Category Archives: Nourishment

Bread – is it good or bad for you?

To gluten or not to gluten; is gluten really the enemy; is modern wheat the culprit of all our health woes?

Grains and modern wheat are one of the most condemned food sources in this recent decade.  Yet as far back as the Stone Age, we see cave paintings of the wheat harvest, and in Egyptian tombs dedication to the food of the gods; let’s face it — wheat has been part of our ancestral diet and is as Paleo as it gets.  So how did something we have eaten and idolized for thousands of years get such a bad reputation?

Scientist and researchers blame the phenomenon on the modern farming of wheat.  Such as the hybridization of the grain, resulting in a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) based crop along with the high amounts of modern pesticides now interlaced within the plant itself.  So, is gluten harming us or is it the toxins on and in the grain? Others point towards the processing of the grain that bypasses how humans once soaked, sprouted, and milled then fermented the grain before producing food-products like breads, crackers and cakes.  You can see the up rise in popularity of sourdough breads for this very reason.

There is no anthropological denying that wheat and grains are such a powerhouse of food for humans that we have put a lot of focus on planting, growing, and processing it into food products.  We have even created ways to make it higher in the gluten protein so we can create breads faster and quicker. Modern wheat is the icon of food science, thus the antithesis of anything ancient, old or traditional.  

The popularity of ancient grains has skyrocketed among health fanatics including farm-to-kitchen restaurants and bloggers.  It is possible the popularity surrounding the grains is simply because the ancient stories that surround them thus placing them into opposition of modern or refined, further glorifying the eating traditions of our ancestors?  In other words, the revolt against processed and fast foods.

While there may be many reasons for the spike in interest, the true question is whether the health claims surrounding these grains are accurate.  Do they hold more nutrients? Are they easier to digest? Is there less likely for gluten intolerance when eating ancient grains? And are they truly better for the earth?

Many of our common grains like modern wheat, oats and corn have nutrients; however, they may be imbalanced by our sensitivities to them because of the high content of pesticides or over breeding of the grains that increase gliadin contents and making them harder for us to digest.  In contrast, do ancient grains hold up to the nutrient content once touted by the Whole Grains Council?

Let’s start by looking at a common few:  Polenta for example has more protein than a large egg, 10% of our daily vitamin c and it can be an excellent alternative to bread or pasta.  Bulgur is a powerhouse of fiber and 26% of our daily niacin and over 15% of our iron and b6 needs, plus it is fast to cook making for a quick addition to salads.  Amaranth, one of the oldest grains, doesn’t hold the gluten protein and is still high in protein and brain boosting amino acids with a whopping 42% of our daily iron!  Farro and spelt are both some of our more ancient lineages of wheat being what we most likely see in old drawings and paintings and the bases of “living breads” and Biblical matzo.  These grains were most likely leavened with ancient fermentation processes which increased the bio-availability of the manganese, protein and b vitamins found in this plant. Millet, kamut, and teff are other examples of the long list of ancient grains that also hold a large variety of our needed nutrients, and, ironically, many of the nutrients modern humans are deficient in.  

An example of an ancient wheat that is also superior in nutrients and easier to digest is einkorn.  Why do we find that these grains do not create the gut issues of modern wheat? It is in their genetics.  While they maintain high nutrients, they maintain not just lower amounts of gluten but different strains of the protein.  Therefore, einkorn is being studied as a potential help to the gluten crisis.

One of the most important foundations of reviving ancient grains lies in the removal of monocropping.  Modern wheat and modern farming was an experiment originally in good intentions – ways to increase production and reduce costs, to ultimately help feed the world. But this substantive hybridization, mutated the grain in a way that was hard for us to digest but also didn’t create bio diversity to our fields or our soils.  The estimation of lost grain is over 80,000 breeds and variety, yet 90% of what we consume comes from one type of plant. Farmers who grow and revive ancient grain crops start them literally from seeds that have been around for millennia making sure they are free of hybridization and manipulation. In many counties there are currently seed saver banks and farmers focused on only growing these ancient grains.  Some farmers simply use the mantra to fuel their mission “they are as nature designed them”. One of the most exciting aspects of the ancient grain revival is the promise of more to come. The increase in ancient grains will allow our earth as well as our diet to be given much needed nutrient diversity as well as help reduce our over consumption of modern wheat.

And you will see me happily enjoying my long fermented non-enriched, non-gmo, traditional sourdough baguette at breakfast for all these reasons and even more so for the amazing taste!

Three common reasons for lower back pain

Three common ways people develop back problems include poor digestion, poor movement, and emotional stress, much of which is fueled by low quality nourishment and trauma. Digestion is inextricably linked to our nervous system, our intestines are now dubbed the “second brain” by medical doctors, and toxins destroy the membrane of the gut preventing good absorption and excretion. Without proper absorption of nutrients, our body is unable to process vitamins and minerals to relay pinnacle chemical and hormonal processes such as the creation of serotonin, gaba, and vitamin d creation, to name only a few. Further impacting this is the body’s inability to contract intestine musculature and excrete, thus creating damage to the colon and compacting toxins. This poor nourishment and gut damage shuts down the nervous system of the gut which is directly linked to the lumbar both through muscles, tendons, and nervous systems creating pain and other back problems.

Poor nourishment is not the only lifestyle choice leading to chronic back pain in the United States. Our obsession with sitting in today’s fast-paced business life and technology-driven industries lure us into forward head posture, as we glance at our interfaces throughout the day leads us to more than just sore overworked and weak muscles –this static posture leads us to neurological and skeletal deformities and trauma. In fact sitting has been deemed as detrimental as smoking on our health, and one of the first key indicators of the effect is in the compression and weakness it generates in our lower backs.

Our choices for nourishment and movement affect our spinal health directly and through functional means; yet there is an often ignored less obvious cause of lower back pain– stress. Overworked and underslept, our society has created a catastrophic situation of elevated cortisol and glucose surging through our nervous system. We have misregulated our circadian rhythms further creating havoc on our hormones, and inversely our digestion. A lack of sleep is considered as traumatic as most post traumatic stress disorders.

By looking at three problems that cause lower back problems, we can easily summarize three steps to wellness to find improvement- nourishment, movement, and lifestyle. Focusing on improving these 3 steps creates an opportunity of high probable effect to lower back pain. It’ll become part of the unpleasant past.

The first consideration in treating lower back pain is realizing that pain is about nerve dis-ease, or lack of health. If your nervous system is not properly functioning, pain is a symptom to the host to change the cause or issue. In order to reboot the nervous system even after improving nourishment, movement and lifestyle is assuring that the nervous system can function properly which is dependent on oxygen via blood pathways as well as appropriate skeletal alignment so muscles and surrounding spinal support systems can fire allowing for optimal movement and neuronal health.

As a large portion of your nervous system travels through your spine, as well as the spinal cord acting as a direct channel to the brain, any misalignment or malfunction of the spine can create false signals of pain (even after the trauma or problem has been removed), thus the entire system needs to be rebooted to provide proper oxygen and nourishment to the spine and the spinal nerves that branch out to muscles and organs of the body. Chiropractic is an essential tool to allow the body to perform this healing by removing interference in the nervous system. As a future chiropractor, my role in addition to realigning the spine is to also coach and motivate clients on how to nourish, move, and deactivated stress in order to prevent their chronic lower back pain. As stated in the 2004 study, A practice-based study of patients with acute and chronic low back pain attending primary care and chiropractic physicians: two-week to 48-month follow-up. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutic, chiropractic treatments have been shown to be more effective than medical care.

Why can’t I heal my gut with food alone?

DOES CHIROPRACTIC HELP WITH DIGESTIVE ISSUES?

Examples of poor digestion include

  • Acid Reflux
  • Bloating
  • Gas/Abdominal Discomfort
  • IBS
  • Gut and Psychology Syndromes
  • Constipation

Click here to discover how misalignment can create an imbalance in your nervous system, how blood glucose can be regulate by turning on your parasympathetic nervous system, and how neck trauma can actually create constipation