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SeniorZine, Issue #006 -- War on Wheat and Such
April 01, 2014

Health Success As Senior? Yes, Absolutely!

SeniorZine, Issue #006 -- War on Wheat and Such

April 1, 2014

"Grains - The New Enemy?"

Caveat: My opinions tend to be a bit strong - my website has an inherent age-related urgency - no offense to anyone intended.

Lately, there is soooo much talk about low-carb, no carb, no grains (especially wheat) and how bad it all is for you – just so long as America's Holy Grail that's full of meats (beef, pork, chicken, fish), dairy (cheese, milk, ice cream), eggs, and highly processed who-knows-what remains sacred.

Two physicians (a cardiologist and a neurologist) published the books "Wheat Belly" and "Grain Brain" with huge commercial success. No wonder it's huge – it provides good news for bad habits.

I don't know much about these doctors' qualifications, but from what I hear, in four years of medical school the average med student receives approximately 2.5 hours of nutrition education.

To the almost 70 percent of older Americans who are overweight or obese, sick and overmedicated, a low-carb, no grain, but heavily meat-centered diet sounds wonderful. It's "just what the doctor ordered."

I read the books and many rebuttals and comments.

One of the books states "human genes have evolved over thousands of years to accommodate a high-fat, low-carb diet."

With all due respect to the author – we have evolved over millions of years to accommodate a mostly plant-based diet with the occasional catch of fatty meat.

I believe the Paleo dieters' beloved "hunter-gatherer" label is sadly mistaken. Better would be "gatherer-hunter" - or even better yet "forager/scavenger/gatherer/digger/hunter."

While the men went hunting (it's the manly thing, you know), all the rest of the clan (the elderly, women and children) provided the bulk of our ancient ancestors' nutrition.

I often say: You may survive on animal flesh, but you thrive on plant food.

Back to the war on wheat and such things.

There is absolutely no reason for such a "war." Not too long ago fat was the culprit, then it was sugar, now it's wheat? What's next?

What should be next in my opinion is the war on the totally unsustainable, ravenous overconsumption of animal flesh (188 pounds/person/year!), dairy (30+ pounds of cheese alone), eggs – in short, animal-derived products.

Incidentally, I really dislike the word war that's so heavily used in America for all manner of things. War on poverty, on drugs, on cancer, you name it. Goes right along with hunter.

We should instead all "gather" our wits and make the change to a whole foods, plant-based diet . The sooner the better.

Independent research proves that the small segment of our population that enjoys a thoughtfully VARIED plant-strong diet is healthier than the vast majority.

And yes, wheat can be part of this diet. Only a tiny percentage (0.75%) of the population (people with celiac disease) must not eat this grain (any gluten-containing grain), because that would be devastating to the sufferers of this hereditary intolerance.

Of course, many now happily jump on that gluten-free wagon. Can't be the Standard American Diet at fault here. Must be the gluten that ails one.

I saw a label on a bottle of drinking water, indicating "gluten-free." Say what? How about war on gluten…

To sum it up, fancy book titles and pseudo-science are no replacement for independent, evidence-based research.

I invite you to go beyond the media headlines and the overwhelming barrage of advertisements by the food industry.

Find out what's right for you. Let me rephrase this. Find out what's healthy for you. Being healthy is better any day.

Contact me. I'm here to listen.

As you already know, I enjoy being my peers' guide, supporter and cheerleader.

Take time for dietary and exercise improvements. Make time for living! Make time for challenges!

One of the goals of is to show you how to live a longer and healthier life by learning from many different older adults, including centenarians.

You can look forward to lots of encouraging information in future editions of SeniorZine.

Yours in good senior health,

Guenter Hauser, CHC, CFT, SSF

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