Grains… The Atomic Gut Bomb! 12

Post Holiday bloat.  Chelsea Handler made a pretty good joke about it last night.  I generally don’t find her particularly funny but she nailed this one.  She said something along the lines of us all being too fat and bloated post holiday to want to have sex, in less PG related terms.



There are so many grainy treats out there during the holidays.  Even I indulged a bit.  3 butter cookies and a couple bites of toffee.  I know I know… what a REBEL.  But really, I do feel it when I eat these things.  I bloat.  I feel lethargic.  I also start to crave the all those things that take me to the dark side again.  People ask me, why cant you just have one?  I don’t crave them, I don’t feel like I am missing out.  I have no desire to put these things in my system.  I feel incredible with out them.  Don’t cry for me Argentina!

Now, let’s get to the saga you came here for.  The war on grains.

If you want to go to one of the most undesirable places in the entire universe, visit your intestines during an immunity response.  You’ll hear bombs dropping, literally.  You’ll feel rocket launchers traveling across your gut.  You’ll see things you never thought possible happen in the privacy of your bathroom that every news channels would camp outside to report if this war was on a larger magnitude.

If anyone knows what kind of war can go on in your gut regarding inflammation and immune reaction it is me.  Spending 5 days hospitalized with 60% of my intestines inflamed and infected was comparable to an all out war. I have diverticulosis.  That means little outpouchings in my intestinal walls.  When I eat things that cause inflammation, those pockets get undesirable content stuck in them.  Kind of like your jean pockets post Holiday bloat.  Just try to get that dollar bill out of the little pocket in your painted on jeans after a bagel and a muffin and oh that cookie, or three.  Cameltoe anyone?  Oh ok off track again!

Let’s get back to the war.  When I have inflammation, those pockets get infected and inflamed.  From there, more talk of hospitals, colon resection surgeries, and colostomy bags.  That is conceding- waving the white flag.  General Colon’s last stand.

Grains cause this type of response.  Your body is doing exactly what it is suppose to.  Fighting something that does not belong.  Rebelling against the indigestible. Your gut is incredibly powerful in it’s ability to protect you.  Gut stand HUT!  We hate grains yes we do! We hate grains so much we will poison you!  Sound off!  Blood sugar! Sound on! Type 2 diabetes!

Reality is …. Grains are BAD.  Very bad.  Forget all the government has taught you.  Forget the old adage that if our ancestors were really that healthy they would have lived past 22 years old.  Those things in reality are not true.  Visit any pathologist, not nutritionist… PATHOLOGIST.  So many of our modern day diseases were not around until the GRAIN REVOLUTION!  This will be a difficult pill to swallow.  Everyone seems to pop pills these days like tic tacs, so go ahead swallow this one.  It certainly can’t make it worse!

Learn about our history as man and how the agricultural era has changed our entire way of health.  Not for the good.  Sure science and modern society is wonderful to discover things like penicillin, antibiotics etc.  Those things reserved for life saving moments would have made our ancestors live longer.  But moreover, these developments have caused an overabundance in little pills to fix every little ailment we have.  This dependency has created an economic culture and a health system that is too overwhelmed to see the forest through the trees.

We find ways to treat and live with diseases instead of finding what will prevent or reverse them.  The more pills we pop, the more we have to develop other pills to counteract the side effects of the initial fix.  These things all affect our hormones.  Insulin, cortisol, leptin, the list is pretty long of what this all does to our natural systems put in place to keep us lean and healthy.  Hormones will be another post at another time.  This fight is for the war on grains!

So you’re asking…. Have I become one of THEM?? Ohmygooodness.  Yes I have.  I am a rational scientific person who listens to logic.  I also have had the pleasure of feeling and seeing how this logic has changed my life.  It may seem completely bananas, but until you try it yourself and feel the difference, you will continue to avoid eye contact with me and those like me, like we are legumeless lepers of society.  When you do inquire you ask us silly questions like ‘you don’t eat carbs?!’ I DO eat carbs! Remember our good ole soldiers Corporal Vegetable and Sergeant Fruit?

It’s those who believe in the Holy Grain VS. those who denounce Holy Shit aka leaky gut.  As someone who ate ‘healthy whole grains’ my whole life I saddled up and jousted through the endosperm, through the germ and strait through the heart of the bran with my lance.  I took those grains apart and figured out the reason they put up such a fight.


Let’s talk a little more about the nitty gritty of grains.  Wheat, rye, millet, barley, hops, oats, corn, rice, and even the beloved QUINOA. While it is not technically a grain, it still has evolved in a similar way- it initiates chemical warfare just like all the other grains.   Sprouted, not sprouted, soaked, not soaked.  Grains are grains.  They are experts in chemical warfare.  Think about plants in general.  They all have defense mechanisms.

Chemical Warfare!!  Weapons of mass destruction.  Grains put up one heck of a fight.  Let’s talk about plants and the toxic chemicals they can and do release to procreate .  The goal of any organism is to reproduce.  Plants are very tricky in their efforts to make this happen.  When you live in the Southwest and are outdoors as much as I am you constantly run into all kinds of animal droppings.  Coyote dung is a very common one.  How I know it is Coyote dung – without going all Yukon Cornelius on it, I can tell based on the seeds in it.  It is a seeds dream, packaged in with the fertilizer and all.


There is a give/take with those items.  However when we look at other toxic plants like poison ivy and oaks, those will do just about anything to keep us from ingesting them, even touching them sets off the drone attack.  Our counter attack is to alert the immune system, white blood cells ATTACK! Pro-inflammatory chemical agents release making a rash.  We eat grains at a point where they are no longer able to reproduce once ingested.  They die without reproducing.  Old maids! War widows!  They also put up one heck of a fight internally before they wave the white flag.  Lectins are the enemy here.  If you want more on Lectins, check out this blog post:

So hopefully you are still with me.  I feel like Forest Gump carrying Lieutenant Dan out of the jungle.  Do you still have all your limbs in tact?  Good.  At least now we can work on keeping your gut in tact.

So, why then do these grains taste SO GOOD.  Why do I NEED THEM.  You don’t.  But your body is like a military hospital and you are injured now and in triage.  Here you are capable of delivering and making narcotics.  Endorphins.  Ohhh I love them.  I make them daily during my exercise.  But not those endorphins, the fake ones.  The manufactured ones.  The dairy and grain drug dealers.

Wait, we have already had a artillery war, chemical war, medieval war, and now a war on drugs??? Yup.  Those grains are sooo good because they reward you very short term, leaving a wrath of carnage in their wake.  Why do I have to ruin everything?  Because.  This is war.  It’s not pretty.

Here is a good article regarding this mental hospital full of tricks:

Ok Ok. I will concede the fight for now.  I have dropped enough bombs for this battle.  I will let you take some time to not digest those grains and regroup.  What I would suggest, try it.  Give it a couple weeks, or say a month.  Cut out the grains, add more fruits and veggies.  See what kind of peace talks begin to rumble in your GI tract.  Sign the treaty already!  Put down the bagel!

If you are really intrigued, a couple books to learn more:

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf

It Starts With Food by Melissa Hartwig

If you are totally crashing from not eating sugar or grains while reading this LONG POST, I probably lost you long ago and your not reading this anyways.

For the rest of you war hero’s I offer up peace, love and happy digestion in 2013!!


I am not a dietitian, nutritionist, or certified trainer.  I am a normal, smart, professional Woman who is also an athlete.  I was diagnosed with a very serious case of diverticulitis and within moments almost lost 60% of my G.I. tract due to it.  Once in recovery to avoid surgery going forward I did a tremendous amount of research and adopted a Paleo lifestyle.  The results I have personally seen and felt are worth sharing.  I am fortunate to have a network of professional athletes from many walks of life, nutritionists, trainers and other medical professionals to learn from. I am sharing my personal journey for those of you who experience similar types of health issues or are simply interested in the information I gather. I hope it encourages you and points you in the right direction to research further for your own personal well being.  For those of you who are looking to share in my relentless hiking passion, or those who simply enjoy learning about the things I come across I am happy to have you all along on this incredible ride!

12 thoughts on “Grains… The Atomic Gut Bomb!

  1. nzane Nov 4,2013 6:38 PM

    Hi Jess,
    Ok, I stopped the antibiotics last Friday and now I have this horrible taste in my mouth. I’m concerned it may be yeast, not sure. I am on good probiotics and am considering oil pulling with coconut oil and rinsing with peppermint oil. Did you have this problem AFTER the antibiotics?

    • Jes Nov 7,2013 8:36 AM

      Hmmm… That is a good question. I remember not knowing exactly what ‘paleo’ was at the time I was let out of the hospital. It was a good 6 weeks before my research unveiled that my grain, dairy and legumeless world was referred to as paleo so my diet still had a few things in it that were not paleo until March of 2012. I do remember sucking on jellybeans constantly- it was the only ‘bad’ food I still ate and had quite an addiction to those things- I wonder if I had a bad taste in my mouth and that is why I was constantly popping the jellybeans?? LOL! I think the coconut oil will help tremendously. Let me know!

  2. nzane Nov 1,2013 6:20 PM

    That WAS a great article! Very encouraging. I am all set to start my gut healing regime tomorrow. I bought probiotics, tons of healthy paleo food,and organic acacia fiber. I didn’t see acai fiber so I went with the acacia, which is also quite popular as a clear liquid fiber source when mixed with water. You can also add it to soft foods. I was told to start slow when introducing more fiber into my diet. I found it interesting that the article said plenty of cooked veggies are best for diverticulosis. I guess that makes sense for sensitive inflamed guts on the mend.
    I have found your site to be so helpful and encouraging to me, I’m looking forward to my “new life” of Paleo eating and a healthy gut!

    • Jes Nov 2,2013 9:03 AM

      This makes me so happy Niki!! Thank you for reaching out and for all your kind words. I can’t wait to hear how your progress is going. Please keep in touch and I am sending you lots of healing vibes and warm fuzzies during your recovery!!

  3. nzane Oct 31,2013 5:58 PM

    Thanks Jess. I went to my follow-up doctor appt. today. I told her I would prefer to eat Paleo and maybe add some soluble fiber from a non-wheat source initially. She said that was good as long as I get 30 grams of fiber a day. Is this possible on Paleo alone? Do you use a non-wheat/bran source of fiber like acai or acacia? I want to add some initially but am not sure what is best. This low residue diet she had me on since the hospital is certainly not “bulking” anything up!
    So tomorrow I begin my Paleo life again,starting with grocery shopping and picking up some aloe vera juice, cod liver oil, probiotics,and some paleo-fiber source other than just fruits and veggies if possible. My doctor also said nuts are fine and even some berry seeds if the stool is large enough to grab it all and pass it through—sorry…yuck.
    DO you eat berries and nuts? Do you have a suggestions for a good fiber source?
    I really appreciate your feedback, thanks:)

    • Jes Nov 1,2013 12:28 PM

      Hi Niki-
      Glad to hear your doctor was open to hearing your ideas! I don’t use any extra sources of fiber other than fruit, tubers and veggies. I do eat nuts, seed and berries! YAY!!! I would add something like acai temporarily until you gut starts to heal to help things out a bit. If things get ‘loose’ cut back.

      Funny- one of the most well known paleo experts posted a GREAT read today on the subject- so so excellent to see this:

      This give me so much hope- I have been one of the few people out there suggesting this approach. It is catching on!!

  4. nzane Oct 30,2013 2:50 PM

    Hi Jess,
    I went straight Paleo in January for a month and felt great, lost 20 lbs. in that month too…CRAZY. Sadly, I didn’t stay strictly Paleo because I got bored with the choices. Last week I ended up in the hospital with diverticulitis and a small perforation. I was so shocked and scared, worried I would have to have surgery. Thankfully, IV antibiotics were all I needed to be released just 2 days later. I am so shocked by this happening. Even though I wasn’t strictly Paleo, I eat lots of fruits and veggies and do not struggle with constipation. I have been reading articles lately that debunk the fiber myth and the “eat no more seeds,nuts, or popcorn” idea. Tomorrow I meet with the doctor who treated me in the hospital for a follow up and I she will release me from this super-bad low residue diet and then I will be making a change from there. I’m scared a little though, do you believe Paleo with probiotics will be enough for me to keep this from happening again? I’m only 39 and otherwise quite healthy. The doctor kept saying I need to “bulk up” my poop, that seems ridiculous to me when I have 2-3 BM’s a day with no constipation.
    I would so appreciate your input on what you think I should do from here on out, since you have been through this and have found success. I do love my chocolate and have no intention of giving that up entirely:) I make the best dark chocolate-almond butter paleo cookies!

    • Jes Oct 31,2013 9:10 AM

      Hi Niki!
      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your story. I am very sorry to hear what you have been through and totally understand- you are lucky that you made it out of there without surgery!

      I understand at first the Paleo diet seems limiting and boring, but with anything you have to stick with it and go through the learning curve. I have never been a great cook- after all this I can honestly say I make some chef worthy plates these days! It really forced me to learn how to use food in a different way than ever before and it took time. At first many of my choices were limited only because I didn’t know what else to add. I now am totally fulfilled with my choices and eat better than almost anyone I know! I also had a little more motivation to stick with it once I thought about my life with a colostomy bag. Suddenly the choices weren’t limited at all 🙂

      With Paleo you have to think of it this way- you are HEALING your gut. Making it a good place again for your body to absorb nutrients and avoiding the inflammation. The antibiotics kill all the bad, but they also kill all the good. Everything I have read and studied shows it takes a good 3 years to get your gut flora back to a good healthy place after an antibiotic treatment!

      I was very strict for the first 9 months I was on it. I would definitely look into bone broth- the gelatin helps tremendously with healing your gut. As far as your doctors saying to bulk up your BM- they had me on 3 fiber supplements a day and a dose Miralax- after 6 months I ditched both of them and just used fruits for my fiber- you are correct in reading about the fiber myth- while of course we need it – if you are following a well balanced Paleo approach you get plenty without supplementation. One thing to think about too is how your cravings to the products you eat that are addicting- like grains and sugars, you eventually totally lose all cravings from these things. I look at them now and don’t even think twice- I have no love left for them!

      I had one hiccup about 6 months after my initial diagnosis- it is pretty common for a small relapse but just another dose of antibiotics nipped it in the bud. Since then it has been 18 months since any issues!! Fast forward almost 2 years and here and there I can have a little something like goat cheese or a glass of wine or a hard cider as a treat since my gut is healing nicely.

      Do I believe that if you follow a strict Paleo diet that it will help you from having this again? YES and I am living proof- precisely what inspired me to write this whole blog! You have to be disciplined and committed- but YES it can be done. The end result- I feel better than I have in my entire life.

      A few things that really helped me:

      Learning about balancing your Omega’s to a 1:1 ratio to avoid inflammation.
      -Cod Liver Oil is a great asset here
      -Grassfed Beef is essential

      Aloe Vera Juice and Bone Broth to help heal your gut.
      -I use Aloe Vera to this day if I feel like something snuck into my diet like gluten to help keep the damage at bay.

      Turmeric and Curcumin:
      I am a true believer in using food, spices and herbs as medication. Curcumin is an excellent natural inflammation fighter found in Turmeric. I take it daily in the raw form by sprinkling Turmeric on my food.

      Local Honey and Cinnamon:
      Another great way to naturally fight bacteria. I put these both on apples at night before bed and you get your fiber too!

      Excellent resources to follow on FB (besides me of course haha!)
      Grassfed Girl
      Primal Doc’s Network
      Mark’s Daily Apple

      Please keep me updated- let me know how your journey is going and if I can continue to help.


  5. Dave Sandel Jan 26,2013 7:38 AM

    So, if a person doesn’t have a grain intolerance, doesn’t get bloat, feels fine eating grains, continues to function at a high level, why should they stop?

    • Jes Jan 26,2013 8:45 AM

      Hi Dave, Thanks for the comment. From the majority of the research I have read people all have different levels of reactions to grains. Had I not had my stint in the hospital and been talked to about removing a large portion of my colon I too would have been pretty leery of it. I really didn’t have an option, it was try this or surgery. Even after I had done a grip of research I still continued to eat rice and corn as they were the two mildest of the bunch, I had an ultramarathon I was training for and really was worried I would not have enough energy stored without them. Eventually I eliminated them due to the difference I felt in my recovery time once grains were out of the picture, and I finished in the top 10% of my race. I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to give it a shot for a month. I never went back. At that time I was feeling better than I had in years with just the corn and rice, eliminating those made me feel even better. Considering the level of activity I have on my schedule I needed to know more about other forms of carbohydrates that take it further than the general weekend warrior. I am currently reading this book ‘The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance’ [Loren Cordain, Joe Friel] if you are looking for a little more on the subject. All in all my recovery time was the final nail in the coffin for grains amongst many other great reactions.
      I am jealous that you are doing well on grains! Once I let them go I don’t miss them other than corn chips and salsa. For you I would be interested to see if you got even studlier without them!

      • Dave Sandel Jan 26,2013 9:18 AM

        I totally understand you situation is medical. It’s like people with SCD and/or GAPS. Or like me, being lactose intolerant and trying to drink milk. But, in your post, you are definitely trying to lead people away from grains and painting them as the evil Dr. Wario (the evil villian following King Koopa in the Super Mario Bros. game series 😉 ) of the nutritional world.

        I’m in agreeance that the USDA is largely a puppet of the Corn and Ag Lobby and people need nowhere near the amount of grains they recommend, but there’s no hard and fast scientific reason to cut them out if you aren’t intolerant. Everyone’s an individual.

        I’ve followed a lot of nutritionists in my time and the most logical, unbiased researchers I follow are:

        Yes, they all have their own products and interests, but they also provide unbiased research reviews that sometimes go against their own products. People like Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf are too entrenched in their own beliefs to see past them. And I’ve also noticed that they’ll change their beliefs based on sales….which is why there’s such a vast difference in how people define “paleo”. Technically, research has shown that paleo man was a cannibal. How far are we going to take this? Almond milk is paleo, but did paleo man really crush almonds into a powder and mix it with water? So really, what is paleo?

        I’ve been knee-deep in the fitness/nutrition industry for the past 8 years. I’m even a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through NSCA. I was doing crosffit and Paleo before crossfit and paleo were on the radar for 90% of people. I ate Paleo for 3 months. My physique, performance, and demeanor all tanked.

        I didn’t get “this studly” (haaaaaa!!) until I started learning how to listen to the precise sensations my body was already giving me.

        Again, your situation is medical. But that’s *your* situation. May not be the same for erryone.

        P.S. An ass, I am not trying to be. 😉

        • Jes Jan 26,2013 9:36 AM

          I absolutely hear you David. It has been a journey for certain and to me the grains are indeed an evil war monger holding the Princess Peach captive. I am indeed passionate about it due to the difference in life that I have discovered.

          I have made it clear in other posts that this is my personal experience and due to my issues with my health. I do however think that the majority of people out there, not the people like yourself that are on the up and up of the nutritional world are consuming way too many and the wrong kinds of grains. I welcome and encourage anything you have that will add to the conversation, no feelings are hurt here. This is a learning experience for me too and really the point of this whole blog.

          The more I delve into the Paleo/Primal world i’ve seen every type of almost religious reactions from some of the folks in that community. I see and read some things that go FAR beyond the picture I have painted, and you are indeed not embellishing when people start considering cannibalism taking things way too literally. I picture Nando from the movie Alive digging in to a human rump roast. People many times are certainly looking for a club to belong to rather than as you said trying different things to tinker with what makes you feel your best.

          I appreciate the conversation and information. Keep it coming!

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