Three years ago I eliminated all grains from my diet. Grains includes any item made of wheat flour or any whole grain items with the husk. That includes brown rice or wild rice. That meant the diet no longer included pasta, breads, cookies and cinnamon rolls. I had given up on cinnamon rolls a couple of years earlier since it was not possible to find snack sized cinnamon rolls. I didn't want an over sweet dessert big enough for four. But I digress.
Less than four years ago, I had read several books about cholesterol and saturated fats. Those readings lead me to paleo/primal readings and web sites. That new way of eating didn't sound like all that much fun (no bread slathered with butter), but I was willing to give it a try for thirty days. Two weeks into the diet I was eating meats, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits. That was when I realized I had not been hitting the antacids after most every meal. I also had not experienced a recent attack of acid reflux.
There might be something to this way of eating. I continued to eat food without grains for the remainder of the thirty days. Then it was time to test whether there was any validity to the issue of grains and whole grains in the diet. I don't recall what I ate, but within less than an hour I located the antacids to ease the discomfort. That was followed with more tests with grains. Wow. Each time I had the usual heart burn and acid reflux.
I was convinced this new way of eating without grains would be for the rest of my life. I had always read labels avoiding added sugars and industrial abused food products containing ingredients I could not pronounce. When I started the new way of eating, I became fanatical. Even more items were eliminated from the diet. Sugar is the item that is added to many foods by agri-business. Anything ending is "ose" is a sugar. (When I found sugar in sour cream, I started to read ingredients of every item.)
The new way of eating eliminated sugar from my diet as there were no longer products made with flour. (i.e. bread, pastries, cookies, etc.) The sweets now are fruits with a dollop of plain whole fat yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon or some other home made spice concoction. On the rare occasion when I desire something sweetened, the choice is either maple syrup or honey. An occasional special treat is 85% or better dark chocolate.
Doctors measure human health with blood tests and other body measurements. Doctoring by the numbers means that my primary doctor had been hectoring me to take statins for elevated cholesterol for about ten years. I always declined. Here are the results of blood and body tests before and after:
December 2011: Before starting the no grains diet.
Weight: 155 lbs.
Total cholesterol: 285
Blood Pressure: 136/70
October 2014: After three years with no grains.
Weight: 143 lbs.
Total cholesterol: 220
Blood Pressure: 130/65
After three years of no grains, the positives are:
- The LDLs went down by almost fifty points while eating more meat and saturated fats.
- Rather than putting the butter on bread, I mainline Kerrygold butter.
- That industrial sized container of antacids from three years ago is still about half full.
- There have been no acid reflux episodes.
- The weight loss was a welcome side effect; the pants fit better.
- I feel better.
- I sleep better.
The most amazing thing is that my body was able to handle the assault for seventy years before the body's owner checked out some other way of living.
Living without grains means no acid indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux. It is a wonderful life.
Note: In the standard American food pyramid, the bottom layer is grain products. There are no grains or grain in the paleo/primal food pyramid: (Food Pyramid Graphic from Marks Daily Apple)