So every Instagram you follow says to be grain-free, dairy-free or sugar-free (sometimes even ours), and your mentally committed to the cause, but your heart & stomach are still at odds with the whole concept (or worse, your family secretly hates you for it!).
Some of us have also attempted going dairy & gluten-free ~ only to end up leaving Whole Foods with an assortment of artisanal cheeses and crackers… If you can relate, this post is for you!
I’ve collected the best alternatives to replace those totally “free” diets. (References after the article)
SPROUT IT! So one of the main problems with grains is how it is prepared (or rather not prepared). Grains, seeds and nuts are meant to be soaked, sprouted and/or fermented. Why? They are high in phytic acid which acts as an anti-nutrient (essentially robbing our body of minerals that we are already seriously lacking like magnesium). For some reason, we lost our ancestral memory and stopped “souring” our grains over time. So instead of going totally grain-free, give sprouted breads, cereals and crackers a whirl. If you buy them from a store, do read labels! (Sometimes ordinary/refined flour will be put into the mix). When making rice (esp brown), soak it the whole day prior to cooking at night to help remove most phytic acid (& drain the murky water before cooking).
ANCIENT! So instead of going grain-free or gluten-free (unless truly allergic), you can opt for ancient varieties of grain ~ notably wheat. Heirloom varieties of grain include spelt, kamut, einkorn as well as emmer. Modern-day wheat (especially American wheat) is hybridized, loaded with pesticides/herbicides & therefore causing our immune systems to totally freak out! Ancient or heirloom varieties, like the einkorn wheat discussed here, haven’t been totally screwed up. I’m also a big fan of ‘traditionally prepared’ sourdough (made without yeast) because it’s “fermented”… PS: Here’s a pretty good deal on Amazon for a 6-pack of Jovial einkorn spaghetti ~ this is the brand Sarah (The Healthy Home Economist) recommends.
GO REAL ITALIAN! So what’s a pizza-loving girl to do when wanting to go out on the town for an Italian meal? Look for restaurants that advertise using real Italian flour. Because my bubba (a very active stuntman) like his traditional pasta, I buy him this variety from Whole Foods which is made with real Italian flour. What’s wrong with American wheat flour? Basically everything!
BOTTOMLINE: Opting for sprouted, whole grains in place of just a “gluten-free” label may ultimately be the wiser, healthier choice since gluten-free products can be laden with toxicity as I discussed in this post. If you’re suffering from a serious auto-immune issue (or something like PCOS), then going totally grain-free may be the best route at least until your less inflamed.
RAW HONEY! So despite the fact that being eating less sugar is very good for your body, whole food forms of sugar (like raw, unfiltered honey) aren’t going anywhere anytime soon ~ unless of course we end killing all the bees (hi Monsanto & Bayer)! Anyways, raw honey is full of goodness ~ from it’s ability as a sleep aid to it’s anti-allergy, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties ~ it can’t be BEE-T! Make sure you buy unfiltered (and ideally local/organic) raw honey (and that doesn’t mean it has to be that “hard” variety – raw honey can be a liquid too).
MAPLE SYRUP (100%)! Like it’s noble friend honey, maple syrup isn’t going anywhere either! Maple syrup is loaded with goodness ~ it’s high in anti-oxidants and minerals like zinc and manganese. It’s still lower in the glycemic index than sugar cane, but it’s sweetness really goes a long way. Darker varieties can provide more anti-oxidants as well. Always opt for a 100% pure maple syrup. Aunt Jemima and the like are highly processed and contain nasty additives.
BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES (UNSULPHURED)! Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses (BSM) holds a special place in my heart for it’s ability to help me with awful menstrual cramps.. And why could that be? Although BSP is the ‘waste byproduct’ of creating refined sugar from sugarcane, it is essentially the most nutrient-dense aspect of sugar. BSM has a low glycemic index and is packed full of trace minerals including iron, potassium and magnesium. The magnesium/potassium aspect of it could be why it’s so helpful for me and this girl in treating awful cramps.
BOTTOMLINE: Refined, processed sugar will always be taxing to your body. It’s not unrefined & “whole”. Also, be cautious of stevia. Not all forms are created equal. And agave? Read what Dr. Weil has to say about that here! Sure it’s low in glucose, but it’s higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup (and that’s awful for your liver).
GOAT MILK? Instead of dairy-free, try for “cow-free”! Goat milk is much more similar to human milk, contains “smaller fat” molecules + has less estrogen & is easier on the gut. Think about it in terms of common sense? A cow is huge! It eats a lot more than a goat, is a lot bigger than you and is more difficult to manage in the backyard. A goat is much smaller + it’s more likely that a goat was treated ethically compared to a cow (since most cows are totally exploited by modern-day culture).
BOTTOMLINE: Give goats a try! There is goat milk & kefir, goat cheese and even goat yogurt! I love Redwood Hill Farm yogurt (pictured above) which is”Certified Humane” ( the most important label in animal-derived food), but also delicious. There’s also an unsweetened/plain variety.
PS: For new moms having a hard time with baby formula, I’ve heard Holle Goat Milk Formula is an excellent option for those that don’t want to risk processed formulas containing soybean oil and other additives.
I hope this post has served you well! XOXO
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING