Addicted to Nature?

Dear Health-Conscious Reader,

Eating a bagel and cream cheese or crunching on some pretzels is addictive in much the same way, biologically, as narcotics are.

That’s because grains like wheat, barley, and rye – and milk from cows – have something in them that acts just like morphine. They’re called “exorphins.” They can make you weak and tired, and take over your body just like they’ve taken over the Western diet.

But today I’m going to show you how to stop this from happening, get rid of the foods with exorphins that can make you weak, and give your body foods that will keep you strong.

But first, let me explain how grains can be so addictive…

Did you know your body makes its own narcotics? They are mini proteins that are like morphine called endorphins. Endorphins bind to other proteins designed to receive them. These receivers are your “opiate receptors.”

When endorphins bind to these receptors, you get a reduced sensation of pain, it sedates you, and it affects your emotions. It also stimulates your pleasure response. It tells your brain you’re getting a reward.

Sweet foods like fruit and fatty foods like juicy cheeseburgers have this effect. That’s why you crave them. Nature designed you this way so you could get antioxidants from ripe, sweet fruits, and so you could get healthy fats from meat to transport vitamins through your body.

The exorphins in grains and cow’s milk hijack this process and trick you because they act just like natural endorphins. But there’s nothing natural about them.

They replace your endorphins by binding to your opiate receptors instead. This makes you artificially feel pleased and rewarded.

Instead of your own endorphins telling you something is tasty and to eat more of it, the food’s exorphins tell you the

food was tasty. The food is fooling you and telling you to eat more, not your body.

In one study, researchers discovered how milk exorphins trick you. They found that two exorphins from cow’s milk carry information with them as they bind to opiate receptors. The message they deliver to your brain is, “Go to sleep, feel bad, but go back for more anyway.”1

Your brain also uses the exorphins instead of neurotransmitters which can impair your learning and memory.

The true source of nutrition, health, and energy starts with eating mainly protein and very few grains that try to mimic or replace your body’s natural endorphins.

Here are my three steps to help you keep exorphins from getting control over your body and robbing you of your health:

Step 1) Get Rid of the Gluten: One exorphin you may have heard of is gluten, a sticky, gluey protein found in grain. It’s commonly used in baked goods. It makes dough stretchy, holds cookies together, and it’s why bagels are doughy.

But here’s the thing about gluten: Besides being an exorphin, it isn’t part of our native diet. It can give you digestive problems like bloating, cramping and even symptoms that resemble irritable bowel syndrome.

You can find gluten in some unlikely places, like pasta, beer, soy sauce, certain medications, toothpaste and even lipstick. It can also hide in sausage and hamburger filler, ketchup, ice cream and mayonnaise, and pre-packaged grated cheese.

Try to avoid these fillers that have gluten exorphins:

• Distilled grain vinegar
• Malt/Maltodextrin
• Hydrolyzed protein
• Yeast extract
• Food starch
• Rennet
• Semolina

Step 2) Get Better Bread: The modern food industry is constantly trying to tell you how healthy their “wheat” or “whole grain” breads are. That’s because big business wants you to keep eating grains. They’re cheap to produce and companies make a fortune selling grain for all those rolls, boxes of cereal and loaves of bread.

But none of them are natural in that you could not have eaten these processed foods in your native environment. And none of them are “healthy.” Not only do they have exorphins, but they are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Whole grain breads are junk food.

Coconut flour and almond flour are excellent choices to replace flour from wheat, bran, buckwheat, millet, and other grains if you want bread. If you can’t find them, rice flour makes a good alternative.

Step 3) Get Back To Basics: Everyone can benefit from eating less grains and processed food, and eating more protein. This will get you back to your native way of eating. It will boost your energy, improve focus, improve digestion, and aid with the absorption of nutrients.

The USDA is making this very difficult. Their food pyramid is based on eating lots of exorphin-containing grains that make up breads, pastas and breakfast cereals. The pyramid puts almost no emphasis on proteins and fats.

Instead, you want to turn the USDA’s pyramid on its head. Here’s my Healthy Food Pyramid you can follow to minimize exorphins and maximize your strength and energy:

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD


1 Loukas, S., Varoucha, D., Zioudrou, C., et al, “Opioid activities and structures of alpha-casein-derived exorphins,” Biochemistry Sept. 13, 1983;22(19):4567-73