Hi y'all, does anyone have any thoughts on replacing nutrients from grains by eating something else? I cut out all grains (and sweeteners) about a month ago and have noticed a HUGE improvement in both BG's and food cravings -- but I'm a little concerned about the nutrients that one normally gets from grains. Should I be worried about getting these nutrients elsewhere? I can't recall this being an issue in Dr. B's book, but if he's just having a Wasa cracker here and there, he's not really getting the huge number of servings of "whole grain" in the food pyramid (I know, boo and hiss at the food pyramid.) What do y'all think?

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Hi JeanV,

I'm grappling with the same subject but for slightly different reasons. After 7 months on very low carbs, I find I still have cravings and get hungry between meals. And sometimes a celery snack just doesn't cut it.

For a quick background, I'm on Metformin and Victoza. From reading on this site and Dr. B's book, I switched Victoza from night to morning and that is helping with appetite. I've been doing a lot of testing to see what I can eat and what it does to my bg levels. This has helped me find grains that I can eat that digest slowly enough that I think I'm keeping levels where they should be though higher than what Dr. Bernstein recommends. My last two A1c readings were 5.3 and 5.4 so I'm reasonably happy with the results.

Through the test regimen, I've found that I can eat a slice of Dave's Killer Bread 21 whole grain bread without spiking (most of the time). I've found several gluten-free crackers that are satisying, especially with a little cheese spread (Laughing Cow low fat). And there are other brands in addition to Wasa so I've been able to get some variety there. Unfortunately, most of the 'primitive' grains recommended these days like quinoa or even brown rice seem to have almost the same effect on my bg as white rice or potatoes.

But everyone is different as I'm sure you know so maybe experimenting will help you out too. I'll be following this thread to see if anyone has additional ideas to help me out too.

I hope this wasn't too wordy an answer.


Thanks for your reply, Mitchell. I enjoy learning what other folks are doing. For me, it seems both easier and better for my food cravings issues to just cut out grains altogether. If I can get the nutrients elsewhere, I think I'll do better just eliminating them from my diet from now on. I can't really see the point of one Wasa crisp bread every morning -- anyway, one leads to three leads to seven when I buy them, especially if I keep butter in the house. My nephew is on a Paleo diet for gut issues and weight loss and he's the one who gave me the idea to eat in a more primitive, natural way (eliminating packaged, processed foods, and food additives, for example.) I feel SO much better!!!

"a more primitive, natural way" reminds me of Michael Pollan's short book Food Rules.  If your grandmother didn't eat it, you probably shouldn't is likely to be very good advice.  

Yes, that's the idea, but I'm taking it back a few more generations: no coffee, no black tea, no alcohol. My Native American ancestors are a good role model: grass-fed meat, vegetables especially greens, berries, nuts, eggs when they could snitch them, herbal decoctions like camomile...everything as fresh and as unprocessed as possible. The only thing they ate that I cannot is fish -- I have a lot of trouble with fish (I react to the histamines) -- and honey -- too many carbs.

Well, my first question would be, what nutrients are found in grains that cannot be found elsewhere? B vitamins are abundant in meat, cheese and eggs, and fiber is abundant in low-carb veggies. Amazingly, Vitamin C is available in some meats, and in eggs, and again, in nuts and low-carb veggies. It seems to me that if you're eating a variety of low-carb foods, you shouldn't be lacking in nutrition. Personally, I include full-fat Greek yogurt because I like it -- the carb content is not that high, and with a little sweetener and vanilla, it's quite satisfying. But each to their own, because we all have different likes and dislikes.

As far as what my grandmothers ate, they were from Lithuania and Belarus, where the growing season is short, and they ate a lot of grain-based dishes, with minimal meat, but lots of onions and cabbage and beets and sour cream. They never even knew what an orange was. And the first generation Jews who came here to the US were known to have a higher rate of T2 than their economically more fortunate Western European neighbors. So, no, I'm not going to eat like they did -- they came from a rather inhospitable land, and did the best they could!

I don't think the point was limiting yourself to EXACTLY what your grandmothers ate. It's just that human beings evolved eating real, natural foods -- not bleached white bread, Pop Tarts, Coke and Jello. Cabbage and onions are real food.

A good guideline which I use, is to eat "that which COULD be eaten raw whether or not it's cooked from choice" Grains don't fit into that category

Yes, take the spirit of what Michael Pollan says, rather than the exact content of your grandmother's diet!

In fact, his most prominent advice is:

Eat food, MOSTLY PLANTS, not too much.

I'm pretty good about the plant part, but probably eat more than necessary. However, it has not made me overweight.

My ancestry is Central European Jewish [from Prague ] and I love green lentils and fried cauliflower, both kosher foods. In fact we had curried lentils for dinner tonight.
Ps my father wass Jewish, but my mother is Christian, so we kids were brought up Christian. I am very proud of my Jewish ancestry though.

Well, you hit the nail on the head. Grains don't contain any nutrients that are not available from a diet entirely made up of meat and veggies.

When you ask a nutritionist or dietician to list the nutrients that are in grains, they can list a few, but all of them occur in abundance in meat and veggies. And when pressed, you will get what I call "woo nutrition." They will claim that there must be micronutrients that are essential. Nutrients that occur at very low levels which make you healthy, but nobody has ever been able to identify them. In truth, nobody has been able to measure an ill effect from not eating grains.

Early in the development of Dr. B's diet, he considered a zero carb diet, absolutely no grains. This would of led to a diet that only included meat, seafood, dairy and certain veggies. Instead, he decided to allow a limited amount of carbs to enable additional foods for variety. He supports GG crisps, but has never suggested that they contain anything useful except fiber.

I've never been able to find out what is supposed to be missing from a grain free diet, although I keep being warned of deficiency risks by dieticians. A varied diet excluding them shouldn't leave you needing supplements. Plenty of different vegetables, meats and fish with dairy should provide everything.
One of the best sources of trace nutrients is liver. I know many Americans would never consider eating it, but it's good and usually not very expensive. I have some good recipes

No liver and onions or organs of any kind pass these lips. I just can't bear the taste or the texture -- and trust me, people have tried to tempt me with every variation possible. The only thing I can eat is pate and that's mostly fat -- and only if it is WELL seasoned with juniper berries and garlic and pepper. I used to have a roommate who would cook herself some liver and onions every time I was out of town. She knew I couldn't tolerate even the smell of it and she'd try to air out the kitchen before I came back but I could always tell. EWWWWWW. I know organ meats are supposed to be very nutritious, but my senses say: No.




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