If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@radical.roots), Facebook, or Snapchat (laura.bruner), you’ve probably seen a surprising number of posts with some sort of bread, oat, or rice featured in one of my sometimes beautiful, sometimes haphazard photos. And for the most part, my followers seem to dig these pictures, often referred to as droolworthy or even just reacted to with one of the varying happy or drooling emojis (how cool is technology sometimes?). Understandably, though, many questions have come up regarding the fact that I have added some gluten free grains into my previously mostly grain free diet. I figured it would be best to discuss that topic here since, well this is were I hope you guys would come for answers to questions like that. So let’s chat, shall we?
First, do I think ever person should include grains in his or her diet? Nope. Not at all. And here’s why: First off, the vast majority of grain-filled food items out in the world are crap. I’m not exaggerating either. They are total crap. Made from oftentimes genetically modified or irresponsibly sprayed corn or wheat, added with vegetable crap oils, and a laundry list of other fake food ingredients. What most people would find most conveniently would not be the types of grains I’d recommend for someone considering adding them back in (more on what grains I would recommend coming up), and for that reason, and because adding some can oftentimes become a slippery slope, I mostly recommend to avoid grains when switching to a real food lifestyle.
Second of all, there are a number of people who suffer from autoimmune disease. Many of these people find a real food diet, and perhaps this blog, in search of a lifestyle change because all grains at that point in their lives elicit an immune response, and therefore, need to be removed. This doesn’t mean forever, but just until their bodies heal. So for anyone on an autoimmune protocol, grains are simply out, and that’s ok because there are plenty of grain free foods that are delicious, nutrition, and rarely leave folks wanting more.
Responsibly created, crap free grains do exist, however. And you know what else exists? People who can eat them and still feel really great, and in some cases, perhaps better than without. Stick with me.
I’ll be anecdotal here and talk about why I added some grains back in because, well this is my blog after all, and I’ve worked with a number of clients at this point and have some experience with what works and what doesn’t. Making a lifestyle change when it comes to nutrition is largely always a work in progress as we find out what works best for our health, our wellness, and our overall quality of life. So let’s talk about grains.
For the past month, I’ve taken on a couple days a week working at a local organic farm. Another blog post on this to come, but what that means is that I am constantly moving and lifting heavy things (see Kingston the farm dog to the left hoping for a little sandwich love). I have also increased the intensity of my CrossFit workouts because my body feels better than it has in a long time and so does training. Now, please note that I have given the lower carb/higher fat keto diet a try, and it simply does not work when I am super active (hello adrenal fatigue). What I have learned over my real food journey is that I need a good amount of carbs per day (not the sadly misguided S.A.D. recommendations, but a good amount), about 200-250g. With the days of training and working at the farm, I found my energy levels dropping and not enough sweet potato could do the trick. Enter grains. I’ve added in gluten free bread, hulless oats, and plenty of white rice. The results? Beautiful. No stomach upset. Increased energy. Decreased hunger. And longer stretches without food. Each a key to success for my current situation. I’ve also found that increasing my carbohydrate (keeping in balance with the other macros, of course) has helped to keep my hormones in check, and my strength at a consistent increase (hello front squat PR).
So here’s the grains that have become regular staples at our house:
- The organic gluten free bread from our local bakery (when it’s available in the bakery or at local restaurants)
- Canyon Bakehouse gluten free bread* (crap free, non-gmo gluten free bread that tastes exponentially better than cardboard, especially when toasted up panini style) – we do however, plan to start baking our own gluten free sourdough as soon as someone puts another 4 hours in a day
- Raw hulless oats – which I soak and prepare prior to eating
- Organic white rice – which I also soak before cooking and which is a “safe starch” that I actually recommend to anyone with increased energy source needs
Note that any other gluten substitute foods (like waffles, cookies, etc) you see on my blog or in my posts are treats, which I mostly save for weekends and special occasions and which serve a purpose in living life and enjoying those special foods and experiences. I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this. Have any grains worked for you? Do you have to avoid them? Interested in some advice from yours truly? Comment below or check out my contact page. I’m happy to consult and help you figure out what will work best for your lifestyle and goals. Cheers!