Stock your pantry with enough foods that don’t contain grain to sustain you for at least three days. Fortunately, it’s much easier than it used to be ten or twenty years ago to ﬁnd the grain-free foods that you need. Here’s what to do when going grain free:
1. Avoid all grains, including ﬂour (even gluten-free). Stay away from the three Ps that cause Americans the most inﬂammation: pizza, pasta, and pastries.
What speciﬁcally to avoid:
- Bread, cereal, or other food made with any grains (even gluten-free).
- Wheat, rye, barley, oat, corn, durum, millet, rice, spelt, or any type of grain ﬂours or ingredients and byproducts made from those grains.
- Processed foods containing grains, wheat, gluten derivatives, or thickeners. These foods include hot dogs, luncheon meats, mustard, pickles, ice cream, salad dressings, canned soups, dried soup mixes, nondairy creamers, processed cheeses, cream sauces, beer, spices, and hundreds of other common foods. Study labels to avoid chemicals.
- Gluten-free carbohydrates. Don’t trade gluten-ﬁlled reﬁned carbohydrates for gluten-free reﬁned carbohydrates. Studies show that reﬁned carbohydrates, whether they contain gluten or not, increase your production of insulin, which blocks your ability to burn fat. Limit your carbohydrates so you can reduce insulin levels and permit greater fat burning.
- Artiﬁcial seasonings and ﬂavors. The food industry keeps these ingredients supersecret, so it’s hard to know sometimes exactly what contains gluten. You should be suspicious. Look for ingredients like “seasoning,” “ﬂavoring,” “natural ﬂavoring,” “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” “maltodextrin,” and “modiﬁed food starch,” which could be derived from wheat and contain gluten.
2. Eat one pound of high-ﬁber vegetables per day. For women, I recommend three to four cups of leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, and lettuce. Approximately half should be lightly cooked and half should be raw, as in salads. This will be your main source of slow carbohydrates. They are slow carbs because they don’t raise your insulin level and, as a result, don’t make you store fat.
3. Limit your net carbs—that’s total carbohydrates in grams minus ﬁber in grams—because those are the carbohydrates that raise your insulin levels and make you more likely to store fat. Women who need to lose weight should aim for 20 to 49 net carbs per day (see the Net Carbohydrate Thresholds on page 81 of my book, The Hormone Reset Diet). The ideal limit on net carbs depends on your genetics and current metabolism; you will be able to add more net carbs after Day 21 (see chapter 11, where I recommend 50 to 99 net carbs per day for maintenance of your weight). You’ll know the best carb threshold for you when you are losing weight (or maintaining your healthy weight) or losing fat and you don’t suffer from carb cravings, plus your energy level is high. Listen to your body. The amount of carbs you can eat is highly variable.
4. Eat clean proteins, such as seafood, organic poultry, and eggs— approximately 8 to 12 ounces per day (about 80–110 grams). If they don’t make you bloated and miserable, eat one half- cup per day of fresh or cooked beans.
5. Eat only limited fresh fruits: avocado, olives, and coconut. Avoid fruit juices and dried fruits.