Monday, October 29, 2012

Keep an open mind about being grain free

Keep an open mind when looking at weight maintenance tools or even ways to better your health.

It was recommended to me to stop eating grains and processed sugar about 10 years ago. I  could not "digest" that information. It turns out it was the right thing to do, I needed both to try it, and spend several months not eating grains to see the health benefits and an "ah-ha!" moment.

Wow! Kicking grains (sugary stuff too) to the curb has really changed up the whole weight maintenance and my overall health. It's unreal how much better I feel, how much better my blood work is from a metabolic & lipid perspective. Joint pain is now gone; eat wheat and ouch!

I know that going grain free is not for everyone, but I'd like to encourage anyone approaching weight maintenance or looking for better health to give it a 30-60 day try. I know I can tolerate some soy and a little bit of rice flour, and even a tiny bit of processed sugar, here and there, but it's the exception and not the rule.

If you try it and start adding back in foods like wheat, rice, soy, etc- it becomes apparent what foods aren't really sitting well with your body.  Had I not gotten wheat free, I would not have learned this lesson and I feel that I'd be right back up there on the scale. I found that dairy makes my sinuses really congested. I can eat dairy, but breathing free is nice, too. My choice. Mostly, I choose dairy free.

Believe me, If I could eat grains/dairy and feel great I would. If you can and you can stay healthy, I applaud you. Lucky!!! But don't feel bad if you can't. Find something that works.

Weight maintenance is a lot more about being wheat free. I work all 12 rules in Refuse to Regain everyday. It's very HARD to maintain a good work-life-weight maintenance balance. Life was much harder being obese, in pain.

Choose your hard. I know that grain free is not the answer to weight maintenance, but I can safely say I struggle a lot less. Keep an open mind. Keep up the good work. We are stronger together.

PS- set down the mini-snickers bar and the candy corn if they are like crack to you!
Otherwise you may end up feeling like this:  No Bueno!!!!   My second year of Halloween abstinence has me hooking into the good feelings that weight loss and maintenance has to offer. I'm worth feeling good. We all are.


  1. I totally agree with you Karen and have learned this over the past year. It was easy for the months I was off grains completely because the cravings were gone. I'm eating whole gains once or twice a week, but that's enough to make me realize I feel better when off them completely. I'm curious about two things - Do you eat oats and do you consider yogurt dairy? (I'll check back to see if you've answered)

    1. Hi Sharon!!! Here's the scoop.

      1. I don't eat oats.
      2. Yes,for me what ever is in yogurt make my nose all congested. :(

      I so badly wanted to have Greek yogurt be part of maintenance. And I used to love oats,too. Many people do a Whole 30 or a 21 day sugar detox. If you are very compliant about it, you can start to bring back in one, single food- say oatmeal. But!!! bring it in and wait 3 days. That's how long it can take for your body to respond to the added in food.

      I know right away- If I trigger unintentionally with wheat. Bloat, wanting to eat my arm off, and migraine the next day. Unpleasant.

      Sometimes, like in the case of some naturally sweet foods- (too many fruits- raisins, paleo treats, etc) and I just feel like I want to eat my arm off. I don't but why trigger myself like that??

      I never did bring oats back on for an experiment. I do know I can tolerate some soy and rice flour (they are both in Medifast Products- not sugar free but the products don't trigger). I've almost weaned myself off the Medifast totally. Just eating fewer sweets these days.

      Anyhoo- hope that answers your question. I particularly like the pain free living. Being able to control that without taking ibuprofen is pretty awesome. I'm sure grain free is no answer for RA, but who knows, it could lessen your symptoms??? Good luck. Ask all the questions you want.

    2. Thanks Karen. Eliminating all wheat except oats, greek yogurt and kiefer has made quite a difference. Still thinking on whether or not I choose to give up the occasional steel cut oats, smoothies, etc.


  2. I read long ago that babies will refuse to eat things that bother them. Like foods that cause GI problems or foods that they are actually allergic to.

    Adults on the other hand, often crave the very foods that bother them.

    I also think adults can cycle thru this thing where they do not feel good and try food after food in an attempt to make them feel better. GI issues and migraines both come to mind.

    I think food allergies and sensitivities have a lot to do with many people challenged by weight issues.

    I also think the easiest way to check for these type of problems is elimination food studies.

    I think the main issue with wheat is not only gluten, but the fact that we don't just eat wheat. We eat wheat processed with all kinds of other things. Those additives can cause problems for a lot of people with sensitive systems.

    I looked up the most common allergy foods:

    Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
    Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
    Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)

    I personally think if one has migraines, GI issues, acne, night sweats, joint pain, allergy/asthma, etc. then they are very smart to eliminate ALL the common allergy foods for a couple months and see what happens.

    Eliminating the likely causes is cheap (and easy if one just does it).

    Several women at my yoga studio, with no extra weight on their bodies, have tried moving to whole foods this year. This meant that they stopped eating wheat because it is processed/has additives. They felt a lot better immediately and lost fullness out of their bellies. It was very interesting to watch as they were like very clean science experiments because there were very few other factors. They noticed a big difference in their GI systems. Like I said - very interesting.

  3. I agree but you said "I know that grain free is not the answer to weight maintenance". I don't agree with this - for me grain free is forever due to my blood sugar spikes. I'm happy to live life without breads etc. I don't use any gluten free substitutes either as these are usually high carb. I'm all about keeping insulin and blood sugar normal :)

    1. Thanks, Lynda. Maybe I should edit my post and say "grain free is not the 100% answer" to weight maintenance. I know I could over eat ( and very once and awhile do) on on grain type of foods. It's emotional eating for sure. But I know that by being trigger free the rest of the time, I can stop myself and recognize what is really driving my urge to eat.

      I've only had a few of those times ( 2 deaths of family members over the last two years). Now I know. I immediately pull out a diet Dr. Pepper and say "screw cancer!!!" I've given up diet soda, except when I'm extremely upset, then I figure it's a safe thing to do. Strange, but it works!!!

      I'm also looking for blood sugar stability. My HA1C was creeping up before I lost weight. My CRP was, too. My blood work looks much better grain free.

  4. I got the book, Wheat Belly, for Christmas and tried going without wheat for a few weeks but I don't think I gave it a fair shot. The only issues I'm having right now are dry eyes and the occasional knee pain if I overdo. I think it's time to re-read that book and try again. I did not eliminate sugar from my diet but I don't eat a lot anyway. I never did quit having oatmeal. Since the holidays are coming up right away, now would be a really good time to try it again. Thanks for the great post.

    1. Hi Caron,

      There is a new book called Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfillippo. It's a great learning tool that tells more about the benefits of grain free that non- biochemical majors can understand. Also, if you are near a barnes and nobel or library, the recipes from Sarah Fragoso are fabulous for family cooking. Good luck. And, thank you.

  5. For me, having fought damned hard to lose a lot of weight (currently over 100lbs), keeping it off is a big driver. My other big driver is my health - now and for the long-term. As a pretty recent convert to low carb (which by it's very nature is pretty much grain free) I can honestly agree that it's a good thing. I feel great on it. I'm waiting to see what effect it has on my hubby's bloods too, and expecting good things from his forthcoming test results. Why did it take me so long!

    1. Hello Deniz. Congrats on your loss!! I hear you on keeping it off and the health. I recently had my blood drawn and had really great blood work. High HDL, low triglycerides, low CRP, lower HA1C. I feel like I dodged type II diabetes and who knows what else.

      I know, I know.... so glad you are feeling great. Hope your husbands' blood work comes out improved. I never would have thought that I would work until I read more about it and experienced it for myself. I tell people I found the fountain of youth. ;)

  6. I'm still a grain eater! Glad that you found that being grain free is working for you! I do focus on healthy grains and try to avoid refined grains and sugar.

  7. Hi Karen! This is slightly off-topic, but when you wrote about your 10,000-steps challenge, it made me wonder what kind of pedometer you use. Is there a brand you recommend, or maybe FitBit? Thanks!

    1. Hi Hils. I use an omicron pedometer from REI. It is cheaper to buy online, but I had some REI credits. I'll do a pedometer blog post soon.

    2. Thank you, Karen.
      P.S. I went to a Practical Paleo Q&A and book signing this weekend! After you recommended Diane Sanfilippo's materials, I went to her website and totally lucked out, because she happened to be passing through my area.

    3. Awesome!!! So envious. She was in my area a few weeks ago and I missed it. I love those get togethers. I did an Everyday Paleo seminar early this year.So fun to be around others on the same path. We all had slightly different goals or health concerns. Great to be in community with them.

      Glad you got to go, and got your book signed. Very cool!!