But I can’t give up bread!!!

I can’t tell you how many times people have said that to me. I also get “the look”: “don’t make me give up my bread!”; and yes, I have had people mad at me for even suggesting it. I get it, it is a very strong addiction.

Let me make this clear: if you have no joint pain, no health issues, no digestive disorders, are the perfect weight, have lots of energy and sleep well; think clearly all the time and have no anger issues; keep doing what you are doing.

However, if you DO have any of those things, you may consider cutting back or eliminating gluten in your diet.

Do I have to give up all grains? Probably not, but you definitely should give up all grains that are processed in any way before they get to you. Read more about eating grains HERE.

But please…

Do NOT eat “gluten free” substitutes!!!! All you have done is switch your poison. How many times have I heard people say “I eat gluten free pizza, cookies, cakes, muffins, etc”, and they still have the same digestive problems. You have switched from one substance that irritates your gut lining to another set of them that can actually be worse. They are like shards of glass going down an already inflamed digestive tract. Don’t do it.

“But my kids want cookies and muffins and bread.” They would probably also eat a hot fudge sundae every night for dinner, would you do that? (Maybe I don’t want to know.) If something is potentially hazardous to your child’s health, why on Earth would you serve it to them? Sorry, this one I don’t get. However, go back to the top: if they have no digestive orders, are in perfect health, never get sick and are the perfect weight, don’t give them gluten free, give them the real thing: high quality breads with high quality ingredients. If you want to give them cakes or muffins, you can try some of the Paleo recipes; they use nut flours in small quantities, which most people can tolerate. However, remember, a gluten free cake or muffin is still a cake or a muffin. I highly suggest you train yourself and your kids to enjoy the sweetness of a pear, or an apple instead of baked goods; why not give them better habits than you have, so they don’t have to struggle like you are?

“But what do I eat instead?” Really? Have you looked outside the aisles of the grocery store? There is a wonder of foods out there, full of color and wonderful flavors:
vegetables with green and red and orange colors, fruits and berries that many consider “nature’s candy”. Look at the beauty of blueberries, raspberries, watermelon, lemons, and what could you do with a pumpkin, or sweet potatoes? Did you know carrots, onions and beets are actually very sweet? If you stop eating Snickers, you will discover the wonderful flavors of the foods that your body actually craves!

OK, I get it, this is a drastic change. So start with some of these ideas: use a brown rice tortilla instead of bread for a sandwich. Rice is easier to digest, is gluten free and the ones in the store that I have seen have pretty good quality ingredients. It is what I call a stepping stone. What I would prefer is for you to use lettuce or collards for your sandwiches, or nothing. I have been known to roll up good quality lunch meat and cheese into rolls and eat it like that. I don’t do that often, but it is a great quick meal to go.

Some people use cauliflower for pizza crust or bread like things. I made cauliflower bread sticks once. To me it just ruined perfectly good cauliflower. I love the flavor of cauliflower roasted in the oven with coconut oil and curry powder and salt; or steamed with butter and salt, or raw and dipped in hummus. However, for a time when you are really craving a bread like substance, this is a very healthy alternative! Just Google cauliflower bread and you will find lots of great options.

Consider starting small, and eliminating what you don’t really need; find healthy substitutes. Look through some Paleo cookbooks, they have lots of grain free substitutes. For you “all or nothing” people: consider giving it up altogether for three weeks and see how you feel. If you have survived, try it for another three weeks, see how that goes.

Aren’t grains good for you? Grains actually have some benefit, but most of us don’t know what grains are supposed to look like, so we don’t question it when we see “whole grains” on a box and assume it is what people say is “good for you”. Breads, flour tortillas, corn chips, rice in a box that cooks up in 5 minutes, all these things have been processed to the point that not only are they no longer good for you, they can cause some real problems to the lining of your intestines. I have often joked that you would be better off if you threw away the cereal and ate the box it came in. At least you wouldn’t have the xenoestrogens, the toxins from the glyphosate, and it would have more fiber! Go HERE for my article on grains.

Do I have to eat “perfect” all the time? Isn’t “moderation” good? Moderation in moderation. The problem with this mindset is that we start out “I will only have one piece of bread a day”, then “moderation” moves to “I will only have one piece of bread per meal”, and then it isn’t moderation anymore. However, none of us are perfect. I would say cut it out as much as possible, and you will find that it creeps in way more often than you think. I would say, “just say no”, and then when you “give in”, be very willing to forgive yourself and enjoy it as a special treat. I only eat pecan pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas. On those days, I enjoy it with everything I’ve got.

Make note of how you feel. When you do eat bread, or something you know has gluten in it, write down how you feel afterwards, even the next day. Do you have what some of us call a “carb hangover”? (If you have had one, you know what I mean.) Do you feel less energetic, fatigued, or have some “brain fog”? These are common symptoms of gluten sensitivity. Monitor your bowl activity. Your motility can be slower, stopped up or very loose. Monitor your weight. The reason I gave up bread was because I did an elimination diet, then added bread; I gained two pounds in two days after adding bread back to my diet. That was just my body telling me that it really doesn’t appreciate trying to digest something that difficult. So I listened to my body. Please listen to your body, it has a lot to tell you.

I know you don’t think you can give up bread, but you honestly can. Instead of thinking so much on what you are “sacrificing”, think of all the great things you can now try. Experiment with cauliflower breads and pizza, turn to fresh fruit for a sweet treat, experiment with flavors that your children will love when you try them. How about a lettuce wrap, instead of a sandwich? How about a brown rice tortilla with almond butter and cinnamon? This will force you to experiment, and benefit the health of you and your family.

If you try this, or have any ideas, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment on our Facebook page.

Patti