The story on why I stopped eating grains, and what happened as a result

grain free

grain freeSo a while ago I’d mentioned that I’d made some major dietary changes.  If you must categorize what I have done, I am following a mostly primal diet which in a nutshell involves eating no grains and no processed sugar.  There’s a lot of people who eat a primal diet (which is very similar to paleo) who are more restricted than I, but I am trying to make it easy on myself for now.

You see, I think if you’ve been a reader of mine you are probably tired of me whining about being pregnant and, well… tired.  Back in June, I was having a really hard time.  I was out of the first trimester, and was expecting things to get better, but they just weren’t.  In fact, it was almost getting worse.  I was tired all the time, was having dizzy spells, had to eat every few hours, and even doing just a little work was wiping me out.

I just kept thinking… this can’t be right!  My body is designed to carry a baby, and it doesn’t make sense that I’m essentially an invalid who can barely handle taking care of my kids and getting dinner on the table, much less the other basic household chores.  It was ridiculous.  I was thinking… listen to my body.  So I started listening.  And I started researching.  And I finally realized something.  Actually, I have to say I think I knew for a little while but I didn’t admit it to myself because I didn’t want to believe it.

This healthy diet I was on – the healthy way I was eating, what with grinding my own wheat, making my own homemade sourdough bread, etc. was causing the problem.  It was giving me nasty blood sugar swings that would leave me dizzy, lightheaded, and seeing spots when it crashed.  And then, once I was able to replenish my blood sugar, I’d be pretty much wiped out for the rest of the day.

It was one Sunday when I went grocery shopping.  I hadn’t been feeling great, as usual, so I had a healthy snack before I left – some homemade sourdough rye with cheese… just to make sure I’d be okay.  Well, I wasn’t.  All I did was grocery shop, and by the time I was gone I realized I was so dizzy and out of it that I knew I’d need to go grab a latte with sugar just to make it home safe.  That was the last straw for me, and I couldn’t deny to myself that these “healthy whole grains” I was eating were ruining my blood sugar and making my life miserable.

So, I stopped eating them.  That night, actually.  And you know what?  That blood sugar rush at the grocery store was the last one I had. The main changes that I’ve made are that I’m eating quite a bit more veggies, significantly more fats, focusing on animal fats, and I eat to satiation.

What is interesting is the other things that have happened since I changed this.

  1. I lost the weight I’d gained and am now less than I was when I started, and I’ll be 30 weeks pregnant on Friday.  This was a concern for me at first, but considering the fact when I tracked my calories I was eating more than I had been before, and I feel significantly better, I felt okay.  My doctor also told me that because I am as overweight as I am, it would be ok if I didn’t gain any pregnancy weight.  I’m not worrying about it, I’m just going to keep eating the food that my body wants, as much as it wants, and leave it at that.
  2. No more blood sugar spikes and crashes
  3. No more sweets/sugar cravings.  I’m serious.  My whole 30+ year life I have battled cravings for sweets.  Now I don’t really think about them, and if I do choose to make or have something sweet I’m satisfied with much much less.
  4. My rosacea is gone.  I wasn’t even expecting this remotely to happen, but my skin looks tremendously better
  5. No brain fog, I can think clearly!
  6. My body signals don’t seem to be “confused” anymore.  Meaning… I instinctively know when I need to eat more or less, or if I’m lacking in protein or fat specifically.
  7. Pretty much no cravings anymore at all.   Some weeks I feel like eating nothing but fat, and some weeks I feel like eating tons of fruit, but it feels more like a signal (especially considering my pregnancy) as opposed to a craving.

Now, it hasn’t all been peaches and roses.  There’s some hard parts about it.  My kids are now eating a partially primal diet but not completely, and so is my husband.  But since they still like or want certain foods, sometimes I just eat them instead of modifying it for myself, because I am still pregnant and tired.  Just not… crazy tired.  Budget is a concern as well, we can’t really afford for me to eat the way I would really like to.  Grains are cheap!  Having said that, once we achieve our goal of being able to live out on pour property where I can have a milk cow, raise meat and grow our own fruits & veggies, that won’t be a problem.

I actually have some pretty strong opinions about this now… it actually makes me kinda mad, to be honest.  I think because I feel such a big difference in myself, and learning what I’ve learned since I embarked on this journey about who actually wrote the official “dietary guidelines” and not to mention all the interests involved, the fallacy of eat less/move more, and especially what I’m learning about insulin which is apparently what really makes us fat.

Have you ever stopped to think that there’s no way possible that we could eat as much grains as we’re “supposed” to if it wasn’t for the modern technological advances in agriculture?  I guess God created us all wrong back in the day, and just in the last 50 years, thanks to our wonderful technological advances, we FINALLY have the ability to provide proper nutrition for ourselves?  BS.  Gosh, we’re sure lucky to even be around, having eaten all those “artery clogging saturated fats” that we’ve eaten pretty much throughout the history of mankind.  Boy I’m sure glad now we have the technology to use solvents and chemical extractors to make canola and soybean oil instead of those nasty saturated fats that God created, because now we can be REALLY healthy!

Oh, and did you know that there has never actually ever been any credible scientific studies that prove any sort of link between saturated fat and heart disease?  Oh, and cholesterol levels and heart disease?  But we just take it all for granted that it’s bad for us.

I need to stop now before you all start throwing tinfoil hats at me!  Though if you’d like, I could expand quite a bit more!  Let me know what you think.  So anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’m not going to completely eliminate grains… I think I’d just cry if I couldn’t have baklava or my special cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, and other special occasions… but I will certainly be sticking to the “very occasional occasion” for those things.

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  1. I can totally relate! A few years ago I developed bone chilling fatigue. I got The Metabolic Typing Diet and learned that this was because I eat wrong for my metabolic type. I was a vegetarian and my Meto Type said I should eat more primal. I decreased grains and sugar, increased protein and fat and my energy levels bounced back. No more brain fog. I realized in the whole scheme of this that I have some type of gluten and dairy sensitivity, so those were troubling me too. I eat very similiar to you. I start the day with a table spoon of coconut oil and an hour later cod liver oil. A half hour after that I have a veggie/high protein breakfast. My brain and body work so well this way. If I eat any grains at all it is after four – circadian-wise that’s when our bodies start making serotonin so grains are less fatiguing after four. You are totally right about cholesterol and the studies. My feeling is that high cholesterol may be indicate other problems, like a marker, but it is not THE problem. Congratulations on finding a food system that works for you during pregnancy. You and your baby will be all the healthier for it. My Best, M & E.
    Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams would love for you to read..What Homesteading Means to MeMy Profile

    1. Oh good, it’s not just me! Actually I know it isn’t just me, because I spent a week or so with my parents, cooking primal food for them, and my mom who has always had major hypoglycemia problems stopped having issues, and they are both losing weight. Obviously they are continuing what I started 🙂 I actually initially just started this as a way to survive my pregnancy but I am loving it so much I’ll definitely keep it up afterwards.

      1. I’m sorry there is never ever ever a reason to murder a innocent cow or drink it’s milk which is made for its babies not you!! Just cause you give up grains one poison is not a excuse to jump on another poison .

  2. So glad you’re feeling better and eating well! It’s frustrating how much our government subsidizes wheat & corn production, making cheap, unhealthy foods the staples in most Americans diets. I first learned to stabilize my blood sugars on the Atkins diet and the difference it made was amazing! It’s a hard change to make, but so worth it! Blessings 🙂
    Mama Lusco would love for you to read..GIVEAWAY ~ My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking SoftwareMy Profile

    1. Oh I know! I know, I know, it sounds so “conspiracy theory” of me sometimes but I just can’t help thinking… okay, so who benefits? Really, who benefits? If we are healthy, we are the ones who benefit. If we are unhealthy and overweight, there are tons of industries that benefit, not just the commodity industries like the big three (soy, corn, wheat). The diet product industry is huge, and so is the pharmaceutical industry. So many things can be solved with diet. Let’s take my rosacea for instance – if I’d gone to a dermatologist, they would have prescribed me a medication instead of suggesting that perhaps the wheat in my diet is causing the inflammation. It’s awful.

  3. Hey Bethany,
    Good to read about your revelation. Minimizing grains is probably best for most of us.
    I totally approve of eating healthy fats, but as a vegetarian, though, I have to be creative about what to eat, and so do end up having a lot of grains in the forms of rice, lentils and quinoa…which seem to fit fine with me. There’s definitely room for improvement for me, as your and Moonbeams’ stories suggest, but it’s super-tricky finding good alternatives to fowl and fish, since soy is so problematic but remains the most common meat substitute, which pretty much leaves beans, the aforementioned grains, tempeh (which is pricey), and cheese (I’m nowhere near ready for veganism)…
    Anyway- my 2 cents…open to hear your and others’ thoughts!
    Michael would love for you to read..By: Easy Vegetarian Lentil Main Course in Only 10 MinutesMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your input Michael! I have to say I’ve often wondered how in the world I’d do if I was a vegetarian as well. I think rice is fairly inocuous when it comes to grains, and legumes are okay too, though I’ve noticed that since I’ve become more sensitive to how my body works, I start feeling a little floaty if I eat too much of them. I’m lucky as far as soy goes because I’m allergic to it so I pretty much had to eliminate it years ago. Makes it hard to eat sometimes, since the stuff is everywhere. So many people think soy is great, a health food, when it is anything but!

  4. I’m replying late, but wanted to let you know that I, too, found that my body does much better with protein and even fat, than it does with sugar. I was losing a pound a day on a modified version of the South Beach diet-modified to allow milk and fat. I quit sugar and grains-pasta, bread, etc. I felt a little brain-foggy after the first week, so I didn’t stick with it like I should have. However, I am going right back to it on January 2!

    1. Hey Penny, how did it go for you? I do know sometimes the withdrawal from the grains can be tough… I think when I made the switch i already felt so awful that I didn’t even notice.

      Towards the end of my pregnancy I was too out of it to cook the way I wanted, but now I’m gladly back on track. I am not really following any diet guidelines but mostly just trying to only have a little sugar (in my coffee mostly) and eliminating grains. It’s weird how it becomes simple to avoid them if you eliminate them for a while. My new baby has been in a growth spurt in the last week and I’ve been so HUNGRY all the time but I’m almost not even tempted by the easy grain snacks like cereal and stuff just because I know I’ll feel all foggy and crampy afterwards. Not worth it.
      Bethany would love for you to read..Announcing… Firefly!My Profile

  5. Hi Bethany
    This post has really given me food for thought as I have an interest in all things sugar and have recently been researching how fruit effects blood sugar levels as well. I have also been learning about fructose and how it effects our blood sugar levels. This is another aspect of the sugar story that I haven’t come across before so will keep it in mind, I guess it’s because of the carbs in the wheat products.

    I had a friend who reacted so badly to wheat that she developed serious sinus problems. She went off wheat for 9 months and was extremely healthy but alas she started eating it again and now suffers from reactive arthritis which can be another effect of eating too much wheat!
    jan would love for you to read..How to stop sugar cravings and sugar addictionMy Profile

    1. Hi Jan, thanks for stopping by!

      I really think wheat affects people differently, it’s really interesting. Towards the end of my pregnancy last year I wasn’t able to really put much energy into cooking so I did eat a little more wheat and that was kind of a touch downward spiral for me. It was only about a month in December, but once New Year hit I was glad to have things settled. I feel SO much better now that I’m being better about no wheat.

      It’s hard because I love tortillas and many other wheat-based foods but it has gotten to a point where if I have wheat I often get stomach cramps and then I feel sluggish. I spent 9 months feeling sluggish so much that I am not willing to give up my recently reclaimed energy! Oh and the weight has started to drop as well. I only gained 16lbs with my pregnancy, and it was gone within a week of delivery. I keep telling Mr. Hot Stuff we need to take some “before” pictures ASAP because I’m losing weight pretty quickly.
      Bethany would love for you to read..Interior Designing Our CabinMy Profile

      1. Well done on your weight loss, that’s sensational and yes get those piccys quickly! The trouble is with the wheat issue, is that almost all the “goodies” come wrapped in wheat – cakes, biscuits, flans, muffins, nice breads, pasta and so on and so it become very hard to resist. Add to that the toast for breakfast, bread for sandwiches and it doesn’t take long to become overloaded for a sensitive system. I don’t have a sensitivity to wheat myself but I have gathered a fantastic collection of wheat free cakes, desserts etc for when I have a wheat free visitor or even because I like them myself. In fact my favourite of all cakes is the orange gluten free one with a nice bit of icing on top and I have a great recipe for a chocolate cake that is just good quality chocolate, sugar, eggs and double cream. Better stop my mouth is starting to water!
        jan would love for you to read..I quit sugar – how to stop sugar addictionMy Profile

  6. I wish I ate better for my first pregnancy. I ate better than most women I’ve met but I’m still ashamed to say I ate my fair share of burgers and fries ;p

    My second pregnancy was better. I know for sure since I’ve transitioned to mostly paleo eating, if I have any other pregnancies I won’t be gaining 60lbs and playing dead.

  7. Was surfing the web and found your post. Thought I’d drop a note. I’m at the end of day 3 of no grains and no processed sugar. I’m 9 weeks pregnant. Feeling amazing. I suffer from fibromyalgia and although I’ve been having some success treating it with natural progesterone cream for the past 1 1/2 years, I think eliminating the grains (which I’ve suspected for some time) will do me wonders. I’ve gained 3 lbs this pregnancy, but have dropped 2 since dropping grains. This is my fourth pregnancy. Each previous pregnancy I gained 40 lbs. and although I was able to lose the weight in between pregnancies, it still made for a lot of weight to lug around while pregnant. I’m hoping this pregnancy will be different… liking the sound of only gaining 16 like you did. Way to go! Thanks for “listening”. 🙂

  8. I just now found this post, because all of this time I never thought wheat was a problem. As a vegan for 20 years, I really thought whole wheat was great and the fiber needed. Until I finally gave in and read Wheat Belly. Yes, wheat does cause the belly fat to stick around among other things like aches and pains. It took me forever to realize wheat wasn’t a health food.

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