According to research by Phillippa Lally and colleagues from the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre based at UCL Epidemiology and Public Health, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit.
I’ve been eating grain free for 154 days. If we apply the 66 days research, I’ve more than doubled the amount of time it takes to form a new habit. Not that “eating” is a habit, but eating a certain way is not only a habit, but also a way of life.
7 Facts About Eating Grain Free
Convincing someone to go grain free is about as easy as convincing someone to eat dog poop. Wasn’t that a lovely visual image? Seriously though, people do not want to voluntarily stop eating grain products. Even I didn’t want to give up grain! If I hadn’t been forced to do so because of a severe allergy, I’m sure I would have continued my grain filled lifestyle.
Let me share with you a few things I have learned about eating a healthy grain free diet.
- The body can live just fine without eating a whole food group, namely grain. How? Any nutrition you receive from eating grain, you can also obtain in other healthier food choices. Shocking isn’t it? Believe me, I was shocked that I could live without grain in my diet. The whole concept of a grain free diet was completely foreign to me.
- Grains are hard on your guts meaning that grains are hard to digest. Your intestines are part of a very intricate and complicated system. When food is ingested, the digestive system has to extract and absorb the nutrients and minerals while discarding the waste material. Especially as we age, the guts become weaker and less efficient. Many people, both young and old, have something called leaky gut syndrome which causes an immune response that leads to a very unhealthy intestine.
- I’ve touched on this one before, but grains cause inflammation and inflammation is REALLY bad for the body ESPECIALLY as we get older.
- Going right along with the inflammation factor, grains are bad for your joints. If you have arthritis, this will be a biggie for you. I know it sounds almost too good to be true, but science has proven that grains are linked to joint pain and arthritis. Grains and our synovial membranes are very similar chemically and the body has a hard time knowing the difference between them.
According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, “synovial tissue (is) thin, loose vascular connective tissue that makes up the membranes surrounding joints and the sheaths protecting tendons (particularly flexor tendons in the hands and feet) where they pass over bony prominences. Synovial tissue contains synovial cells, which secrete a viscous liquid called synovial fluid; this liquid contains protein and hyaluronic acid and serves as a lubricant and nutrient for the joint cartilage surfaces.”
When the body is bothered by inflammation caused from grain, the immune system starts attacking the synovial membranes. Obviously, this is the reason that the joints start to hurt even more. If you are at all familiar with the autoimmune system, once it starts attacking the good things in the body, more inflammation is produced which leads to more pain. So that is why joint pain is worse if you eat grain. I’m not saying that if you have arthritis and go grain free that you won’t ever have joint pain, but I am saying that it will help reduce the flare ups and pain for all types of arthritis.
- Grains are linked to bad skin problems and I can attest to that one! Grains are not good for skin. I hear you saying, “But whyyyyyy?!!!” Once again science can explain it. Grain encourages the skin to produce more oil and acne producing keratinocytes because of elevated insulin levels that are triggered by “high carbohydrate/sugar” in grain. Sounds complicated, but grain has a domino effect on bad skin problems. I also want to add that not only do the skin problems appear unattractive, if they become severe enough, they can make you very, very sick.
- Grains cause you to gain weight and make it hard to lose the weight. Doesn’t that just say so much? As we get older our metabolism slows down, so the last thing we need is a food that packs on the pounds.
- This last reason to go grain free that I will mention at this time is a biggie. Grain causes you to crave grain.. Oh my goodness! Did you catch that one? Grain causes you to crave grain.!!! Doesn’t that totally explain my obsession with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts? Feeling that JOLT of carbohydrate-sugar-energy after eating grain is a definite high, however, it is very short-lived. That’s why after eating delicious cookies, cakes and breads, shortly thereafter you want more so that you can feel that great high again. So the more you eat, the more you want and the more you eat, so the more you want to eat.
How Did I Stick To A Grain Free Diet For 6 Months?
Saying that I’ve been grain free for 154 days doesn’t really sound like that long, but 154 days is 6 months which is half a year! That IS a long time to not eat ANY grain. This was the process of getting to grain free:
- Cry. Mourn. Grieve. Feel sorry for myself. Whine. Complain. Cry some more. This was really a mandatory step.
- Eliminate EVERYTHING that contained grain from the kitchen and pantry. Remember, corn starch and corn syrup have corn in them and corn is a grain. Meander into your kitchen and read a few labels. I bet over half of them have corn starch or corn syrup as an ingredient.
- Every time I wanted to eat grain, I reminded myself that I nearly asphyxiated/suffocated because of my grain allergy. I am SCARED to eat grain!
- Buy beautiful fresh foods. The visual appeal of the fresh food helped me not feel so deprived. I can’t eat a big fluffy piece of cake, but I sure can eat a huge bowl of fresh, ripe fruit smother with ice cream and whipped cream.
- Spend time getting comfortable in the organic section of the grocery store. Read labels. Research nutrition information. Try new products. I broadened my knowledge, food experience and actually found all kinds of new foods to enjoy.
- Don’t eat with grain-eating people on days you feel sad that you can’t eat grain. Avoiding the situation of having to watch people ENJOY food that I can’t eat anymore was helpful. It gave me time to regroup my emotions with some strong self-talk.
- I have no other alternative. I had to accept that THIS grain free diet lifestyle is MY life. I have no choice except to live this way because the alternative is dying. That’s not a very good alternative!
- The cravings stopped. I’m not really sure at what point they ended, but I no longer crave grain. Actually, I can see cake and most of the time it doesn’t even look THAT appealing. I simply don’t have the desire to eat those things anymore. The ultimate test would be to smell fresh, hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts, but I don’t want to go that far yet. Oh my gosh. I think my mouth just started salivating. That’s a bad sign!
- I do not get as hungry as I used to get when I ate grain. I can eat less food, feel more satisfied and not get hungry again until the next meal or beyond.
- By eliminating grain from my diet, I have become SO MUCH HEALTHIER. Physically, I feel great! I used to have aggravating physical ailments and they have virtually disappeared or the symptoms have totally subsided.
Because I feel so much better physically, have lost weight, changed my attitude, no longer have grain cravings and eat new exciting food, I’ve reached a really good place in my eating lifestyle. At 154 days of healthy grain free living, I’m doing really great! So what would it take for you to contemplate giving a grain free diet a try?
Wait! Where are you going?!!!
Yeah, I know. Dog poop.