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