Grains are seeds of grasses. They, along with the Kentucky bluegrass and rye grass in your lawn, are plants from the family Poaceae, the grasses of the earth. Grasses are so ubiquitous and prolific that creatures have evolved that are able to survive by consuming them as their main source of food.
Ruminants such as cows, goats, sheep, giraffes, gazelle, and antelopes are able to digest grasses because they have undergone extensive evolutionary adaptation over millions of years that allow them to subsist on grasses as a food supply. For instance, ruminants:
- Grow teeth continuously to compensate for the wear caused by sand-like particles, or phytoliths, in grass blades. They also lack upper incisors, replaced by a bony dental pad on the top of the mouth to help seize hold of grasses. In contrast, you, a non-ruminant, grow teeth twice in a lifetime, only during childhood and adolescence, and have proud bite-worthy incisors.
- Produce copious quantities of saliva. A cow typically produces 100 quarts or more saliva per day, compared to our 1 meager quart.
- Have 4-compartment stomachs to break down the cellulose of grasses. You have a 1-compartment stomach.
- Regurgitate grasses to chew as a cud. While you may have the urge to chew, it certainly is not for regurgitated wads of grass fiber.
- A lengthy spiral colon that provides greater digestive exposure to further break down the components of grasses, unlike our relatively short colon with a couple of 90-degree turns.
- Harbor unique microorganisms in their 4-compartment stomachs and spiral colons that express the cellulase enzyme and other enzymes to break down the otherwise indigestible components of grasses. We have a relatively sterile stomach and upper small intestine with virtually no microorganisms that express a cellulase enzyme. While our colons harbor microorganisms, they cannot digest any substantial quantity of cellulose.
If you, proud member of the non-ruminant species Homo sapiens, were to grasp a stalk of 18-inch tall semi-dwarf wheat, you can’t eat the roots, nor the stalk, leaves, or husk. You can, however, isolate the seeds, remove the husk, then dry, pulverize, and heat them. You will then have something–porridge or flour–that can yield something you might view as food. But seeds, just like the rest of the plant, have components that are indigestible, such as wheat germ agglutinin, D-amino acids, gliadin (partially digestible), and trypsin inhibitors, among others. (The one component that is digestible is amylopectin A, accounting for the exceptional glycemic potential of wheat and other seeds of grasses, explaining why two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar.)
You don’t look or smell like a ruminant. Why would you eat like one? When you try to make like a ruminant, all manner of health disasters result from gastrointestinal distress, to autoimmune diseases, to various forms of allergy, to heart disease, to cancer, to dementia. Humans are not adapted to consumption of grasses, seeds or otherwise.