Healthy Eating Series: “A Grain Free Diet”
by Guest Author: Mariana Kapusinski
As a 34 year old mother of three, looks aren’t everything. What is important is feeling good, being “healthy,” and okay yes, losing a few pounds wouldn’t hurt either. My unintended quest for these three facets of a woman’s life began in June 2012.
My oldest child was almost 6, my middle child was 4, and my youngest was almost a year old. It was time to take control of my body again and get to work. My Weight Watcher days were long gone and that plan simply wasn’t working anymore.
I decided to cut grains (wheat, rice, oatmeal, cornmeal etc.) out of my diet to see if it would help with weight loss as well as my dermagraphism (itchy skin and hives). Since that change 13 months ago I have lost 47 pounds, I have more energy and my appetite has decreased. My dermagraphism, although not completely gone, is markedly improved.
My decision to go grain free started when a friend told me about her success with this lifestyle. I did quite a bit of research and found some interesting facts about grains that I didn’t know before. For example, they are high in phytic acid which binds up minerals and prevents the body from absorbing them. The high starch content in grains also contributes to chronic inflammation (a leading cause of many modern diseases). This means the body ultimately treats grains like sugar, telling the body to produce insulin. Once insulin levels fall, you crave more sugar (or grains) again, creating a vicious cycle. Our focus is on eating whole foods that nourish the body and allow it to function to its full potential. I try to cut out nearly all processed food, focusing on vegetables, fruit, full fat dairy products from grass fed cows (meat, butter, milk, cheese), pastured chicken and pork, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, coconut flour, almond flour, and extra virgin olive oil. We have also made the transition to purchasing non-GMO, organic and/or locally sourced food as much as possible (helps the local economy too!).
One of my family’s favorite recipes is Grain Free Granola. It’s full of healthy fats and just enough pure maple syrup to lend some sweetness without making it a dessert. We enjoy it with plain full fat greek yogurt and berries for a filling and protein packed breakfast.
Here is the recipe we use:
1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1 cup raw cashews or raw pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced raw almonds
1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Whip egg whites until frothy, then mix in maple syrup and vanilla.
- Toss nuts with cinnamon and salt.
- Combine egg mixture and nuts and coat thoroughly.
- Spread nuts on 2 lined cookie sheets and bake for 25 minutes.
- Let cool completely then break apart. Add any dried fruit and banana chips (optional).
Recommended Reading: Wheat Belly, by William Davis, which sheds some light on gluten grains and their effect on our bodies.