So you have decided you want to eliminate grains from your diet. First up, well done. Most of those who consider it never actually make the decision to do it.
One word of caution, it’s not a good idea to embark on this adjustment when you’re about to change careers or your sister-in-law is visiting with her four kids, two of which are pimply teenagers who don’t seem to eat anything other than pizza and hamburgers. You don’t need the added stress. You will need time for you. We want to see you succeed so make it easy for yourself.
1. Know why you are doing this
For me, I literally woke up one day and said “that’s it, no more grains.” I wanted to feel for myself the sustained energy, boosted brain power, better quality sleep and good digestion that I had been reading about. I wanted to see my menopause symptoms dissipate. Feeling average was normal and I was fed up with it. My health wasn’t where it could be. I focussed my blurry eyes on the end game and I didn’t look back.
2. Know what to expect
You are possibly going to go through some days of feeling less than average. You may experience one or many of the following: lethargy, nausea, bloating, constipation, hyperglycaemia, cramps and headaches. Pamper yourself, push through, and focus on how you will feel if you stick with it. This faze doesn’t last.
Slapping a piece of cheese between two bits of bread and calling it lunch is no longer an option. Be prepared. Stock the fridge with cold meats, fresh veggies and dairy (if you aren’t giving that up as well). Make some snacks and treats ahead of time for when cravings hit you or you’re feeling low.
Ideas for snacks: keto fudge, bliss balls, pickles, olives, coconut yoghurt, nuts, and dark chocolate.
4. Drink plenty of water and add more salt to your diet
The drop in insulin will cause fluid loss which can cause muscle cramps so drink more water and add more salt into your diet to compensate for the salt lost from the body.
Ideas for adding more salt: chicken bouillon, Vegemite, cured meat and fish, cheese such as feta and pickles are all good sources.
5. Add more magnesium into your diet
If like me you have consumed grains for a long time when you give them up the effects of magnesium deficiency can be amplified. The following foods are high in magnesium: leafy greens, avocado, dark chocolate, fish, nuts, seeds and banana.
No one I know is going to argue with adding more dark chocolate into their diet.
Magnesium is difficult to absorb into the body so if you are experiencing symptoms of deficiency (tremors, nausea, muscle cramps) supplements are a good idea. Magnesium malate is probably the most easily absorbed.
6. High fat foods will satiate you
Eat plenty of: olive oil, coconut oil, eggs, and cheese.
A three egg cheese and avocado omelette with greens on the side is enough to satisfy the hungriest hound.
7. Starchy vegetables are satisfying
Try pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Roast them and add them to salads.
8. Add plenty of probiotics to your diet.
The change in diet may cause constipation and bloating. Keep your gut flora healthy with plenty of probiotics. A supplement during this time may be beneficial. I prefer to eat plenty of rich probiotic foods such as, coconut yoghurt, Greek yoghurt, fermented foods such as Kim Chi and sauerkraut, miso, and kombucha.
9. Give yourself a break
If you fall off the wagon it is not the end of the world as you know it. Recognise it as a small bump on the road to your healthy self. Pick yourself up and carry on and be proud of how far you have already come.
If you set of down this path to no grains let me know. Tell me how you get on. If you need some moral support send me an e-mail, I would love to offer encouragement.