Vishal has just published a great post on grains and the merits/shortcomings of eliminating grains as Paleo diet suggests:
Since I read some articles on the deleterious effects of grains on http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/, I’ve been wandering around in a daze, feeling like my dietary world has been turned upside down. I became so confused about what was good for me and what was not that I ate less and less and felt more and more guilty. It sucked. I lost weight. But I’m recentered now. As I was trying to explain my confusion with grains, a friend reminded me, “Well, every food is going to be unhealthy by someone’s standards.” Oh yea. I had completely forgotten that. .... Part of the problem I see with the paleo-type diet is that it seems to limit you to a “meat and 2 veggies” kind of meal. All the time. If I try to cut out all the sources of phytic acid from my diet, then I end up relying solely upon meat for protein, which – with all the fat and cholesterol – calls for a phenomenal amount of exercise… which is more than I do, more than I care to do, and more than I think is necessary. If you look at a typical American meal (which I do every day in the cafeteria), the problem is that the bread or wheat product plays a central role. Pizza, pasta, sandwiches – typical lunch fare, all heavy on the bread. But if you think about what bread provides you – just look at the nutritional info on the package – it’s close to zilch. A bunch of starch, a bit of fiber, and cavities. In fact, it just looks like a filler. And maybe that’s how bread evolved anyway: to fill our bellies with cheap grains so we wouldn’t eat so much costly meat and vegetables. ....
You should read the full post here: Digestion – The grain dilemma.
I think Vishal is spot on with his recommendation to remove grain from the central role of a meal, reducing consumption rather than eliminating it. I personally, however, have trended towards Paleo and pretty much eliminated grains from my diet a few months ago.
I find that I have more energy, less after lunch lethargy, and I eat way more vegetables and fruits now. I also don’t feel super full and bloated after meals. One of the arguments Vishal seems to suppose that cutting grains means eating more meats, and he argues that he doesn’t exercise enough to burn these extra calories. I would argue this premise is bad: we shouldn’t be replacing grains with meats, but with veggies. This will actually result in fewer calories in total and require less exercise for weight maintenance/loss. I try to eat a small amount of meat at lunch and dinner, and cutting grains has not left me feeling deficient in protein at all, even though I have not been eating extra meat to compensate as Vishal suggests he thinks is necessary.
Though I feel much healthier having cut grains, I certainly feel a bit limited as Vishal says by the “meat and 2 veggies” meal plan. It gets kind of boring, and I think in the winter time especially I’ll miss things like lentil or black bean soup—delicious (and super cheap!) meals.