When many people adopt the keto diet, they do “dirty” or “lazy” keto; they take the “If It Fits In Your Macros (IIFIYM)” approach. In other words, they will eat small amounts of grains if they have room in their macros. However, do grains actually benefit us in any way? Whole grains might, but what about refined grains? With every tasty, grain-filled meal comes some sort of catch with our health. Going grain-free may increase health benefits that are worth investing in rather than not, especially for people on keto. Let’s get into why you should go grain free.
Why You Should Consider Going Grain Free
If you’re not sure what food grains are usually hiding in, you’ll find them in your day to day meals like rice, barley, corn, wheat, and tortillas. You get the idea. The good stuff. Pretty delicious food that’ll be tough to give up. However, the benefits of cutting them out outweigh the temporary delight of taste and flavor. Believe it or not, grains cause the growth of bad bacteria in the gut, and even causes inflammation. They also have an anti-nutrient component, which reduces the absorption of nutrients. And for those of you on keto, let’s not forget our dear old friend, carbs.
Yup. Those dreaded carbs you tried to cut off, like an ex after a breakup, are in grains. They’ll ruin your diet, so it’s best to remove them, so you don’t kick your body out of ketosis. Some grains, specifically refined, cause a spike in blood sugar levels and are even linked to obesity. Removing grains helps reduce bloating as well. When you cut grains out, there isn’t any specific food you need to replace it with, as grains don’t contribute any nutrients we need in our diet, which is a huge plus. You honestly don’t need to keep grains in your diet. Instead, get your fill of greens, protein, and fats. There are so many alternatives so be sure to take advantage of them!
Dirty Keto and Macro Fitting
People that go on “dirty or lazy keto” are usually eating highly processed, keto oriented food. It’s more so used by people that want to achieve ketosis at a quicker rate but can’t put in the time to prepare meals or don’t have the funds. In addition to that, “If it Fits in Your Macros” is another type of relaxed diet where while on it, you can still have some carbs while keeping track of your macronutrient intake along with fats and protein. The restrictions are much more lenient as long as a target nutrient intake is achieved at a certain point in either diet. You might already see how grains can fall into these. People on these diets tend to fit grains in by still falling in the thirty to fifty grams of carbohydrates limit, whether it be from bread or pasta or even just a small bowl of cereal. However, just because intake is reduced doesn’t mean it eliminates the effects that grains can have on someone trying to achieve weight loss. Ultimately you’re still taking in carbs and gluten, whereas if you were to switch to greens, you wouldn’t be having those weight-inducing components.
Ditch the Grains; Get With the Greens
As I mentioned earlier, leafy greens and proteins are always a wonderful and healthier way to replace grains if you decide to cut them out. I know we aren’t rabbits, but it sure is good to eat like one. Not only are leafy greens more beneficial health-wise, but they also don’t go against the keto diet because of there being very low, almost no carb content in them. In fact, some people don’t count the carbs in leafy greens because they are so beneficial to your body. Carotenoids and flavonoids in them can help protect the body from oxidative stress! Some greens like spinach also supply you with iron and magnesium and can help diabetics reduce glucose levels. Not just that, but my Intentionally Bare MCT Oil is also a fantastic way to get some fats in for the day. It poses many benefits like promoting weight loss, reducing hunger, and improving your microbiome.
Benefits of Going Grain-Free
Let’s talk about some of the good stuff you get out of leaving grains behind. For starters, you’ll be getting so many more nutrients and minerals than you would from grains, which contribute almost nothing beneficial. Your microbiome will be in much better shape. You’ll end up with better digestive function than you would have if you continued to eat grains, not to mention an improvement in cholesterol. Removing grains from your diet ultimately helps with weight loss as well. You won’t be as bloated, and you won’t have problems with inflammation, so related problems including arthritis may be better. Reducing how many grains you take in can also help improve mental health, as a study conducted showed that diets that contain gluten are linked to anxiety, mood disorders, and even depression.
Use of GMOs in Grains
If you’ve done much reading on my blog or in my Intentionally Bare Facebook group, you know how I feel about GMOs. Spoiler alert! I am not a fan. GMOs usually have their genetic material tampered with and as a result, organisms that aren’t found in nature are created. It almost sounds like it came right out of a movie. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case at all, as GMOs are all too common in our food today. You might already see how this might be harmful to us when we eat grains since they contain quite a bit of GMOs. By keeping grains off the menu, you’re making it much easier to go GMO-free in your diet.
A Few Things to Note
If you’re considering going grain-free, you’ll definitely reap the benefits down the road. As tasty as that bowl of Frosted Flakes sounds, you’re better off putting the box away and making yourself a leafy green salad instead. You’ll take in 100% more nutrients than you would if you had cereal, stay on track with keto, and won’t feel as bloated. There are also way too many recipes out there that show you how to make certain meals that have very little to no grains! Take advantage of all the options! You can find out more about the differences between whole grains, refined grains, and how they can impact your diet here.
If you’re looking for recipes to help you incorporate more grain-free meals into your diet, be sure to check out my Pinterest! I have a ton of recipes there, and they are all recipes that I or my Intentionally Bare Facebook group members have personally used and loved!
You got this!
~ Intentionally Bare
❗️ DISCLAIMER: Health information given here is based on public research and is not meant to take the place of your doctor's advice. Always do your own research and discuss it with your health practitioner before trying a new diet, supplement or exercise plan.
❗️ DISCLOSURE: I manufacture a line of 100% natural keto products under the brand name, Intentionally Bare. These products will be mentioned from time to time because they are amazingly healthy and fantastic for those on a ketogenic diet or anyone looking to improve their health. I am also a participant in the Amazon services LLC Associates Program, designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.** I ONLY ever post a link to products I personally USE and LOVE!