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!
Inspire Your Real Food Healing Journey with my FREE Grain-Free Meals e-Cookbook and Getting Started email series!