Going grain-free is certainly not as difficult at it may seem. I presented this as a challenge a few weeks ago and I had over 200 people join me on a one week immersion into grain-free eating and living. The week just wrapped up and it was amazing! Everyone was able to get through the 7 days without breaking a sweat. Some may have fallen off the wagon here and there but the good news is that there are no rules. There is a learning curve when it comes to trying something new and you have to just do the best you can with the resources that you have. Life throws us curve balls and doesn’t always allow for challenges or transformations to happen all at once – that is unrealistic. I used 7 days as a baseline and way to get started, not as a beginning and an end. My goal was to make things easy for everyone. So I outlined approachable steps to take in oder to remove grains from the diet and what to use instead as a substitute or alternative.
Each day of the challenge was filled with recipes and ideas to make this as fun and delicious as possible. By going through all the different meals during the day and addressing some FAQ’s I think this was a really well rounded immersion to kickoff grain-free eating. I have captured what took place during the week and I have outlined it below. Just because that week is over, it doesn’t mean it can’t be replicated at any time. Now you have the chance to be guided at least for 7 days, on how to go grain-free!
Before we start, I ask that you have listen to this episode about Going-Grain Free on The Ultimate Health Podcast.
Day 1: GETTING STARTED
You are going to want to get things organized and begin to understand the different aspects of what it looks like to eat grain-free. This is not the same as gluten-free! This might mean heading to the grocery store or ordering some new products online. Don’t worry if you don’t have everything you need, just do the best you can and add things in as you go along.
Whether you already have an idea of what is considered grain-free or not this resource and list is going to be super helpful. Be sure to scroll down to Foods and flours that are grain-free. In addition, you are also going to want to check this one out too! Don’t forget about this shopping list which should also help to set you up initially.
Now let’s get into the WHY!
Why is eating grain-free so beneficial? Just like with everything these days, it comes down to improving gut health. Whether you have an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s (such as myself), celiac, arthritis, a skin such as eczema or psoriasis or just challenged digestion, low energy or poor sleep going grain-free is going to benefit you.
Even if none of these conditions are relevant to you, your gut and your brain are going to benefit immensely. Grains have lectins, and other complex components that make it difficult for your body to fully digest them. Not only that but they have the potential to cause inflammation and aggravate the gut lining, leading to “leaky gut”. Once this occurs and food particles are spread into your blood stream, this can ultimately affect your brain and it’s basic processes.
Now this doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat grains again or find ways to consume modified, fermented or sprouted versions but I would highly recommend removing them for 1 week up to 21 days to see a difference. Which you will! You will likely notice that digestion improves (less bloating and gas), skin conditions can clear up, focus, energy and sleep are improved and for some, less cravings for sugar or carbohydrates.
I highly recommend you listen to this episode with Dr. Perlmutter, the author of Grain Brain as well as this episode Dr William Davis author of Wheat Belly. In addition this conversation with Datis Kharrazian which specifically discuss the impact of gluten/grains on brain health.
Need to start stocking up? Here are some resources to do some online shopping to get hooked up right away with foods to support your new way of eating.
Raw Elements (Canada Only) use the code TUHP at checkout.
Day 2: BREAKFAST
Luckily there are also lots of breakfast options in A Real Treat like the turmeric and cacao elixir, sweet potato blueberry muffins and strawberry crumble (make it apple this season) and both pancake recipes – so you should be set.
Also, watch me make a Golden Vanilla Elixir, this is by far one of my favourite breakfasts during the cooler months. Be sure to add in extra collagen or coconut milk to make it more filling!
Other Breakfast Ideas
- Grain-Free Muffins with nut butter
- Fruit crumble with plain unsweetened coconut yogurt
- Chia soaked with almond milk or coconut milk with all your fave superfoods or fruit (you can even add in protein powder or collagen). To make the perfect chia gel, combine 1/4 cup chia with 1-2 cups water and allow to soak for several hours. When it’s time to serve, add in some coconut or almond milk to thin it out and add your toppings!
- Coconut yogurt with grain-free granola and fresh fruit
- Eggs and bacon or grass fed sausages (if you are a savoury person and omnivore)
- Spaghetti squash with almond milk and dried fruit
- Avocado smashed on grain-free toast (btw you’ve got to try Legit Bread Co)
- Elixirs of course– check out this post to get some more ideas on how to build yourself a delicious elixir at home!
- Leftover chicken thighs or cooked salmon with greens and avocado
- Sweet potato toast (literally slices of roasted sweet potatoes) with almond butter and blueberries
BUT you’ve also gotta try these recipes from these amazing experts…
- Matcha Latte – Rachel Bies Nutrition
- Coconut Flour Banana Muffins – Joyous Health
- Grain Free Wild Blueberry Muffins – Holistic Wellness
- Coco No Oat Granola – Holistic Wellness
- Gluten Free Crepes –Holistic Wellness
- Coconut Flour Apple Cinnamon Muffins– Wellness Mama
- Apple Cinnamon Waffles– Beyond the Bite
Day 3: LUNCH TIME
Today we are talking LUNCH IDEAS!
If you are not having a salad or left overs from last night, I think the biggest area of challenge for people is finding options for when it comes to sandwiches, buns and wraps.
So here you are going to get some ideas on how to make some homemade breads or what to use instead! Below are recipes to make some of your own homemade breads but you can also use collard greens (which I recommend blanching, or lettuce for wraps).
Store bought grain-free wraps: Coconut wraps, siete wraps, Raw wraps are all options that you can get some at Thrive Market (for US peeps only) www.ultimatehealthpodcast.com/thrivemarket
For my fellow Canadians – you can get coconut wraps from www.rawelements.ca (use code TUHP) at checkout or you can also order from Switch Grocery and get Legitbread Co which is an amazing GF bread mix for home baking.
Here are some lunch style recipes from amazing experts:
- Cassava Based Naan From Cotter and Crunch
- Grain-Free Almond Bread – From Meghan Telpner
- Everything Free Bread – Ricki Heller
- Pea and Spinach Hummus – Going Grainless
- How to build a lunch salad – Marni Wasserman
- Warm Kale Salad with Pine Nuts – Veggie and the Beast Feast
Day 4: DINNER
- Pasta: chickpea pasta, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, spiralled sweet potato noodles, miracle noodles (shirataki), kelp noodles
- Rice: cauliflower rice, mashed potato or sweet potato, cooked yucca (cassava), roasted veggies, cooked jack-fruit
- Pizza/Taco: Siete wraps, Live organic green wraps, Wrawps (raw wraps) collards
- Turkey Lettuce Wraps – Gluten FreeDom
- Lemongrass Coconut Soup – Meghan Telpner
- GF Pizza Crust – Joyous Health
- Cauliflower Rice – Holistic Wellness
- Cauliflower Risotto – Ruled me
- Evolving Green Burger – Marni Wasserman
- Soups and stews are also a great idea for dinner especially since the fall/winter season is upon us
Day 5: SNACKS
Today is all about snacks. Sometimes we just need something in between meals to keep us going. However it’s about choosing healthy, wholesome snacks rather than ending up at the donut shop or a vending machine out of convenience. Plan ahead and have some easy to grab goodies ready to go at home – ones that you can make without an oven or grab on the go. Both sweet and savoury!
Of course my book A Real Treat, which you have a copy of is loaded with some great options which are mostly sweet.
- New age cherry blasters
- Liquid halvah
- Coconut craving buster
- Raw frozen carob cookies
- Hot chocolate chaga latte
- Carob cherry pudding
* don’t forget the in a pinch dessert ideas at the back of the book!
However if you are after something savoury:
- Salted dark chocolate
- 100% dark chocolate with coconut butter
- Dried Seaweed
- Nuts and seeds or trail mix (add in cacao, goji berries, mulberries or goldenberries)
- Cassava chips (siete) and guacamole
- Plantains – homemade or store-bought
- Sweet potato chips, Jacksons Honest (Thrive Market has these)
- Kale chip
- Hummus + cut up veggies
- Avocado with sea salt
- Macademia nuts
- Clean Jerky (epic bars or wilde bars)
Other recipe ideas:
Chocolate Fatties – Jenn Pike
Day 6: BAKING
Today is all about baking and how to bake with grain-free flours instead of wheat based or even gluten-free grain based flours. As you know, a real treat gives you a good idea on how to do this. You are also going to get so many more recipes today which I will post in the comments below so they are all in one place. (Also refer back to the original resource on day one to see difference between gluten-free and grain-free) These recipes in A Real Treat should give you a great head start with a variety of baked goodies:
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
- Thumbprint Cookies
- Double Banana Bread
- Fudge Brownies
- Sweet Potato Blueberry Muffins
However, I know the question is, what if I don’t have certain flours on hand? Well as I am seeing from your posts all week some of you are being creative and finding alternatives. Just know that even if a recipe calls for a certain flour, you can sub in any other grain-free flour. Sometimes a little experimenting may have to happen….Anytime Cassava is used you can use almond flour, tapioca or arrowroot powder instead.
This day is all about getting what you need from some brands and companies that are out there making grain-free eating and living very easy! At this point you are likely going to want to continue eating grain-free because you will be feeling so good. Therefore, I want to make sure you all get a chance to access the goodies that you need from some of the amazing resources available to you! Not to mention you will be getting special and exclusive discounts on all of the below.
Thrive Market – Thrive Market has it all. Everything you need to set your kitchen up with quality food, supplements and specialty items. You will get 20-50% off of all items + 25% + free shipping (US ONLY)
Raw Elements (Canadian Resource) Lakanto, Medicinal Mushroom, Chocolate Sunwarrior etc use code TUHP to save 10%
Perfect Keto Ketones They carry everything from ketones, MCT Oil Powder + Collagen and their new KETO BARS which are totally grain-free, low carb and high fat
Kettle and Fire Bone Broth for gut healing goodness. If you don’t want to make it yourself, this company will delivery high quality BB to your door! (US only)
Switch Grocery Here you can get cassava flour, medicinal mushrooms, legit bread co (baking bread) + other paleo and keto friendly foods.
Sproos Collagen a Canadian source for amazing clean bovine and marine collagen. They also have packets to go that you can add to your water for a healthy protein boost.
Organifi This is a resource for high quality green juice powder, red berry powder and a night time turmeric powder. Be sure and use the code “ultimatehealth” at checkout to get 20% off your order!
Sunwarrior Get yourself hooked up with the Warrior Blend plant-based protein it is totally grain-free! Save 20% on our order when you check out through this link!
If you feel like you need some group support or want to be in contact with others like minded, be sure to join The Ultimate Health Community! See you in there 🙂
Marni – @marniwasserman
Photo credit for featured image is by Doris Romano.