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Lessons learnt about being grain free

While I have been grain-free alongside my husband for over a decade, I always felt that I sat outside of the typical reasons for being grain free – namely, dealing with auto-immune disease or chronic illness.  As a result of that, and as is fairly evident from the sugar laden recipes on this website, my version of grain free for myself was as long as it technically doesn’t contain a grain, I would eat any processed, refined, manufactured, packaged and sugar laden product and call it food.  I have throughout the years regularly gone on “health kicks” where I removed sugar and dairy from my diet, but inevitably the call of the sugar and carbs would become too strong, and I would fall face first into a plate of grain free pizza dough followed my large amounts of chocolate and ice cream.  Of course, a recipe for disaster, how could it not be?

So after the birth of my second child in 2010, my body finally said “that is enough”.  I managed to lose my baby weight by returning to a healthy version of grain-free eating and for a time that was enough to keep the lurking health issues at bay, until by the end of 2012 it all exploded rather spectacularly.  I have been clawing my way back to health since then and only just recently finally feel like my head is above water and I am no longer drowning.  Along the way I learnt some very valuable lessons that I would like to share.

Being “just” grain free is not enough – a total approach requires a return to unprocessed whole foods, a reduction (in my case, total elimination) of refined sugars and foods (including the grain free ones).  Well, duh.

Despite my pendulum swinging approach to healthy eating, I have been told that I have held up pretty well for my particular set of problems, so those bursts of “good” eating were not for nothing, they really did help.  A recent study shows that 8 weeks of healthy eating provides benefits that last a whole year, and I really demonstrate that through my own health history.

Everyone is different, and as unique individuals, one way of eating that works for one person is not always the right path for another – AND THAT IS OK!!  This article by Chris Kresser expreses this beautifully: We are not robots, and rather than fixating on the “rules” of grain free eating, we need to ask ourselves “What is MY optimal diet?”

This website is not a paleo, GAPS or SCD blog, although I do follow many of the philosophies.  I am my own version of grain free, the one that works for me, and my family.  However, there has been a few major changes to my grain free approach and these are the ones that this website shall embrace moving forward:

  • Sugar free – no refined sugar, but also very limited natural sugars, including high sugar fruits, dried fruits and rice malt syrup.  I sometimes bake a cake or treat for my family, but I don’t eat them anymore, and I am 100% better off for it.  There are enough cake and treat recipes on this website to last me a lifetime.  I don’t plan on posting many more.
  • I still use Quinoa, Buckwheat and sometimes Amaranth when cooking for my family.  They can more accurately be described as gluten-free.  I do still post recipes using these, as I have gluten-free friends who love them.