The idea for No Grainer was started by a couple of sisters in Melbourne with various food intolerances who wanted to be able to eat grain-free products that actually tasted delicious. You probably know someone like us. Maybe you’re like us and that’s why you’re here? We’re those fussy eaters who have intolerances to what most of the population deem as ‘normal’ food. It’s not easy to be this way so we hope that our products make life a little easier for other people out there who share the same dietary burden. Everyone’s health crisis story is different but here’s what led us on the path to starting No Grainer…
The decision to severely limit and eventually cut out grains was a long drawn-out battle for both of us. Growing up with German heritage meant that bread was a staple part of our diets. We loved it, cherished it and devoured it greedily with a variety of unwholesome toppings (anyone for margarine and processed ham?)! We happily ate it every day with absolutely no idea that it was making us sick. When our beloved Oma was told by a Doctor that she should cut down on bread she incredulously replied in her thick German accent, “but I cannot! Bread is the slice of life!” We knew exactly what she meant.
To put it bluntly, Jo and I were both pudgy, pimply teenagers. What we didn’t realise when we were younger is that we both had seriously damaged guts. Years of antibiotic use, sugar addiction and you guessed it – too much gluten, meant that we had destroyed our precious gut bacteria. For my sister Jo, it was caused chronic acne from the age of 11. I only wish we had known then what we know now so my beloved sister could have been spared all those years of anguish and knocks to her self esteem that come with having a bad case of acne. I know she suffered greatly because of it. Unfortunately, as a way to manage it, she was prescribed the contraceptive pill from a young age which, of course, only made her gut issues worse.
With me, I suffered moderate acne but my big health warning came at the age of 26 when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in the form of Type 1 Diabetes. It was incredibly scary. I had gone into severe diabetic keto-acidosis and was so dehydrated that the doctors couldn’t even get blood from my finger to test my blood sugars. Looking back it was really obvious what I had – the intense thirst, the weight loss and extreme lethargy are all tell-tale signs. When I had expressed my concern that I might be diabetic to my partner Tim he replied, “you may have hypochondria,” so I just put it down to being rundown. Poor Tim! How guilty he felt when I was lying in my bed in the emergency department hooked up to all my drips. I couldn’t help myself and removed my oxygen mask to weakly ask him, “do you still think I’m a hypochondriac?” It was a cruel thing to do but hard to resist! At the time of my diagnosis I still had no idea of the link between damaged gut flora and autoimmune disease so I kept up my unhealthy love affair with gluten, amongst many other things!
A few years later, when we both did decide to try going gluten free it was like a light bulb moment – that treacherous gluten was behind our acne all along! The change in our skin was nothing short of miraculous. Anyone suffering from acne should at the very least ditch the gluten and see what a difference it can make – it’s better than all the expensive acne treatments combined.
Although our skin was clearer than it had been since we were little kids, there were still big issues for both of us with going gluten free. For me, it was spiking blood sugars, particularly from gluten-free bread. The problem with most gluten-free bread is the high amount of starch it contains which is a diabetic’s worst nightmare. Both of us were also still suffering from bloating, indigestion and heartburn when we ate most grains so our bodies were basically shouting at us to stop. Not only that, we were hearing from people who had healed themselves from multiple disorders by going grain-free/paleo and we were being told to cut them out by various health practitioners including our amazing (and very alternative and forward thinking) GP.
So, as you can guess, we did finally bite the bullet and ditch the grains. Yes, we felt better and all our previous negative symptoms cleared up but there was one huge problem. WE MISSED BREAD! We missed pizza, we missed bread rolls, we missed sandwiches, we missed fruit toast and we missed toast with our eggs. Lots of blogs and health advisers will tell you that once you cut out grains you won’t miss them and you will no longer crave all those ‘old’ foods. This simply wasn’t the case for us. We just weren’t built like that!
We knew we wanted to stay grain free and that the only way to make this possible was to create something ourselves. So we did. It’s taken hundreds of hours of experimentation in the kitchen. We’ve gone through about 200 kilos of almond flour and had more failed experiments than we’d care to mention but we finally have a grain free bread that we absolutely love and that we want to share with you. We hope you love it as much as we do!
Jo & Sally
P.S Do you want to know the best thing about our bread? Stable blood sugars! We were so excited when we created our first perfect loaf that we devoured the whole thing in one sitting. My blood sugars remained completely stable even after half a loaf of bread. My passion for bread was truly reignited.