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Grain Free: 15 Tips for Eating Ancestrally

Grain Free: 15 Tips for Eating Ancestrally

    As a food lover who writes about her passion for a living, I often get asked how I manage to stay slim, given the nature of my work. Usually I just smile and shrug and tell them that I’m into running. And that seems to keep them happy. But the thing is I used to struggle with my weight, just like everybody else.

    Then late last year, I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and decided to try eating ancestrally. Even after a few weeks I felt I was heading in the right direction. While I didn’t actually lose weight, my body shape started to change. My waistline became more slender – exactly what I was hoping for.

    Paleo, primal, slow carb or ancestral eating, whatever you call it, there are many benefits of eating grain-free. From improving your blood chemistry, to losing weight, to increasing your energy levels, to improving your sleep and more. It’s almost been 9 months since I started eating grain-free. I’m finally in a place where I’m happy with my weight and I’m really enjoying what I eat. I’m running about one third of the distance I was last year. No more pounding the pavement to make up for what I ate.

    But the best thing has been discovering that it’s much easier to ditch grains than you would think. In most cases there is a vegetable which fills the place of your bread or pasta or rice. And often they taste just as good, if not better than their grain equivalent.

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    So today I wanted to share a few tips for eating ancestrally. Enjoy!

    1. Have eggs for breakfast instead of cereal.

      Eggs are a brilliant source of protein that keeps you feeling full much longer than a bowl of cereal ever will. Still concerned about cholesterol? Have a look at 7 reasons you should eat eggs for breakfast.

    2. Grate raw cauliflower instead of steamed rice.

      A recent discovery, I’m just loving my new grain-free accompaniment to curries and stir fries. Just get raw cauliflower and grate it. Instant grain-free ‘rice’. And the brilliant thing it that it’s super quick if you get your food processor to do the hard yards. No more gluggy rice to worry about.

    3. Zucchini your noodles.

      For an alternative to spaghetti or other long pasta, roast some finely sliced zucchini (courgettes). And serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

    4. Carotti your spaghetti. Shave a carrot or two into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and then simmer until tender. Presto! Orange ‘spaghetti‘.
    5. Make thin omelets instead of pizza bases.

      Pizza can be difficult to go without. Try making a thin egg omelet in your non-stick pan and topping with your favorite pizza topping and popping under an overhead grill.

    6. Or try a meatza

      Something I’m yet to make myself. Hard core paleo fans replace their pizza bases with a big flat disc of ground beef.

    7. Replace flour with almond meal (or other ground nuts).

      This only works for some situations, like using flour or breadcrumbs to coat meat. Or in baked goods.

    8. Use pureed cauliflower instead of polenta.

      Pureed cooked cauliflower is a great alternative to soft polenta or corn meal.

    9. Try lettuce wraps instead of bread.

      For those who love their sandwiches, try washed lettuce – iceberg works really well – to wrap your favorite fillings. Think sang choi bau with so many possibilities. Just remember that lettuce isn’t as satisfying as bread so you’ll need to make your fillings more substantial.

    10. Serve your burgers without the bun.

      Let’s face it. The best part of the burger is the meat and the sauce. Just increase your burger size and serve it without the bun.

    11. Or try a mushroom burger instead.

      Just roast or grill two large field or portabello mushrooms until tender. Then use these exactly like you’d use a hamburger bun.

    12. Salads or soups not sandwiches.

      If sandwiches are your default ‘healthy’ lunch, just switch to a salad or soup. If you’re used to making your own lunch, it doesn’t take any more time to make a salad. Just keep the dressing in a separate container to add just before you eat.

    13. Use chocolate for sweet treats.

      For those with a sweet tooth, I know a life without pastries and cakes can seem a little dull (see point 15). But then there’s chocolate. Start exploring the wonderful world of dark chocolates, preferably with a high (60-70%) cocoa solids content.

    14. Wine not beer.

      If you enjoy a drink or two, going grain free doesn’t mean you need to get on the wagon. Wine is not only grain free, it is lower in carbs than beer. It’s also a source of antioxidants. Cheers!

    15. 100% compliance isn’t required.

      While coeliacs are unable to tolerate even the tiniest amount of gluten, most people will still see the benefits of going grain-free even without 100% compliance. I tend to have one day a week where I’m indulging in sourdough bread and cookies which staves off any cravings the rest of the week. Later is much easier to live with than never.

      ‘Carotti’ Bolognese Recipe

      serves 2+

      This is my minimalist version of a beef ragu or bolognese sauce. The secret is in the butter. Feel free to substitute your own favorite pasta sauce.

      450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
      3 cloves garlic, chopped
      2 cans tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
      large knob butter
      2 medium carrots

      1. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and cook beef and garlic, stirring every now and then for about 5 minutes or until well browned.
      2. Add tomato and simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced and good saucy.
      3. Meanwhile bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Shave the carrots into ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
      4. Cook carrots for 3 – 5 minutes or until al dente like cooked pasta.Drain.
      5. Toss butter into the beef sauce and season.
      6. Return the carrot to the saucepan and stir in some beef sauce. Then divide between plates and top with more sauce

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      Last Updated on August 15, 2018

      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

      Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

      Video Summary

      Why is it important to train up our core strength?

      There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

      This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

      Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

      In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

      One Exercise, multiple benefits

      There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

      By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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      When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

      Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

      In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

      What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

      What will happen when you start doing planks every day

        1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

        Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

        • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
        • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
        • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
        • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

        2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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          Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

          Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

          3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

            Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

            4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

              Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

              A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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              A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

              On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

              5. You’ll improve overall balance

                Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                  Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                  7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                    Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                    How to hold a plank position

                    1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                    2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                    3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                    4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                    5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                    6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                    7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                    Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                    Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                      How to improve your plank time gradually

                      1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                      2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                      3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                      Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                      Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                      You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                      • Prolapse
                      • After prolapse surgery
                      • Pelvic pain conditions
                      • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                      • Previous childbirth
                      • Overweight

                      Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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