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Can You Switch to a Grain-Free Diet Without Being a Health Nut?
Health nuts wake up at 5 am to do yoga and tend to their kale garden. Normal people add extra sugar to their fruit loops, and like their doughnuts dipped in muffins.
But normal people can make this extreme diet change - I know from personal experience.
My story: switching to a grain free diet cured my IBS
I've always experienced mild irritable bowel syndrome. I won't go into the details but let's just say my guts were mildly painful and often bloated, I had to spend way too much time on the throne, and I avoided social situations due to discomfort. In my early 30's the symptoms seemed to worsen.
I was raised on a typical North American diet - pancakes, cereal, thick sandwiches, mountains of pasta. A naturopath suggested a grain free diet, and after thinking about it for several years I finally decided to try it.
Fast forward a few years - after many false starts, I've eliminated grains from my diet, without sacrificing taste. And I'm very, very glad I did - the irritable bowel symptoms which I'd experienced lifelong are now gone. Plus, I've discovered a number of other positive changes in my body, such as not getting sleepy in the afternoons, losing belly fat without trying, and seeing dramatic improvements in eczema I used to get on my hands.
I wrote this guide to help anyone else who desires the benefits of a grain free diet but is intimidated by the perceived difficulty of the switch (basically everyone).
Even normal people can switch to a grain free diet sustainably by following these steps:
Step 1: Identify your cravings and comfort foods
We all have foods that are satisfying. We tend to know these foods well, since we've made them a million times, and this make these meals our go tos.
Make a list of your go to comfort foods - the foods that you make when it's already 6:00 and you need a quick meal that you know will satisfy you. Be honest - if you know that you crave pastry with filling in the morning, write that down. If you know that at dinner time you crave the feeling of being "full", write that down.
Bookmark 14 grain free recipes
Step 2: Bookmark 14 grain free recipes that look delicious and will satisfy your cravings
The 14 recipes should include:
- 3 breakfast recipes
- 3 lunch recipes (including lunch you can take to work)
- 3 dinner recipes
- 2 snack recipes
- 2 dessert recipes
Remember to look for recipes that satisfy your cravings - just without grains.
Modern kitchen tools give back time in your day
Consider acquiring some new kitchen tools that unlock new recipes
As a tradesperson fills their toolbox with time saving tools, When you start your grain free diet, equip yourself with simple kitchen tools that unlock new recipes and save time.
Below are some that I have purchased on Amazon Prime within the past year, and have now become tools I reach for on an almost daily basis. The silicone muffin pan is a great timesaver because it does not need to be greased before filling the cups with batter. The Instant pot pressure cooker is a wonderful device with a ton of uses - it can replace a number of other kitchen appliances and can cook many things faster, and better than traditional methods.
Silicone Jumbo Muffin Pan Food Safe
Instant Pot Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker
Step 3: The cathartic purge - get the grains out of the house
This is the fun step. This is where you actually begin. Get a cardboard box. No, get two. Possibly three.
Fill the box with any foods currently in your cupboards that contain grains. Then get the boxes out of your house. Some ideas for how best to dispose of the grain filled foods:
- Give them to good will
- Have a bonfire
- Give them to someone you don't like
- Compost them
Step 4: Acquire the ingredients you'll need for the 12 recipes at your local grocery store - and use Amazon Prime for any specialty ingredients
Go through the 12 recipes you selected, and make a shopping list of ingredients you'll need.
The key with your shopping list is, don't go out of your way, and don't change where you normally shop. Having to go far out of your way will most likely not be a sustainable change.
I recommend getting everything you can at your normal grocery store or farmers market, and using Amazon Prime to order anything that your local grocery store doesn't have.
Amazon has affordable prices on specialty ingredients such as grain free flours, and 2 day shipping is free on every Amazon Prime item if you have an Amazon Prime membership. Amazon Prime costs $99 / year, or $10.99 / month, and the first month is free as a no obligation trial.
My favourite go to grain free flour is Bob's Red Mill high protein Garbanzo bean flour (aka chickpea flour), which is priced well on Amazon:
Garbanzo bean flour - high in protein and fiber
Final Tips on how to go grain free
- Give yourself time in your schedule to cook and research
- Don't beat yourself up if you fail - it doesn't mean you're destined to fail. Just reset.
- It will be hard at first, because there will be so many new things to learn. But remember that each new recipe you learn is a tool in your grain free toolbox.
- Doing food prep one day a week saves a lot of time