A Grain of Truth

Haha.  I love a good title.  That’s about all I got at this time of night, except the wanderings of a food-obsessed mind.

Lately, I really have been thinking a lot about grains.  I like them.  A long time ago I stopped eating pretty much anything made with refined (white) wheat on a regular basis (the occasional treat notwithstanding,) and then I decided to stop eating wheat, pretty much.  Then I read Wheat Belly, and even though I didn’t believe everything he said, there is so much bad press out there on the inter webs about the evils of grains that  I tried to limit my grain intake.  Actually, according to the USDA, I still DO limit my grain intake.  Egads, who eats 6-11 servings of grain a day?

Anyway, I am trying to stop thinking of grains as evil, and something that I need to feel bad about if I eat more than one serving a day!  I think most days I have 2 servings of whole grains, and once in a while I will have 3.  I like grains in the morning, and I like popcorn at night once or twice a week.

I also was thinking about why I like to try vegan recipes.  It actually has nothing to do with veganism, but it does seem that they like to use alternative flours.  And that is a good thing, I think.  It just seems healthy to eat a wide variety of grains, instead of having everything in your life revolve around wheat.  NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT LOL.  My latest flour that I am enjoying is the brown rice flour in baked goods.

So when I was on vacation (and consuming more grains than usual, thank you to the THREE bakeries in the small town of Sisters,) I was very interested when I got this email with a link to an article titled “Should You Avoid Grains?”  Its a pretty well-written article, and has some very good points.  The author is a former body builder who is also a registered dietician.  Of special interest to me was a reference to a scientific article titled “Wheat Belly–An Analysis of Selected Statements.”  [Okay, disclaimer here.  I just noticed–this article seems to be written very scientifically, but it is for a publication called “Cereal Foods World”???]  Well, check it out.  It still seems to be a pretty fair-minded article.

I know there is a lot a testimony out there about it being easier to maintain weight loss if you will eliminate grains.  MOST of the testimony comes from people who have lost weight in the last year or two.  As I like to say these days–come back in five years and talk to me.

26 thoughts on “A Grain of Truth

  1. Hi Debbie,

    You worked very hard to lose the weight you didn’t want and you have continued to eat with health and maintenance in mind. You should eat foods that please you so long as they don’t undo the good work and I can’t see you doing anything silly like that.

    Both John and I have had huge health gains from since we stopped eating wheat but it’s obvious that wheat is not a problem for everyone.

    It’s time to enjoy all that you have achieved. I adore the photo of your work at the top. You are a wonderfully talented.



  2. I reached goal weight in 2009 on a doctor supervised very low calorie diet that was basically grain/sugar free. It was a slow realization/experimentation that a grain free diet was a good choice for me for maintaining. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve hit a few bumps in the road with maintaining my weight, but these bumps have always included adding grains back to my diet and related health issues.

    The genetically modified issue of grains and other foods concern me, too.

  3. I do have a problem with the mindset that all grains are evil, but can’t deny that I feel better when I avoid most of them. Seems to be working for me to have eliminated white flour completely (at least as much as is possible) and using others sparsely i.e. 6-8 servings per WEEK! I’m able to feel very full and satisfied with protein, fruit and veggies. Enjoyed reading the article. Did you feel the earthquake?

    • I had to google to see where the earthquake was! And then I had to map quest to see where Soledad was! So, no, I didn’t feel it. But Noah was very barky at a weird time last night, so I’m SURE he felt it LOL.

  4. I realized grains were causing food cravings and I was probably wheat sensitive. I feel so ill when I even get accidentally exposed ( think the blast of pancake batter put in an omelette to make it fluffy-horrors!! ). I won’t be returning to any sort of wheat , ever. That’s okay.

    I’m also pain free without grain and that’s a huge motivator. I had joint pain in my shoulders & knees. Pain is no bueno. Inflammation is not good over all.

    If you can maintain your weight , not be in pain, or have other problems ( think high CRP, Pre-diabetes markers, and a better lipid profile) and it works, then good for you. I’m quite certain when I come back in 5 five years I will be a totally happy camper with good bio markers , pain free , and maintaining my weight loss. It’s taken me 40 years to figure out that wheat was triggering me. 40 years is a long time to be yo-yo dieting. And pain free living is pretty awesome.

    Keep an open mind about those of us who are wheat free and maintaining our weight. We are stronger together.

  5. I do not like any stance that evilizes any certain whole food. What I do believe is that certain things are not good for certain people. We all have to find our way with it! As I think back to the complete fat free, sugar free 1980’s and how people went crazy for that trend…. which turned out to not be so good, I too say “see me in 5 years.”

  6. You’re so punny!!! Love that title. 🙂

    Also love – “come back in 5 years and talk to me”. It’s easy to be preachy only a year or two after weight loss, if you’ve kept the weight off for several years, I am more inclined to trust what you have to say (and by you, I mean THE WORLD).

      • Well, let me tell you Karen P, when you have been blogging as long as a lot of us have, you see a lot of folks make their goal weight and then shout from the rooftops that THEIR WAY IS THE ONLY RIGHT WAY!!!

      • Dangit – I hit enter too soon! Anyway, the point is, these new weight-loss-maintainers don’t always follow their own advice five years down the road. Five years down the road, they usually have fallen back into their old ways and have regained their weight. There are a few superstars who CAN maintain that lifestyle, but sadly a lot do not. That’s the point Debbie was trying to make – it wasn’t meant to be unsupportive, just realistic.

      • Watch and see . And stay open to a solution. Open minds. Life is dynamic. Stay open to it. It’s all good. We are stronger together. KarenP

  7. I did not use the word evil. I don’t believe that wheat is evil. I used the words “pain free” and “weight maintenance” and “good bio markers”.

    Keep an open mind it. I encourage you to go wheat free for 30 days and see how you feel. Getting rid of the joint pain was so worth it. The weight maintenance is a huge bonus, oh and I found my waist again, too. I had lost it during menopause. I’m happy to have it back. I still and aways will be curvy, but I missed my waist.

    Focus on what works. Be open to new ideas. Together we are stronger.

    • Karen, you did not use the word evil. I used the word evil. I was referring to the folly of my thinking that a food group could be considered evil.

      And the “come back in five years” is referencing my own frustration and cynicism with the extreme difficulty of long term weight loss maintenance in this world. I’ve been at this a long time.

      • Gotcha! I was told ten years ago by a councelor, non weight related, to go grain free and to remove processed sugar. My scientific brain dismissed that notion. Turns out it was exactly what I needed to both loose weight and transform into “almost long term ” maintnence. I’m kicking myself that I did not listen to that councelor, but better late than never. I figure at age 46, I might get another 30-40 years. I call a “do-over” for myself. It’s hard work.

        That being said, I’ve placed your blog address on my calander. In 5 years , I’m checking back in with you!!!!! 😉

  8. “See me in five years” – shoot, see me in six months! I can’t tell you the number of “weight loss” bloggers who go full on with the grain-free, paleo-style diet, espouse how wonderful and amazing they feel, only to slip back into old habits within a very short time span. Doing anything diet-wise to the extreme is incredibly hard to stick with, and that includes cutting out wheat and grains. Of course, I’m sitting here eating my Greek yogurt topped with my homemade granola, so you can tell where I stand with this…but I’ve been maintaining my weight loss for three years now, so I think I can speak for balance.

    • I invite you all to follow along on my blog. I’m grain free and weight maintaining. Non commercial , too. Weight loss and maintining is much more than paleo or non paleo. There are as many approaches to weight loss and maintnence as there are people.

      Don’t be so fast to dismiss grain free living. I’m finding the whole thing very sustainable.

      We are stronger together in weight maintnence. We all have things to learn from each other , no matter what approach works for us.

      Open minds.

      • I reached goal weight in 2009 after being diagnosed hypothyroid and insulin resistant. My glucose level has dropped to normal ranges, practically binge free and no joint aches after going grain free and following a mostly primal lifestyle.

  9. It is very, very hard to remain completely grain free in today’s environment. Having gone grain free for I while, I figure I can have an opinion on that 😀
    I eat way less wheat than I used to because it does seem to have some health implications. With that said, I do still enjoy my bagels and cupcakes. It is much easier to go gluten free than grain free.

    I see too many people who cannot stick to a totally grain free diet. Not that people cannot, but if you omit certain foods and state that you can never have them again, it is triggering to many people (myself included).

    I find that I need some starches in my diet because of the amount of exercise I do. Mostly that comes from potatoes and rice and I don’t seem to have any issues with these, even though one is from the (oh-no!!) grain category and the other is an (OMG) nightshade!!

    It’s all about finding a way of eating that is sustainable for you as an individual and not get caught up in the annoying dogma in the dietary circles. But you know that, anyway 😀

    • Ah, the “annoying dogma in dietary circles.” It seems I do get caught up in that sometimes. Thus the large amount of time I have spent thinking about grains in the past few weeks. Thanks for the reminder!

      And you are one of the successful maintainers that I look up to. You even manage to successfully incorporate REFINED grains into your weekly diet!

  10. I’ve got a year to go for the 5-year mark, and I’m eager to see where I stand then. (I think I know already, but I don’t want to give anything away. :))

    Some people see (or think they see) a difference in cutting out certain food groups entirely, but for most of us, a balanced, portion-controlled diet and regular exercise are more sustainable for the long term. In fact, I feel best when I do have all the food groups included in my day-to-day diet. (Sadly, Halloween candy is not a food group.)

    • Yes, I think I know exactly where you’ll be in five years. You’re another of my favorite maintainers to observe (and try to emulate!)

  11. I’ve only been maintaining two years (not including the two years to lose), but I am very glad to still eat wheat and sugar. Life is too short, and I don’t think they’re so bad. I ignore the dietary dogma, not good for my stress levels. I try not to eat too many of the refined grains, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before I swear off pizza or cookies (which isn’t to say I eat them as often as I might like)

  12. I will celebrate 5 years in maintainence in a few months, February 2013. I haven’t cut grains out of my diet completely, but I do limit them to 2 servings a day on most days. On days when I have more than that, I find I start to gain weight immediately, so that is a big incentive to keep them to a minimum. I do miss them though. A lot. Especially pasta. It’s been one of my biggest challenges. I do agree that each person has to find out what works best for them.

    • Pasta was one of the things I gave up a long time ago. I still have it on occasion, but I am always surprised to find that it no longer holds a big appeal for me. I like the sauce better than the noodles.

  13. Very interesting. I’m definitely not at a five year point for giving advice, but what seems to be working for me is limiting grains to about 1-2 servings a day. If I’m only getting one serving, I don’t fritter it away. I like whole grains. I usually go for oatmeal. Or brown rice. Or popcorn. I used to eat 4-6 servings per day. Even keeping the calorie/WW points the same, I lose weight much more easily when I limit grains.

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