5 Reasons for my 28 Day Grain-Free Challenge

gluten free, wheat free, grain free

Starting October 5, 2011 I challenge you to follow a grain-free diet for 28 days. That will be just enough time to determine what benefit removing grains from your diet will have on your health. There is just no getting around the fact that you will have to stop all grain products; bread, cereal, rice, pasta, cake and cookies. However, eating fruits and vegetables as your main source of carbohydrates is so much healthier.

Additionally, you can gradually try new recipes using coconut and nut flours. I have plenty of recipes for grain-free baking on this blog. I suggest you look through my recipes for coconut flour products. They are easy to make and coconut flour is available through vendors on my resource page — or if you suddenly get the urge to try this baking overnight, Bob’s Red Mill sells one pound bags of coconut flour at health food stores. If you find out you love baking with this flour, you can then buy larger quantities online.

But you don’t have to bake at all on this 28 day challenge. You just have to give up the starchy carbs and start eating like we were meant to eat: proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables.

When I stick to this type of diet I always lose weight and feel great. I have counseled many people who are sensitive to grains. This intolerance can be expressed in many ways and with a variety of symptoms. Some of these symptoms are: weight gain, foggy thinking, joint pain, bloating, gas, constipation/diarrhea, headaches or migraines, depression, anxiety, learning issues, etc. The list goes on and on.

Here are the 5 reasons to eliminate grains from your diet:

1 -  All grains are high in phytic acid or phytates. This organic acid is present in the bran or hulls of all seeds (so this includes all grains and nuts) and blocks the uptake of critical minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc. Phytates have been studied extensively and findings show that phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in third world countries. Analysis shows that calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are present in the plant foods eaten in these areas, but the high phytate content of wheat, soy and rice based diets prevents their absorption.

In order to remove the phytic acid in grains you have to soak and/or sprout the grains in a warm acidic solution. Covering the grains with water with added yogurt, kefir, or even lemon juice, in a warm place over night will help remove this harmful substance. This procedure will also add value to the grain as it increases B vitamins, carotene and enzymes that aid in digestion, while at the same time it decreases the enzyme inhibitors that are also present in the unsoaked grains.

Since the Sad American Diet is full grains that are not properly prepared and therefore have little available nutrition, we have many people that are over weight but starving for nutrients. This is obvious in the sky rocketing rate of obesity in America today.

Sadly, there are no commercial grain products (with some small exceptions) that are properly prepared so the minerals are not at all available.

2 – Grains feed inflammation which, arguably, is the basis of many diseases. Grains have several inflammatory substances such as, phytic acid as mentioned above, as well as gluten, and lectins. Additionally grains promote an acidic ph in the body which is known to be inflammatory.

Glutins can be problematic for many people who may be unaware that they harbor gluten intolerance. In a previous post I talk about the problems with gluten and celiac disease and the alarming increase of adult onset celiac.

Lectins may be the next largest area of research. Studies suggests that lectins may play a role in promoting the following conditions: inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, glomerulonephritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, retinitis and cataracts, as well as congenital malformations, infertility, allergies and autoimmune problems.

3 – Grains disrupt proper sugar regulation. Whether they are whole grains or refined grains, they still have a high glycemic index level and are absorbed very rapidly — much like a candy bar. This occurs especially if grains are eaten without any fat or protein. Many snack foods are pure carbohydrates from grains and these are highly glycemic and cause an insulin spike. Eat like this for years and you are on the way to disregulated blood sugar or diabetes.

4 - Improperly prepared grains may cause damage to the gut lining. Even properly prepared grains can do this to a susceptible person. If the food is not broken down properly, the large food molecules are released into the blood stream. The immune system will react to these large molecules as if they were foreign invaders and initiate an immune reaction. This is how “leaky gut” develops. If the offending foods are continuously eaten, this becomes a vicious cycle of immune reactions and damage to the gut lining.

5 – Wheat is no longer the wheat of our ancestors. Grains came on the scene only 10,000 years ago (the blink of an eye in evolutionary standards). Our digestive systems have not adapted to this newcomer. We are much better at eating traditional foods such as meat, fat, vegetables and fruits.

Additionally, wheat has been genetically manipulated over the years and the DNA codes are totally different today. This is a different food and many people have not adapted to it. It is especially clear when we talk about strains of gluten and the processing of gluten to make it more profitable for food manufacturers as I did in a previous post.

Join me in my 28 day grain-free challenge! Wednesday October 5, 2011 is the first day. That post is the sign up post. All participants will receive a small prize at the end of the challenge and all you will have to do to receive it will be to sign up for my newsletter and join the challenge. Instructions will be forthcoming in the Wednesday post so stay tuned!

Photo Credit

This post is linked to: Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Living Well Blog Hop, Melt in Mouth Monday, Sugar-Free Sunday, Monday Mania, Meatless Monday, Mangia Monday, Homemaker Monday, Ruth’s Real Food 101, Tuesday Tasty Tidbits, Weekend Carnival, Traditional Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, Gluten-free Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Turning the Table Thursday, Creative juice Thursday, Pennywise Platter


  • Andrea

    What a great challenge…I’ve been gluten free for 5 years now and completely grain free for 15 months…I feel great!  Good luck to you and all your readers who participate!  You can find some great grain-free recipes on my blog too… simplylivinghealthy.org

  • Cynthia

    I’d really like to do this because i think i have issues with grain in general, and have not been soaking grains because I am so lazy and busy. My problem (and maybe this IS my problem because I have not given up grains completely–i have cut back!) is that I am already thin and do not want to lose any weight…I’m afraid I won’t be able to eat enough (I can’t eat much at any meal as it is–as I said, I have issues!) and will be hungry all the time.  I do generally follow Weston Price principles, any thoughts?

  • Susie

    Oh, thank you for this challenge. I am SO in. I am trying to heal from several serious health issues, including Lyme Disease and cancer. (I was cured with surgery, thank God, but I know I need to up my health game!) Looking forward to this!

  • Eln

    I am in for the challenge.  I’ve already made your coconut flour bread and is delicious.

  • Eln

    Oops – name is Ellen.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Andrea,
    Thanks for your comments. I did see your zucchini latkes on your blog and they look great! I will have a linky for grain-free recipes ( in addition to Fat Tuesday) so stay tuned and please join in with your great recipes!

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Cynthia,
    People do lose weight when on a grain-free diet. However, in general, when one starts to eat healthy fats from pastured animals as well as organic extra virgin olive oil, avocados and nuts (properly prepared), one is able to maintain weight.

    Additionally, when you remove what may very well be an offending food, your body starts to heal and you absorb your nutrients better. This may take longer than 28 days.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Ellen,
    Thanks for your kind words and happy you  are in! Stay tuned for Wednesday!

  • Cynthia

    Thanks, Jill, i am eating healthy fats from pastured animals and raw milk, and when I get my organic almonds this fall I will be really happy!  I was up to 118 lbs this spring (eating a lot of yogurt and cream–but it was bothering me–heartburn) but am now down to 112 because I stopped almost all dairy.  I am wondering about milk–even when raw, I am suspicious that it is one of my problems along with grain–is your challenge also dairy free?  I know I do better with fermented dairy and hard vs soft cheeses, 

  • Piper K

    I’m in!  I have been completely grain free in the past but have fallen off the wagon because of nausea.  My whole family is suffering eating this junk, so we need to get off of it!

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Cynthia,
    The challenge will  not be dairy free, but people who are DF can certainly participate. I personally do not do well with dairy, so I am mainly DF. I do a lot with coconut and tolerate it well.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Piper,

  • Barbeebutts

    Seriously leaning toward trying this out (to lose weight) but I have a question.
    I’m a ‘sprouter’. I love sprouts, is there any room in this challenge for sprouted: seeds, legumes, lentils, grasses (like cress) etc? It seems obvoius that I would need to avoid things like nuts (almonds) and grain like spelt-but the others? I’m not so clear on that.

    P.S. Love Bobs Red Mill-my corner grocer sells lots of his stuff. I seem to recall seeing other flours: tapioca, potoato(?) and some others. I need to do more reserach on these marvelous products.

  • http://savoringtoday.com Judy@SavoringToday

    We did this last year after my husband had a heart attack (big wake up call for us recognizing all the compromises in our diet) and it made a significant difference in our overall health, not to mention he lost 25 lbs, I lost 13 (neither of us were overweight). Grains are an inflammatory, which we now understand after all the coronary health research we’ve now done. I hope your readership will take on the challenge, it will make a difference I am sure.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Judy,
    I will be launching a linkup devoted entirely to grain-free recipes later in the week (not Fat Tuesday) and I hope you will visit and share some of your great recipes!

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    The rules will be clearly stated on the “home/sign up page” on Wednesday. Basically no grains but seeds and nuts and surely sprouts are fine.

  • http://www.ruthsrealfood.com Ruth’s Real Food

    I think getting rid of grains help people regulate weight better – so it’s only going to lead to weight loss in those who need to lose weight. As for hunger, that’s really not a problem when you stop eating grains. Just the opposite. Carbs are addictive and make you hungry.

    My son and I are doing the GAPS diet now (we’re on the intro) and not eating any starchy carbs (potatoes, rice, sweet potato) at the moment, nor fruit. My son was shocked at his lack of hunger. Even when he ended up seated beside a bowl of chocolate bars, he found he wasn’t tempted at all.

    You should definitely try it to see how you feel.

  • Shannon

    The best of luck with your challenge.  I may like my bread a little too much to try. ;o)
    Thanks for linking up to MomTrends this week!

  • BeccaOH

    I first read this last week and gave it a lot of thought over the weekend and watched what I ate. I have already been trying to limit my bread and such. I’d like to do the challenge, but I see that it would be a real challenge to go cold turkey. I’ll be traveling mid-month. I’m really going to try to continue to limit my grain intake, though, as I see how it could really benefit me. Thanks.

  • http://alszambrano.wordpress.com Amanda Z

    We were supposed to start Phase One of the Maker’s Diet today (left over pork and birthday cake have already foiled those plans) – but we will certainly start tomorrow. Its grain free, as well as dairy free (except our wonderful raw milk from our herd share), sugar free and potato/corn/sweet potato free. We’re going to hang on until November and then start adding things back in little by little. 

    So I guess I’m going grain free with you! Good luck!

  • Blainfam

    I’ve been gluten-free for three years (with only a couple of one-day slips). I’m excited about this 28-day challenge to go to the next level of health. Cleaned my cupboards yesterday in preparation. Hoping for such great results (less pain) that I’ll never go back! Thanks for the support.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Amanda,
    Great! The Maker’s Diet is good too. Please sign up at the sign up page if you haven’t already.


  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Blainfam,
    Good luck and please sign up at the signup page:


  • Leah

    I signed up!  I started yesterday :-)

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    High Leah,
    Please use this page below to comment and sign up!


  • http://twitter.com/momnivore_ momnivore’s dilemma


    I featured this tonight.  I hope some of my readers who struggle with health issues see this post.  Grain-free is really something to consider…

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://realfoodforager.com/2011/11/week-four-the-challenge-part-of-the-28-day-grain-free-challenge/ Week Four: The Challenge Part of the 28 Day Grain-Free Challenge — Real Food Forager

    [...] are not troublesome. However, you still may choose to avoid grains because of all the problems with improper preparation, etc. You may choose to only eat grain products that you have prepared at [...]