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SpiritDragon

Wheat for man: The staff of life

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Is it just me or do grains seem to be villainized a lot these days and especially wheat? It seems like every new book on nutrition I've read in the last five years has some reason to complain about these "anti-nutrient" foods.

Attacks such as:

They are too starchy and spike insulin

The phytic acid content depletes the body of minerals

the fibres are too rough and abrasive and damage the intestinal lining

Gluten is killing us all... even if we're not celiacs

and on it goes

So I get curious about all of this. What does it mean for grains to be the staff of life as indicated in the 89th section of the doctrine and covenants.

Interestingly, I used to ignore any anti-grain propaganda because I felt it was all engineered by Satan to attack the word of wisdom. However my wife had terrible eczema taking over her face, arms, and upper torso that has improved 97% since she started avoiding most grains on her health practitioners recommendation.

Any thoughts or insights would be appreciated.

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We need to remember that the WoW was written about 170 years ago. In that day, the teachings fit very well what was needed. Back then, America's population was not very diverse, and most were used to eating whole grains.

Since then, we've become multi-cultural and multi-national. Many people live here, whose ancestors did not eat wheat (Asians, for example, have a diet of rice). Second, for several generations, we've been bleaching flour and sugars, which removes gluten, etc. This, I believe, has developed an intolerance for gluten. It is kind of like the idea that having a cat or dog in the home with babies will reduce their chance of having severe allergy problems later, such was not much of a problem when most people lived on farms, but now is a bigger issue.

So, we need to adapt the Word of Wisdom to our particular needs, family and lifestyle. It may require a diet of low-gluten grains, such as rice or corn. It may mean going with bleached flour to avoid allergies, etc. The good thing is, in today's world, we have options that allow us to do this.

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We need to remember that the WoW was written about 170 years ago. In that day, the teachings fit very well what was needed. Back then, America's population was not very diverse, and most were used to eating whole grains.

Since then, we've become multi-cultural and multi-national. Many people live here, whose ancestors did not eat wheat (Asians, for example, have a diet of rice). Second, for several generations, we've been bleaching flour and sugars, which removes gluten, etc. This, I believe, has developed an intolerance for gluten. It is kind of like the idea that having a cat or dog in the home with babies will reduce their chance of having severe allergy problems later, such was not much of a problem when most people lived on farms, but now is a bigger issue.

So, we need to adapt the Word of Wisdom to our particular needs, family and lifestyle. It may require a diet of low-gluten grains, such as rice or corn. It may mean going with bleached flour to avoid allergies, etc. The good thing is, in today's world, we have options that allow us to do this.

Are you suggesting that the WOW is outdated for our time? 170 years ago it fit, but now it is not accurate?

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Are you suggesting that the WOW is outdated for our time? 170 years ago it fit, but now it is not accurate?

No he's not saying that at all. Many people have allergies to wheat. Those people should avoid it. Back 170 years ago we didn't have bleached flour and all the different options we have now. Most people then only used wheat in their baking etc.

Do you think the WofW should now have wording such as gluten or gluten free and bleached and unbleached and any other things we have now? Personally I don't think so. While there are specific things the WofW counsels us concerning, people still have to use some common sense.

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No he's not saying that at all. Many people have allergies to wheat. Those people should avoid it. Back 170 years ago we didn't have bleached flour and all the different options we have now. Most people then only used wheat in their baking etc.

Do you think the WofW should now have wording such as gluten or gluten free and bleached and unbleached and any other things we have now? Personally I don't think so. While there are specific things the WofW counsels us concerning, people still have to use some common sense.

I would agree that the wording does not need to be changed in regard to the use of grains for man; no further descriptions are required. For one thing bleaching or leaving wheat unbleached has little to do with gluten content, neither are acceptable options for a gluten intolerant individual. Secondly it is not requisite for us to be commanded in all things, so leaving parts of the word of wisdom open for our own discretion and revelation makes sense on the Lord's part.

But if the revelation is for our day with an emphasis on wheat in particular for man, why are so many people sensitive/intolerant to wheat? Furthermore there is an out-pour of anti-wheat propaganda in the media. According to an increasing number of sources wheat is bad for all of us. In fact some go as far as to say that those with obvious problems like celiacs are the fortunate ones because they know to avoid it,while the rest of us are poisoning ourselves unwittingly.

Naturally if eating wheat or any other food is bad for our health due to allergies or whatever reason it is not a good idea to eat it. Of course the Lord is not forcing any one to eat a particular way, but I am curious if any one has any further input on what is meant by wheat being the staff of life or if any one else has noticed this wheat hating shift in the media, particularly the nutrition/diet industry.

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It should be noted that the World of Wisdom refers to all grain to be the staff of life (if Merriam-Webster definition is applicable here then it's a statement that it should be the major component of your diet). Yes, there is a verse that specifies various grains for different critters, such as wheat for man, but the phrase staff of life is not directly and singularly attached to wheat.

Edited by Dravin

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You make a good point Dravin referring to all grains as the staff of life. Even though wheat seems to take the brunt of the attacks, all grains seem to be getting a bad wrap these days for several of the reasons noted in the original post.

Do you think the major component of your diet means the majority of your diet or simply something eating more often than not? For instance would you think that grains should constitute over 50% of your daily energy intake, or simply be something that is eaten most days of the week?

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Wheat is still good for everyone except those who actually have Celiac. I read an article 2-3 weeks ago about research that showed a gluten free diet for someone without Celiac could cause more health issues.

The problem with grains today is they are over-processed. We need to get back to eating whole foods, including grains. The WoW still applies today.

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What applepansy said. There's a big difference between this:

Posted Image

and this:

Posted Image

(Full disclosure: I occasionally argue the exact opposite, just to see if people are paying attention.)

Edited by Loudmouth_Mormon

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You make a good point Dravin referring to all grains as the staff of life. Even though wheat seems to take the brunt of the attacks, all grains seem to be getting a bad wrap these days for several of the reasons noted in the original post.

I've seen and heard plenty of people cautioning about refined flours and the like, I've not seen many people railing against whole grains in general that don't boil down to those championing some sort of fad/'named' diet. Cereals, and quite a few health oriented foodstuffs still boast about having whole grains.

Do you think the major component of your diet means the majority of your diet or simply something eating more often than not?

I think it means the majority of your diet*, though I'm inclined to consider it in general terms rather than ensuring some sort of daily energy balance with respect to grains or X times per week.

*If you eat 5 types of food at 15% for 4 and 40% for 1 it'd be the major component without being 51+%.

Edited by Dravin

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Thank you every one for your feed-back. For the record I want to make it clear that I am a fan of the WOW as it is written, I have just been disturbed by how much it is under attack of late and wondered if others have noticed. Apparently the attacks I mentioned concerning grains are simply in my bubble and not interfering with the world at large (which is fine).

A separate and distinct attack I'm noticing as well is the acceptance of marijuana for not only medical, but recreational use. The other day at work I overheard a lady talking about how she is now licensed to have 10 lbs of marijuana on her person for medicinal use and the whole room piped in talking about how every one should just be able to have easy access to the stuff... meanwhile I was in shock at the allowance of 10 lbs, I mean how much do you need? While this is not a direct attack on the word of wisdom I can see it causing strife because the last time I had the drug aspect of the word of wisdom explained to me it covered prescriptions not being abused and avoiding illicit drugs. However if pot were to be legalized I could see it being justified by some and causing problems. Any way that is quite another topic altogether in many ways.

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You might be interested in something i only just found the other day called "The Starch Solution", that relates very much to this subject. I can't comment too much about it yet, but of what i have seen and read of it thus far it has been very interesting. There is loads of free information/videos on his site, but this is the first one i found on youtube:

And a whole bunch of free lectures:

Free eLectures | Dr. McDougall's Health & Medical Center

It has been food for thought :lol: at least for me..

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I have really enjoyed Dr. McDougall's writings in the past (I keep a copy of A challenging second opinion around even though it is getting fairly outdated). I will have to check out your link another time when I have time to watch it. Thanks.

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This is an issue I have struggled with for years.  In 1970 I read Adelle Davis's books on nutrition, and tried to change my family's diet to improve our health.  I still very much believe in them, and feel we have been much healthier because of it.  I almost completely quit using white flour and other refined grain products.

 

 I have a wheat grinder in the kitchen, and turned it on when I was ready to make something using flour.  My children knew when they heard it go on in the morning that the pancakes would be ready in 10 minutes. They were raised on cracked wheat cereal, corn meal mush, brown rice cereal, etc.  All pretty healthy kids, hardly ever a need for antibiotics, no serious illnesses, etc. 

 

In the past few years, we have been hearing all this stuff about celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, etc.  I read "The Wheat Belly Book," whose author doesn't want us to eat any kind of wheat or gluten containing grain. After much study, prayer, and thought, I still don't know if I should be eating wheat or not.

 

But I do know one thing.  We should not be eating white flour or refined grain products.  Ever. So much of the food value has been removed that it doesn't resemble the real stuff.  And maybe, as Adelle Davis, says, the nutrients we are removing are the very ones that will keep us from developing allergies.

 

I wish I could tell you her list of percentages of each nutrient that has been removed (I don't have access to the book now, as I am on a mission in Australia).  All the vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, etc.  We need all those things to be healthy.  

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It does seem more and more that grains (wheat in particular) are under attack. Books like you mentioned, "Wheat Belly," and "Grain Brain," and pretty much everything paleo latches on to the idea that grains are anti-nutrients that are killing us. However I remain unconvinced. It seems that nearly universally all the health problems attributed to grains come from the refined ones that we already know aren't helpful for us. 

 

Interestingly one of the main attacks on whole grains is the phytate or phytic acid content which is purported to mess up mineral absorption which is extrapolated to leading to tooth decay and osteoporosis;  while phytates do have an affinity to bind minerals, deficiencies have not been shown to be caused by whole-grain consumption (but have been shown from processed flour, which has had the phytic acid removed).

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Do to a disease I was diagnosed with, I have to stay away from grains.

 

There are definitely real problems such as celiac disease and gluten sensitivity issues that necessitate the avoidance of grains. What is curious is why these conditions are on the rise. Whole grains have been in the diet for a long time, from Adam's time if we accept it or 10,000 years at least based on the general scientific "consensus." So it is unlikely that it is suddenly a problem of mass proportion that didn't exist before. What is new is more and more processed food, to the point that 60% of calories on average in America come from non-foods.

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Well I don't have either one of those.  I'm not sure it's all to do with grains in many cases but the over consumption of so many processed foods.

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Well I don't have either one of those.  I'm not sure it's all to do with grains in many cases but the over consumption of so many processed fooI

Pam, I agree with you that the over consumption of processed food is a big part of the diseases we are seeing today.  I am shocked at the diets of my grandson's friends.  its all in boxes.  Nothing from the produce section of the grocery store.  How did these 20-something mom's learn to feed their families?  Probably by example and most likely because its convenience.

 

I don't know if its all they way they were taught.  I cooked whole foods.  We had some processed foods because I worked and there just isn't always time.  But... of my 4 children they only ones who learned to cook were the boys.  My daughter makes MacNCheese.  :(  My boys bake bread.  Yet, even my boys are quick to reach for the easy-pop-in-the-microwave options instead of preparing food.  :(

 

I don't think listening to the food media helps much other than to stay informed about our world.  The only thing I've heard in 30 years that has been helpful to me was 2 small paragraphs (5 sentences total) blurb in a magazine 30 years ago about transfats.  At the time my mother-in-law thought I was crazy to get rid of margarine in my house.  I was going to kill her son with butter.  Now all we hear is the dangers of transfats.  I'm grateful my mother taught me about the importance of whole foods.  I wish I had been better at teaching my children.

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Hey applepansy, I too find it sad the state of food in western civilization. My wife and I try to eat healthily, and we both know how to cook... life is very busy though and even we reach for sub-par options more often than we know we should.

 

I've mentioned Dr. Furhman on a few occasions in these forums. I really think he has some of the best understanding of nutrition out there. Any way I was listening to him speak the other day on a recorded radio show about allergies. He mentioned how we need to have a certain amount of nutrients in our tissues, particularly antioxidants, to neutralize threats. Some people who have inadequate levels can minimize their reactions by taking certain supplements which bolsters the bodies response, but they are left relying on the supplement. Dr. Furhman is not a big fan of supplements and suggests that through nutritional excellence the cells of the body can overtime be flooded with health promoting nutrients and will no longer respond inappropriately to harmless substances, and not be reliant on outside sources to "control" symptoms.

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Spirit Dragon, have you listened to Dr. Wahls' explanation on Mitochondria?  She explains why exactly we need to eat whole foods.  She personally was dx'd with MS.  She was in a wheelchair.  She quit chemo and radically changed her diet.  She went from a wheel chair to walking in months and in 8 months was riding a bike.

 

I truly believe there isn't a disease out there that can't be cured with what Heavenly Father gave us - FOOD!  Novel idea: Food as Medicine.  But its working for me.  I've been drinking dandelion root tea every day and my chronic kidney issues are gone.  I also take Milk Thistle.  I sweeten my tea with local raw honey and my allergies are nearly gone.  I rarely take a Zyrtec anymore.  I can breath.

 

Last winter I saw a recipe for a natural decongestant.  Radishes and ginger and honey.  Surprise! Surprise!  Works as good as Sudafed.

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