I have received a number of questions about why grains are “bad.” My family’s journey to grain free eating started with trying to solve a problem, not identifying whether or not a group of foods was bad for us.
After a long process of elimination we figured out my husband’s body quite violently rejected wheat. When he says he will be sick for three days if he eats it, it is no exaggeration! Looking for healthy alternative snacks and baked goods let us to highly refined, often dry, and flavorless wheat free substitutes. We then turned to our kitchen and found solutions, which we now share through Grain Free Haven products.
Back to why grains are bad. My short, non-medical professional answer, based on how I and my husband feel after NOT eating them is this: They can cause damage to the digestive system and make your body work harder than it needs to, thus leaving less energy for good health and living life.
You can find all kinds of information about why they are good for you (mostly government and grain council sources) and also why they are bad for you (mostly advocating paleo and low carbohydrate diets like this one). They are all persuasive, and written for the layperson who does not have extensive nutrition or medical knowledge. So what is a person to do?
What I know is that leaving grains behind has resulted in the complete disappearance of my husband’s gastrointestinal issues, which previously landed him in the hospital a few times, and significantly reduced the inflammation and autoimmune issues I was having. No, we did not take any medications to accomplish this feat. Our diet changes included elimination of sugar (which I will discuss another time) and grains. That’s it. Fixed.
I can’t say that our snacks and baked goods will solve all your ills or make you live longer. I can say, based on how my family’s health is doing, they are better for you than what you will find in the gluten free aisle of the grocery store!
GRAIN FREE INGREDIENTS
Another question I am asked regularly is what the heck do I use to make muffins, bread and buns if I don’t use grains?! Nuts, seeds and eggs, for a short answer.
The three most common ingredients in my baked goods are almond meal, coconut flour, and eggs. Eggs are relied on heavily due to the high level of moisture absorbed by coconut flour. When was the last time you saw a loaf of bread made with only one cup of flour? If you use coconut flour you will see it every day!
Flaxseed meal–both dark and golden–also factors in frequently to give the products a “grainier” texture. There is no escaping that most of us grew up eating breads made with grain, and that texture is a big factor in the “comfort” of such foods. The flaxseed meals help connect the grain texture and the grain free products.
Fats are good for you! Really, they are. Fat is needed by your body to give you energy and help absorb vitamins and nutrients in your food. Don’t get me started on low fat and low calorie diets. I tried them for years to no avail. If you want more on the subject I suggest you check out the books written by Gary Taubes.
On with fats. Depending on the product, I use butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or lard. Yes. Lard. Like grandma used to. Each type of fat gives a different flavor and texture to baked goods, whether grain free or not. Some are more interchangeable than others, and I have experimented with them all. If you ever have a need for one of my products to be vegetarian or milk/butter free, just let me know and I can whip up a special batch for you.
COST OF GRAIN FREE
One thing you will notice if you are going grain free is that grains are really cheap compared to grain free ingredients, like nut meals. The second thing you will discover is that grain free ingredients are also harder to find. Money and time are the two main reasons why I started my business. I love to help other people find economical and convenient access to grain free convenience foods.
Walk down the baking aisle at your local grocery and see if you can find the ingredients you need. You may struggle to find success. Try the organic/natural food aisle and you may have better luck. When eating grain free there is little to put in your basket from the aisles in the middle of the store. We spend most of our time and make selections from the outer edges–proteins, dairy, produce and deli. I am like a kid in a toy store when I find a grocery that has a full aisle of natural and organic products, which usually means I can find grain free ingredients for baking. What a joy to not have to order online!
The cost of time and effort is very much worth it to me. As I watch my six year old daughter growing fast and thriving every day I do not doubt we are doing something right with her diet. When I see my husband able to sleep through the night and eat satisfying, filling meals without concern, there is no doubt we are doing something right. When I see extra weight I have carried for years steadily drop off the longer I avoid sugar and grains, I have no doubt we are doing something right.
This week you can find us two places!
2nd Annual Grizzly Fall Festival on Friday, October 23rd, 5-8pm: a fun fall fundraiser for the Uplift Grand Preparatory School in Grand Prairie. We will be offering mini versions of our Pumpkin Spice Muffins and Banana Bread Muffins, along with Power Buns and wonderful nut mixes. Come on out and have some Friday evening fun while supporting a great school! The festival will be in the school’s parking lot (or moved inside if it is rainy) at 122 NE 2nd Street, Grand Prairie TX.
Grand Prairie Farmers Market on Saturday, October 24th, 8am – 1pm: this week’s market is highlighting the kick off of Red Ribbon Week and Craft Fair vendors will be joining us! Find more information about the Market here.
I am also in the process of getting approved for the Dallas Farmers Market downtown. I will keep you up to date on when I will be there, so you can visit us and have more opportunities to restock during the week!
If you come by my booth and tell me this week’s discount code you will get $1 off any purchase of $15 or more! The code for this week is PUMPKIN OVERLOAD.
Please feel free to forward and share this newsletter with anyone you like! I look forward to seeing you this weekend!