Going Grain Free – Why?
I had a million questions, when I was first diagnosed with leaky gut and was told not to eat grains. I thought I already ate a healthy diet. Good, healthy, homemade food was a normal way of life for me. What I learned through my experience, was that grains were not working for my body and I needed to change.
So what are grains and what can they do to you?
A grain is anything that is a small, hard, dry seed and can include cereal type grains and legumes. Grains, as most people know them, are wheat, barley, rice, corn, canola, soybean, millet, sorghum, oats, rye, spelt, and perhaps lesser known teff, triticale and wild rice.
Unfortunately, there are several other foods that act as a pseudo grain. These include things like quinoa, chia, buckwheat and amaranth. So, while anatomically they are seeds, the body responds to them in the same way as grains. In small quantities they are ok, but not as a complete substitute if you are adopting this lifestyle to heal your gut.
Sadly, a lot of the convenience type foods that have sprung up to support the various different dietary needs like gluten free, paleo, keto etc often contain the pseudo grains as an alternative.
For those of us who need to go one step further and eliminate grains all together it can be quite a challenge. That was where I found myself a couple of years ago. And, buying pre-packaged anything when you are grain free can be almost impossible.
Why no grains?
So, why is it important for some people to go grain free. A grain free diet isn’t for everyone but it can help with a lot of the symptoms associated with various autoimmune conditions and it will certainly help with healing a leaky gut.
If you have an autoimmune condition, you most likely have a leaky gut. What does that even mean? It is another word for increased intestinal permeability. Still too technical? In layman’s terms, it is when the lining of your small intestine becomes damaged and small junctions open up that allow toxins and other food waste to get into your blood stream. From there, your body’s immune system does its job and attacks the invaders. This attack shows up in your body as digestive issues and inflammation.
For some this might mean frequent trips to the toilet, or no trips, constant joint pain, skin issues like eczema, new food intolerances, headaches, brain fog and a whole host of autoimmune conditions. How do you know if you have leaky gut?
There is a test available through Nutripath here in Australia that can confirm the diagnosis. You can only access this test through a medical provider. If you need help finding one, get in touch and I’ll connect you with the right person.
There is plenty of research available that has shown that adopting a grain free lifestyle is the first step in healing a leaky gut. It certainly worked for me and if you want to give it a go, it can feel quite overwhelming to start with. Especially if you have kids, a family, busy life and no idea where to start.
I have been grain free for a couple of years now and one thing I have realised is that I eat way more tasty, nutrient dense food now, with many more options than before and it is often a lot simpler as there are fewer ingredients and less time involved.
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