No, it’s not just a gluten-free diet.
No, it’s not just a wheat-free diet.
No, it’s not a low carbohydrate diet.
Then what is a grain free diet?
It is an eating plan free from ALL grains including wheat, rice, corn, oats, barley, rye, millet, and spelt.
You may be wondering why in the world you would try this way of eating as it seems so restrictive. Not only are there wonderful health benefits, there is actually quite a bit of food you can eat on this diet! Let me explain.
Here are the top 4 reasons you may want to consider eating a grain free diet:
1. Curb Your Food Addiction. Eating foods that are high on the glycemic index (grain foods) is associated with an addictive response. No wonder you can’t stop at just one basket of warm tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant!
Yet, eating foods that are low on the glycemic index (protein rich food, vegetables) help protect you from food addictions. If you feel like you just can’t stop craving unhealthful foods, a grain-free diet may be helpful in empowering you to break the cycle.
2. Support Your Heart Health
There is some evidence that eliminating grains can help lower cholesterol, LDL (not-so-good cholesterol), and triglyceride levels.
3. Improve Your Mental Health
A diet low or free from grains has been linked to improving symptoms of epilepsy, anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, and autism spectrum disorder.
4. Improve Your Leaky Gut and Inflammation
Gluten and wheat products may be connected to the development of leaky gut syndrome. Therefore, eating grain-free may help improve food sensitivities, thyroid problems, fatigue, headaches, skin issues, and weight gain.
If you are wondering if you may be a candidate for trying a grain-free diet, a good place to start would be booking an appointment with one of our providers to undergo some integrative testing to understand more about your body.
If these health benefits sound amazing to you and you desire to keep pursuing your best health, I recommend focusing not on what you can’t eat, but what you CAN eat.
Here is a list of foods you can enjoy:
- Any kind of meat – grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, pasture-raised, organic poultry, lamb, wild meats (elk, bison), veal, pork
- Pasture-raised, organic eggs
- Nuts, seeds
- Lentils, beans
- Dairy – organic yogurt, milk, cheese
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin
- Vegetables except corn (technically a grain food)
- Quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat in small quantities
- Sugar – enjoy a little sugar in your coffee or honey in your yogurt, just limit to 25 grams/day
If you know you want to try eating grain-free, here is a few tips on how to get started:
- Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where all the fresh, whole foods are located. Packaged and processed foods, which most all contain some type of grain food) are in the center aisles so best to limit.
- Focus on eating protein foods, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and avocados.
- Try using vegetables as substitutes for rice and noodles. Here are 2 awesome recipes to try:
*Note: if you don’t want to make your own cauliflower rice or vegetable noodles, many grocery stores now carry cauliflower rice (fresh and frozen), zucchini noodles, and sweet potato noodles.
If you want further help in how to implement this diet, schedule an appointment with me (Ginny Streib RD, LD, CSSD). We can come up with a specific plan just for you based on your lifestyle and food preferences.
|Ginny Streib is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Health and Wellness Coach who joined CentreSpring MD + Peds in late 2016 to further her passion for leading people to experience the fullness of life and live out their mission.|
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit with Ginny Streib.