For thousands of years, ancient people cultivated grains from common grasses, which contain nutrients essential for human development, vitality, and prevention of disease. As discussed earlier, when whole grains arc complemented with a good variety of other unrefined plant foods, all the elements of nutrition necessary for human development are available. Therefore, in embracing grains as the mainstay of diet, one finds that missing nutrients and cravings are not a problem, once a level of healthy digestion has been achieved.

If prepared in balance with individual needs, grains

  • Satisfy hunger and taste,
  • Provide energy and endurance,
  • Calm nerves, and encourage deep sleep,
  • Promote elimination,
  • Quick reflexes,
  • Long memory,
  • Clear thinking.

From the perspective of yin/yang analysis of food, grains are usually placed in the center.

They support one in finding the ‘Golden Mean’ of ‘Inner child’, the place of receptivity, relaxation, and mental focus.

For modern people, these active and passive qualities do not generally combine. That is, when we are receptive and relaxed, our minds are not focused. In order to become focused, we give up relaxation and take on stress.

It usually takes a couple of weeks just to learn how to chew whole grain well and for the salivary glands to start working correctly. For each bite, try chewing thirty-two times or more. This advice also applies to other foods that have a fibrous consistency, such as legumes, nuts, and seeds, and some vegetable stems, roots, and leaves.

Whole grains and other carbohydrates will not digest efficiently without throughout admixture of saliva. The action of saliva is necessary to trigger reaction that occurs further along the digestive tract. [1]

Also, saliva is alkaline, and most grain is mildly acid-forming: since almost all disease conditions involve an overly acidic condition of the blood, thorough chewing is preventative, as it promotes an alkaline rather than acid result from grains.

In recent years, instead of the name “starch “ whole grains along with legumes and vegetables have most often been referred to as “Complex carbohydrates “.

It tells us that a more complex series of events occurs in their digestion as compared with that simpler sugar.

Complex carbohydrate digestion of whole foods is a harmonious, steady, balanced metabolism, providing a complete complement of necessary nutrients. This is quite the opposite of the rush-followed-by depression one experiences from highly refined, nutrient-deficient grains and sugars.

[1] The enzyme ptyalin in saliva reduces carbohydrates to maltose, which in turn is broken down the intestines by the enzyme maltase to form dextrose, a simple sugar. Maltase will only act on maltose, which is not formed without proper insalivation of carbohydrates. Other possibilities for carbohydrate breakdown exist, but these usually involve unhealthy fermentations.

Even though the complex carbohydrates have now been widely identified as the single most deficient item in the modern diet, most people are still not aware of the many qualities in grain other than fiber and carbohydrate. Nor is the unique and widely differing nature of each grain being recognized.

ln the section “Grains” we describe the major healing properties of the grains as drawn from both tradition and science, to stimulate an interest in the uniqueness and beauty of this family of food. (Read more in LWA “Energy property of food” and in the Membership site).

Before delving into the rather specific properties of grains, it is very convenient to know how the actions of grains bring balance to general constitutional types.

Note that the following list provides wider applications of grains than the similar Six