Are you ready for a health challenge? Maybe you want some extra energy, or maybe you want to work on healing your gut. Do you want to see if you could actually feel better in 30 days by doing this one thing? I think we should all be more conscious of what we’re putting into our bodies, and I think this health challenge will definitely make you think before you eat. You’ll also have to plan meals a little better, which is a good thing so that you can take the extra effort to put nutrient dense foods in your body. Ready for the challenge?
Okay here it is: From October 28 to November 26, 2013, whoever wants to join me, we will be going grain free together. That’s 30 days of eating grain free. I’m already grain light, so this won’t be too hard for me, but I understand that it could be very difficult for some of you if you’re not used to eating without them. For those of you who are already grain free, why don’t you do 30 days of a paleo diet. See Robb Wolf’s chart below on what is recommended to eat and to avoid on the paleo diet if you choose to dive in all the way.
|Okay To Eat||Avoid|
|Lean Meats||Processed Food & Sugars|
|Nuts & Seeds||Starches|
Some Benefits of Going Grain Free:
- Stabilized blood sugar
- Reduced allergies
- Improved sleep
- Clearer skin
- Stronger teeth
- Balanced energy throughout day
- Burn off stored fat
- More efficient work outs
So you may be wondering why grain free? I hear it all the time; “I thought grains were good for me.” Well I used to think so too, and I thought I was doing well by making sure to buy my 100% whole wheat bread a few years ago. People have eaten whole grains forever right? Wrong. Grains didn’t become a hot commodity until the Agricultural Revolution. Before that, humans lived as hunter-gatherers: picking berries off bushes, digging up tubers, chasing mammals & scavenging meat, fat and organs from animals, and eventually learning to fish with lines and hooks and hunt with spears, nets, bows and arrows. Another phrase I hear from people all the time is, “If grains are unhealthy, why are they consumed in the Bible and why did Jesus use so many references to Bread” or “Grains are the staff of life, and Jesus even called himself the “Bread of Life” so eating them can’t be bad!”
Wellness Mama has an amazing post on this titled, “Does The Bible Say We Should Eat Grains?” Here are the main points from her post, but you should definitely read the entire article here.
1. The Grains of Biblical Times are Much Different Than The Grains of Today.
2. The Grains of Biblical Times Were Prepared Differently Than The Grains of Today.
3. Grain Consumption Didn’t Begin Until After the Fall.
4. Grains Were Often Eaten in Times of Hardship.
5. Meat is Often Linked With Times of Celebration or Redemption.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on her entire post.
Grain Free From A Nutritional Standpoint:
You’ve seen all the commercials about whole grains, and every Dietitian, doctor, and other medical practitioner learned in school to recommend them to you. They’re the base of the food pyramid, so they have to be good for us, right? Unfortunately, no because they aren’t the same grains that our ancestors ate, and our ancestors definitely didn’t eat them in the high quantity that we do now. I could write an extremely long post about every detail on how grains can affect the body, but I’ll try to summarize the main points here. The truth about grains is that they contain phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, & copper. Phytic acid is found in the bran of all grains, and in the outer coating of nuts and seeds. A diet high in improperly prepared whole grains can lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss. And honestly, most Americans today are deficient in at least one of these minerals without knowing it.
Grains Prepared Properly:
If you do eat grains, try to prepare them the proper way: soaked or sprouted. By soaking or sprouting grains, it reduces the phytic acid in them. The Weston A. Price Foundation writes this:
“Our ancestors, and virtually all pre-industrialized peoples, soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads, cakes and casseroles. A quick review of grain recipes from around the world will prove our point: In India, rice and lentils are fermented for at least two days before they are prepared as idli and dosas; in Africa the natives soak coarsely ground corn overnight before adding it to soups and stews and they ferment corn or millet for several days to produce a sour porridge called ogi; a similar dish made from oats was traditional among the Welsh; in some Oriental and Latin American countries rice receives a long fermentation before it is prepared; Ethiopians make their distinctive injera bread by fermenting a grain called teff for several days; Mexican corn cakes, called pozol, are fermented for several days and for as long as two weeks in banana leaves; before the introduction of commercial brewers yeast, Europeans made slow-rise breads from fermented starters; in America the pioneers were famous for their sourdough breads, pancakes and biscuits; and throughout Europe grains were soaked overnight, and for as long as several days, in water or soured milk before they were cooked and served as porridge or gruel.”
Many people do not want to take the time to soak or sprout their grains, which is why many people prefer to just do without grains in their diet.
Improperly prepared grain consumption can increase the risk of infertility, obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, allergies, anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions. In my own experience with clients, removing grains from the diet has increased energy, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, healed headaches/migraines, promoted weight loss, healed digestive problems, and many other ailments. I just had one of my clients tell me today that she can’t believe how much better she is feeling after I put her on a grain free diet less than two weeks ago. She’s amazed at how much better her stomach is feeling and how much more energy she has. I personally feel much better when eating grain free. I had gotten away from eating grain-free when I was nursing my son, so I need this 30 day challenge to get myself back on track again.
Are You In?
You may be thinking, “Did she just say grain free as in no breads, rice, pasta, muffins, flours, crackers, rolls etc?” Yes, that’s what it means! I used to live on breads, cereals, and any grain you can think of, and if you asked me back then if I could give them up, I would tell you, “Absolutely not.” But the good news is, “You can do it.” You can retrain your taste buds, and by going grain free, it will help to balance your blood sugar levels and help to heal any systemic candida so that you don’t crave carbs as much. And I’m not against carbs. We need them to survive. There’s plenty of carbs in fruits, veggies, sweet potatoes, and foods that have healthy fats. If you’re ready to join me in this 30 day health challenge to see how much better you can feel, please let me know by writing on the wall on my facebook page. I would love to know who all is joining in on this challenge with me. And I know some of you may have already checked your calendar to see if Thanksgiving would fall in those 30 days, and I can reassure you that the challenge is over by Thanksgiving. Besides, if you choose to eat grains on Thanksgiving, how you feel after may be just what you need to go back to eating grain free. If you have any questions along the way, post them on my facebook page, and I’ll share the questions anonymously to everyone else so that everyone can chime in to the discussion.
Cheers to you for taking charge of your health!
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC