The Grain-Free diet is, as the name implies, a diet that requires cutting out the consumption of grains. This is different than a gluten free diet, because there are grains that don’t contain gluten as well as processes that remove gluten from grains. Grain-Free means that you will no longer be eating wheat, oats, corn, or any grain.
The negative impacts of grain on your health have been demonstrated in the form of adverse effects on your digestive system, immune system, and the overall function of your body. The process of cutting out grains hosts huge benefits that can be seen and felt quickly.
When you are looking to become a healthier person overall, it isn’t just about losing weight. In many cases, you just want to be a well-rounded person in all areas of health and wellness, including feeling better from the inside out. This might lead you to switching up your diet by adding in more nutritious food options, but also taking some things away, like grains.
As people discover some of the negative implications of eating grains on a regular basis, they begin looking into possibly cutting them out. This has caused grain-free diets to become more popular and widely acceptable.
So, how does one start a Grain-Free diet? What are some of the implications, what benefits will be noticed, and how do grains negatively impact humans? All these questions will be answered, and, in addition, we will provide you with examples of great tasting grain-free meals to fit your lifestyle.
1. What Are Grains?
To start off, let’s examine what a grain is. For something to be technically considered a grain, it must be a seed, or part of a seed, derived from a type of grass, wild or cultivated. This applies to corn, wheat, rice, and oats, in addition to several other grains. What also falls under the category are grain-like foods, or pseudo-grains, such as rye or barley, which, despite not exactly coming from grasses, still behave the way grains do in our bodies.
There are two ways in which grains are processed into foods. Whole grain foods imply using the entirety of the grain, which retains all of its nutritional benefits, such as its proteins and vitamins. Yes, grains do have health benefits, but are heavily outweighed by the issues that come with eating them.
The second, more common form of grains used in the vast majority of foods, is refined. Refined grains, usually a type of wheat flour, removes the germ and the nutritional parts of the grain, leaving only the seed and its husk.
Typically, an easy way to distinguish grains from non-grain foods is to cut out all rice, oats, and related food items from your diet. While not the same as going gluten-free, many of the restrictions are going to be the same. To make it simpler for you, you should cut out the following grains:
- All forms of Rice
Now that you have a better understanding of what grains are and which type you will no longer be eating, let’s move on to the impact of grains, followed by some benefits of cutting them out.
2. How Grains Can Negatively Impact You
When our bodies try to process grains, it can lead to issues with our digestive systems, spikes and drops in sugar and energy levels, and other health- related problems in the long-term. There is a reason behind each of these unfortunate results of consuming grain-based foods.
The Process of Digesting Grains
Starting with digestion, it is important to understand the aspects of grains as well as the substances within them that have a negative impact on our digestive health. Zonulin, a substance present in grains, acts in a way that increases the space between cells in the digestive tract.
This results in excess proteins making their way into our bloodstream. When this occurs, our immune systems assume it is under attack from disease and promotes inflammation throughout the body. This makes it tougher for our bodies to filter out toxins and waste.
Imbalance in Digestive System
The result of grain consumption for our digestive system is an imbalance in gut bacteria, a bloated gut, and organs, such as our liver, failing to filter waste effectively. The issues don’t end there, however, because these results act as the damaging factor for other regions of our body.
When we feel ill, our energy levels drop. This isn’t helped by the fact that loading up on sugars from the carbohydrates present in grains leads to an energy crash in and of itself. The abundance of poor blood quality, digestive issues, and bloating leads to mental grogginess, feeling physically sick, and has been demonstrated to lead to more serious health problems.
Spikes in blood sugar or insulin levels can cause a person to become diabetic, poor constitution and varying immune levels make you more susceptible to diseases, and these maladies, combined with feeling groggy, and lead to depression.
If a disruption in gut bacteria health doesn’t sound serious, you should consider that it is a pathway to stomach fungal infections, bacteria overgrowth, and makes it much more likely that you’ll contract parasites. It’s also worth mentioning that our digestive systems have trouble effectively digesting the husk of the grain seeds that makes up most of grain products, which could be the reason behind your stomach aches.
3. Benefits of Going Grain Free
Now that you understand how grain damages our bodies and inhibits our health, cutting them also brings about benefits you might not have considered. Besides negating the health concerns that come with consuming grains, you will notice that, in combination with a well-balanced and healthy diet, your skin will become healthier, you will stay feeling well and energized throughout the day, even in the afternoon, and your mood will consistently improve.
If grains have long been a staple in your diet, the benefits will be even more noticeable, and you will likely feel them much quicker than somebody who only ever had grains in moderation. Regardless, partaking in the grain-free diet, alongside eating healthily throughout the day, will result in feeling, looking, and operating better.
Experience benefits on the inside and out when you go grain-free, including:
- Support a healthy heart
- Reduce hunger cravings
- Help improve your skin
- Give you a nice mood boost
- Provide more energy and less sluggishness
- Improve your mental health and clarity
4. How to Start Cutting Out Grains
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