January 22, 2019
(updated April 20, 2021)
What’s Inside: Trying out a gluten-free or Paleo diet? Grab my favorite grain alternatives that are nutrient-dense, easy, delicious, and AIP-friendly!
When I first tried a gluten-free diet, I remember first turning to the gluten-free foods like bread, pasta, and all the other GF products out there. In other words, all the packaged carbs.
Only problem was that they were still processed with way too many ingredients and additives.
It’s a common pitfall to look for 1:1 replacement like this, especially for those of us raised on the Standard American Diet (aka, the SAD!), or for my international peeps, a diet highly comprised of processed foods and refined carbohydrates.
After feeling like these products still bothered me, I started getting serious in the kitchen, looking for and creating gluten-free recipes.
I was initially open to trying this diet because I was ready to try anything in order to feel better and heal, especially struggling with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease and all the digestive issues that came along with it. That’s when I started learning more about how grains can be inflammatory and difficult to digest, further attributing to leaky gut. This motivated me to try out the Paleo diet, which on top of being gluten-free is also grain-free and focused on nutrient-dense foods. Score!
At first, this new diet was fun, like any other new thing you might try. But it wasn’t long before I started to see the challenges that came with it. I was really missing some of my favorite foods like pasta, bread, cookies, and BAGELS, oh how I missed bagels. However, I knew I wanted to minimize my consumption of even the allergen-approved products or recipes.
Regardless of the ingredients, these foods tend to be eaten in excess, it’s just how we treat them! As people (especially as Americans), we are trained to habitually load up on these foods instead of enjoying them more occasionally. Enjoying them as a treat would, of course, do our bodies much good, making us more balanced and less likely to fall into the up-and-down roller coaster of cravings, binges, and restricting ourselves.
I found the best way to moderate and balance in all of this was to make my whole food, grain alternatives the NORM. I needed to prioritize nutrient-dense foods at every turn and to try new things toe expand my palette.
Luckily for those of us on this grain-free journey, there are A LOT of options out there if you get just a teensy bit more creative than picking out a box in a supermarket. I promise it’s worth it.
Opting for nutrient-dense foods that are the closest to the earth as possible aren’t only the easiest option to digest, but they give us the greatest yield of benefits like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are living foods, as opposed to dead ones, like the processed junk many of us are trying to lean on less.
So if you want to feel FULL OF LIFE … you know what to do.
By crowding out the old staples that got us into feeling sick and tired with nutrient-dense whole foods, we will start to crave them less.
Better yet, we’ll start creating new healthier habits with smarter choices, and practicing this will take the guesswork and struggle out of it.
And when you’re absolutely jonesing for a baked good, I got you covered. Try my all-purpose Paleo flour, almond flour bagels, plantain chips, or flourless muffins among many other options on my blog. These are great options to enjoy here and there when we feel like it. And by making them at home ourselves, we can control what’s in them and enjoy the fruits of our labor.
For some of my favorite staples to have on hand for convenience and when entertaining, I’m also including a list below of some of my favorite gluten-free and grain-free brands that use high-quality ingredients.
I want to be clear, … grains are not the devil. Demonizing foods can get us into trouble! But in excess, they spike blood sugar throwing us off balance. They can also be inflammatory and difficult to digest, causing a slew of health problems.
Opening our worlds up to more healthy options that are both delicious and nutritious pushes us out of our comfort zones so we can explore new flavors and start to feel much better. Challenging the status quo can definitely feel uncomfortable, but that’s how we change and grow.
When I do enjoy grains on occasion, I opt for properly-prepared, sprouted and/or soaked because it’s much easier on digestion.
I hope this list of tasty options helps you on your journey toward cleaner eating! Happy substituting!
Check out my favorite grain-free dishes you can easily make in the comfort of home!
Don’t have time to make your own grain-free porridge? I get that! Check out my favorite store-bought option here.
Without a doubt, some of these homemade goodies will require a few new tools for you to invest in. The great news is they are all very affordable and you’ll get a TON of use out of them.
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