The Great Grain Debate

By Anthea Grimason

Whether to eat grains or not really depends on the type of grain we’re talking about, your body type and any current health issues. There is so much variety but unfortunately the more readily available and processed grains like white bread, pasta and rice are totally devoid of nutrition. Even whole wheat bread in the supermarket is often loaded with hydrogenated vegetable oil, sugar, low quality salt and preservatives. WHOLE (non-processed) grains on the other hand are an excellent source of nutrition: essential enzymes, iron, dietary fibre, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. Whole grains still contain the husk e.g. brown rice. This breaks down slower in our digestive system and doesn’t turn to sugar quickly, so blood sugars are raised slower and for longer, providing sustained and high quality energy. The husk also creates volume in the intestine, collects toxins, and helps create movement.


So whole grains can and should be a regular part of the average person’s diet, eaten with an abundance of vegetables, of course! Kapha body types generally need less grains than pitta / vata types. Grains are an excellent grounding food to help with vata imbalances. For those trying to lose weight – lose the processed grains, in particular wheat. A good book for anyone who feels they are addicted to wheat is Wheat Belly by William Davis.

Who shouldn’t eat grains then? Well for people with inflammatory diseases such as MS and autoimmune disease, reducing grains, especially those that contain gluten (proteins found in cereal grains), has proven to help. Many diseases are caused by build up of silent inflammation in the body for years before being diagnosed as a full-blown disease. But the good news is the right diet can help reverse inflammation.

Celiac disease is one autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself (in the small intestine), causing many symptoms and long-term health issues. Gluten must be avoided at all costs with celiac disease and blood tests are the best way to test for it. Gluten sensitivity, on the other hand, is where someone’s health is improved when gluten is removed from his/her diet, but it’s much less serious. An elimination diet is effective to test for this. For gluten sensitive people, removing it completely can relieve many symptoms such as brain fog, diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloating. To go gluten-free in a healthy way is not as easy as switching to all those gluten-free foods that you find in the supermarket as these are often processed, have less fibre and vitamins and more sugar and starch. The key is to eat real food! And with any processed foods it’s a case of checking labels for signs of gluten (wheat, barley, malt).

Gluten containing grains include: barley, bulgur, couscous, kamut, rye, spelt and wheat. Oats are naturally gluten-free but can often be contaminated (look for gluten-free packets). Gluten-free grains include: wild rice, brown rice, amaranth, polenta / cornmeal, millet and quinoa. As usual it’s about experimenting and listening to your body. Some people are just sensitive to certain grains (for me it’s rice). But there are so many great grains for all types whether gluten sensitive or not – why not try some you’ve never had before and see how you feel.


Anthea has also now joined the loveyogaanatomy family and has her own magazine column here called Love Food and Yoga Titbits.
AntheaAuthor : Anthea Grimason
View Profile
Visit Anthea’s Website: &
Some other articles by Anthea that you might find interesting:
  • 5 Non-Food Tips for Vitality! September 27, 2014 Love Food & Yoga Titbits: 24 July 2014: 5 Non-Food Tips for Vitality! Eating all the superfoods in world won’t guarantee that you’ll jump out of bed in the morning, full of energy and bounce off the walls with vitality for the rest of the day. My top 5 non-food tips for maximizing your vitality: 1. Sleep: This ...
  • The Soy Saga March 10, 2014 By Anthea Grimason Once known as the ultimate health food for vegetarians and vegans – the ideal replacement for meat and dairy, these days soy is often referred to as dangerous or even evil. So what on earth happened and is it even safe to eat it? It’s not hard to see why there are health issues ...
  • Mucus Management September 27, 2014 Love Food & Yoga Titbits: 31 January 2014 : Mucus Management Thought I’d share a few top tips for those of you in wintery climates and potentially suffering from an invasion of the slimy stuff! We all get it from time to time but right now in the Northern Hemisphere is Kapha season when excess coldness, ...
  • Detoxing: The Intelligent Approach June 14, 2014 By Anthea Grimason Recognizing the fact that we’re all unique in terms of our body types, stages of life, issues going on with our health, climates we live in and foods we eat daily – it makes sense then to approach detoxing in a way that takes these factors into consideration. Just because one method of ...
  • Moving Towards a Sattvic Life June 21, 2015 What does being sattvic actually mean? According to Ayurveda, sattva is the quality of nature that brings about balance, peace, purity and clarity. It is one of the three subtle qualities or ‘gunas’ that exist in all of nature. The other two qualities are rajas and tamas, rajas being the quality of energy, movement and ...
View more articles by Anthea

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match