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My Thoughts on Gluten.

This blog post may be controversial, and I am excited to hear your thoughts on it. I have certainly spent quite a bit of time thinking about it. It’s clear that is a very complex situation with many sides to the story.

I wasn’t planning on talking about this and mainly try to be reserved and not talk about my gluten choices, but the handing out of wheat berries in class and pro gluten talk two weeks ago made me want to share my idea on this fascinating subject.

My personal stance on gluten is that I want to abstain it as much as possible. This is challenging as contamination is very easy but since last November I have done everything possible to avoid it completely. What is intriguing about my relationship with wheat is that I definitely noticed that I actually felt better mentally after eating it, bread was the ultimate comfort food. The benefits that I personally feel after abstaining from wheat haven’t been enormous. The biggest changes that I feel are better metal focus and more self control due to the intense mental stamina it takes from avoiding all those tasty gluten foods. Some of the mental clarity I feel could be because soon after I cut out gluten a slew of other diet improvements came. That being said i’m going to make it a priority to avoid gluten for the rest of my life unless something changes my perspective.

The main reason why I’m not going to eat real bread again is not because how it makes me feel, but what I have read about gluten. WARNING: I’m about to get into some heavy puedoscience, but most people don’t understand the gluten free diet and think it’s a fad so i’m going to present a theory, that I have pieced together with some data about it.
One problem with gluten is that in the stomach it can’t be fully digested and some of it turns into Gliadorphin. (this is a good un biased veiw on the subject). “scientific evidence is not adequate to make treatment recommendations.[1]” Again what is happening in the gut differs from every one tremendously but the theory is that gluten causes your body to increase the gaps in your gut causing leaky gut syndrome. Then things leak out which causes an inflammatory response. The theory is that Gliadorphin also leaks out and makes it the brain, which is what I attribute to bread being a comfort food and hard for most people want to stop eating it. Wheat is calling to you in a similar way to cocaine. Now why this isn’t scientifically proven but just the idea of it makes me want to not eat it, It also brings up some interesting correlations. The craziest ones that I have seen are the link to gluten and schizophrenia and to autoimmune diseases. It’s a very complex issue but what I have seen has caused me to want to avoid it.

For me I look at it from a quantified self perspective. Sure It could hurt me, but there is a also a big chance that it is fine but I want to avoid the risk until more research comes out. Until then sweet potatoes and rice will be my staple carbs.

It was awesome last week to travel up to Bob Quinn’s farm and see him growing ancient wheat. Ancient wheat is more tolerable for most people. It’s awesome to see what healthy foods Montana can produce. I’m thinking of grass fed beef, lentils, potatoes, vegetables, and buck wheat. It’s crazy that besides beef the demand is quite low for those healthy foods and wheat still rains king as the main cash crop in Montana. The bottom line seems to be that the majority of people will by food according to their taste buds and how they feel and bread tastes awesome and feels good. .

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Canning cans and can’t.

We had a canning lab in my Farm to Table class today. It was very informative and interesting to say the least. The instructor had a very strong idea of what canning needed to be. I thought she did give out a lot of information on the subject. I came to the conclusion that canning is very useful for canning vegetables bought at the farmers market to eat all winter when I do the 100% local diet that i’m planning (when i have enough money :)). For everything else, including recipes jams and meats it just is not for me. The vegetable recipes look enticing but ultimately seem like a lot of work for better taste and potential negative nutritional benefits from including to many ingredients. The pickling part was interesting and I think that could be super beneficial and if pickled with apple cider vinegar.

The interesting part that I wish our instructor knew a little more about is the nutritional loss of canning. It’s clear that micro nutrients are lost in canning vegetables. Here is a link with some facts http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=dailytip&dbid=177. This to me is less of a concern because pretty much all micronutrients lost in canning vegetables can be supplemented with the amount of vitamins that I take. To me vegetables seem best because of the alkaline ash that is formed digesting them at night preparing me for bed which canned vegetables can’t do as well but could still potentially do.

The elephant in the room that seems obvious is the macro nutrient degradation when canning meat. The meat has to be heated to 240f for 75 minutes to destroy botulism. To me this seems like a high temperature and would potentially denature the proteins of the meat. Also another concern seems to be the oxidation of polyunsaturated fats in the canning process. Robb Wolf pretty much the biggest paleo figure seems to say they are okay. Check out page 12 of this transcript for more info http://robbwolf.com/wp//wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Episode-113.pdf. He states that on the scale of things 240f is not a lot when compared to frying or grilling. The Paleo community seems to be one of the more sensitive mainstream communities about negative effects of food. I guess in the right scenarios the connivence of home canning meat may outweigh the negatives but i’ll stick to sous vide freeze meat.

The last issue that I want to touch up on is the negatives of industrial canning, if it’s a glass can it will be fine but there is a huge concern for me of BPA in cans. Long before I quit drinking alcohol I found out that all aluminum cans are lined with BPA or Bisphenol-A which is a plastic component that mimics estrogen in the body. It seems like scary stuff and I always try to avoid it. It leaches into canned food that has alcohol or is acidic. It’s so much in the food system that is can be found in 95% of americans urine. It’s scary to think commercial pickled foods are heated to a boil with a liner that contains BPA. This stuff isn’t awful for most people but is horrible for pregnant women and newborns. So much so that the french banned it. http://www.anses.fr/en/content/bisphenol-anses-demonstrates-potential-health-risks-and-confirms-need-reduce-exposure

I guess if I eat cans it will be cans prepared at my house.