Trying to eat grain free


May 3, 2013 by Flora Dawn

I’ve been procrastinating posting about our Paleo diet because I just didn’t know what to say. Today’s post won’t include a recipe, but don’t fret, tomorrow’s post will! Here is the short version of a very long story.

My husband’s health has been rapidly deteriorating over the last few years and he’s been diagnosed with half a dozen autoimmune disorders/conditions. On top of all of that, he is having issues with neuropathy; and with low vitamin levels and osteopenia, one of his neurologists believes that the cause is most likely malnutrition. Obviously not because he is not eating, but because he is not absorbing the nutrients from the food. The neurologist suggested that he try a dairy-free and grain-free diet for three months to see if it might help.

The elimination of dairy is not a new suggestion; we’ve known that many scientist and physicians do believe dairy can be inflammatory. The grain-free thing just sounds wacky to me. Seriously, no grains?

Well, turns out there are several reasons for this one. First, eating gluten-free grains doesn’t always mean truly gluten-free. Several of the well-marketed gluten-free companies don’t even test for gluten. Yep. How nice is that to find out? And then there is the “tested to be less than 20 ppm” claim. Okay, but what if you are using a lot of their products? It’s quite possible that you might be getting quite a bit of gluten.

Also, there is some research (especially in other countries) that suggest grains may cause an autoimmune response in some individuals.

Ultimately, my husband has decided to follow his neurologist’s suggestion and attempt to eat completely grain-free and dairy-free. Basically, we are following a Paleo diet. However, I don’t necessarily believe all grains are horrible for you; he is having serious health issues and we are doing this Paleo experiment out of desperation. I have no agenda. I am not trying to convert gluten-free readers to eat a more restrictive diet. I am simply going to blog our experience trying to adapt to a grain-free diet. We are going to give it three months and then assess the situation.

I know the term Paleo Diet means different things to different authors, bloggers, and scientists. I am using the term to refer to a diet based on meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, and nuts & seeds. No grains, beans, or legumes.  Yep, technically that includes peanuts. No potatoes or processed foods, including vegetable oils and refined sugars.

Some versions of the diet eliminate things like sweet potatoes, sugars, or salt, but we aren’t going that far. I am using raw sugar, maple syrup and honey for sweeteners. And my husband has Addison’s Disease, so a salt-restrictive diet is not advisable. We still eat the beans, like green beans, that are more pod than bean. Basically, I am not a Paleo purist (whatever that might be). I am just doing what makes sense for our situation.

We’ve been eating this way for about 2 weeks now and it’s been quite an adjustment. It’s been frustrating. It’s been expensive. And it’s been enlightening.

We aren’t starving, in fact we’ve enjoyed some really good meals. And tomorrow I’ll start sharing some recipes! It’s definitely not the gluten-free adventure I planned, but that’s life for you  🙂




3 thoughts on “Trying to eat grain free

  1. Lynn says:

    I can’t imagine having to go totally dairy and grain free, but if it helps it will be so worth it. I am glad you are sharing what you are doing. I am sure it will help others.

  2. Ellen says:

    I hope your husband has great success and that you keep sharing. I have problems with grains so I’m ooking forward to your recipes.

    I don’t know if this will help, but if you like mushrooms, I’ve found that I don’t miss the rice with a stir fry if I go heavy on well-cooked mushrooms.

  3. Liz says:

    Hey Flora!

    I have been following your blog since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease two years ago. I love your recipes! You’ve been a life saver at our house! I’ve been reading your last few posts here, and I want you guys to know you’re not alone. I started having problems with my health again in November. I have recently started a program called LEAP. My diet is very restricted as well and essentially Paleo. It is very frustrating, expensive and down right no fun. I feel your guys’ pain and I will be thinking about you and praying for you. I hope your husband starts to feel better really soon, and I hope you’re finding plenty of recipes to try. I can’t wait to continue following your blog, and joining you on the this new adventure. Best of Luck!


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