A friend of mine sent my a Facebook message not too long ago after I posted a comment on this article. I understand that for a lot of people the idea of a grain-free diet seems completely foreign based on everything we have been taught our entire lives. We’ve been told, starting in grade school when we learned about the food pyramid (don’t even get me started on what a stupid idea that is), that our bodies “need” carbohydrates for fuel. And yes, I suppose that is true if I were still a competitive swimmer or if I was planning on running a marathon. However, I can get plenty of energy to make it through an average day from other sources such as fruits, veggies, nuts and (GASP) fat!
Why have I suddenly come to this realization? If you may recall, I was very ill a couple of months ago. I felt like there were knots in my stomach, I would get full easily but then be hungry again an hour later and I was constantly nauseated. After a trip to both the urgent care and my GP, I was diagnosed with gastritis, given Nexium and told to be careful with my consumption of greasy, fatty and acidic foods. Cool. I did and I felt better for the most part, but there were still some days when I felt disgusting and bloated and crampy no matter what I did. So, after paying attention to my body and what I had been eating, I noticed that those days were the ones where I consumed a lot of bread. Cereal for breakfast, sandwich at lunch, that sort of thing.
I cut out gluten and I instantly felt better. In fact, if I had a single slice of bread for a snack (usually towards the end of the week when I had run out of all the noshing food I had bought), I would get that nasty cramped feeling again. Further investigation into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, led me to the conclusion that it would be better for me to cut all (or as many as possible – because I sure do love quinoa) from my diet. Research has shown that by eliminating complex carbohydrates, which are difficult for your system to digest and therefore cause bacteria to build up in your intestines, symptoms of many gastrointestinal diseases (including celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and IBS) can be decreased.
Cutting out carbs does not mean eating exclusively fatty meat. The reason why low-card diets so frequently fail is that people don’t eat fruits and veggies and nuts. People think that it is a free pass to eat as many bun-less cheeseburgers as they want. But no. As with any diet, the key is moderation. For example, today I’ve eaten gluten-free waffles (yes carbs, but I bought them and I sure as shit am not going to waste my money by not eating them) with berries. For lunch I’m having homemade tuna salad with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers on a bed of spinach and then for dinner I’m making stuffed zucchini cheeseburger boats with some freshly ground (yesterday) 93% lean sirloin. Look at what I’m eating. Low in carbs, mostly fruits and veggies with a bit of lean protein and some cheese (I love cheese!) thrown in. That is how it should be done.
As for cost? I know a lot of people believe that eating organic and grain-free can be prohibitively expensive – I used to be one of them – but a little bit of extra planning can go a long way. For myself and the husband (since Lorelei is not eating big people food yet), I spent a mere $50 so far this week. Although that doesn’t include the large sum I shelled out for almond flour on-line, but let’s not talk about that right now. That fifty dollars bought me bacon, eggs, tons of veggies and fruits and freshly ground meat. All of those things were either organic (from TJ’s) or locally grown from the Sappington Farmer’s Market. It is all about buying local and buying in season. And buying with a plan. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a menu plan to avoid impulse purchases and food spoiling before it can be used.
I didn’t choose this diet because I want to lose weight. I don’t really care about that. I am fine with what the scale says now and although I’m on the high end for a person of my height, I don’t really mind. I want to feel good. I want to wake up in the morning and have energy to make it through the day. I want to not constantly feel sick. It’s my choice and I’m dragging the husband along with me, but I would not force it on anyone else. Do your own research and make your own decisions.
Want to learn more?
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan – the book that really got me thinking
- Elana’s Pantry – great gluten-free recipes. Also check out her book
- Grain-Free Gourmet – my new cookbook bible