Grains have a pretty bad rap in the Paleo/Whole30 community, mainly because of the dangers of gluten, the overproduction of corn, and how essentially all grains today have been pounded into a nutrition-less flour and might still be labeled "whole grain".
All of above, I totally agree with.
But then sometimes, I go into my super-deep-thinking mode and I wonder about all of the ancient civilizations that were founded on grain and how they thrived to become the great nations they are today. Did civilizations back then worry about being gluten-free? If grain and breads are all that bad, how did they survive?
Let's face it: times have changed, and unfortunately so has a lot of our grains. While our attitudes and traditions of eating grains haven't quite changed, our activity levels are dramatically sedentary compared to those past civilizations. Basically, we're not moving like we used to. In addition, we're eating a bunch of stuff in addition to all that grain. We've spiraled into a society of overeating food that's most likely been stripped of all of its nutrients, ergo: empty calories galore. And then we top it off by not doing anything to burn up those calories.
So, do you eat grains? Do you avoid them?
Especially when you're starting on a healthier lifestyle, it's hard for you to want to live in the grey areas of healthy eating. Most people just want: DON'T eat this. DO eat this, because life is stressful enough and you want one less thing to think about.
Grain is in this grey area of healthy eating. It can be great just as much as it can be terrible, both mentally and to your physical health. If you find yourself overeating on pastas, breads and rice, you have an unhealthy mental relationship with grain. If you find yourself getting bloated after eating something containing gluten, you have an unhealthy physical relationship with grain. If you're starting out on the Whole30, and you're not vegan, I'd say go ahead and go through the 30 days without grain because it is a very good experience that will teach you SO MANY THINGS.
But, if you're more experienced like me in this realm, or if you're vegan, I invite you to keep grain in your diet, but be wise about it. For this round of vegan Whole30, I'm choosing to eat barley, farro, and rice if absolutely necessary. Why am I not including oats? Well, I admit, I have an unhealthy mental relationship with oats, in particular, granola. :D And that's gotta end.
So that's my 2 cents about incorporating grains! I chose to avoid discussing too much about the nutritional contents of grain, because I'm not a certified dietitian or nutritionist, but feel free to do more research on the subject yourself!
Here's my lunch for today: Salad Greens with Portabello Mushroom, Spinach, Leek, and Farro Saute, with Cherry Tomatoes, Sprouts, Avocado, and Tahini.