Grains Vs Seeds

If you ask most people, they will tell you there is no difference between a grain and a seed. After all, isn’t a grain actually a seed in itself? Yes it is, but there are some things which make a big difference between the two, in the way our bodies process them and the way they affect our health.

You are better off thinking of seeds as a food that is designed, by Mother Nature, to be eaten by an animal, or human, excreted out further down the trail and eventually grown into a new tree. I’m not saying seeds can not be digested, as many of them are. It’s just a percentage of the seeds that you eat, will most likely just pass on through the digestive tract and end up in the local sewerage treatment plant. Seeds also tend to have a wider variety of nutrients in them compared to grains. If you look at chia seeds, they are full of nutrients like omega fats, saturated and monounsaturated fats, protein, plenty of fiber and some carbs. A whole food by anyone’s standards.

Grains, like wheat, grasses and oats are generally grow in big clumps on a plant and rely on the wind to disperse them. In effect, they are not designed to be eaten by humans or most animals and if eaten in their raw form are actually quite toxic to us. They don’t taste too good either, until heavily processed, they tend to have a limited range of nutrients (heavily carbohydrate based) and will do crazy things to your blood sugars if eaten in the quantities that the medical industry recommend.

Grains can be really difficult to digest and certain parts of the grains, such as gluten, can heavily affect the digestive tract leading to issues like leaky gut syndrome. This is where the pores of the gut lining become too large and let too much food through before being fully digested. Heavy grain consumption has been linked to issues like type 2 diabetes, Chrohn’s disease, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. All of which you really don’t want!

It is a huge topic which I won’t go into today for fear of boring you. But grains really aren’t the wonder food they have been made out to be. They are certainly not part of my diet, and I would advise you try eliminating them from your diet too and see the positive affects you get from it. Foods like wheat (and all the sub species of it), barley, rye, rice, millet, oats, corn etc. are all grains and are better off being avoided.

Nuts can be classed under the seeds section too as they also have a good range of nutrients and I like to incorporate a small amount of nuts into my diet a few times a week.

The nuts and seeds I like are – almond, brazil, cashew, macadamia, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds / pepitas, sunflower, chia, sesame. There are more, but these are the ones I tend to have and are the most readily available.

All these foods are healthy foods that will not send your blood sugar soaring, unlike grains, they will be digested far easier than a grain and provide far more nutrients than a grain. Are you starting to get the picture that I don’t think much of grains?

What you can also do to get even more nutrients out of your nuts and seeds is soak them overnight and if you have access to a dehydrator, dry them out. This in effect, causes the seed to sprout, meaning it is more like a tiny plant, making them more digestible and unlocking more of its nutrients. If you don’t have a dehydrator, store them in a fridge for no more than 2 days. I tend to do mine in daily batches so they are always fresh.

So what I would advise, start removing any grains from your diet and replace them with some sprouted nuts and seeds and watch your health improve.

Run Well

Chris O’Driscoll

Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Mel
    4 years ago

    Hey Chris, where do legumes such as peas, beans and lentils fit into this? I usually soak/sprout them before eating. Thanks.

  2. Chris O'Driscoll
    4 years ago

    Hi Mel,
    Thanks for the question. Legumes as you listed, including peanuts, are also quite hard to digest and I tend to avoid them. I would place them somewhere between seeds and grains, but closer to the grain side of things as they can be toxic if eaten raw. Soaking them will help with digestion, so if you must have them, that is the best way.

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