This is the sixth article in the Finding Your Perfect Diet series. I am breaking down each food group to help you find the perfect diet for you. Up to this point we have covered fats, meats, and fruits and vegetables. The right fats and meats are important for everyone. Fruits and vegetables are important for everyone also, however certain ones need to be excluded for certain health conditions. (For most people though fruits and vegetables are safe). Now we come to grains and legumes.
- Wheat (bread, noodles, crackers, cookies, cereal etc.)
- Corn (tortillas, cereal, popcorn)
- Black eyed peas
- Black beans
- Lima beans
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans
- All beans except green beans
Grains and Legumes Might Be Very Healthy for You
If you want to simply lose weight and you don’t have any other health problems than you can probably eat grains and legumes. Although to lose weight and to be healthy you need to cook them the real food way. It is also good to soak them overnight in some water and something acidic, and then cook them the next morning-like this recipe. Or this recipe. White rice is a safe grain for a lot people and it is very easy to make. I explain how to make it here.
If you have been struggling with weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, cold hands and feet and just no energy than grains could be really helpful for you. Because these symptoms can be caused by a struggling thyroid or adrenals. Grains can be helpful to nourish the adrenals, and can sometimes help a struggling thyroid (if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis than grains will probably not be right for you until you work on reversing autoimmunity with a diet like autoimmune paleo. More information on the paleo diet is below.)
For someone who needs help with their thyroid or adrenals grains can even help raise body temperature. When body temperature raises it shows that metabolism has been raised which can make weight loss effortless. But, if you are dealing with more serious problems like any listed in the next few paragraphs than you may need to do a grain free healing diet first. If you don’t heal from the other problems first it is unlikely that you will be able to maintain a healthy weight.
Grains and Legumes Might Keep You Sick
If you are dealing with Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBD, SIBO, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, or post infectious ibs (like my niece Faith), than you may be greatly helped by the SCD diet. My niece went from being a very sick little girl to feeling wonderful with the help of the SCD diet. On the SCD diet grains are not permitted and the only legumes permitted are navy beans, lima beans and lentils. The SCD diet is basically healthy meats, fats, fruits and vegetables (all the foods that have been covered in this series so far).
The SCD diet includes saturated fats (examples here). Saturated fat is especially important for healing digestion. And bad digestion affects everything. My niece Faith developed cavities, insomnia, and depression symptoms during the time that she was sick. Because she healed from her ibs with a very nourishing healing diet she will be spared from years of health problems.
Another diet that is very close to the SCD diet is the GAPS diet. In fact the GAPS diet was based on the SCD diet. The GAPS diet has helped to reverse cases of autism as well as many other diseases. Many health problems get better or disappear on the GAPS diet. There is a list here of improvements seen by people on the GAPS diet. See my article here for some specific examples of serious health problems reversed by the GAPS diet.
The SCD diet and GAPS diets are healing diets. They are meant to be temporary. During the healing phase it would be very important to avoid all grains and most legumes (this means no store bought cereal, crackers, bread, noodles etc). This means that if you had a craving for bread you could eat breads made from almond flour or coconut flour-like these on my GAPS bread pinterest board.
Another diet that is very healing is the Paleo diet. It is similar to the SCD and GAPS diets. The Paleo diet has helped to reverse (or put into remission) multiple diseases including Multiple Sclerosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The Paleo diet does not allow any grains or legumes. Many recipes are similar to the GAPS or SCD diet. An average Paleo meal would be steak, sweet potato and broccoli. A snack might be fruit and nuts. Muffins or tortillas could be made from flours like almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour or arrowroot flour-like these easy tortillas.
Are Grains and Legumes Good For You?
The bottom line is that grains and legumes are good if you are healthy. Or if you are struggling with some hormonal imbalances like adrenal fatigue or simple hypothyroidism (not Hashimoto’s or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) than grains and legumes can really be helpful.
If, however, you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, IBS, IBD, Multiple Sclerosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Depression, or other serious disorders-than it is likely that you need to heal before grains or legumes would be healthy for you. In fact, if you do have any of these disorders they are likely to get worse without dietary intervention. The good news is that if you need a healing diet and you commit to it than you will very likely lengthen your life and definitely improve your quality of life. Grains and legumes can help you stay well or keep you sick. It really depends on what health problem you are facing!
Want to know more about “Finding Your Perfect Diet”? The rest of the series is here.
Disclaimer: This post is not medical advice. You should consult your health practitioner before making changes in your diet or supplements. I am not a doctor or medical professional.
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