Eating grain free takes eating gluten free to another level. You might want to eat grain free if you need to heal inflammation in your guts or other parts of your body. You might need to do it if you have thyroid or autoimmune issues. Or you may want to do it short term as a cleanse.
Good news. It’s not as hard as it may sound! The key is to change your mindset and to do a little prep work.
For you carb fiends, changing your mindset is crucial. Admit, you may miss the grains at first – otherwise you’re not much of a fiend. It may take a few months are even longer, but you may grow to not even like them so much (yes, it’s often the case!). And you will need to add other healthy whole foods to fill the void, at least until your stomach adjusts to feeling less full or bloated. Amen to that.
And if you’re trying to lose weight, this is bound, although not guaranteed, to help.
Eating grain free vs gluten free
First of all, become friends with the term “paleo”. “Paleo” refers to a caveman style of eating, or eating the foods that naturally exist on our planet rather than those that are made or processed using chemicals or synthetic ingredients.
More specifically, the paleo diet excludes grains, dairy and alcohol. Hold tight. Don’t panic. Read on.
If there is anything you truly miss when eating grain free, just Google “paleo xyz” and you will find a recipe for it. Paleo pizza, spaghetti, cheesecake, you name it.
And say you want to still eat dairy? Just modify the paleo recipes to include your dairy ingredients.
Dabbling with paleo recipes will expose you to lots of new ways to make old favorites.
Second, plan out some meals. (Sigh, I know. But planning prevents stress and choosing whatever’s convenient ,which is usually not so good for you.) Sometimes even on the typical American diet, it’s hard to figure out what’s for dinner every night. Planning and cooking ahead can take lots of stress out of your unpredictable nights.
Planning doesn’t have to be too time-consuming. Cheat off of a paleo meal plan, like this one from my book, Digested – eating healthier made easier 3 ways, to spare yourself some of the mental work.
Lastly, identify the grains you rely on most and how you intend to replace those. That way, when you’re in a crunch, about to reach for your ol’ grainy friend, you can stop and reach for your replacement before you die of hunger!
Your new grain-free go-tos
Here are some common grains and suggested new go-tos while you’re eating grain free.
- crackers, chips, bars > raw veggies (oh so many to choose from!), kale or root veggie chips
- bread > lettuce leaves, put it in a bowl or make your own grain-free bread or paleo tortillas
- buns > slices of zucchini or sweet potato
- cereal > make your own grain-free cereal
- pancakes > paleo pumpkin pancakes (love these!)
You’ll get more results from eating grain free if you add in healthy foods, especially those high in fiber. You still need fiber, just not via the grains. Your best option? Learn to love the leafy greens! You’ll find many of them, and many ways to prepare them. And they offer loads of minerals and nutrients you may not have been getting before. Here are just a few:
- kale (raw in salad or smoothie, sautéed, chips)
- Swiss chard (raw, sautéed, roasted)
- romaine lettuce (raw in salad or as a wrap, in smoothie)
- collard greens (sautéed, blanched, roasted)
Also get fiber from these foods:
- nuts and seeds
- quinoa (a seed, but not deemed paleo because of it’s potential harm to your guts)
- coconut (FYI – a fruit and not a tree nut)
- beans and peas (legumes are not technically paleo)
Note that white potatoes are not a grain, but they have similar qualities and effects as grains (see the link above about quinoa). So if you’re eating grain free to heal your guts, you should also avoid using potatoes as a substitute.
Curious about going totally paleo? Read “Eating healthier: Is paleo the way to go?”.
In the meantime, if you’re eating grain free, just do a little prep work first. It will make your mission more relaxing and fun. It may be an eye-opening, gut-healing and life-changing experience!
*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.