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Grain Free & The Food Pyramid

One of the first things I hear from people (by people I usually mean doctors and traditionally trained mainstream dieticians) minds when I tell them we are grain free is “that must be so unhealthy, you are cutting out AN ENTIRE FOOD GROUP”

Really?  Actually, going grain free is NOT always a low carb eating plan. Many people assume that cutting out grains is “completely cutting out a food group – isn’t that really dangerous and doesn’t it mean that you are going to be malnourished because you don’t eat bread or rice and pasta?”

Well, to see where this idea comes from, lets take a look at the typical modern day food pyramid:

At the
top (eat least):
Fats, Oils and Sweets

Next down, comes Protein
Broken into two main categories
Dairy – Milk, Yoghurt and Cheeses, and
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds

Then come your carbohydrates: Firstly Fruits and Vegetables

and at the very bottom (eat the most of) Grains, Pasta, Rice and Cereals

Now, what is wrong with this picture?

Firstly, by splitting the carbohydrates into two groups – Vegetables/Fruits and Grains it makes it look as if by cutting out the bottom rung, you are committing this huge cardinal error and leaving out “gasp” and entire food group.  Bollocks.   The food pyramid is, was, and always will be a marketing tool, with heavy influence of the very powerful industries producing sugar, meat, dairy and grains.  When this bias/influence is removed, you end up with a food pyramid is that it looks very different to the traditional and generally accepted pyramid above:

At the
top (eat least):
Bad fats, red wine

Fruit and Healthy Fats
(Nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado)

Next down, come all your low GI Carbs
consisting of Beans, Legumes and Whole Grains

Then come protein sources: vegetable protein such as tofu, tempeh
fish, lean animal protein like skinless chicken, lean red meat & low fat dairy

and at the very bottom (eat the most of) vegetables – eating mostly green & above ground

Interesting, huh – firstly, sugars and high GI and processed foods aren’t even included in the food pyramid.  We don’t need them.  It’s that simple.   Next, notice how whole grains are INCLUDED with other complex carbohydrates such as legumes and beans.  So according to THIS pyramid, cutting out grains is NOT cutting out a “gasp” entire food group.  You are not going to get all pale and malnourished by not eating grains – there are LOTS of non-grain sources for Low-GI complex carbohydrates and fibre.  Also, notice that lean, organic protein sources are much further down the food pyramid, and are included together with vegetable protein sources, but NOT included are the high fat protein sources.  And interesting how vegetables are at the bottom – meaning, eat the most of.  Notice also how the main vegetable are not the starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn but above ground and green leafy vegetables.

Eating lots and lots of vegetables, accompanied with lean, organic protein (both animal and vegetable sources), accompanied with whole foods like quinoa, healthy fats and fruit is a healthy diet, period.  End of story.  Living proof of this is recently Jason and I went and had blood tests done – both of us had excellent everything – vitamin and mineral levels, cholesterol normal (despite eating lots and lots of nuts, seeds, eggs, olive oil and coconut oil), we are both at normal healthy weights, look years younger than our age, with clear healthy skin.  This is despite Jason having Crohn’s disease.  We were recently told that despite his severe scarring of his entire small intestine, he has none of the poor absorption and vitamin deficiencies usually seen in patients with Crohn’s.  Also interesting.

Updated 16 June 2018 edited for clarity