This past summer I did a bit of reading that got me thinking that maybe grains, even whole grains, aren’t as healthy as conventional wisdom leads us to believe. In June, I decided to try to reduce my grain consumption in hopes of improving my health and increasing my fertility. I continued to each plenty of potatoes and other starchy vegetables, so this was not a low-carb eating plan by any means. I’m still not pregnant, but I did lose nearly 15 pounds over 3-4 months. Surprise side effect! Before our wedding, I busted my butt at the gym 4-5 days a week for four months and only lost 2 pounds. This time it was so easy which makes me think that my body likes this new lifestyle.
Lately, I’ve found more grains slipping back into my diet, so I intend to re-focus and get back on track. Here are some easy ways I found to eat fewer grains without feeling deprived.
1. Substitute greens for pasta.
I know the typical suggestion is to use spaghetti squash in place of pasta. I tried this but the squash was mushy and lacking in texture. It really didn’t satisfy my craving for the bite and chewiness of pasta. Instead I like to substitute steamed kale for part or all of the pasta. I’ve tried this with both bolognese sauce and cream sauce, and I enjoyed it both ways. The kale has a certain chewiness that reminds me of pasta, and it’s mild flavor does not overwhelm the sauce.
2. Pick one meal each day to make completely grain-free.
I find it easiest to avoid grains at breakfast time, so 95% of the time I start the day with a grain-free meal. My standby has been a fried egg on a bed of sauteed spinach or kale, but I’m finding that I need to switch things up. I’m currently experimenting with some new recipes that I will post soon.
3. Use lettuce wraps.
Most sandwiches can be reinvented by wrapping the filling (burger, hot dog, cold cuts, taco meat, etc) in a large piece of lettuce. The lettuce wrap keeps things from getting too messy and allows you to keep your finger foods utensil-free.
4. Turn your sandwich or wrap into a salad.
When my husband has tacos, I have taco salad. When he has falafel gyros, I have falafel salad. You can keep all the great flavors and toppings without the grains.