Have you gone grain free or are you considering going grain free? Maybe you have friends or family members who are going grain free. You’ve probably heard of the paleo or primal diet and you might know already that those are grain-free ways of life. What’s the big deal about grains?
Grains have only been a part of the human diet for about 10000 years. That’s not a very long time in the course of human evolution. Simply put, we were not made to easily digest grains. However, if you are a follower of a traditional, Weston A. Price diet, like myself, you know that there are ways to prepare grains that make them easier to digest. While I believe in properly preparing grains before consumption, I still limit my intake of grains for many reasons.
10 Reasons To Go Grain Free
1. Grains make you fat.
Well, there ya go! Are you struggling to lose weight while on a diet that is heavy in whole grains? Try eliminating grains from your diet. See, when we eat grains they are turned to glucose in our bodies. That’s okay if you need quick energy to, say, perform an athletic feat. But otherwise, the excess glucose is stored as fat.
2. Grains are lower in fiber than fruits and vegetables.
I bet you think we need grains in order to get our daily dose of fiber. The truth is that fruits and veggies have more fiber than whole grains. Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking that Lucky Charms are now a healthy breakfast for the kiddos because they are made with whole grain.
3. Today’s wheat is different from ancient wheat.
I’m sure you’ve heard of someone who is gluten intolerant by now. If not, well . . . Hi! I’m Allison and I’m gluten-intolerant. Why do so many people struggle to digest gluten? There are a host of reasons, including a lack of beneficial gut bacteria, but another reason is that today’s wheat hybrids are harder to digest than ancient wheat. The wheat we have today is not the staff of life that Jesus and his 12 best buds ate just 2000 years ago. Find out more about that here.
4. Grains don’t want to be eaten!
It’s true. They are self-protective little buggers. Grains contain a substance call phytic acid. Phytic acid binds with nutrients in our digestive system and holds them hostage, disallowing these important nutrients from being absorbed by the body. Of course, soaking, sprouting and souring can help to reduce the amount of phytic acid in grains, but those methods are time consuming and are not often used in our kitchens today. (Find out more about how to cook grains properly.)
5. Grains fill you up, but leave you wanting more.
While adding a side of grains can help to fill hungry tummies, grains (and carbs in general) are digested more rapidly by the body. This means that eating cereal or toast for breakfast can leave you hungry sooner than a breakfast of bacon and eggs. If you want your meals to have staying power, eat more fat and protein.
In addition, some people (myself included) find that eating grains leaves them wanting more grains. If I go without grains for a week, my cravings for grain and for sugar cease. When I do eat grains, it never fails to switch on my craving for sweets and more grains.
6. Grains replace more nutrient-dense foods.
If you eat grains as a snack, you’re missing an opportunity to nourish your body with more nutrient-dense foods such as raw milk, cheese, vegetables, fats or meats. Any time you choose grains–especially those not served with a healthy saturated or monounsaturated fat–you are settling for a less nutrient dense option. When you do eat grains, be sure that they are served with fat, which makes them easier to digest.
7. Grains are ruining our rich soils.
Modern grains are often grown as mono-crops and are not properly rotated in order to preserve soil quality. While this keeps grains at a more economical price, we eventually pay for it when farmers must add synthetic fertilizers to the soil in order to grow new crops. This mass production of grains is depleting our soils. The mass production of grains occurs because of our mass consumption of grains.
8. Grains taste awful.
Let’s get honest for a moment. Have you ever eaten plain oatmeal? I have tried and it’s just not good. Now, I certainly don’t mind adding a heaping of butter to my toast, or a pile of lovely cream cheese to my bagel. The problem happens when we must add sugar in order to choke down grain. I don’t want oatmeal without sweetener. I prefer my cereal to be at least lightly sweetened, as well. Grains are often a conduit for added refined sugar in our diet.
9. Grains are not necessary to consume for optimal health.
Although the government daily food recommendations would have us believe exactly the opposite, grains are not a necessary part of the diet in order to achieve and maintain optimal health. In some cases, they can diminish your wellness.
It is much more important to include nutrient dense foods such as meat, vegetables, fruits and saturated fats in your diet if you want to achieve better health.
10. Properly prepared grains are time-consuming to make and difficult to find already made.
Now, it’s true that eating properly prepared grains makes them more digestible and allows for the nutrients contained within the grain to be more available. However, it is hard to find properly soaked, sprouted or soured grains in a grocery store.
I have found some acceptable sprouted grain products at my local health food store, but soaked and properly soured grains are much harder to come by. Properly preparing grains yourself is time consuming (although worth it!) and many of us simply don’t have the time to spare. In that case it’s easier to simply go without grains.