Going grain free has gained popularity thanks to the ketogenic diet. With both diets, grains are avoided. While the keto diet frowns on all types of carbs and focuses on high fats, going grain free simply means you don’t eat carbs from grains. I went gluten free 6 mos. ago then grain free over 2 months ago hoping to relieve digestion issues as well as inflammation. Today I’m sharing the benefits of removing grains from your diet as well as what this new way of eating has done for my health.
Through out my journey, my first goal was to greatly reduce stomach issues like bloating, gas pain and constipation. I went gluten free in September of 2018 and experienced immediate relief and even lost some weight. Read that post HERE. However, slowly but surely my symptoms began to return and I gained weight. After a lot of thought, I realized that going gluten free often results in eating more grains as well as starches. There are so many great gluten free options that cutting gluten is actually so much easier then you think. Since I was replacing bread with gluten free crackers, popcorn and flavored rice cakes, I was eating so much more rice, starch and corn and found all my symptoms coming right back. Feeling defeated, I decided it was time to cut all grains.
To be perfectly honest, cutting grains wasn’t that hard. I believe by cutting out gluten first, it made the next cut much more doable. Plus, I’m 100% sure grains are 70% of my discomfort and so the pay off is so worth it. I quickly experienced relief in stomach pain. For me the bloating took a good 3 weeks to go down but I read that many people experience an immediate release in water retention. I have lost weight and feel that this time I won’t put it back on as long as I continue to avoid grains.
I do find that eating gets tricky. There is very little snacking. I find I have to be more mindful and have foods ready to go. I also make sure my smoothie is jam packed with protein, fiber, fruits and veggies. When you cut all grains, you must get used to relying on nuts, fruits/veggies, meats and dairy to fill you up.
Something I’m having to be careful about is not overdoing the dairy. My next cut will most likely be dairy since dairy is probably the 2nd culprit when it comes to bloating and digestion issues. When you cut out something from your diet, your body almost always will subtly try to make up for it in another form of food. This is a big reason why simply going gluten free does not offer long term relief for most.
Why Omit Grains?
First off, grains are hard to digest. Wheat, in particular, is a common culprit of digestive distress, especially in people who are gluten intolerant.
Also, and more importantly-grains cause INFLAMMATION. Inflammation can lead to leaky gut, autoimmune disorders and chronic disease.
Grains are also high in calories and carbs, yet offer little nutrition. Grains can contribute to issues like weight gain and insulin resistance. Plus, some types of grains contain anti-nutrients, which actually interfere with the absorption of minerals!
Grains are often an issue for people experiencing acne. I believe wheat is the most common food that can cause skin issues. It is the first food I tell people to omit when trying to get to the bottom of acne with dairy being the second.
Benefits of A Grain Free Diet:
- Improved Digestion-Grains are hard to digest and can cause discomfort as the body struggles to break grains down. This can create or exacerbate issues common with IBS.
- Weight Loss-Grains are typically high in calories so when they are cut out, your daily calorie intake is usually reduced.
- Balances the Gut-Cutting grains can help contribute to the healthy bacteria in the gut which can improve immunity, brain function and even blood sugar!
- Reduced Inflammation-Studies have shown that grains, especially wheat can cause inflammation which can feed disease and autoimmune disorders.
It’s no secret I’m on a never ending journey for optimal health. I always say, health issues are a blessing in disguise because they hold you to a higher standing of living. If I didn’t have stomach upsets, I would be at least 50 lbs. heavier and eating very differently. Because I deal with digestion issues that cause discomfort, I’ve begun to view my body differently. I nurture and love my body in a way I never did before. My relationship with food has changed as well. I look at food as fuel more then comfort and when that becomes a challenge, I notice and find the balance again.
In conclusion, going grain free is a fit for me. I’m still figuring lunch out-that seems to be where I get confused but being free of gas pain and bloating is better then what any grain tastes like! I do indulge in sushi about every 2 weeks. I feel that it’s the daily eating of grain that was upsetting my system. Once in a while splurges don’t bother me and deprivation always leads to a fall. My ultimate goal is to focus more on fruits and vegetables.
Since quitting grains, I have opened my mind to many more veggies I assumed I didn’t like. We tend to roast a lot of brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and squash for dinner. With the right oils and spices, roasting veggies can be quite fulfilling!
I have found a few recipes that the whole family has loved!
- Paleo Pizza Crust-I make this every Friday. My husband actually prefers it over the usual frozen pizza. I’m not sure I agree but I have tried quite a few pizza crusts and this one is the best. Last week I tried THIS one and loved the texture. Since I’ve only made it once, I’m not 100% sure it’s my favorite yet.
- Almond Flour Bread-We loved this bread. It’s very dense, almost like a banana bread. I used grass fed butter and we devoured it in 2 days.
- Brazilian Cheese Bread-This bread is a treat. I LOVE the Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit mix and in no way am I saying this compares but it does hit the spot. It’s tasty and cheesy and goes great with a special meal!
- Creamy Paprika Chicken-The whole family loved this dish. It has a very exotic taste to it. It reminded us of Indian food.
- Sheet Pan Cashew Chicken-This meal was so tasty and easy and a great way to load on the veggies.
- Crack Chicken Spinach Soup-This is so good and while it says to cook in an Instant Pot, I just use the crock pot. It’s not the healthiest but it is grain free.
I must also mention the brand Siete. They offer grain free chips, tortillas and other products. I haven’t tried the tortillas mainly because they’re $8 a bag, but the chips are amazing. A typical lunch for me often includes these chips with an avocado and fresh salsa. They are a life saver! I find them at health food stores.
Lord knows I have a sweet tooth! I haven’t really explored grain free deserts yet. I tend to rely on dark chocolate for a late night snack and cashew butter with some raw honey for a midday pick me up. This combo has been a lifesaver.
If you’re considering going grain free, I hope this post has been helpful. I highly suggest going gluten free for a couple of months first, but be careful of eating too many other grains in the process. If you’re having digestive upsets and going grain free feels impossible, trying it for just a week will most likely let you know if there’s relief involved. Once you find that relief, letting go of the food that is hurting your body becomes much easier! Plus, chocolate and potato chips are grain free so there’s that!
If you’ve gone grain free please share your experience and any tips!!