23 August 2010

I'm in the mood for a little nutrition discussion this morning. 

While making some oat bran banana muffins (recipe coming soon!), I came across this recipe for "oat-free grain-free trail bars" on Daisy Janie. I said, "Grain free? Why?" She explained a little in the blog post, and linked to this website: 10 Reasons to Go Grain-Free. I was intrigued, because the nutrition people tell me every day that whole grains are good for me, and my kids, and I strive to incorporate a variety of whole grains in our diets. (Such as the aforementioned muffins.)

Most of the 10 reasons seemed pretty valid. 
#1 states that we can find the nutrients and fiber in other sources, which is true. More difficult, but true.
#3 claims we're all a little gluten-intolerant, some more than others. This is probably also true. Just like we're probably all a little lactose-intolerant.
#5 really caught my attention. Must be due to all those Anthropology classes I took in college.
#7 "Poorly prepared grains prevent mineral absorption." Thank goodness I soak my oats. And seriously? Since I started soaking my oats (after reading this article), I've had dramatically fewer breakouts and my hemoglobin (iron level in blood) levels have increased. Last month I was able to donate blood and pass my hemoglobin test for the first time in 3 years without the aid of iron supplements.  

That was a glorious day

The other reasons go into inflammation, joint problems, dental decay...all of which I have no experience.

What do you think? I have no desire to give up grains. I love my grains. But perhaps they're not as important as we seem to think. Honestly, I like the fullness in my tummy that follows a nice hearty muffin or bowl of oats. Stir fry isn't stir fry without rice or noodles. This is why I could never do a low-carb diet, and I won't do a grain-free diet, either. I can't imagine replacing my morning bowl of oats with a morning bowl of peas. Just not the same.

But I'm a creature of habit, and I can get used to anything if I do it regularly. So maybe I could do a grain-free diet. But I don't think it would be any fun. How do you make a grain-free doughnut? Is that even possible?


Megan said...

Hmm... interesting. I don't think I'd be able to give up all grains, but limiting the "unsoakables" and soaking the ones that we can would probably be a good compromise. I tend toward being anemic and have skin "issues" so this is definitely something to think about!

Marisa said...

Yes, moderation is the key, as always. I wish I could plan ahead enough to soak all my grains. I'm good about my breakfast oats, but things like rice for dinner or an impromptu oatmeal request from a kid never get soaked.

J I L L A I R E said...

I cringe at the suggestion of going grain free for several reasons. I read the article and my biggest opposition to it is that she didn't give REALISTIC ways to actually go grain free. Her examples in #1 of alternate foods? Really? Who's eating lamb liver? I've never heard of yardlong beans. And where do you get raw fireweed? I honestly think going to extremes in ANY diet is problematic.

Marisa said...

I totally agree. I thought fireweed was a little strange, too. (I do know that yardlong beans--super long green beans--are available at some Asian grocery stores.) But yes, I'm a fan of general diet moderation and exercise to be healthy.

daisy janie said...

Thanks for posting this and starting a discussion about it. I just purchased sprouted grain flour - I think we'll be seeing a lot more of the sprouted grain foods in the coming years. Your body processes it like a vegetable, rather than a grain. I'm interested to see how I feel when I make something with it.

We don't eat crazy foods like the author in that article referenced, and we are not grain-free zealots by any means. We just chose to experiment, esp when my health issues began to impede regular living b/c of the pain, and the grains were clearly the culprit. It's different for everyone. In addition, I love all kinds of food as much as anyone, but I also am fiercely committed to feeling 100% fantastic as many hours out of my day as humanly possible...if a certain food inhibits that potential, I won't eat it. The trade-off is simply not worth it for me. Comfort food or not.

Also, I don't think rice is technically considered a grain in this context. Usually, grainless diets refer to removing wheat, oat, barley and rye and derivatives of them. So anything made with rice would probably be fine. ???

If you're interested in finding out about the health effects (+/-) of grains in one's diet, don't take this one article's word for it or my word for it... explore and see what else you turn up.

Marisa said...

Thanks for your comment, Daisy Janie.

One of the biggest obstacles in my mind over the last two days was flour. What to do without flour?? I will definitely keep my eyes out for sprouted grain flour. I'm so impressed with the positive effects of soaking/fermenting my oats, I'm curious to see the differences brought about by sprouted grain flour.

Kudos to you for experimenting to find ways around your pain. I'm such a food lover (addict?) that the thought of sacrificing even one type of food because of physical issues scares me. I'm a wimp. With no willpower. But maybe not if the consequences are severe.

Why do you think rice is excluded from the group? I know rice is the first grain we're supposed to give babies, because it's the easiest grain to digest. I figured that was age-related, but maybe rice is easier for all humans to digest?

Thanks for your contribution!

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