Avoiding grains in your diet is a pretty difficult thing to do because it is in so many food items and prepared dinners that you can buy in the store. Ditching grains from your diet is also a relatively ‘new’ concept because there really was never a whole lot of research done on how grains affect your body. It still remains a very complex issue.
When I talk to people about how removing grains from my diet has helped me and my overall health, I generally get a response like ‘I love bread!’ or ‘I love pasta!’ But, what most people don’t know, is for almost everything that contains grains, there are much more healthier substitutes that share the same consistency and can be used in their favorite meals.
To clarify what constitutes as a grain, these are the most common grains found in food today: wheat, rice, corn, oats, rye, barley, couscous, buckwheat, and quinoa. Here are 5 reasons you should remove grains from your diet:
1. Lowers inflammation: Inflammations shows itself in the body in many ways, so even if you think this doesn’t affect you, chances are you are wrong. Inflammation includes any issues with bloating, acne, and arthritis. Most other diseases have inflammation as a common symptom.
2. Consuming grains makes it harder to lose weight: Grains actually contribute to weight gain, not only make it harder to lose weight. Grains are dense with calories without much nutritional value which usually leads to overeating. Of course, it is not just grains that contribute to unhealthy weight and obesity, but grains make it much easier.
3. Not digestive friendly: Even if you are not allergic to grains, they can still cause problems for your digestive system. Grain encourage the growth of unhealthy bacteria in your gut creating an imbalance. Our bodies are also not designed to process grains well, and some grains can tear the intestinal walls.
4. Skin and dental health: Poor skin and dental health are associated with the consumption of grains. As stated earlier, acne is a form of inflammation caused by higher insulin levels which produces more oil on the face. Just as grain promote bad bacteria growth in your gut, it does the same for your teeth.
5. Blood sugar imbalance: Consuming grains can actually make you feel more hungry because grains are composed of primarily carbohydrates that create a spike in blood sugar which means it has to bottom out eventually make you feel cravings and more hungry later on.
I have been working on my 11 Day Clean + Green program the past couple of weeks and a lot of people have asked me what the diet is all about. In a nutshell, it’s a 14 day program that eliminates all toxins from your body, kicks your cravings and you end up feeling ALIVE, REFRESHED AND RENEWED.
Are you a little tempted to try it?
Do you wonder about it?
A few years ago, if someone said “ I am detoxing” , one would probably have assumed that they had quit using a substance and that their body was naturally removing it from their system. Now, there is a new kind of detoxing becoming very popular-Cleansing. Popular and controversial. There has not been a lot of research or study on colon cleansing so there is no empirical data or ironclad answer. Some doctors say steer clear because it is unnecessary and dangerous and others prescribe it as a way to unclog your pipes and flush away the toxins.
So what exactly is the difference between a detox and a cleanse? There is a very thin line between the two. Both terms are used interchangeably to mean trying to get rid of the waste from the body. However, they are very different processes. Detox refers to the process of eliminating or neutralizing the toxic substances from our cells, tissues, organs and the bloodstream. Cleansing targets the digestive tract which includes elimination toxic wastes, parasites and fungi like Candida.
We live in a polluted and stressful world. And our bodies can become overburdened and strained by contaminants. These contaminants can lead to health problems. When we eat processed foods… (basically anything that comes in a box, can or jar… or anything with flour or sugar)…that are stripped of their nutrients and filled with preservatives, chemicals and artificial additives, we let toxins enter your digestive system. Our bodies were never designed to digest things like this! It doesn’t know how to break it down……how to get rid of it!
Some toxins are broken down and sent to the colon where we get rid of it by visiting the bathroom. With most other types of toxins though, it can’t break it down. So it sits there in our liver. Or, it goes into our bloodstream and is sent to our cells along with the nutrients. Now, our cells are like factories. They take good nutrients and convert it into energy… which keeps us warm, keeps the electricity going… basically mini-power plants. But when it gets something like refined white sugar… (which is basically poison)… it has no idea what to do with it. So it turns it into saturated fats. And they just “dump it” back into our bloodstream. And it ends up in our stomach, various body parts or just clog up the arteries. Your colon gets crusted over from eating meat, dairy, breads, processed foods, cakes, sweets and bad fat. It is just gross, think of all the fried foods and weight you are still carrying around with you and what is building on it.
Overtime, our liver spends so much time triaging the toxins, chemicals and poisons coming in… it has much less time to send the good stuff to our cells. It’s simply too busy dealing with the bad stuff…. trying to break it down or get it out of our body. So, now our cells are not getting the nutrients it needs to convert into energy!
Suddenly, we’re gaining weight uncontrollably. Maybe it’s blossomed out of your stomach, hips, upper arms, back and thighs.
Or without reason, you’re now having a really hard time getting out of bed. You may exercise but still have low energy. You’re getting sleepy on the desk or the sofa in the middle of the day more often.
Worse, perhaps you’re getting sick a lot more. It’s like you can’t fight off colds, the flu and other infections like you used to.
And the funny thing is… It feels like it all happened overnight! Sounds familiar?
Now, if you were to ask your doctor, they may tell you “go on a diet”. Or you’re simply overworked and you’re “it’s age”. They may even prescribe you drugs.
The low energy, the aches and pain, the sudden weight gain…it’s not because of a recent big change like menopause, turning a certain age or a new lifestyle.
It’s actually a series of several thousand small, little changes over the course of your entire lifetime. Changes that happened right under your nose…without you knowing!
If you are not convinced by now that you need to clear some of the goo away, there is more. Our stomach produces mucus to guard against acids, this is healthy. It is when we continually eat and drink McDonalds, Starbucks, kebabs or Chinese that we overproduce the stuff and it all gets clogged up…yuk.
Along with eliminating daily waste, our body has the job to defend itself against toxins. The normal detoxification process is pretty amazing:
- Toxins enter the blood.
- Antioxidants grab them and neutralize them and move them to the liver.
- The liver takes the toxins and gives the antioxidants back to circulate.
- The liver neutralizes and either eliminates the toxins either through feces, sweat or urine or it turns the toxin into a more toxic compound.
Eating a diet fresh and whole, along with avoiding the type of toxins we breathe in will help to eliminate #3 from happening. By taking in all these toxins, we create a problem that our body was not designed to deal with.
So, by now you should be convinced that our bodies need help.
There are different ways to detox and cleanse your body. Some are very natural, non controversial and extremely healthy. Some may seem extreme and others are simple. How you choose to do this is important.
Different cleansing aids:
- Eat clean
- Green Juices & Green Vegetables
- Lemons, Limes and Oranges
- Omega 3 Oils
- Green Tea
- Mung Beans
- Take enzymes
- Food combining
- Colon irrigation (professional)
- Kits with powders and potions
Going back to my 11 day Clean + Sexy program , I am on my tenth day and I don’t have cravings I used to have. I am eating very satisfying food that is very fulfilling. Most of us are brought up to have meat, fish etc and have the sides such as veggies, salad, rice etc. With the Clean + Sexy program , I learned to focus on veggies first and add on from there. Funny, the first day of detox I walked past the dessert aisle and it didn’t hit the spot like I thought it would. Sounds a bit mad? In just 9 days, my taste buds have changed and whole food is what I crave. The next two days will be a breeze. It’s just the mindset that I have to work on. And that’s the hard part. So do you think you are ready to do a cleanse or a detox?
We are coming to the end of the year and I am busy creating and testing recipes for Meals 52. As I weigh some ingredients and stir the pots, I am taken back to silly pranks played at school. Do you remember whoopee cushions? And does the thought of cooking and eating foods shown in the image below not only take you back to those jokes but also give you stomach pains, thunderous belly and embarrassment? (sometimes!)
Well, let me tell you how you can avoid feeling like a social hazard after eating them. It’s all in the preparation, so let’s start with the basics. Beans, legumes and grains contain phytic acid which is considered “the principle storage form of phosphorus”. Unfortunately, phytic isn’t digestable by us mortals because we lack the enzyme phytase to break it down. Phytic acid not only grabs onto or chelates important minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron but also inhibits enzymes such as pepsin, amylase and trypsin needed for the breakdown of proteins and starch for digestion. So if you are mineral deficient or eat beans as part of your healthy diet, follow my critical kitchen strategy that has been practiced by every culture around the world for generations. I love it when “science” meets tradition!
The three processes of soaking, sprouting and souring can reduce the phytic acid in the beans, legumes and grains making them more digestible and allowing better absorption of bio available nutrients and minerals.
So here’s how you soak them.
- Use 4 cups water and ½ tsp salt for every one cup of beans.
- Discard soaking water and rinse beans.
- Cook 1 cup beans in 2-4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, scraping foam off the top. Boil uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Cover pot and simmer on low until the outer surface is softened. ( to speed up the cooking process, use a pressure cooker )
What is so great about beans?
- They are nutrition powerhouses. High in fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates.
- They are cheap , widely available and can help you stretch your food budget.
- They have a super long shelf life.
Recent evidence suggests that food phytates may act as antioxidants and help the body to fight cancer. It is their very nature – their ability to prevent our body from fully absorbing minerals (the very reason traditional people practiced soaking grains, nuts and legumes) – that may also play a role in the fight against cancers. Interestingly, while phytates deprive cancer cells of minerals they need to survive, they also deprive non-cancerous cells of the same vital minerals.
So if you prepare your beans as shown above, your bottom will no longer be a very busy whoopee cushion and your body will thrive.
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com/aboikis
We live in a funny society. We treasure slim, thin, skinny and we also dole out mountains of processed snack, junk and fast foods. We sit around and watch television instead of getting up and walking to the park or grocery store.
In our society, it seems like it is a constant obsession to try to get fit yet all the time reverting back to the food and entertainment forms that are so prevalent. Every single family get together, every holiday, every celebration is centered on food and drink. Most of the time gluttonous food and drink!
So, when we start to become unhappy with the way we look (no one associates their illness or sluggishness with food) we start cutting calories. Every New Year the diet industry pulls out all the advertising plugs, because every New Year we resolve to lose all the weight we put on the years before. Diet pills, replacement shakes, artificial sweeteners, surgeries, magazines and fad diets. The problem is, these things all make our problem worse. We may lose weight quickly at first but we lose muscle at the same time and then gain back all fat, which is not so good.
Then we are minus the muscle and plus more fat.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, look to people who have successfully done it. You will notice that they did not use diet pills, meal replacement shakes or fad diets.
14 Proven ways to lose weight for good:
Don’t skip meals
Drink more water
Eat at home
Eat whole foods
Get a good night’s sleep
Keep a journal
Eat some good, high quality protein
Take a vitamin supplement
Eat more vegetables
Give up the “c”‘s
Do a kitchen makeover and get the unhealthy foods that tempt you out of your house.
What do you think of skipping the fad diets? Throw away the diet pills! (You can throw away your sleeping pills at the same time! 2 for 1!) Start eating healthy!
If you want to lose weight, eat more green vegetables and less simple carbohydrates. Give up the “C”‘s – cakes, cookies, coke and chips! Once those are out of your house and your life you WILL lose weight.
This is what you eat!
Fruits and vegetables
Small amounts of high quality protein
Small amounts of healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado (surprised? More on fats next week!)
Quit eating takeaways, fast foods, pre-cooked, packaged meals and then come back and leave a comment (will probably take 24 hours) about how good you feel!