Grain Free Diets

When people hear that eating grains and dairy causes my nose to bleed, their first reaction is inevitably along the lines of; “but what can you eat?  I’d put up with the nosebleeds!”.  To be honest, if someone had told me this time last year that grains and dairy were the problem, I would have reacted in exactly the same way.  There are however, a number of grain free diets out there, all of which offer relief from the symptoms associated with grain intolerance.  In this post I am going to give a quick summary of four of them: The Paleo Diet, The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS diet and FODMAP diet.

The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet is also known as the Ancestral Diet and the aim is to eat foods which are as close to those our hunter gatherer ancestors ate up to about 10,000 years ago.image

Meat (preferably grass fed), fish, abundant vegetables, eggs, fungi, limited fruit and nuts make up the bulk of this diet. Grains, processed meats, legumes, white potatoes, soy and dairy products are excluded.

Followers of this diet argue that it largely eliminates modern illnesses associated with affluent Western living and that adopting the diet can alleviate existing illness.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
This diet asserts that some carbohydrates are not well digested in the small intestine. The partially digested carbs attract bacteria from the large intestine into the small intestine. These bacteria are normally responsible for breaking down indigestible material before it is eliminated from the body and their presence further up the gut promotes yeast infections which are the cause of modern illnesses.

The SCD focuses on carbs which are easily broken down and absorbed by the body. Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, certain legumes and some types of dairy products are allowed on this diet. Excluded are all grains, processed meats, potatoes, some legumes and some dairy. Eating these easily digested carbohydrates allows the gut flora to rebalance and by starting on a very restricted regime a wider range of food is gradually reintroduced.image

The GAPS Diet
GAPS stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome and this diet is developed from the SCD. Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride has developed and refined the diet to address a wide range of illnesses. Again the GAPS diet is limited at the start and other foods are added later. The range of allowed foods is similar to the SCD.

The FODMAP Diet
This diet is from Australia and was developed to help people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The term FODMAP was coined to describe the short chain carbohydrates found in foods which are easily digested by the body.

Allowed foods include fruits, some vegetables, some sweeteners, including sugar, oats, gluten free grains, some dairy products and of course proteins and fats.image

All four diets give a structured approach to living without grains (or at least gluten) and the Paleo Diet also allows for cutting out dairy. The other three diets exclude dairy products with a high lactose content which tend to be the ones which cause problems. Each diet is well written about and there are plenty of recipes readily available.

The good news is that nosebleeds do not have to be put up with.

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