Now starting off on a grain free diet can be rather intimidating at first. Our society is based so much around grains and fast carbohydrates that it will take a bit of time to adjust. But once you do you have to trust me that it really isn't that difficult to avoid the things that you used to eat all the time. I can honestly say that I do not crave grains anymore.
These are the books I have read along the way that have helped me learn the logic behind grain free eating and what to eat when on this type of diet
1. Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall
This was the first book I read when I initially transformed my diet. This book outlines the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, otherwise known as the SCD diet. The diet was initially created for patients with Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis and Celiac disease but is also useful for anyone with IBS. The whole idea behind the diet is that our modern foods allow certain strains of bacteria to proliferate within our intestines so that the makeup of the intestinal flora is altered in a negative fashion. The diet works to restore the intestinal flora to what it should be to allow for better absorption and overall decreased inflammation in the body. The diet is grain free, dairy free, mucinous food free, soy free and additive free. Another major component of the diet is homemade lactose free yogurt that is fermented for 24 hours to allow all the lactose to be eliminated. The yogurt is a great way to help restore the intestinal flora to what it should be. There are many websites out there dedicated to the SCD diet but a couple very helpful ones are:
There are also a few great yahoo groups dedicated to the SCD diet: Pecan Bread and the BTVC groups.
2. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price
This book is a great read for anyone looking to understand just how different our modern diet is from what our ancestors ate. Weston A Price travelled around the world profiling cultures that had not yet been touched by modern civilization and analyzed their diets, dental profiles and physical makeup. What he found is that those people living on traditional diets were free from many modern problems such as tooth decay and other diseases (including TB). These cultures relied on raw dairy, grass fed animals, sea food and fats, minimal grains that were prepared in traditional methods, roots, tubers, minimal fruits and vegetables and rarely natural sweeteners. He also saw how drastically the health of even one generation can change once these cultures adopted a more modern diet including white flour and sweeteners. The physical results are impressive, and well documented with photographs in the book. If you are ever looking to find products in your area that are based on traditional methods such as grass fed meats or raw dairy your local Weston A Price Chapter is a great place to start. Calgary has their own Yahoo group that you can join if you are in the area to find out about local resources, events and current issues regarding the food industry.
For example, did you know that currently the Alberta government does not allow grass fed milk or dairy products to be removed from the farm unless destined for a processing facility? If you don't agree with this I urge you to contact your MLA and let your voice be heard so that we have a chance of enjoying grassfed dairy products in Alberta.
3. Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell McBride
This diet is very similar to the SCD diet, but was developed for patients with psychological or neurological disorders including ADD/ADHD, Autism, Schizophrenia, Dyslexia etc. This diet also focuses on the intestinal flora as a source of many systemic problems in the body and works to restore the natural balance. It is also grain free, soy free, additive free and diary free. There are subtle difference between the two diets but overall they are pretty similar. There is a greater emphasis on fermented foods in the GAPS diet than on the SCD among other differences. Since my focus is on internal medicine I don't get to see many patients with these problems but I am very interested if anyone out there has treated patients with this diet successfully?
4. Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
Now I didn't actually have this book when I initially started my grain free journey but I recently bought this one for my boyfriend and I have to say I am pretty impressed with it. It is definitely more than a cookbook (although it does have some delicious recipes inside!). The book outlines what a paleo diet is, how to stock your kitchen to eat this way, how to alter the diet for your individual needs and how to shop and cook in a paleo way. It also outlines other common dietary problems including FODMAP intolerance and eating for autoimmune conditions. The paleo diet is a bit more relaxed than the SCD diet is, allowing foods like sweet potatoes, cocoa powder, seeds and other mucinous type foods. Otherwise the diets are pretty similar.
So have I overwhelmed you yet? Have any of you read these books? Are you going to add them to your collection if you haven't?
Overall I don't think there is one diet that works for everyone, and you will have to experiment with different foods to see what works for you. But I would urge you to try going grain free for at least one month and see if it makes a difference to the way you feel. Anyone I know that has done this has not gone back to their old way of eating.
I hope everyone had a good weekend! As always feel free to ask my any questions!