Step Five Get off the Wheat Wagon
I know you are used to seeing whole grains as a healthy staple, for years it was the foundation of the USDA's Food Pyramid. The new USDA graphic is virtually useless. The old recommendation of 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta, except for giving us a Wheat Belly has given us little to no benefit. Rates of obesity and diabetes continue to rise. Back in 2003, I read a book on eliminating grains while doing some research about learning disorders and how they related to the diet. Over a decade later, there are hundreds, if not thousands of books written on the subject.
What's wrong with wheat you may be asking? I know, wheat is an ancient tradition, even Jesus broke bread. Wheat flour has been hybridized and industrialized to the point of being light years from the original grain. Basically an ancient staple is now considered junk food, thanks to the food industry.
Many people are discovering they have Celiac disease, however that is only one of several autoimmune disorders that can be significantly improved by avoiding grains. Others include Hashimoto's disease, heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimers. The reason for this is because grains and sugars are inherently pro-inflammatory and will worsen any condition that has chronic inflammation at its root.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “about 75-80 percent of ALL people benefit from avoiding grains, even whole sprouted grains, whether you have a gluten intolerance or not. The ONLY carbohydrates your body really needs are vegetable carbs. All sugar/fructose and all grains, including the “healthful” ones, will tend to raise your insulin levels, which is a detriment to your health.”(1)
It's time to take matters into your own hands. Looking at the recent century, you can see that as grain consumption has increased so have chronic diseases. Fertility rates are on the decline as well. What does all this have to do with wheat? Well, recent studies are starting to reveal that grains are not all that healthy after all. Gluten sensitivity is much more common than celiac disease, also leading to multiple adverse effects. However, there is no clear way of diagnosing it yet
Plenty of books have been written on this subject, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. I recommend several books in my Amazon Bookstore, but a great place to get started would be to read Danielle Walker's Against All Grain. Take note; it is thought among experts that wheat based products are right behind sugar when it comes to food addictions.
Trouble hopping off the wheat wagon? In the beginning if you have a hard time giving up your bread, you could try to replace wheat and hybridized grains with einkorn, sprouted and ancient grains. If you have digestive problems or suffer some of the classic autoimmune reactions you might want to think about the fact that grains may be your problem.
Many times we have symptoms even though we are not aware of a specific illness, we simply just don't feel good. I did this for a while, and sometimes I do still allow my children to have some of these grains. However, the difference in how I feel when I forgo grains is worth the momentary angst I feel when I choose to turn down baked goods.
Now, don't be one of those folks who run out and start buying everything labeled “gluten free”. Simply being gluten free does not make a packaged, processed food healthy! Many, if not most, gluten free products you see on the supermarket shelf still have other ingredients you will want to avoid to achieve superior health, such as sugar, hydrogenated oils, and simple carbohydrates.
Bottom line, don't start trying to replace everything you currently eat that is full of wheat with “gluten free” replacement products. It's just not healthy! Read the labels. That's all you need to do to know if you should include a product in your diet. If there's a list of ingredients, probably best to leave it on the shelf.
Find lots of gluten free ideas: Follow ThatOrganicMom's board Gluten Free on Pinterest.
Focus on replacing the grain portion of your plate with more vegetables. Include lots of them and try new ones as often as you can! If you really are craving spaghetti, try quinoa pasta. It's even available at Trader Joe's. I've seen black bean pasta at Costco. Just check the ingredient list. Any type of gluten free pasta should only have a couple of ingredients at most. If you do eat these items, make it a rare treat and limit yourself to less than a cup at a time.
Other suitable carb replacements are brown rice, sweet potato, almond flour, coconut flour, and chickpea flour. I don't use many corn based replacement products as because corn gluten behaves like wheat gluten, and also because unless it is organic, many corn products are genetically engineered.
It can't hurt to go wheat free or even gluten free for a month to see how you feel. Slowly add the wheat back in to see how you tolerate it. This is a great way to see if you have a gluten sensitivity. If you find you can tolerate the ancient grains or even sprouted grain, you might consider grinding your own wheat or being extremely selective about the type of grains you use. Personally, I find it easier to just do without them, but on the occasion that I need to bake a cake or special meal, I go back in time and bake like it's 1869.
You can grab my Reducing Grains Guide here!
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