1

votes

How do you eat grains in moderation? Please help.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 03, 2012 at 1:33 AM

I've spent a few weeks now with this cycle of bingeing on grains and sweets. I go a couple days eating well, then I pig out on unhealthy foods like cookies or anything I can find. Before paleo, I was slightly bulemic (binge-starve), but I had that under control when I started paleo. I want to be able to have a diet LOW in grains, without bingeing on them, but whenever I try to eat grains in moderation, I feel guilty when I do eat them.

It causes my binges. The subject of diet is really stressful for me right now, please hack my problem and help me accomplish a somewhat paleo moderation diet. Thank you!

B2cadbf43bddfbb523b8a53155656188

(548)

on February 03, 2012
at 11:37 PM

I agree with the depression part. My mood and energy levels are very low on SAD.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 03, 2012
at 04:04 PM

Yeah, that's why I phrased it as "first meal of the day" which in my case is at least 4-5 hours after I get up--I'm not interested in food right away. :-))

912ec069b5bd84af1b6ef7545b950908

(428)

on February 03, 2012
at 12:34 PM

I agree with Moonablaze about eggs first -- although for me it's because they are easier on my stomach than meat. If I eat beef first thing in the day I throw it up about an hour later. Eggs or chicken seem okay.

E9808a9cfe806a22c0bdaff7c010c659

(405)

on February 03, 2012
at 11:37 AM

"Myth of moderation". Another CW gem.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 03, 2012
at 06:36 AM

Me three. I was a baker to end all bakers. Then I went gluten free. Learned the new way, baked and baked. Baguettes, even. Now...with some time grain free...I don't even really miss the cookies and such. And if you knew me, you'd know how much I treasured making those cookies and pastries. It amazes me - tells me that there was an addictive process there! Now, I bake occasionally with coconut flour or almond flour, it's good, I don't really want a lot of it, and I don't spend every night from 7-11 pm climbing the walls wanting a snack. Cold turkey was soooo much easier.

F4a6fc9f0b701e12cdf2ad5dadaeb2dd

(360)

on February 03, 2012
at 03:03 AM

So the concept of "moderation" altogether is not paleo at all? Thank you so much for setting the fire to my rain!!! 8^P

F4a6fc9f0b701e12cdf2ad5dadaeb2dd

(360)

on February 03, 2012
at 02:58 AM

Thanks, I don't know what happened... :P

F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

(2036)

on February 03, 2012
at 02:32 AM

I find eggs to be even more satiating as a first meal of the day than meat, so if chuck doesn't work for you, fry a couple eggs in butter.

8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

(2830)

on February 03, 2012
at 02:08 AM

I agree. It's easier for me to eliminate the entire food group.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 03, 2012
at 01:45 AM

The point is, it's a lot harder to be climbing the walls wishing for grains when you're full with good nourishing food.

Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on February 03, 2012
at 01:38 AM

I edited your post because it was unreadable with that HTML formatting you had it in.

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10 Answers

best answer

15
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on February 03, 2012
at 01:43 AM

Why do you want to be moderate in your approach?

Personally, it sounds like you have an extreme issue, and trying to solve it with a half measure is verbatim "faileo", and yes, you will fail. While there are many differences in what "Paleo" is, all of them still hold a common thread, that grains, specifically Gluten-containing grains, are a POISON.

For what it's worth, I have the same problem. My solution? Don't eat grains.

I don't want to get you down, or even to dump on you while you are seemingly having a crisis over this... but you need to know that the whole concept of dietary "moderation" is what founded this collective dietary crisis we commonly reject as the "Standard Westernized Diet", or "SAD" as many folks here like to call it.

Grains are not food... and moderation is great for hobbies and fashion, but not in healing a broken body.

E9808a9cfe806a22c0bdaff7c010c659

(405)

on February 03, 2012
at 11:37 AM

"Myth of moderation". Another CW gem.

F4a6fc9f0b701e12cdf2ad5dadaeb2dd

(360)

on February 03, 2012
at 03:03 AM

So the concept of "moderation" altogether is not paleo at all? Thank you so much for setting the fire to my rain!!! 8^P

7
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 03, 2012
at 01:43 AM

You didn't indicate what you're eating on your "good" days but here's what I suggest . . .

Your first meal of the day should be at least 6 oz or larger of fatty meat such as beef chuck. You can add whatever you like, but make sure you are full and the largest portion in the meal is meat.

See what happens to your appetite. The odds are you won't be hungry for a while.

If you don't like or don't tolerate beef, eat the next fattiest meat that you eat--pork, salmon with skin, big pile of eggs, whatever.

The goal is to become physically full early in your eating day and make sure you eat enough that any urges you feel are just emotional cravings. When I say "just" I don't mean they aren't difficult to deal with--I mean you are avoiding having both physical and emotional hunger at the same time.

If you keep yourself physically full for a week or two, your withdrawal cravings for grains should get better. When you recognize that what you're experiencing is emotional cravings rather than physical hunger, start distracting your cravings by getting away from food and doing something physical--walking, driving, whatever will keep you from eating.

It's hard, but some of us have succeeded so don't give up!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 03, 2012
at 04:04 PM

Yeah, that's why I phrased it as "first meal of the day" which in my case is at least 4-5 hours after I get up--I'm not interested in food right away. :-))

912ec069b5bd84af1b6ef7545b950908

(428)

on February 03, 2012
at 12:34 PM

I agree with Moonablaze about eggs first -- although for me it's because they are easier on my stomach than meat. If I eat beef first thing in the day I throw it up about an hour later. Eggs or chicken seem okay.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 03, 2012
at 01:45 AM

The point is, it's a lot harder to be climbing the walls wishing for grains when you're full with good nourishing food.

F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

(2036)

on February 03, 2012
at 02:32 AM

I find eggs to be even more satiating as a first meal of the day than meat, so if chuck doesn't work for you, fry a couple eggs in butter.

6
D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on February 03, 2012
at 01:45 AM

I find gluten to actually be addictive. As in, if I cheat with gluten, it will be a compelling urge for the next four days that I need to white-knuckle through, even though it also makes me feel like crap. It's not that you're weak willed; it takes amazing amounts of fortitude to turn it down after you allow that first bite into your mouth. I've found it less trouble to just turn down that first bite every single time.

So if your definition of moderate paleo is 'paleo with some gluten', I have no suggestions. However, if your complaint is LC paleo, paleo need not be low carb- plenty of carbs in all varieties of root vegetables, including taro and tapioca, along with fruits if you tolerate them. White rice is fairly harmless, although it has little awesomeness either, beyond being easy and cheap carbs. I use buckwheat in noodles, crepes, and baked goods for variety as well.

6
Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on February 03, 2012
at 01:41 AM

I have to totally eliminate grains from my diet, I think. My appetite and my ability to not constantly be hungry are impacted by my intake of foods that aren't good for me, grains included.

In other words, I avoid them totally. As in 100% avoidance. If I don't, like other junk foods they cause hunger spikes for me.

8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

(2830)

on February 03, 2012
at 02:08 AM

I agree. It's easier for me to eliminate the entire food group.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 03, 2012
at 06:36 AM

Me three. I was a baker to end all bakers. Then I went gluten free. Learned the new way, baked and baked. Baguettes, even. Now...with some time grain free...I don't even really miss the cookies and such. And if you knew me, you'd know how much I treasured making those cookies and pastries. It amazes me - tells me that there was an addictive process there! Now, I bake occasionally with coconut flour or almond flour, it's good, I don't really want a lot of it, and I don't spend every night from 7-11 pm climbing the walls wanting a snack. Cold turkey was soooo much easier.

5
46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on February 03, 2012
at 05:21 AM

I tried "low grains" because I still wanted to be able to eat bread. I couldn't control the hunger/eating either and it would get out of control. Only when I am sugar & grain free am I also free of the whole dang cycle! Cravings go away and hunger becomes normal. It's actually easier to be grain free. First you don't have the grain/sugar in your system that makes you want to eat more of it, but also it's just easier to not have that choice, the decision is pre-made.

5
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 03, 2012
at 02:09 AM

Gluten is way too addictive for me too. I can have it one day, but then if I have it two days in a row, I feel lost, my sugar cravings skyrocket, and I end up overeating crap. So I stay away from it. Every once in a while I will have some gluten free oats in some manner, either as oatmeal or to top on some baked apples, but it is very rare, and it scratches the itch without throwing me all out of whack.

3
912ec069b5bd84af1b6ef7545b950908

on February 03, 2012
at 01:43 AM

I sympathize with this. It was really hard for me to cut back on grains. The thing that turned the corner for me was keeping track of how I felt after I ate various things. I noticed that a couple of hours after I ate a lot of grain (or refined sugar...or god forbid, both at once) I felt sad or tired. I have severe depression, and I try very hard to keep my mood as stable as possible through lifestyle management -- enough sleep, low stress, exercise...and diet. So, clearly the grain had to go for me. That logic made it easier to stick to the "no grain" approach.

The trick I have for avoiding the binging on sweets is to carry a packet of raw sugar with me. Whenever I have a severe sugar craving, I pour 1/2 of the packet under my tongue. I read this someplace as a tactic for dealing with carb cravings when you start something like paleo. I don't do it more than once a day, and usually I only do it a couple of times a week. Putting it under your tongue means you get a 'hit' of sugar pretty fast without putting too much in your body in terms of carbs.

B2cadbf43bddfbb523b8a53155656188

(548)

on February 03, 2012
at 11:37 PM

I agree with the depression part. My mood and energy levels are very low on SAD.

2
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on February 03, 2012
at 03:47 AM

It is possible you have a physical addiction to grains like some others have said and that you will never be able to eat them in "moderation" just like an alcoholic can't drink in moderation. I would definitely give this idea serious thought.

Is it also possible that guilt may be a big part of your problem and that your binges after eating a little grain are emotional eating because deep down you believe you have failed your Paleo diet? Many folks on this board avoid grains completely-especially gluten-containing grains, but there are probably just as many of us who are following an 80%/20% approach or 90/10 approach or "open meal" approach as some popular Paleo writers advocate as sensible. For me using one of these approaches doesn't mean I'm "eating grains in moderation," it's just the reality of modern life as a single mother of twin three-year-olds. 100% Paleo is out of our reach right now and that's okay. I know I'm improving my health by reaching 90%. Perhaps the difference for me is that I don't try to eat just a little grain or a little legume. I try to eat as close to 100% Paleo as possible, but I don't beat myself up when it doesn't happen, and yes, occasionally I give myself permission to indulge in something "not so bad." (At least once this summer I am going to buy fresh sweet corn from farmer whose selling it out of the back of his pick-up at the gas station. I am going to slather it in butter and enjoy every bite!).

What I wonder is do you really believe an 80/20 approach is good enough? Do you believe having two "open meals" a week where you can eat grains without feeling guilty is sensible and okay? Granted this depends on your body and yes, you probably will do better with rice and corn instead of wheat etc. etc. But do you really believe this is a healthy, sensible approach that is right for you? If not, then maybe what is happening is that you eat a little grain and you feel guilty. You feel like you've already had some and "messed up your diet," so why not just pig-out on grains for a while. I understand this emotional thinking. This is what undermines so many weight-loss diets, where the dieter believes she has to be perfect and when she's not, she emotionally copes with her failure by eating even more pie or brownies. It sounds like maybe this is what is going on for you. If so, maybe you could re-read Mark Sisson's book and think about what 80/20 or 90/10 might look like for you. Or maybe try the open meal approach. The important thing is, if you are going to use an 80/20 approach, then really give yourself permission to use it. Tell yourself it is perfectly okay to eat half a cup of rice with your beef and broccoli stir-fry because that rice is part of your 20%. This is not a failure. Perhaps coming to terms with this would stop the emotional eating afterward?

1
B2cadbf43bddfbb523b8a53155656188

on February 03, 2012
at 11:35 PM

If you absolutely need to to binge or indulge, binge on fruit, nuts, dark chocolate, etc. At least you are still remaining gluten-free, even with the occasional weak moment. There is no such thing as "grains in moderation" for those in whom grains act as a trigger food. Just a few minutes ago, after a very long and stressful day, I "pigged out" on frozen banana slices dusted with cocoa powder. In the end, I'd rather indulge and over-eat on 10x the amount of whole food versus a tiny portion of SAD food. Why? Because when it comes to crackers, cookies, chips, bread, etc I can NEVER stop at just a few. I have identified certain things as trigger foods, and so I stay away from them completely.

0
0c875e97044bf838a074470caa5d630d

on February 04, 2012
at 12:01 AM

The ONLY way I can keep from binging on grains is by not keeping them around. Since I started Paleo a few weeks ago, I've had a small piece of bread at a restaurant and a single homemade gnocchi at a party. If I had either one at home by myself, I am SURE I would have eaten way too much!

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