Going grain free! Let’s take a look at what is a grain, what isn’t and where they hide!

Well, guys, I’ve done it.

I’ve completely emptied my cupboard of EVERYTHING grain.

And I do mean EVERYTHING.

Well, ok… I’ll be honest.

I made one small,Β one tiny little exception.

I kept my baking powder. Until I can fin a way to sub this, it HAS to stay. Besides, I don’t think that the infinitesimal quantity that ends up in a serving of whatever it’s being used in can really qualify as being “grain presence”. I certainly cannot see it affecting my body. And I don’t think that I’ll ever get the urge to binge on baking powder… πŸ˜‰

But everything else went… even my precious Miso had to go!

And my Shredded Wheat, of course…

Oh, my beloved cereal! Notice how it jumps out in every picture? I just LOVE my Shredded Wheat. Oh, how I shall miss it!

My comforting rolled oats, my beautiful, so pretty, so tiny amaranth…

All my pasta, my wild rice…

Hey, I even found an old bad of Egg Noodles. That must have been there for quite a while… I’m sure not gonna miss that one.

Also found a brand new bag of Forbidden Rice, which I had completely forgotten about and didn’t even get to try…

Oh well… it’s not like I’m going off grains forever, now, is it?

Still, I came that close to crying. I swear. It was a sad moment for your Grain Addicted Healthy Foodie.

Somehow, I get the feeling that this is more than a “see you later grains” challenge.Β This is the beginning of yet another profound change in my life. I mean, it’s not even been a week and I already see and feel an incredible difference, a major change in my body.

I feel so much lighter. So much tighter. So much better.

Now I can’t say that my energy level has increased yet. In fact, I think I might even say that it dropped some. My workout on Saturday has been particularly tough. Had a hard time carrying it through. Still… I made it!

But really, I feel grrrrrrrreat. And you know what? So far, I don’t miss my grains AT ALL! In fact, I hardly feel as though Lent has even begun. It’s only just starting, though, so this may very well change in a few days… or weeks!

We’ll see, I guess!

So anyway, I’m not saying that I will be giving up grains for good, but I’m certainly hoping to cut down quite a bit, permanently.

Yikes, I can’t believe I just said that. All of a sudden, I feel scared.

But hey, I need to take this one day at a time.

Now tonight, instead of giving you a recipe, I thought I’d share the list that I’ve put together to help me get through Lent without eating grains by mistake. πŸ˜‰

I got a lot of that information onΒ Grain Free Living, which is a great site that, I sort of get the feeling, I’ll be visiting often from now on!

Alright, so let’s take a look at what constitutes a grain, what doesn’t, and places where you might find grains and least expect it.

Like soy sauce, for instance… πŸ˜‰Β 

Oh, and of course, if you have any additions and or corrections that you think should be made to this list, please let me know, by all means!


  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Kamut
  • Montina
  • Rye
  • Wheat, also known as:
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Durum
  • Farro
  • Graham (flour)
  • Kamut
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale


  • Corn
  • Cornflour
  • Cornmeal (Polenta)
  • Cornstarch
  • Millet
  • Oats (must be labeled as such)
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Wild Rice


  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat (Kasha)
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Sesame
  • Quinoa
  • Soy
  • Tapioca

(Of course, all the non grains listed above can also be made into flour)

  • Almond
  • Arrowroot
  • Cassava (aka manioc or tapioca)
  • Chickpea or gram flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Dal flour
  • Fava bean
  • Gram flour (chickpea)
  • Lentils
  • Manioc
  • Mesquite flour
  • Plantain flour (can get at African grocers)
  • Potato Starch/Flour
  • Sago
  • Taro flour
  • Yam (iyan) flour


  • Alcohol made from grains (i.e. Vodka, Gin, Sake)
  • Baking powder (contains cornstarch)
  • Beer
  • Glucose (made from wheat)
  • Soy sauce / Tamari (unless it’s gluten free)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Mirin
  • Chicken and beef broth (cans and bouillon cubes)
  • Condiments, salad dressings, and sauces
  • And of course, many, many prepared food items… read your labels!


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  1. says

    We went grain-free along with an elimination diet last summer. To substitute for baking powder, I used baking soda + cream of tartar. But you’ll probably find that once you’re grain-free you almost never need baking powder anyway. Personally I found it to be an enlightening exercise that led the way to a much healthier diet (although our previous diet was certainly better than what many people eat). I have a few recipes from that experiment on my blog – my daughter still loves the buckwheat pancakes and coconut macaroons that are free of grains and refined sugar. I still sweeten everything with dried fruit, and grains are not a daily part of our diet. The bulk of grains that we used to eat has been replaced with additional fresh produce.

    • says

      Thanks a bunch for that information Rosemary! I doubt that I will ever NOT have a need for baking powder. I am a baker at heart and can’t see myself not creating cakes and breads and muffins and other baked goods. Now the challenge it for me to create them without using grains. I have to say that I find that really exciting. The toughest challenge might be to come up with a super awesome pizza dough, ‘cuz I love my pizza and could never be without it! And I’m all for using fruits, both dried and fresh, to sweeten things up! :)

      • Drew says

        Have a look into Breadfruit flour.
        Breadfruit is also known by many different local names such as Ulu and Mei. It can be used to make Pastry, bread, pancakes, cookies, pizza dough, pasta, nachos, – you name it. It can be used without making it into a flour for very convincing crisps and cereals etc.
        Breadfruit when cooked tastes similar to baked bread or potatoes. It seems ideal to make flour from breadfruit as its high in starch and can be cooked in many ways (can be baked then fried). Many find the flavour to be slightly bland (as fruit goes) which is what many people prefer when searching for alternative flour. Its full of vital nutrients and is low calorie and high carb. The fruit itself is very large and grows easily in tropical climates.
        Find them in supermarkets selling Exotic or Caribbean fruits or on Amazon (the website not the rainforest :P).
        I think almond flour in excess should be avoided so will be doing more experiments by substituting recipes with Breadfruit flour :)
        Hope this helps :)

      • Gia says

        I believe some people use something called “xanthan gum” t replace for baking powder. Thank you for all the info. I am new to this “healthy portion of the world” and it’s beautiful to see how more and more people are being more concious about what they eat. I am presently living in El Salvador, and people in general seem to loooooove carbohidrates and alcohol lol, so as I get to know more people like you guys here, I am glad to have international co-workers on this mission!

  2. Kim Burak says

    As per Dr. Weil wild rice is not a grain but a seed so you can still include it in your diet during Lent. Wild rice is gluten-free but avoid boxed wild rice mixes – in addition to being less fresh, the additives can contain traces of gluten. Good luck with this challenge.

    • says

      Thanks Kim! I’ll definitely have to research that about rice! Sometimes, there is a lot of conflicting information out there, it gets hard to know what’s what. I sure wouldn’t mind it if rice were indeed a seed! πŸ˜‰

  3. Val says

    How sweet of you to package up all those nice grains for me! I’ll just take those off of your hands for a while… πŸ˜‰ Hahaha. While I’ve personally never felt the need or want to go grain free, myself, I will say that I’m not opposed to finding some nice new recipes! But, I can’t guarantee that some brown rice won’t sneak its way into a dish or two.

    • says

      Ah! ah! Funny you should say that Val, because I have indeed packaged everything up neatly in bags, and I’m like wondering what to do with them now. Guess I’ll have to store that until Lent is over, but what if I choose to stay off grains after Lent? I just know that if I unpack everything and start looking at the goods, I’ll be craving grains again. Kind of like when you open up a box that you had stored in your attic and haven’t touched in years, you don’t even remember what’s in it, but then you open it and there’s no way in hell you could get rid of ANY of the things that are in that box, you know… all of a sudden, you just NEED all that stuff!

      Anyway… we’ll see how it goes. Worst case scenario, I’ll just give it all to my mom and have her return my containers… πŸ˜‰

      And I too, can guarantee you that some grains will always sneak their way through some of my recipes… AFTER Lent is over, that is! πŸ˜‰

  4. says

    I honestly had no idea there was cornstarch in baking powder. Jeeeeeeez. That’s honestly what I hate about how food is nowadays. It doesn’t seem possible to find any “processed” foods that aren’t contaminated with a ton of other things. It seems impossible to find just real simple food! All the more reason to make most things from scratch, at least in my mind. But I totally agree, the amount of cornstarch in a tiny bit of baking powder isn’t too big of a deal. I’m glad you’re feeling great so far! I’m so looking forward to seeing some interesting new recipes and ideas :)

    • says

      Me neither!!! I never really felt the need to look at the label before to find out what’s in it. The good news is, I found out you can make your own baking powder by using 1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar and 2 parts non-grain starch, such as tapioca or potato, or arrowroot. I will definitely do that! Hey, I’m doing this all the way! πŸ˜‰ And I can guarantee you that I’ve got some pretty interesting recipes on the way. Already started experimenting and I am pretty excited about the results so far! πŸ˜€

  5. says

    Grain-free pizza bases can be made from:
    * shredded vegetables (zucchini or potatoes for instance)
    * socca (chickpea-flour flatbread)
    * thinly-sliced vegetables, layered in a pan and baked into a large ‘pancake’ – such as eggplant, potatoes, summer squash
    * the same types of mixtures that are used to make vegan loaf/burger type recipes – usually a blend of legumes, nuts, and a grain – sub flax meal, quinoa, or chickpea flour for the grain
    * non-grain flours or meals (flax, buckwheat, quiinoa, etc. Arrowroot or tapioca can be used to lighten the texture, but a lot of the health benefit of going grain-free is having a lower glycemic index diet and these starchy flours are high-GI)

    I used to be a baker at heart, too. But now I find that I prefer simpler foods. Why make banana bread, for instance, when I can have sliced banana, sprinkled with walnuts and cinnamon?

    • says

      Thanks Rosemary, these are awesome suggestions! I think I’ll have to stick with the starchy non-grain route for now, though. My brain has yet to make the switch and adapt to the possibility of a pizza crust being “non-bready”… πŸ˜‰ I still can’t be without that comforting feeling of biting into a piece of cake, or bread, or muffin… there’s just something about the texture that I love so much!

      I might get over it someday, though… who knows? πŸ˜‰

  6. says

    Deliciously Organic says that you can make your own baking powder with:

    1 part baking soda + 1 part cream of tartar + 2 parts arrowroot

    And soy sauce?! That’s crazy. I won’t give that up. Thanks for the list! It’ll make things easier. :)

  7. Elizabeth says

    Why did you have to get rid of miso? You mean Japanese fermented soy beans, right? Does it contain grains? I thought it was just soybean!

    • says

      I thought so too! But you see, miso is also made from a variety of grains, namely wheat, rice and barley, to name a few! I know that grain free miso also exists, I will DEFINITELY have to try and find some. Going to my favorite Asian grocery store this coming Friday, I will definitely look for it there! And while I’m at it, I’ll try and get my hands on “buckwheat only” soba noodles.

      Now… if only I knew how to read the word wheat in Japanese, that would most definitely help! πŸ˜‰

  8. says

    What about chocolate? I’ve googled it to death but can’t find a definite answer. Is it grain free but you don’t use it because it has added refined sugar? I made some delicious grain free chocolate cookies today but they’re lacking chocolate chips!

    • says

      Oh, chocolate definitely isn’t a grain! I’m not using it during Lent because of the added sugar, you are right. And in general, I treat it as, well… a treat! Chocolate IS good for you, but still, it’s not something that you want to have LOTS of every day. I will indulge in a few squares of 70% cocoa and over, about once a week. What is truly healthy in chocolate is in fact the cocoa, and THAT, I consume a heck of a lot of! I think I must be having at least a tablespoon of cocoa every single day of my life. Or almost…

      If you’re gonna use chocolate chips, look for the darkest you can find, ideally over 70% cocoa! Ever tried cacao nibs? I find they are a great replacement!

  9. says

    Aha. Good to know! I dislike (big surprise, I know) dark chocolate and so I normally use 55%. A tablespoon of cocoa every day? Wow! That’s impressive. Although with all the chocolate avocado pudding I’ve been eating I guess I eat a lot too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen cacao nibs but I’ll take a look! Thanks for the suggestion.

    • says

      I was gonna say you definitely have to look for cacao nibs, but if you dislike dark chocolate, I’m not sure that you will like them. They are pretty bitter in taste, but they are extremely cool to eat. They almost feel cold in your mouth, and despite being crunchy, they also feel creamy. I am totally addicted to them, can you tell? I love my chocolate very dark and barely use any sugar at all anymore. In fact, I will regularly enjoy hot cocoas that I make with nothing more than milk and cocoa powder (lots of it) to which I add a little bit of cinnamon and cayenne pepper… YUMMERS! That’s my feel good, super comforting drink right there!

    • Sherre Lieder, LMSW says

      Many people do not have enzymes necessary to digest grains or gluten or both.
      If you do not have the enzyme, the undigested material can not be processed out of the body. As with other toxins, the body will deposit it in fat cells. Most of this fat accumulates around the waist.

      After 20 years of trying, I finally achieved “GRAIN and GLUTEN free.” My body dropped 45 pounds. I lost my love handles that I had since age 11. I have the same figure I had at 16.

      I am over 70 and I can not even express how this improved my life – energy, stamina, and on and on. I found a great deal of information in a book called by Shepard, “Celiac Disease, the first year” or something close to that.

      I don’t test positive for celiacs, but after years of experimentation, I absolutely determined that all grains caused bad effects within the next 1 to 4 days. I found it at the library.

      Check wiki and Mayo Clinic Library for additional data. They describe celiac and its effects differently, especially the “intestine no longer functioning will be fatal, ie: celiac disease.”

      I have spent about 50 years looking for an answer. No gluten, no grain is a huge part of it finding health.

      I am looking for an on-line PhD program in Nutrition. I have a masters degree.
      Be WELL !

      • Nina Williams says

        Like you, I am over 60 and have surely been struggling with symptoms for years. About 5 years ago my body began to refuse the food I tried to eat— by choking! I had no choice but to rethink my diet. At first I thought gluten-free, but then realized the problem was more profound than that Each day, or second day, Something would make me ill. Miso? Who knew? Chicken broth? If I mistakenly ingest grain, it is poison to me. So, for me, this is not a challenge but a necessity.

  10. Carrun says

    Why did you have to say goodbye to amaranth when then you’ve gone and put it in your non-grain list???

      • Carrun says

        I was just curious. I thought it might be confusing to people who google for information on being grain free :)


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