Goal 6: Eliminate Grains
This is it. It’s here. The dreaded grain elimination. When I said this would be easy, well, I kind of lied. I should have said that it will be easier. But never fear, I have some tips that will help.
Why do this?
This is probably the most controversial food item today as it seems everyone has a really strong point of view. The best thing I can say is that everyone should at least try it, just to see how it affects them. You might be surprised at how much your life changes for the better.
Many people today struggle from a damaged gut and cutting out grains, or most grains, is vital to healing it. It is also nearly impossible to switch your body to a fat metabolism without cutting them out and that’s where the major healing and increase in energy comes.
Arguments against grains:
1. Grains, such as wheat, oats, barley, corn, rice, millet, etc. all contain heavy amounts of phytic acid. Phytic acid actually inhibits our body’s ability to absorb the nutrients found in the grain AND in other foods eaten at the same time. It is also damaging to our gut. Cultures traditionally prepared grains in a way that minimized this damage, by soaking and sprouting grains before drying and cooking.
2. The wheat grown today has been genetically modified and contains even less nutrients than it used to. Many people even think this genetic modification is the cause of the rise of gluten intolerance.
3. The flour made from ground wheat needs to be used right away or it goes rancid. One study compared rats fed freshly ground flour (or bread made from that flour) with rats fed flour 15 days old (or bread made from that flour). The rats fed the fresh flour and bread were healthy and normal. The rats fed the old flour and bread from that flour developed large tumours, became very sickly, and within 4 generations lost the ability to reproduce and died out. They became infertile just because of eating flour (or bread from that flour) that was not fresh. People estimate that four generations in rat lives is equivalent to about 100 years in human lives. I don’t know about you, but I’m scared straight. Even if infertility is not an issue for you, what about the gut health that you genetically pass down to your kids?
Now, if you could grow an organic version of wheat- pre-genetic modification- and harvest it, soak it, sprout it, dehydrated it, and cook it the same day you grind it, and eat it in moderation as part of a whole food balanced diet, you would probably be just fine. But if even one of those steps is not happening you are increasing your risk for a lot of problems, not to mention keeping your body from the energy and health-producing state of being in a fat metabolism.
Thankfully, grains are not nutritionally necessary, and as evidenced by the presence of phytic acid, removing them will only greatly increase the level of nutrition our body absorbs. Plus, when we are not eating grains, and we replace those calories with more nutrition packed vegetables, protein and fruit it’s a win-win.
How to do it:
1. Start slow! When you have the option, choose veggies over rice, and toss the side roll that comes with your salad. Stop buying food with ingredients that include grains (like corn, wheat, oats and rice).
2. Try just cutting out bread first. Then a couple of weeks later move on to oats, then corn, etc.
3. Stop making dinners heavy on the pasta and corn and make dinners with a lot of protein and veggies to fill you up.
4. Eat as much of everything else as you want. You will be more hungry at first since your body is looking for those carbs. Satiate it by having an extra serving of steak and potatoes.
5. Eat a lot of potatoes. Have some every day.
6. Up your healthy fat intake. This is a biggie!! You want to switch your body over from using carbs for fuel to using fat for fuel. Don’t deprive it of carbs AND fat!
7. Find something you like that you can go to when the craving strikes. For me it was nuts and cheese. Try hard boiled eggs, paleo beef sticks, leftovers, veggies with hummus, fruit with coconut butter. The key is to have an easily accessible snack ready in a moments notice. Try baking a fruit sweetened grain-free snack every week.
8. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. Just move on and try again.
Give yourself 2 weeks to 2 months to do this. Lessen the amount of grains you have each day until all of a sudden you are not having any. Or, cut them all at once.
The only benefit you might have been receiving from grains was the high amount of fiber. In fact, you may have been counting on that, not realizing that that was where you received the majority of your fiber. If you start to experience constipation, bloody stools, or any other digestive issues, focus extra hard on increasing the amount of veggies and fruit you eat, as well as moderate protein. And don’t forget to drink your water!
There will be a withdrawal period. Eat potatoes and up those healthy fats. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water. Don’t worry about carbs or cheese or legumes at this point. Just focus on grains.
Pasta – zoodles (zucchini noodles)
Rice – cauliflower rice
Bread – try this almond bread or coconut dinner rolls
Popcorn – kale chips, cauliflower popcorn, toasted pumpkin seeds
Snack urge – homemade French fries, gourmet cheese, Nick’s Sticks
Buns and sandwiches – lettuce wraps
Wraps – coconut flour crepes