The Great Gluten-Free Goof-Game – Are you Playing It?

by Ravi

MMMMMMM, Those delicious almond flour/rice flour pancakes for breakfast today were super! And the gluten-free honey bread sandwiches for lunch? Killer, Mom!  You’ve got the recipe down on that one! And these crispy gluten-free rolls with dinner – YUM!

Sound familiar? Well – you’re playin’

The Great Gluten-Free Goof Game!

The University of Maryland has just taken another step toward our general recognition that gluten is NOT cool – now we have “officially” 2 conditions “Celiac Disorder” (estimated 1%)  and the officially “Gluten Sensitive” (estimated 6% of the population).

But Gluten is not the Whole Story…


disasterous recommendations...

The trouble of all this is, grains – especially gluten grains, are full of, well – gluten and other nutritional baddies which many other researchers have found to be suspect for consumption for essentially everyone! (very good paper here). Grains contain anti-nutrients, and grain flour has a high glycemic index/insulin that wreaks havoc on your digestive system and metabolism.   That we should perhaps not be eating grains at all – and CERTAINLY not be eating grains without proper preparation (traditional souring, soaking, etc) is a SERIOUS CONSIDERATION.

But what’s the Great Gluten-Free Goof Game?

Well, that’s the replacement game – the goofy idea that replacing “bad” gluten grains with “good” gluten free rice, sorghum and bean flours is an improvement – and the truth  is – it’s not (at least not much of an improvement…).

Yes, gluten is gone – but that is ONLY a fraction of the picture.  Ya see, grains are plants and plants can’t run from predators.  As a result, grains/seeds evolved and developed their own defenses in order to survive – and the main defense that is present is a variety of anti-nutrients and anti-digestive enzymes meant to STOP the digestion for the seed if it gets eaten by an animal – thus the un-chewed, pooped out seeds in almost every animals excrement – the seed can then grown to perpetrate the plant species.  Without those anti-digestive elements, the seeds and plant would perish. Mother Natures just ain’t going to give up that easy…!

The detrimental elements in grains (in all grains to some degree) have been identified and studied: Phytates (phytic acid) that bind up essential nutrients and minerals in the digestive tract, the damaging effects of even small amounts of WGA (wheat germ aglutinin) in the lining of the digestive tract and the unfolding saga of gluten itself and how it impacts more than just those with identified celiac disease (see this growing list of gluten sensitivity studies here).



So what are you really doing by stocking up on all those “gluten-free’ ingredients and packaged mixes?  You are just feeding yet another marketing hype (it’s healthier – don’t ya know?) and all the while still feeding yourself and family huge amounts of high glycemic rice flours, suspect legume and high starch flours like chick pea and potato, and you are NOT avoiding the anti-nutrients that rob the body of essential minerals and nutrients for keeping healthy bones and teeth.  Please see the post : The “Teeth-Rotting Diet” – It’s What’s For YOUR Lunch and  Wheat We Won’t Eat – and Why… for lots more detail on grains, wheat, gluten, and its detrimental effects on our digestion and health.

So How Do I Stop Playing the Game?

You may not like this answer – it may seem like too much of a lifelong lifestyle change – but the very best way to stop playing the game and STOP the detrimental effects of grain consumption – is to stop eatin’  ’em! (duhhh!).  There are many levels of this argument – besides health, the world has been hijacked by grain agriculture – and there are VERY GOOD arguments that this is also unhealthy for mother earth.


Get ALL grains (especially modern wheat) OUT of your diet.

OK OK – I can hear you grumbling – but here’s the point.  Most people going gluten-free blithely go about chowing down just as much if not more gluten-free baked goods as they used to consume regular grain baked goods and pat themselves on the back for eating so much healthier, and it’s simply NOT the case.  ALL you are eliminating is the gluten – you are STILL going to suffer the consequences of the anti-nutrients, glycemic index/insulin damage and don’t forget the calories you pack into any refined flour product (gluten or no…).

Dump grains – they are a lurking hazard in your diet and may very well be contributing to all kinds of subtle and not-so-subtle chronic health issues. (and PLEASE note: NUT FLOURS and LEGUME FLOURS have lots of phytates too! – only coconut flour avoids this additional gluten-free trap).

And just a extra note for your pets – cats and dogs SHOULD NOT EAT GRAINS – and yet almost all commercial cat and cog foods – especially the cheapie ones – are often 50% or more grains!!  Try to pick grain free formulas for your pets (read the labels!) – their digestive systems ARE IN NO WAY adapted for grain consumption. Trader Joe’s has a not so disgustingly smelling just fish for cats which ours seem to dig. Check the labels of other brands, some flavors have grains and some do not.

Here is a carousel of book selection from Amazon about grains, stopping eating grains and the damage grain agriculture is doing to our planet: Widgets

Post part of Real Food Weekly return here

Post part of Fight Back Friday return here

Post part of Food on Fridays return here

Post part of Monday Mania return here

Do you eat grain free? Please tell us about it here:

8 Responses to The Great Gluten-Free Goof-Game – Are you Playing It?

  1. kim says:

    Are you familiar with Gut and Psychology Syndrome? If not, you may want to check it out. I think it would go nicely with your list. It is a diet approach to HEALING autism and mental disorders and of course problems with the gut. I have personally overcome a lifelong struggle with depression/anxiety add by changing my diet. NO GRAINS! It is very difficult for me and I do regress, but I am so much better now.

    Thank you for this awesome website so glad I found it!

  2. daiaravi says:

    Yes- of course – the GAPS diet looks to be an excellent therapeutic diet when one has specific gut issues to address- this post was mainly aimed at bringing attention to the over-replacement of gluten-grain products with what amount to non-gluten but still GRAIN products – it’s a mistake that we, as consumerist americans, often make with the discovery of “newer! better! healthier!” marketing hypes – when we fail to see exactly WHAT we are falling for…

  3. Cherie says:

    Great article and so many people need to read this! It’s the new “low-fat” insanity all over again. I gave up grains and sugar nine years ago, and will NEVER go back!! I find it kind of funny, sad and frustrating sometimes how most people react when they first find out. Articles like this do help. Thank you!

  4. Great point addressing the real problem. I run into so many gluten free website and the first I see is recipes for cookies, cakes, and other high glycemic stuff..

    Our dog is on a 90% raw and 100% grain free diet..I absolute agree that pets should be grain free.

  5. Kelli says:

    Its so hard though! But I do try sometimes. I’ve went two weeks before without consuming hardly any grains, but then the sugar cravings started to hit really hard and I was back to guzzling rice cakes and rice cookies. Sorry, I’m a life-long carb and sugar addict though I’m trying to get better… it also doesn’t help that the other people living in my house don’t give a crap what they eat.

  6. daiasunna says:

    Try working with The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. You can work with Amino Acids to help your body balance out and not crave grains anymore. I have had tremendous success dealing with severe PMS issues with the help of this book and I am feeling much more balanced, happy and relaxed using the amino acids she recommended for my specific issues (there are questionnaires in the book to help you determine, what your imbalances are). When your body is balanced again, you stop taking the additional amino acids again. You will actually find out that it does not matter what the other people in your household eat once your body does not crave it anymore.

    Liberate yourself 😉

    We do eat some white rice from time to time, and also some buckwheat (sprouted and dried first), we all feel that it is OK and enjoy the taste and the experience. I also seem to need a little more carbohydrates than Ravi does.

  7. I do wonder about putting all grains in the same category, since wheat seems to be the primary culprit here. I’ve been reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and a lot of the healthy people investigated were eating grains such as rye and oats.

  8. daiaravi says:

    yes – but there is a problem there – Weston Price did his research without knowing al lthe details of traditional souring – and if you look at traditionally soured gluten grain consumers in his profiles – they STILL have HIGHER tooth decay rates than those who consume NO grains – now the gluten-grain consumers do have much much lower tooth decay than western refined flour consumers (DRAMATICALLY so) but I personally am NOT convinced that traditional souring or soaking rids grains of ALL the phytates and harmful effects inherit in them – that said – a small amount properly prepped seems to be “acceptable” in a diet otherwise rich in proper animal fats and seafoods – and rice seems to be one of the least damaging grains (of course it has no gluten) Modern wheat is BY FAR the worst–

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