No-Grain Cooking

June 26, 2010

People ask me all the time–“What do you eat if you don’t eat grains?” That question in and of itself tells me that maybe our society is way too entrenched in grain based dishes to see what other foods are available. Grains are not really supposed to be part of our diet–especially as they are today. If that is the case, what did our ancestors eat before grain-based dishes came along? Meat, berries, fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds…then, with the beginning of the agricultural age, dairy and eggs formed the mainstays of their diet. Why then, is it so hard to understand that it is very easy to eat a wide variety of foods without grains? If you do not eat grains, what else is there? How can you cook without grains? It’s very easy if you just follow these tips…

Nut Flour vs Grain Flour

Ground nuts vary greatly from grain based flour on so many levels. For one, when most nuts are ground into a fine powder, they can be quite dry. On the other hand, many grain based flours are more moist and lend to a lighter product. So when cooking with nut flour and coconut flour, you will need to add more liquids. This could be a variety of things, and not necessarily all eggs for your liquids. Many sites geared around no grain cooking will tell you that you need a lot of eggs to make the recipe work, but this is not true. You can add whatever cooking liquids you want, as long as it works for your recipe. Grain flour does not need as much liquids, so when revising a recipe, just remember to increase the liquid content slightly.

Give Up Pre-Conceived Meal Ideas

You are not going to have a no-grain pasta, so any dishes that you make with pasta is just not going to happen. However, you can substitute vegetables for pasta in salads or other dishes. Just remember that it will taste nothing like pasta, and maybe that is a good thing. Giving up pasta dishes could help you in the long run when going grain free, because the addiction is what keeps you going back to grains.

Alternative ideas for previous pasta dishes may be using spaghetti squash for spaghetti and meatballs or using zucchini slices for lasagna noodles in lasagna. Instead of a pasta salad, why not try a bean salad? There are many ideas that you could try to replace grains  in your meals. For quick breads, you could use the cashew/coconut flour mix to replace the grain flours.

Fruits, Vegetables and Other Stuff

People seem to forget that there is a wide variety of foods that do not include grains that can be used in the diet. Fruits and vegetables are a great place to start. They provide many nutrients and can help to keep your grain based carbohydrate cravings to a minimum. When you are craving ice cream, frozen berries or other frozen fruit with a little cream can really help to satiate that craving. For salty, crunchy cravings, try eating some nuts or seeds–they may not be as salty, but this could be a good thing for you. Dairy, meat and eggs are wonderful for forming the main part of your meals, and can be paired nicely with fruits or vegetables.

Think Differently

When people ask me what I eat, it’s usually because they are trapped in the grain based recommendations of the government, and it shows how far the American diet is stuck in grains. When you begin to think differently about food and what you can really live on, you can begin to see that you don’t need the meals you once thought you couldn’t live without. Thinking outside the box may be overused, but it is very true for this purpose. Think away from the general direction of society and you will have far better health than the rest of society.


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