The consumption of grains for food has obviously been a part of human cultures for thousands of years. So, when I try to explain to people why I peel the bread off my hamburgers or don’t want bread sticks at the restaurant, I’m usually met with blank stares and puzzled looks.
Considering how little healthful qualities grains possess, I figure everybody else should explain why eating grains is such a great idea. I’ve written up a handful of basic arguments that I assume will generally crop up when people are put to the question:
Why should I eat grains?
People have always eaten grains and bread!
If by always you mean only in the last 10,000 or so years, then OK! The eating of grains coincided with the agricultural revolution, otherwise referred to as the “dawn of civilization”. But, humans existed for a long time before the point that they learned how to harvest some kind of sustenance from seed grains. In fact, grain consumption by humans has occurred on the brief tail end of a 2 million year period of evolution.
The commercials on TV say that whole grains are good for you!
Obviously, those companies are trying to sell you a product, and no company would ever sell a product to people that was harmful or not nutritious for them, right? If you honestly believe that then I’ve got some fabulous snake oil I’d like you to try.
Companies sell products that people want, and people have been conditioned to want grains, either physiologically or through misinformation. Often times, the research that food companies use to back up their claims has been paid for by themselves, and is likely to be biased.
The government made the food pyramid, and it says to eat plenty of grains!
Unfortunately, the government has relied on much of the same research that food corporations have in order to make decisions and promote “healthy” food choices. Or, you have massive lobbyist groups and special interests which pour money into Washington D.C. to encourage lawmakers to recommend that people eat the products that benefit the lobbyists. Many people would be quick express how little trust they would place in the government to manage their personal finances, but then those same people trust the government to give them sound nutritional advice.
Shall we appeal to an even higher power?
Yes! God put plants on the earth for us to eat, and he gave bread to his people in the desert!
God apparently doesn’t really like grains all that much because he rejected the offerings of produce by Cain but accepted the animal sacrifices brought by Abel. Cain, who soon after went into a homicidal rage might have been demonstrating the first ever documented case of vegan dementia. Obviously, if you need to give an offering to your god, make it something he’ll appreciate, like a nice rack of ribs!
But, but, I just like the taste of bread, OK? That’s enough for me to justify why I like bread and grains!
Really? When is the last time you ate a plain piece of bread? No butter, no cheese, no jelly. Or how about some corn on the cob without any butter? Some rice without soy sauce? If bread and grains taste so wonderful, why is everybody rushing to add some fat or salt to it?
It seems to me that bread really only serves one good purpose during a meal, and that is to provide some kind of edible substrate that you can put other tastier or nutritious food on for the sake of convenience. If you think about it, the new low-carb sandwich wraps that are so popular lately are really just an edible wrapper for something else.