Eating Grain-Free? Resources and Recipes, All in One Place

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Eating Grain-Free? Resources and Recipes, All in One Place

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:

  1. Buy a lot of vegetables.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

Tips to start an elimination diet with kids (GAPS, gluten-free, etc.)

The basics: getting started

background info

almonds - how much is too much

hungry for more? Additional grain-free mentions

Eat Up: Grain-Free Recipes at KS

You won’t go hungry, my friend. Winking smile 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.

grain-free breakfast

Grain-Free Pizza Quiche Recipe

Grain-Free Pizza Quiche

Grain free quinoa high protein bar recipe

Grain-Free Quinoa Bars

Grain Free Apple Flax Muffin Recipe

Grain-Free Apple Flax Muffins

grain-free appetizers, snacks and sides

Simple Blender Hummus Recipe

Simple Blender Hummus

Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese Recipe

Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese

Almond Power Bars Recipe

Almond Power Bars

Cherry Almond Coconut Crepes Recipe

Cherry Almond Coconut Crepes

Munch Crunchy Veggie Chips (Dehydrated!) Recipe

Green Bean Chips (an alternative to potato chips)

Grain-Free Tortilla Recipe

Grain-free Tomato Pizza Tortillas

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

Grain Free Pizza Crust Recipe

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, who has been feeding her 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:

and more…

I have a few more grain-free resources that I’ve reviewed as well:

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.

Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions!

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.

Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

16 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. pdw says

    Grain free is the way for me. Grains can cause more than digestive upsets if your immune system decides.

    I think we need to throw out the “food groups” mentality altogether. Of the original “four food groups”, I eat only one – fruits and vegetables. Yes, I eat dairy substitutes, made with fruits and vegetables. I eat breads made with vegetables (pseudocereals, bean flours, etc.) My high-protein foods are – you guessed it – vegetables (legumes).

    I am vegan, grain-free, and have multiple allergies, but I eat a wide variety of dishes. I kind of think that the attempts to educate people on eating healthily using food group models has failed. When you can mono-eat one food (eg. potatoes) and get all of the nutrients that you need, then even the advice to eat a “wide variety” of foods falls short.

    Eat whole foods. Lots of plants. Not a bunch of junk.

  2. Angie says

    Hubs and I tried whole30 at the beginning of the summer, and he found out he is intolerant to gluten. However, on day 8, when I was really excited to start feeling better, and more energetic, my blood sugar crashed. I tried adding in gluten free grains, but that didn’t raise it. I really couldn’t find any information about what to do when you try giving up grains, and this happens. We generally eat a healthy whole foods diet, although now hubs is gluten free. Any idea what happened to me?

    • says

      I’ve seen a few people have similar issues, and I don’t know a lot about the science behind it, but I can share their stories as anecdotal evidence.

      I remember when Kimi at the Nourishing Gourmet did GAPS, a very restrictive, no grains/no starch diet, she had super low energy. She HAD to add potatoes just to keep surviving, because for her body/blood sugar, she needed some carbs.

      Similarly, when Erin at the Plan to Eat blog did the GAPS intro, she had horrible fatigue as a detox reaction. So….since adding grains didn’t help, maybe your body was getting rid of something yucky and made you fatigued? I’m curious – how did you finally feel back to normal? I wonder what would have happened if you had pushed through? It’s so hard with this “detox” thing – could be your body saying, “I don’t like this diet, it’s not good for me,” and you need to listen and stop, or according to some, it’s the body saying, “I’m getting rid of some junk that I couldn’t get rid of with grains in my system, and it’s just going to make you tired, but it’s okay.” Natural health and nutrition is TOUGH!

      But I hope one of those stories gives you a place to start —

      :) Katie

      • Angie says

        Hi! Thanks to Katie and pdw for the info!! I ended up adding gluten back in. It wasn’t just that I was fatigued, my blood sugar was around 80, and that wasn’t at the lowest point, so that scared me. I have a pretty high metabolism, and while hubs felt great when he eliminated gluten, I felt exactly the same (before the blood sugar crash). I did have gestational diabetes three times, and borrowed my FIL’s monitor to see where I was until I got back on track. I googled whole30/paleo low blood sugar, and didn’t find much–what I did find suggested pushing through. I didn’t think that was the right choice for me–people can go into comas from bs being too low, and I had all my littles home with me all day long. We’ve pretty much stuck with the same diet, but I add in a grain or bread for myself and the kids. I grind my own wheat and make my own bread–I found it a little ironic that what hubs needed to avoid, my body craved! 😉 I thought we were good eaters before, but we really improved our nutrition, and I’ll keep seeing what changes we can make. I’ve never thought getting too much fructose like pdw suggested, so that’s somewhere to start. Thanks again for all the info! :-)

        • pdw says

          Yeah, when I was getting too much fructose, I was fainting my blood sugar was so low. A lot more than a simple inconvenience to push through.

          I did have horrible fatigue when I gave up gluten. Wanted to sleep for twelve hours a day. But that wasn’t the same as the low blood sugar thing. (And the fructose thing was not at the same time as I gave up gluten.)

  3. pdw says

    Angie – were you eating a lot of high-fructose fruits, such as apples, pears, grapes, watermelon? I did that to myself once, and it took several weeks to figure out what my body just couldn’t handle that much fructose.

    Most fruits have fructose and glucose on a 1:1 ratio, and then some sucrose, which breaks down into glucose. Your body can use glucose straight out of the bloodstream. But in order to use fructose, your body needs to process it in the liver. And in order to break fructose down, your liver needs glucose. If it gets an overload of fructose and doesn’t have enough glucose stored to process it, it pulls glucose out of your bloodstream, and your BGL crashes. Everyone seems to have a different tolerance level.

    To recover, lower the high-fructose fruits, stick to stone fruits, citrus, and berries, for example, and make sure you’re getting enough veggies, both fibrous and starchy. If you still have problems, also watch your consumption of tomato sauce, and high-fructan veggies. Hopefully this will help you to sort it out!

  4. Sandi in MN says

    My naturopath recommended and I loved, Mark Sisson’s book Primal Blueprint for grain free thinking and the science behind it. He also has a great blog full of info and several cookbooks with yummy recipes. I’ve perused them from the library before buying.

    She also told me about The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Alana Amsterdam which is full of almond flour recipes. I know not everyone can do the nut thing but this is a really good resource if you can!

  5. says

    If you are going grain free take some Ceylon Cinnamon Tea with every meal. This is to prevent the blood sugar fluctuations that will come with eliminating grain and then eating lots of fruit and veggies. Cinnamon is an amazing digestive that will help adjust your stomach to new foods that will replace grain. But what people will realize is that if they drink Ceylon Cinnamon Tea, they actually don’t have to give up grain entirely. I have IBS which has been virtually eliminated by drinking Ceylon Cinnamon Tea. Now I can even eat spicy hot food, provided I drink my Cinnamon Tea with the meal.

    And for the lady with allergies, just drink Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. I have been allergy free, cold free, fever free, and cough free for three years. Touch wood.

  6. says

    Katie–Thank you for this post! With a 6-year-old with Crohn’s, I would really like to transition our family towards fewer grains and perhaps elimination for my son eventually. I made Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup this week, which is grain-free, and it was a huge hit with the kids. I thought I’d pass it along in case you don’t have a similar recipe. (P.S. Thanks for sharing my simple blender hummus recipe again!)

    • says

      Oof, I can’t remember if I knew you had a 6yo with Crohn’s, but wow, what a cross to bear for the whole family. You might be surprised how good the grain-free baked good are most of the time! Good luck eradicating your son’s symptoms – it is possible!!
      :) Katie

  7. Robyn says

    I have celiac & have been gluten free for 7+ years, but I still suffer with bad digestive issues. I tried GAPS for almost a year but went back to eating grains when my doctor told me to start eating them NOW because I was so sick. I have tons more energy with the grains, my temperature & blood pressure are no longer low, & many other benefits, but I still am sick as far as digestion, every single day. Would going grain free but still eating potatoes & peas be helpful? Or is it really going starch free that is supposed to be beneficial? Oh, & I don’t tolerate quinoa at all, so that’s out.

    • says

      I’m sure Katie will chime in too, but here are some of my thoughts. Do you rinse your quinoa before cooking? My hubby had issues with quinoa until I realized that it had to be rinsed pretty thoroughly to remove the part that can upset your tummy.
      Helen, Kitchen Stewardship Assistant

    • pdw says

      I am grain-free, but not low starch. Lots of potatoes, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, other seeds, legumes, etc.

    • says

      Phew – sorry I’m so very late in replying; I got way behind on comments when I released the new Healthy Lunch Box book!

      I’m far from a doctor, so talking to one who knows about nutrition and digestion, or maybe an actual GAPS certified practitioner, would be wise. Have you ever tried dairy-free? I do know that a lot of people who have trouble with gluten also have trouble with dairy…although I guess that would have been part of the gaps intro too, huh? Each individual is so…well…individual – I think any elimination diet will work best when you can pinpoint what foods make you feel ill and well, so you have experimenting to do. You might seek out a naturopath or integrated nutritionist. Lydia at Divine Health has some excellent eCourses that I’ve listened to and also does 1-on-1 counseling, I believe:

      Good luck!!
      :) Katie

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