[Grain-based and grain-free coexisting in harmony. Clockwise from top: pumpkin seeds, whole millet grain, millet flour, oat flour, almond flour, whole almonds, walnuts, and rolled oats in the center. Sprinkled with goji berries and pumpkin seeds on the burlap.]
Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, you’ve likely heard of the Paleo diet. (See what I did there? Heh heh.). In its “pure” form, Paleo is the very antithesis of a vegan diet, eschewing many vegan staples such as grains, legumes, and soy products (really just another legume). Similarly, other popular diets that limit or remove grains (and often legumes as well) include GAPS, AIP, SCD and others.
These diets are decidedly not vegan by nature. Remove grains, and you ostensibly remove a huge component of any common vegan diet. Ginny Messina, RD and JL Fields, in their wonderful book Vegan For Her, recommend 4+ servings of grains per day, for instance.
I’m here neither to defend nor diss any of these approaches. Instead, I’d like to address both the pros and cons of eating grains, whether grain-free is a viable option for vegans, and whether grain-free can fit comfortably into a vegan anti-candida diet.
The first time I was diagnosed with candida back in 1999, the diet hadn’t yet evolved to the point that it forbade all grains. In fact, many people still ate whole wheat bread, thinking it was a healthier option to refined white bread. By the time I’d begun my second round of the diet in 2009, my naturopath prescribed a period without most grains for the first two to four months. As a baker and dessert lover, I knew immediately that it would be a difficult transition for me (to say the least!).