Results From My 30 Days Without Grains Experiment

I was just reminded that I never posted the outcome to My Current Experiment: 30 Days Without Any Grains. There was a data issue with this test. On September 1st, I got exposed to gluten at a gyro restaurant. That experience led me to post Commercial Gyro Meat is Absolutely Not Gluten Free. Even though the test was contaminated, I continued completing the 30 days.

What I learned was interesting.

  1. My skin inflammation was not affected by this test.
  2. When I reintroduced the Gluten-Free brownie, it triggered a night headache. I did this twice.

The gluten-free brownie uses sorghum and millet. I can say with confidence now that I have a secondary grain intolerance. This would also explain why I have felt awful both times I sampled gluten-free beers, as they often use sorghum. I would count this test as successful. I learned something new about about myself. No more gluten-free treats for me. When it comes to treats, I’ll stick to ice cream.

This is the power of running experiments.

Sorghum by Emma Cooper


Add yours

  1. Have you experimented much with traditional soaked (and possibly sprouted) and fermented grain recipes? I’ve been reading a lot of Stephen Guyenet’s articles over at and he has a lot of good information about the great lengths cultures went through to prepare grains. I think even Nourishing Traditions understates how much processing is needed to make grains a safe food. There’s certainly evidence of healthy grain based cultures, so it seems it may be related to what grain is used and how it’s processed. I don’t plan on making grains a big part of my diet, but I like the occasional pancake or porridge for breakfast, and I also find it fun recreating ancient recipes.

  2. @Jesse – No. Seems like too much effort. I’d rather focus my efforts on fermentation and other food projects. Unlike others, I don’t need grains. I don’t miss them at all.

  3. Charles Grashow

    Oct 11, 2012 — 6:38 am

    @Jesse – my thoughts are that if a food requires that much processing to make it suitable to consume maybe we should not be eating it.

  4. @Charles – I agree that in a perfect world we would eat foods that are easy to prepare and we would be healthy with more leisure time. However, we cannot conclude something is unhealthy just because it takes so much effort to process. I think a lot of the paleo crowd write off grains completely because they assume they are so toxic in their raw state that they can’t be made nutritious. The truth is, without techniques to make toxic plants edible, most of us would not be here today (I won’t argue whether this is good or bad). The acorn is a good example of a true paleo staple that many tribes used extensively and requires a lot of work to shell, leach the tannins, dry, and grind into a flour. In a world rebelling against industrially processed foods, I think there is this myth that humans used to not process foods, but simply eat things straight from nature. The truth is that even pre-agricultural people spent a great deal of time processing plant foods to make them edible.

    As I said, I experiment with grains, because I enjoy it and would never try to claim grains are a necessary part of the human diet. Certainly roots and tubers and much easier to prepare, and these play a much larger part in my diet. However, the reality is that most of the world cannot afford to go grain free. While this is the case, it makes sense to preserve and promote ancient processing methods that turn a toxic seed into something potentially nutritious.

  5. Hum… Well, I’d have to say that getting a headache from a gluten free brownie may not prove that you are sensitive or allergic to sorghum or millet. In my opinion, the only way to know that is to get a blood allergy test or try each grain individually during the Elimination Diet.

    Brownies usually contain eggs which are a common allergen. People can also be allergic to chocolate…. Also, gluten free foods often contain other flours and binders like soy, corn or corn starch, xanthan gum, etc. … many of which contain GMO’s. See list of invisible GM Ingredients:

    In addition, it wasn’t until I read the story about the guy in Florida who died after eating a bunch of cockroaches in a contest to win a snake, that I learned something about chocolate. Chocolate like certain other foods has cockroach parts in it and that a chocolate allergy may very well be a cockroach allergy.

    We’ll have to wait to see the results of the autopsy, but I’m pretty sure that he died from anaphylactic shock from eating the cockroaches. No one else who ate the roaches got sick, and if it was a bacteria I’m sure it would have taken longer to sicken and kill him. IMO, he was already sensitized to the cockroach allergen from environmental & food sources. When such a large amount of the allergen hit his stomach it caused a histamine reaction that caused the vomiting, but it had also gotten into his blood stream causing anaphylactic shock (that can kill quickly). In case anyone hasn’t read it, here’s the story about the Florida man:

    Maybe it was the chicken eggs, corn starch, chocolate, GMO’s, or something other than sorghum or millet in the brownie that made you have a headache. In addition, I have read that mold can be a problem with sorghum.

  6. @Kat – I try not to get neurotic that every food is out to kill me. I do the best I can. It has worked well for me.

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