If you’ve been following this blog, then you know I’m all about eliminating all grains from the diet. It’s a practice that duplicates the gastronomy of our ancestors, whose genetic framework we’ve inherited and can only optimize if we follow their eating behavior — that is, enjoying a grain-free, real-food diet.
I have eaten a grain-free diet for several years, and have never felt better. But I will admit that at special holiday meals (especially those centered by good friends and cherished family) I sometimes eat things I normally wouldn’t at most other times. During these special meals I enjoy the festive momentum of conversation and celebration, and eating with others (and along with others) adds to that momentum, although I’m always aware of what I put into my mouth.
So even if you are serious about losing weight by eliminating all grains from your diet, sometimes you’ll find yourself in the throes of social events — that holiday party, family get-together, or birthday celebration, where the host unwittingly promotes foods that you know can wreck your health and weight. You’ll have to be ready to make a choice.
If you’re eating a grain-free, real-food diet for health and normal body weight, then you should not be depriving yourself of calories (like you would on a conventional weight-loss or weight-management diet), so your body should not be in desperation (or, really, requirement) of calories. This fact leaves you with caloric freedom, rather than caloric restriction. This caloric freedom means that you’re responsible for making the right choices.
You’ll need to remember that your body does not need – for any reason whatsoever — those grains or grain-based foods.
Having said that, these holiday meals might be times when you want to throw in a little of the stuff. If so, keep it limited. This means, along with the turkey on Thanksgiving, or with the steak at the dinner party, or with the party favors at the birthday celebration, you may include a little bit of stuffing, a piece of a freshly-baked roll, or a small piece of cake (leaving several bites behind, of course). This is what I mean by a low-grain meal.
I believe a low-grain meal here and there can be enjoyed safely. But you must remember the metabolic effect of grain-based carbohydrates: they’re likely to increase your insulin, and may leave you with unstable blood-glucose levels that can decrease satiation and increase hunger. These are some of the negative effects we strive to remove by eating a grain-free diet in the first place. You must remember that grains are man-made, and your body is healthier without it. Think of grains as cigarettes — they’re there, and you have a choice to use them, or not. Better if you don’t.
So if you do chose a low-grain meal for this one time, do so judiciously while keeping your mind on how you feel. Too much and your blood sugar crashes, your energy blunted — but the worse part is that this condition triggers your cravings for more carbohydrates and sugar, and develops (or reestablishes) a vicious eating cycle that causes poor health and weight gain.