Healing Food Allergies and Chronic Illnesses: Baby Step # 7 |One Grain-Free Meal|

This week’s Baby Step is One Grain-Free Meal.

It’s time to begin the transition into a grain-free diet.

A major part of gut healing and eliminating chronic inflammation is to remove grains from your diet.

This change may be temporary (a full healing diet usually takes 1-3 years), or you may decide to kick the grain habit forever!

Grain-Free Meal

This week, your challenge is to eat one meal every day with no grains or seeds in it. Make that meal homemade, organic if possible, and try to stay away from processed foods.


  1. Don’t make this the main meal of the day if you’re not used to eating grain-free.
  2. Choose good quality meats and fats.
  3. Make sure to include adequate fat to give you energy and to feel satisfied at the end of the meal.
  4. Eat starchy foods like potatoes if you feel something is missing during the transition, and if you are very active.
  5. If a full meal is too big of a step, make it a grain-free snack instead.

Why Grain-Free?

Seeds, including grains, are funny little things. They are packed with nutrients, fiber, and can provide a lot of energy.

They are also filled with anti-nutrients that cause inflammation and rob our bodies of vital minerals like magnesium. Extensive processing is required to reduce these anti-nutrients.

The fiber that grains contain is damaging to an already impaired digestive system, and eating them regularly can dampen digestive fire. The very thing we’re trying to build back up in a healing diet.

It’s estimated that at least 80% of our immune system is located in the gut, or GI tract, so it’s not wonder that most of our illnesses stem from gut issues.

We will expand on the anti-nutrient issues with grains, seeds, and nuts when we go fully grain-free. For now, just know they can be bad news when trying to heal from any chronic illness.

Foods to Avoid (alphabetical)

Amaranth, buckwheat, chia seeds, corn (maize), flax seeds, millet, oats (oatmeal), quinoa, rice, rye, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, sorghum, teff, wheat [einkorn, farro, kamut, spelt, triticale], and wild rice.

Bread, cereal, couscous, crackers, flour, granola, gravy, pastas, pitas, pretzels, popcorn, tortillas. This is not a comprehensive list and care must be taken to read labels on processed foods. Making a meal from scratch and with whole foods will save you grief and time reading labels and trying to remember what all the grain products are.

If I forgot one, share it in the comments!

Meal Ideas

Healing Food Allergies and Chronic Illnesses: Baby Step # 7 |One Grain-Free Meal|

  • Beef Stew (without added flour to
  • thicken gravy, can use tapioca starch/cassava flour in place of flour)
  • Chili (over baked or mashed potatoes if extra starch needed)
  • Grilled steak with roasted potatoes and sautéed green beans
  • Roasted chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and salad
  • Beef roast with assorted roasted vegetables
  • Bun-less hamburgers with a mountain of extras – tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, avocado, sour cream, salsa, cheese (if you eat it; no cheese substitutes!), mushrooms
  • Eggs with sausage or bacon and berries
  • Smoothie – possible ingredients: whole grass-fed milk or milk alternative like coconut milk, yogurt, milk kefir, ice, fruit – avocado, banana, berries; note – frozen bananas and avocados are a great thickener and dairy alternative, just add water to thin as needed.

Snack Ideas

Final Notes

Don’t get in the habit of replacing your grain-filled goodies with grain-free knock offs. The substitutes aren’t healing foods and will set your progress back or can even prevent it from starting. Those foods should be reserved for occasional treats and special occasions.

It also defeats the purpose of learning to eat for your best health. Coffee and a grain-free muffin for breakfast isn’t much of an improvement on coffee and a wheat flour muffin.

Now get out there and enjoy some fantastic food!

Photo Credit: Patrick Hoesly, Jennifer Nervo


Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

6 thoughts on “Healing Food Allergies and Chronic Illnesses: Baby Step # 7 |One Grain-Free Meal|”

  • This is the hardest part for me to process. Recently I added chia and flax into my families diet for the extra nutrients/fat/amino acids, etc. It’s so hard to figure out the ‘right’ thing to do. I keep on adding stufff I think is going to be goid then find out it’s not and feel so defeated! (Soy, agave syrup, etc. over the yrs)

    • Oh, another big one is sunflower seed butter! My 7 y/o is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts so she gets sunbutter sandwiches every day. 🙁

    • I’ve gone through the exact same process over the years. I would think of it as healing in stages. I consider agave and soy to be leaps and bounds above high fructose corn syrup (or “corn sugar” as they’re calling it now) and fast food. They may not the most ideal of foods, but they’re way better for you than frozen, packaged diet dinners. I’d say you’re on the right track!

      I think adding in the seeds (preferably sprouted) once or twice a week should be fine. Focus on improving digestion, and you won’t need to reach as far or wide for good food choices. If you can properly break down and absorb the nutrients in everything you eat, then you’ll notice a big difference without reaching for superfoods (and give your pocketbook a break in the process).

  • So how do you get the nutrients that grains have if you don’t eat grains. And it’s even more challenging when your nursing. I have to nourish my baby. So how do I do that?

    • There are no nutrients exclusive to grains. You can search whfoods.com for other food sources of the nutrients you are looking for and consume larger amounts of those foods. Eating a wider variety of food will help to ‘fill in the blanks’ that many of us deal with when eating a diet of only a few foods. Grain-free diets are temporary for some as they heal and a life-long way of life for others. It’s all based on bioindividuality and how you feel eating different foods.

Share Your Thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.