The Western Mutation of Dairy, White Sugar, and Wheat

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

Man standing in a dairy cow farm

Unfortunately, our food is not what it was 200 years ago. For example, did you know that essentially all of the wheat we consume in the U.S. is hybridized? Did you know that this hybridization which originated in the 1960’s mutated the gluten proteins in wheat, potentially causing it to be harmful to our health?

This is only one of many changes we have seen in the last 200 years. Others include the widespread use of pesticides/herbicides which are antibiotics that destroy the health of our soil, the pasteurization of milk which kills probiotic bacteria that aid us in digesting milk, and more.

Here, I will provide a 1000-foot view of changes to dairy, sugar, and wheat which have proven to be detrimental to our physical and mental health, despite the good intentions that may have been behind some of these changes.

Conventional Dairy

Milk from the U.S. is often from cows who are fed wheat, soy, and corn. Cows are not meant to eat these foods and so they have a challenging time digesting them, which causes severe health issues for them and sub-par milk nutrition for us. This is similar to how we are not meant to eat grass and would have trouble digesting it.

The crops cows consume are also often GMO, which contain different genetic makeup than what animals evolved eating over thousands of years. These crops are also often sprayed heavily with pesticides and herbicides, which severely disrupts the cow’s microbiome and its body’s ability to detoxify. Many of these toxins store themselves in the animal’s meat and milk, as their liver and kidneys are overwhelmed and cannot flush these toxins out properly.

Perhaps in part due to this mistreatment of the animals, cows genes have mutated over time so that most cows in the U.S. now produce A1-beta-casein protein in their milk, instead of the A2 casein they once did. Studies show this protein is associated with digestive issues, cognitive processing issues, and inflammation. Our ability to digest nutrients properly directly impacts our mental health, and inflammation is associated with poor or disrupted brain function through a number of ways. To learn more about this, read my article The 4 Ways the Gut and Brain Connect.

Milk is also pasteurized, which denatures multiple essential and non-essential nutrients. Pasteurization also cooks out the good probiotic bacteria in the milk that is necessary for the body to digest and assimilate the nutrients, making it unfit for calf and human consumption. Then milk is homogenized, a process which may create MSG byproducts and other potential issues.

Processed Sugar

Sugar is highly processed, stripping it of its naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and hyper-concentrating its impact on the body. Most of the sugar we consume in the U.S. is derived from GMO sugar beets, rather than cane sugar, ‘vegetables’ that are absolutely useless to our bodies.

Then, that sugar is highly processed, concentrating it down to unnatural levels. This is analogous in ways to producing cocaine from coca leaves. Coca leaves in their natural form are filled with multiple vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and are actually quite beneficial to human health.

They also contain a naturally occurring stimulant, the cocaine alkaloid, that is similar in effect to coffee beans. The leaf contains around 0.5-1.0% cocaine alkaloid. Having a ton of these leaves all at once would probably be bad for your health, just like eating a ton of naturally occurring sugar cane is bad for your health. However, when you remove all other properties of the plant, extract only the cocaine alkaloid, and then hyper concentrate that alkaloid, it becomes extremely toxic to the body and brain.

In a similar way, sugar in its man-made, processed form is harmful to health: increasing inflammation, compromising the immune system, and causing gut dysbiosis (the proliferation of harmful microorganisms and the inhibition of the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the gut). All of this and more directly impacts your mental health and levels of anxiety and depression.

Westernized Wheat

Wheat may be “the staff of man” in its original form, but the wheat we eat in western society is not that same wheat.

It is from hard red wheat, which is easy to make bread with but hard for most people to digest. All wheat in the U.S. is also hybridized as of the late 1960’s, which mutated the gluten proteins and created a higher gluten to wheat ratio. It is sprayed heavily with herbicides, making it toxic, inflammatory, and destructive to our microbial genetics.

Changes like these could be the culprits for the severe increase we have seen in gluten sensitivities (including my own) and Celiac disease over the last few decades.

If you’d like to learn more about this, read my article Gluten and Disease: ‘Wheat’ is No Longer Wheat.

My Experience Getting Off of Dairy, Processed Sugar & Gluten

As a kid, I grew up eating the typical westernized fare. I suffered with a lot of mental and physical health issues, including social anxiety and OCD. I do not know how food sensitivities played a role then, but what I can say now is that the changes I have experienced after removing dairy, processed sugar, and gluten from my diet has been nothing short of a miracle.

I used to suffer from bouts of depression, anxiety, and addiction cravings. After quitting processed sugar and dairy, within a matter of days I felt like a completely different person. The previous severe addiction cravings and times feeling “in the dumps” just...went away.

After researching gluten, I decided to give gluten-free a shot as well (cause what’s one more thing when you’ve denied yourself of the pleasure of sugar and dairy, right?) The transformation I experienced was so beautiful I can’t describe it in words. There were obsessive thoughts and ruminations that I dealt with every single day as far back as I can remember that completely disappeared in 3 days time. I could not believe the difference it made for me.

And now my life is perfect and I don’t have any problems ever…

Okay, just kidding. Obviously not.

I’m not saying what has happened for me will happen for everyone, and it hasn’t come without continued spiritual and mental work (that never stops), but making these diet changes has made a substantial and relatively immediate difference for me. And believe me, I’ve tried going back...multiple times.

It hasn’t made everything perfect (nothing does), but the way I feel now I used to only dream about. I wake up so easily, without any morning grogginess or desire to press the snooze button. I also wake up without anxiety or depression like I once did. I fall asleep within a few minutes of lying in bed. I have consistent energy. I rarely experience depression. I am free of many obsessive and ruminating thoughts I once dealt with everyday. I also experience a level of motivation I once never thought possible for myself.

I know that food is emotional, and it’s insanely pleasurable. I think pizza and ice cream are the most delectable foods on the planet. That is undeniable. But what is also undeniable are the changes in my mental and physical health after removing these foods from my diet.

I’m by no means the only one. There are numerous case studies of people whose anxiety and depression have drastically reduced after removing these inflammatory foods from their diet. Even people with schizophrenia have experienced changes when they remove westernized wheat (gluten) from their diet.

So, while I’m not telling everyone to make the changes I have, I am asking you to consider what changes you could experience by making shifts in your diet and cutting out certain foods that could be contributing to your mental illness. There is always spiritual and mental work to do, that never stops. But changes to your diet can bring your entire body and brain into balance and bring you closer to God.

Pray for one change you might make to your own diet and see what difference it makes for you. As you explore and progress, I believe that your brain can heal as mine has.

I wish you the best on your journey, my friend.

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