The road to health and vitality has been a long and bumpy one for Sally and Jo, the two sisters behind No Grainer. In part one of a series of blogs on low-carb living, Sal describes the journey that led to a way of eating that has changed their lives.
At No Grainer we don’t believe in diets. As most of us have experienced, diets don’t work. You eat a certain way for a period of time, usually with the intention of losing weight, only to go back to the way you were eating before, often putting on even more weight. What we do believe in is following a nutritional lifestyle that supports you in the best way possible. We are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another. Finding the best nutritional lifestyle for you means listening to your body and working out the foods that do or don’t work for you and then sticking to that long term.
I often hear people say that one particular diet has transformed their health. I have listened to people from opposite ends of the nutritional spectrum such as raw vegan and Paleo say that their diet is the key to finding good health, weight loss and more energy. Funnily enough, I am sure they are both right! Perhaps what really needs to be looked at, is not what people are eating, but what they are not eating. The people that adopt both of these diets no longer eat processed foods, they avoid gluten and dairy (with some exceptions for Paleo) and they cut out refined sugar. Anyone who adopts this way of eating is sure to see an improvement in their health, no matter what other dietary plan they follow.
Out of necessity, I have adopted a very specific way of eating that I finds works perfectly for me. I avoid all of the above foods and also avoid grains and follow a low-carb lifestyle. As a Type 1 diabetic, the low-carb part is very important to me. It wasn’t until I developed diabetes that I gained an understanding of how much certain foods will spike blood sugars. After developing diabetes, I was shocked the first time that I ate some brown rice and watched my blood sugars sky rocket. I had always seen this as a very healthy food, so it was hard to accept that I had to change the way I eat and cut rice from my diet.
This is where the ‘lifestyle’ part comes into it. There was no choice to follow a low-carb diet for a short time and then go back to eating foods high in carbohydrates once the diet was over. Instead, there needed to be a complete shift in how I saw food. I knew that if I didn’t change, then my health would suffer greatly, so for me this was about survival.
It was the same for my sister Jo after she was diagnosed with coeliac disease. She gave up gluten straight away but then started to react badly to all grains and eventually found she had to give them up too.
So, was this new way of eating hard for us? Of course it was! We loved all those foods and had developed strong emotional connections to them, which is even harder to overcome. They don’t call them comfort foods for nothing!
When you give up grains, you naturally adopt a low-carb lifestyle as well, so it was a blessing that Jo and I were in sync and able to support each other. After we stopped feeling sorry for ourselves and gave away our collection of cook books and pantry staples, we started to embrace this new lifestyle and all the positive changes that came with it. Being sisters, we both suffered similar issues; acne and being overweight and it was as if by magic that these two issues disappeared when we adopted our new lifestyle. We couldn’t rely on processed foods or take-away, so we were forced to make our food from scratch. We didn’t want to feel like we were missing out, so we put in more effort to create delicious meals and baked goods.
It was out of this that No Grainer was born because there was no way on earth that we were going to go through life without one of our favourite foods, bread! We both credit eating our own home baked bread as the thing that made us love our new lifestyle the most. This is why we made it our mission to bring our bread to as many people as possible in the hope that it also worked for their nutritional lifestyle.
It turns out that No Grainer bread suits lots of different people for a whole host of reasons that we didn’t even contemplate when we first started. Along with diabetes and coeliac disease, our customers include people with crohns disease, colitis, Autism spectrum disorder, various autoimmune disorders, metabolic disorders and those following a Paleo or ketogenic lifestyle. We also get people who have none of these but just really love our products!
Stay tuned for another post next week, where Sal will share her top tips on how to thrive on a low-carb diet.