When you have a food and nutrition blog, people talk to you about digestive issues quite a bit.
People ask me about stomach pain after eating, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and everything in between. When my husband had undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease, stomach pain after eating was a major symptom and telling factor. Seven blissfully symptom-free years after surgery to remove part of his small intestine, when he had chronic diarrhea for two months, the medical establishment couldn’t do anything to help him.
Two days of going grain-free fixed his elimination better than it had been in his whole life and nixed any stomach pain after eating. Just. Like. That.
So I guess we’re pretty comfortable talking about poo around here.
And when digestive issues come up, I often say, “You know, you should just try going grain-free. Just see what happens…”
And then people want more information.
It’s daunting to cut an entire food group out of your diet, especially one that may have previously been, say, the foundation of your eating habits (aka the Food Pyramid).
Even if you’re just trying to go gluten-free as part of an elimination diet, my recommendation is to just go grain-free first. In a lot of ways, it’s easier than remembering what contains gluten and figuring out gluten-free recipes that seem to have fifty different kinds of flour and a few assorted gums, and grain-free can have more dramatic results anyway.
I’ve really needed a one-stop shop for grain-free eating resources to send folks to for a while, so here it is!
The First 3 Steps
If you want to try eating grain-free, do these first:
- Buy a lot of vegetables.
- Plan meals where you can just skip the grains – stir fry without rice, a burger without a bun, soup laden with veggies and no pasta or rice. For a few days, that’s really not that hard.
- If you want some bread-like products, don’t freak out about all the Paleo or grain-free recipes (or gluten-free ones) and ingredients you’ve never heard of. Buy one bag of coconut flour, found here at Tropical Traditions for typically the best price – it will seem uber expensive at first, but you don’t use much, maybe 1/4 cup at a time in recipes, so that bag should last you a while. If it’s your first order, you get a free book about coconut oil too, and it’s pretty good. (That top photo is of some coconut flour testing I did with three different brands. I also tested various brands of almond flour and almond meal.)
Read Up: The Grain-Free Information at KS
After our initial success, our family has taken some times to go grain-free periodically and strive to reduce our grains all the time. Here’s what I’ve written about the subject in the past:
The basics: getting started
- FAQ’s on the Grain-Free Lifestyle :: including grain-free snacks and ideas to feed kids without grains
- A Grain-Free Life: Menu-Ideas to Keep it Simple :: our first forays
- Tips to Keep in Mind When Starting a New Restrictive Diet
- What? You’re Not Eating THAT?! (Don’t Be Overwhelmed by Humongous Dietary Changes)
- How to Bake Grain-free with Coconut Flour
- How Do 3 Brands of Coconut Flour Differ?
- Comparing 3 Brands of Almond Flour (and the difference of almond meal)
- The Comparison: The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), GAPS Diet (Gut & Psychology Syndrome), and the Maker’s Diet
- Jordan Rubin and the Maker’s Diet
- Why is Gluten Such a Problem
- How Much is Too Much?
hungry for more? Additional grain-free mentions
- Five Keys to Weight Loss with Real Food
- Monday Mission: Are You Ready for Breakfast?
- How Did We Do on the Lenten No Grains/No Gluten Challenge?
- Monday Mission: Review Week, Focus on Grains
- Monday Mission: Do Something Big
- Monday Mission: Chew Your Food
Eat Up: Grain-Free Recipes at KS
You won’t go hungry, my friend. Once you’ve exhausted these delicious resources, check out all the recipes I find that I WANT to make on my grain-free (and gluten-free) Pinterest board.
- Paleo Banana Pancakes
- Grain-free Almond Apple Pancakes
- Orange Vegetable Pancakes (use coconut flour or almond flour)
- Potato Vegetable Pancakes (Latkes) (use almond flour or arrowroot starch as the thickener)
grain-free appetizers, snacks and sides
Green Bean Chips (an alternative to potato chips)
- Coconut Flour Muffins (and more) in Healthy Snacks to Go
- Crispy Baked Apple Chips
- Mashed Cauliflower Trick
- Brussels Sprouts People will Actually Enjoy Eating
grain-free main courses and soups
St. Patrick’s Day Veggie-Laden Shepherd’s Pie (arrowroot to thicken)
- Garlic Soup
- Katie’s Simple Cabbage Soup with Secret Super Food
- Honey Dijon Chicken Casserole (thicken with arrowroot)
- Potato Beef Bake (same as above)
- CSA Greens Recipe: Italian Salmon (or Mushrooms) with Greens and Goat Cheese
- plus just about all the condiment recipes
- Coming Back with Lentils: How to Use and Recipes
Other Resources Around the Web
plan to eat
I decided to see if I could search for “grain free” in the KS Group at Plan to Eat…and after I had opened 14 tabs browsing just through the breakfast section, I decided that might be a dangerous place to browse and got out of there! (If you’re wondering, there are at least 394 grain-free recipes entered by real foodies and KS readers…)
gluten-free grain-free baking cookbook
This lovely grain-free pizza crust is the best one we’ve ever tried (and we’ve tried at least a half dozen!), and I just found it recently while I was reviewing Stephanie Brandt Cornais’s Gluten-Free Grain-Free Baking Cookbook. The whole family said, “Incredible,” and I have to agree. I’d like to try to get it a little thinner next time, but that’s just my preference for a crispy crust.
health, home & happiness
Cara Faus, who has been feeding her young family grain-free (GAPS) for quite a few years, is an expert I turn to when I need a new recipe. She has a number of resources for sale:
- Freezer cooking guide to grain-free meal plans ($18)
- Best of grain-free meal plans vol. 1 ($12)
- “What Can I Eat Now?” 30 days on GAPS an introductory eBook ($20) plus a list of meal plans to help you along in the early days of a new diet
I have a few more grain-free resources that I’ve reviewed as well:
- Against the Grain: Delicious Recipes for the Whole Food and Grain-Free Diet by Modern Alternative Mama
- Simple Food for Winter (and Simple Food for Spring) by Nourishing Days – these are two books I use OFTEN in my meal planning. Simple, nourishing, grain-free recipes.
- Heart of Cooking‘s Allergy Free Menu Planners (for any allergy or combination!)
- The Grain-Free Lunchbox
- Paleo meal plans at eMeals
- Toadally Primal Smoothies
Phew! I think that’s it. All my grain-free knowledge, all in one place. If you have weird digestive stuff going on, diarrhea, stomach pain after eating, or just wonder about any sort of gluten or grain sensitivity…give it a try for a few days. You don’t have to have a ton of resources to skip grains, even for a week.
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to quite a number of ebooks and meal plans from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase, as well as Honeyville and Tropical Traditions. Plan to Eat is a July sponsor receiving their complementary mention in a post. See my full disclosure statement here.