I keep doing little personal trials (due to a lack of decent information on this... just feeling forced into experimenting on my own for the real answer... that is, if humans would be better off without grains or if grains are healthy in the diet-- although I've already seen that gluten grains can be really terrible for people)
Clearly, humans would be much better off if they eliminated all the refined and processed grains they consume. In the USA, these foods account for over 90% of the carbohydrates Americans consume. That is a travesty. Not only does refining and processing lower their nutritional value, they also are often loaded with fat, hydrogenated fats, trans fats, refined sugars and salt before they are sold
However, grains have been part of the human diet for a very long time and not only have we adapted quite well, many studies have shown the benefit of whole grains in reducing the incidence of many diseases and also in contributing to reduced mortality.
But I'm not interested in comparing what someone LIKES, so much... not their personal TASTE in food preferences, but, rather, what experiences shaped their belief system... what foods are good for us, what ones are bad for us... what combination of personal experience and study/ research or even opportunities for observation led to their current eating choices.
If (the big IF) someone's personal eating choices vary from their recommendations to others... there must be a reason for that... I'm just curious.
A persons belief system may not always jive with their reality. Many people beleive they are allergic to certain foods or react to certain foods, but when put in a double blind placebo controlled study, they show no reactions to these same foods, or the ability to tell when they are fed them. But, I will leave those discussions to someone like Dr Lisle.
In addition, food addictions is a very controversial topic, but again, may apply to a subgroup (if it does) of the population and not the main group just as in alcoholism and drug addiction, and if so, should be dealt with by those affected.
Personal choices can never always equal professional recommendations if someone deals with individuals and health and medical situations. Personal choices have to be customized to the individual but usually within the context of the more macro guidelines.
If we look at all the long lived populations we find many common denominators in regard to their diet. These are important to know. But, when we take out the "fine tooth comb" and look very closely at each specific population and compare it to another one, we find some differences. While the specifics may be important to one individual population (for whatever reason), it may have no relevance to another one, but they are both equally long lived and healthy.
There are so many variables that influence someone's personal choices that there can be no one sweeping generalization for everyone. When working with individuals, you have to deal with individual specifics. However, when working with public health, you have to deal more with broad strokes.
There is no conflict. It is two separate situations. The apparent conflict may be in the belief that there is one single answer for everyone that applies in both the general and the individual specific situation.
This is why I gave up the vegan radio show I did for two or three years... not that I'm anti-vegan...but, rather, I'm hesitant to be publicly backing up a diet that normally includes massive amounts of gluten... because of my own experience with gluten... I just can't be there pretending I don't think it could affect others... yet, I also do not have any authority to say... oh yeah... be vegan and be gluten free too, fearing that could be unnecessarily restrictive... so I found myself in a bind in which I didn't know WHAT to say, so, I just signed off!!!
I appreciate your experience.
As I mentioned, there is a huge difference between giving general health recommendations and in working with individuals who have specific medical and/or health issues. The format of a radio show just does not lend itself to working with specific individual cases. That is why these forums are also great, and can do a lot of good, but they also can not replace individual attention which is sometimes needed.
BTW, I do not see the vegan diet as including "massive" amounts of gluten. Gluten containing grains are only a small part of the "massive" amount of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes out there available to anyone who wants to be follow a vegan diet. When I have a patient who is gluten intolerant, we only have to make a minor change in their diet from what would have been my regular recommendations. And, there are many gluten free, whole grain substitutes, for the typical gluten containing whole grain products, which makes it even easier today then ever before.
Thanks for the discussion. If i can be of more specific help to you, let me know.
Jeff Novick, MS, RD