Image courtesy of Jackie Caldwell
FEATURE - August 2016 - Kansas City
Restoring Your Health…One Bite at a Time
How a Grain-Free Lifestyle Could Benefit You
by Jackie Caldwelll
When I tell people that I eat grain-free, they are usually perplexed, have never heard of it, and wonder how in the world someone can live grain-free.
Most people are familiar with gluten-free eating and have a pretty good understanding that you eliminate the gluten that is found in traditional wheat products. In contrast, grain-free eating is the elimination of all grains including wheat, corn, millet, barley, rice, and oats.
My journey of grain-free eating started from a significant health crisis in my life. After being diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis, I found traditional treatment options were limited to drugs and eventually surgery. I took a plethora of prescribed drugs over a two-year period and at the end found myself in worse shape than when I started. Throughout my illness, multiple doctors told me time and time again that food had nothing to do with my digestive disease. Doesn’t make much sense when you really think about it!
I began my own research looking for alternative methods of healing, and what I found was a large number of people who had put themselves into remission from Ulcerative Colitis and other auto-immune disorders by removing all grains, most dairy, sugar, and processed food from their diet. I took a leap of faith and decided to try this new way of eating. You can read my entire story of illness, recovery, and remission on my website.
It wasn’t an overnight fix, and it wasn’t easy, but within a year, I was healthy again, and within 2 years, I was in remission and drug-free all by changing the way I ate.
Many times, it takes some kind of health crisis for people to wake up and realize they need to make significant changes in their lives. I think there is a silver lining in most all things we experience, and for me the silver lining is that I eat healthier than I ever did prior to my diagnosis and so does my family.
If you haven’t read “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis, please put it on your reading list, especially if you are interested in trying a grain-free lifestyle.
He writes about how wheat crops are grown today and how differently they were grown even 20 years ago. The genetic codes of the plants have been changed to make the stalk shorter, more resistant to insects and disease. These changes certainly aren’t benefiting our health. Dr. Davis states, “there has been a 400 percent increase in celiac disease since 1948.” As rational thinkers, we have to associate some of the health issues we are having in our country to the differences in how we grow our crops.
Let’s talk about some of the reasons you might want to try grain-free lifestyle.
Relief and/or remission from auto-immune disorders such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s disease and many more.
Weight loss, which for some people isn’t just 10 pounds; there are people who have lost more than 100 pounds by eliminating wheat and grains.
Relief from skin disorders such as eczema, rashes, acne, etc.
Potential relief from anxiety and depression.
Brain Fog disappears.
More energy to live your life.
My previous daily diet included grains at almost every meal so the transition to grain-free eating was not easy. I was also cooking for my family with three small children, which made the challenge even greater. I approached this significant lifestyle change with baby steps. I could tell things were changing inside my body for the better after just the first two weeks of eliminating grains, processed foods, most dairy, and sugar. These changes gave me the hope and inspiration to continue on this path.
Helpful tips for your grain-free journey to better health:
This is not a fast food, drive-thru lifestyle; grain-free eating is about being prepared. I can’t, and don’t, grab food on the go anywhere, so I always have food prepared at home and ready to pop into containers if I need to take something with me.
Keep a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator. I keep a large container of almond flour in my fridge so it’s handy for my weekly baking.
Grill and prepare extra meat and veggies on the weekend so I can throw salads together and make quick meals during the week.
Experiment with recipes until you find things that satisfy and nourish you.
Become a label reader and don’t eat any ingredient if you don’t know what it is.
Stick to unprocessed and mostly organic food when possible.
My best advice for each of you is to become an advocate for your own healthcare. Do your research and listen to your instincts about what is best for your body. Find doctors and healing practitioners you are comfortable working with and who listen! You might discover as I did, if we give our bodies real, whole foods, they are truly miraculous at healing.
Most of all, I want to give you hope that you can get your health back and live a full, vibrant life!
I want to share my recipe for Easy Grain-Free Bread. This bread is really simple to make and tastes great! It slices beautifully and you can toast or make anything you would with wheat-based bread.
Easy Grain-Free Bread
1 - cup creamy cashew butter (room temperature is best)
5 large eggs
2 tsp. melted organic butter or use ghee for dairy free
1 TBSP. Apple Cider (I use Braggs)
¾ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with oil and insert parchment paper.
Scoop creamy cashew butter into a food processor, powerful blender, or use a bowl and mix well.
Add other ingredients, melted butter or ghee, apple cider, baking soda, and sea salt.
Pulse until batter is well mixed. I use a spatula to mix and make sure cashew butter is incorporated into batter.
Pour batter into the 9x5 prepared loaf pan.
Bake at 350 for 38-42 minutes. Start checking bread at 38 minutes and pull out when tester is clean.
Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes and then lift bread out to cooling rack for an hour. Store bread wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the fridge or it freezes nicely too.
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Jackie Caldwell is a holistic health coach and self-taught chef. Jackie works with clients who suffer from autoimmune disorders such as Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac, Crohn’s disease, IBD, and anyone who needs to improve their digestive health.