How’s That Low-Grain Thing Going?

I’ve gotten this question a few times in the last couple of weeks, and the truth is that it’s a mixed bag. While I appreciate Paleo people’s commitment, my body prefers low meat and some grains. I have succeeded in cutting down on grains a good bit, but they’re not coming out of our diet completely. Why? Well..

1. My body doesn’t do the whole high-meat or high-protein thing and never has. I’ve tried a variety of different styles of eating, and it’s pretty clear that what my body wants is lots of vegetables, some quality meat, and a bit of whole grains. I was, indeed, eating too much grain this past year, but taking it out puts my body into fits.

2. It’s incredibly expensive. We prefer to eat quality meats (local, grass-fed, etc.), eggs, dairy, and vegetables (organic when possible). Grains can really help extend those things, because it’s just more than we can afford to do without them.

I have had some nice results from cutting down on grains in terms of visible musle mass, but I was also hungry ALL THE TIME, no matter how much I ate or what else I ate when I cut them out completely. I was tired and had a difficult time getting enough calories in to support my crazy lifestyle and workout schedule(when I did this with beans, cheese, nuts, etc., I just felt sick). I did do it for a while anyway, and sucked it up; but, in the long run, all the negatives weren’t worth it for us. Adding a bit of grain back in, but a lot less than we’ve been eating, seems to work well.

So, that’s where we’re at: small amounts of grains a few times a week, and almost never for breakfast or lunch for me (Thadd isn’t holding to this–he’s got a different body and metabolism). And, that’s how it’s going!


6 responses to “How’s That Low-Grain Thing Going?

  • iasmindecordoba

    I’m really glad you mentioned the side effects of the lethargy. This is exactly what I’ve experienced and now that I know someone else has experienced it exactly the same way (you’re a bit more active than I), I feel more comfortable that what has been going on with our experiments in nutrition is very normal.

    • shwankie

      Oh, thank you! I thought I might be a bit of an odd duck, too, so while I never want anyone to feel tired, I am comforted that it’s not just me! I’ve already gotten the “you’ll get over it, give it more time” thing from a few Paleo followers, and I am happy that they are so invested in a healthy style of eating; but, I know my body pretty well at this point. It was getting worse, not better, and it just got to a point that it wasn’t sustainable if I also wanted to work.

  • Stacie

    When I had gestational diabetes, I ate no fruit or grains at all. UGH! Those were a rough few months! I thought my lethargy and crankiness was because I was hormonally pregnant and busy with my other kids, but now I wonder if the lack of carbs was also a factor. That definitely gives me something to think about.

    All that extra protein is hard on your kidneys, too.

    • shwankie

      Hm, it’s a good question, and if I had to guess, I’d say it might have been a double-whammy: pregnancy, and sudden lack of carbohydrates. But, that’s just a guess with no real basis on my part!

      • Stacie

        Queston: when you’re not eating grains, do you think you’re getting enough other carbs? I know our brains prefer glucose as their favorite fuel, so it’s just a thought–were you getting enough “brain fuel?”

  • shwankie

    Stacie, sorry, I totally missed your post.

    Honestly, I can’t be 100% sure why I get the fatigue if I don’t have at least some small bit of grain. It may simply be lack of calories, which is definitely a problem for me with just lean proteins and vegetables and no grains. Or, it might be something else. In theory, I do get enough carbs. All the nutrition breakdowns I do show I get plenty, as the grain part of the diet gets replaced with more veggies, etc. That said, there’s only so much the nutrition breakdowns can do, and I really may just need to up the carbs because they’re processing too fast. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or stomach capacity to up it via veggies any more than I already do.

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