-like substances and their impact on Insulin may lead to Insulin resistance and relates diseases such as Obesity and Diabetes.

8. Grains are digested with great difficulty
and only after many hours following ingestion; their impact on Insulin may lead to Insulin resistance and related diseases such as Obesity and Diabetes. Other diseases associated with grain consumption are arthritis, allergies, intestinal disorders, and celiac disorder.

9. Environmental damage
: Production of crops destroys vast landscapes.
Doug Graham, renowned author and foremost expert of raw food and fitness says: “Monocultures are devastating to the environment. Essentially the grain farmer creates a dead zone wherein all the forms of life are denied access, other than the grain crop itself. Without trees and wetlands, the land becomes prone to dust storms, erosion and nutrient depletion”.

10. Is it vegan?
Doug Graham offers this shocking data: “Close to 90% of all grain grown world-wide is used to feed livestock. People purchase 10% of the grains grown, and use it for food, however they provide farmers with more than 90% of their income. Farmers pay roughly $2/lb of grain, whereas people pay an average of $4/lb of grain. This means that the 10% people buy for consumption is paying for the 90%fed to livestock.” “Therefore, even if you are vegan, each time you purchase grains you are supporting the livestock industry, and all the related industries such as dairy, veal, poultry, etc.”

So next time you buy a sandwich or you go for pizza, take a second to meditate on the information I have just shared with you. Look at the piece of bread or cake you are about to eat, I challenge you: what do you really see in it? Is it the taste worth your health?

If so I cherish you. If not, I congratulate on you for choosing your health interest over a moment of pleasure.

Health is the ultimate pleasure.

Lets go for a piece of fruit instead, shall we?

Dr Stefania Licari

Medical Doctor

Adventure ultra- Runner

Special Thanks to Doug Graham (author of “80-10-10 Diet”) for his precious contribution for points 10,11.

I can not recommend enough his valuable book “The grain Damage”.

Also highly recommended “Improving on Pritikin” by Ross Horne

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