I Survived A Week Without Oatmeal


Surprisingly, this week went by fast. And despite keeping my favorite breakfast food at bay, I wasn’t at all miserable. I really thought I was going to go through withdrawal.

After I posted my vow not to eat oats (and a mostly grain free diet) for a whole week, so many of you wrote to me and raved about how great you felt after giving up grains. And even after my first day without them for breakfast, I noticed a difference in my mood and energy levels. So I was super excited to see what the whole week would bring.

Giving up my beloved oatmeal for a whole week was hard. But I did it. Go me!!

But now comes the even harder part. Admitting that I definitely felt better without it. Ughhhhhhhhh. Why? Why does it have to be like this? I really wish I could say that I felt no different, because I really want to believe that oatmeal is the best breakfast to ever exist on this earth, but I can’t. (I mean, based on taste, yes it is. It is the best breakfast to ever exist on this earth. But nutritionally, I guess not so much.)

I can’t believe that, because I felt so much less tired than I normally do this week. I felt less bloated and more energized throughout the entire day.

I make sure to get anywhere from 6-8 hours of sleep on any given night. My days typically start at around 5:30 AM. Usually, by 2 or 3 PM, I’m shot. At that time of the day I almost always feel like I absolutely need a nap. But this week, I never felt that way once. And I especially felt like I had much more energy during the morning hours than I normally do.

So, I really hate to say it, but it seems like Dr. Ashton was right. Oatmeal isn’t necessarily a “bad” breakfast (it is nutritious), but when it comes down to it, there are foods better suited for breakfast, particularly, foods that are grain free.

Not only did I skip oatmeal for breakfast this week, but I also kept my entire diet relatively grain-free for the entire week. I had only a few half-sized servings of granola, one serving of quinoa at lunch on Tuesday, three raviolis with my dinner on Thursday night, and a brown rice tortilla at lunch on Friday. That’s a huge step for me, considering I LOVE to eat sandwiches for lunch and almost always have some kind of grain like rice, or quinoa, or a wrap with dinner.

What it seems to come down to goes back to what Dr. Ashton had initially said to me; that we just don’t need the carbohydrates from all of those starchy grains unless we’re going to use them up with a cardio session of an hour or longer. This actually makes total sense when I think about the fact that the only time I’ve felt exceptionally great after eating a bowl of oatmeal is when I’ve gone for a nice, long run after doing so.

So, through my own personal experience I can say that starchy grains are great for fueling long cardio workouts, but not so great for sustainable energy throughout the day. That doesn’t mean that I’m giving them up completely, though. I love bread, and pizza, and oatmeal too much to deprive myself of those foods forever. But from now on, I do plan to eat a relatively grain-free diet  for the majority of the time. Meaning I’ll treat myself to it only when I really feel like I want to. If I want a sandwich, I’ll make myself a sandwich. If a bagel is what I’m feeling like for breakfast, I’ll have a bagel. For the most part though, I plan to focus more on lean protein, fruit, healthy fats, and lots and lots of veggies!

Would you consider eliminating grains from your diet?

Update: Here’s a more recent take on the whole “carbs for runners” debate that I think takes a totally sensible approach!

  1. I’m glad to see it worked for you. I love oatmeal and I been eating it almost every single day for the last year, before I didn’t exactly ate breakfast just snacks while running out the door, but since tracking my calories I’ve been debating if its good enough for me. I love how cheap and easy it is to make and vowed never to eat cereal again because I find they have no nutritional content whatsoever, but that’s just me. Do let us know of different recipes for breakfast because I’m at a loss of what else can be done fast in the wee hours of the morning and I’m game for new meals. That being said, I could never stop eating oatmeal permanently, it always feels like a treat for me and I truly believed it made me love breakfast for the first time in my life.

  2. I’ve been considering adapting a more paleo aligned lifestyle/diet for a little while now after hearing how amazing people feel when they’ve done it. What made me actually want to do it though was about a week or so ago I watched an interview the with a lady who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had 3 months to live, she decided to adopt a more holistic approach in her determination to live and took on a paleo lifestyle 100%. That was a few years ago! She is healthier than ever before now, the brain tumour is still there and she still intends on getting rid of it without chemo etc. Amazing hey, her interview was on the 180nutrition site if your interested :). Anyhoo, I’ve tested the no grains on a 1 day basis and definitely feel the difference as you did after the first day, so I’ve decided to do the Whole30 challenge and then see how I progress from there but I don’t think grains will be coming back! My problem at the moment is, getting rid of all the non paleo food in my house! I hate wastage so am trying to use it up over the next couple weeks, whilst still introducing mostly paleo meals to my day and on a meal to meal basis, yep can feel the difference!!! I’m really looking forward to my grain free life!

    1. That’s great, Paula! And I’ll have to check out that interview. I’ve watched documentaries with similar stories before. It’s really amazing how healing food can be! And I totally understand not wanting to waste any grain products that you already have. I feel the same, which is one of the reasons I vowed to eat mostly grain-free while I’m just starting out. I think it’s a good idea to slowly phase them out instead of completely getting rid of everything and avoiding them completely right from the start. 🙂

  3. Congrats on surviving a week without email! I eat oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning, and you’ve inspired me to cut back and try other options. Thanks for your insight on this challenging but rewarding task!

  4. I was diagnosed by Dermatologist of having Psoriasis. Of course they offer steroid ointment, which is effective, but thins out the skin. When I stop using the ointment, the psoriasis returns. Basically the skin around nails peel. Skin on tips of fingers cracks and bleeds (like accidentally cutting yourself with a knife or paper cut). Also had really back dandruff.

    Read about eliminating wheat for psoriasis and it was working. Only ate 1 slice per day. Psoriasis was reduced. Dandruff was greatly reduced!! Anyway, I also ate oatmeal once per day. Gave up oatmeal for a week and psoriasis was greatly reduced.

    The bread and oatmeal are so addicting (and cheap), I haven’t been able to stop eating it! I know if I stop eating

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