Hello everyone! Happy Fall! We hope you all had a great start of the school year. Since Squirrel and the Bee just had its 1-year anniversary, we thought it was fitting to finally start our blog to talk about our philosophy and the power of food to heal chronic disease.
We’ve noticed that a lot of people come into our store without even realizing that we are a grainless bakeshop. Many ask: Why grainless? What’s wrong with grains? We wanted to take this opportunity to explain some of the key concepts behind our grainless philosophy.
Our bodies are not used to grains
We’ve only been consuming grains regularly since the agriculture revolution over 10,000 years ago. This may seem like a long time, but it’s actually only a blip in our existence. For over 2 million years prior to the agricultural revolution, our ancestors and us were relying on food we foraged and hunted. We’ve only had easy access to the processed, milled flour that we use today for the last 100 years. Evolutionarily speaking, this was a huge shift in our dietary regiment and we are just beginning to uncover the long-term implications of this change.
Grains can irritate your digestive system
The fact of the matter is that we don’t digest grains very well. Grains contain lectins, a class of proteins that protect plants from pests or predators (like us). These lectins are found in high concentrations in the seed of plants, which is why grains have so much of it. Gluten is just one of several lectins found in grains. We can’t digest these proteins very well. As a result, they end up sitting in the gut, binding to the gut lining, and causing irritation and inflammation. Many experience this in the form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.
Eventually, this irritation can actually destroy the gut lining and literally cause holes to form in your digestive tract leading to “leaky gut.” This is when things get messy, because these holes allow larger particles of food or bacteria to leach into your blood stream. This triggers an immune response in our body causing allergic reactions, chronic inflammation and autoimmune problems such as Crohn’s, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Grains can make minerals unavailable
Many grains contain anti-nutrients, which block our ability to absorb vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. During the agricultural revolution, grains were harvested in a way that allowed them to germinate and sprout. This process reduced the level of these anti-nutrients. Unfortunately, these days, grains are not commonly harvested and processed this way, leaving these anti-nutrients intact and ready to act.
Grains are primarily sugar
What many don’t realize is that grains are primarily carbohydrates and that carbohydrates are basically really long sugar molecules. When your body breaks down these carbohydrates, your body absorbs them in the form of glucose – the most basic sugar molecule. So whether you are eating white flour muffins, multigrain bread or whole wheat cereal, your body sees them all as one thing: sugar. Our cells and tissues need some amount of glucose for energy, but any excess glucose floating around in the blood stream is normally stored as fat for future use.
Our bodies were designed this way to deal with periods of famine, but since we aren’t normally faced with famine, we never get to use up these stores and fat simply accumulates. If we consume too many carbohydrates too quickly (especially refined-carbohydrates like white flour) our body can’t use or store the glucose molecules quickly enough and they end up floating around freely in our blood. This causes our blood sugar to spike. If this happens often enough, the consistent excess blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance, hormonal imbalance, chronic inflammation and a whole slew of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
At Squirrel and the Bee we believe in the use of grainless, nut-based flours made from almonds, coconuts and occasionally other nut flours. This removes the issues associated with grains in our products, especially for those dealing with digestive disorders, autoimmune issues and chronic diseases. The best thing is, they taste BETTER than conventional baked goods. Don’t believe us? Come into the store or place an order on our online store and try them for yourself! We highly recommend the chocolate chip cookies, brownies and blueberry muffins. They are dee-lish!