Skip The Grains, Not The Treats This Holiday (With Recipes)

At a time when we most want to look and feel our best, we seem to do everything possible to ensure we don't.

In Wheat Belly Total Health, I explain, "The weather starts to change and we reach for the pumpkin-spice cookies, cider doughnuts and beer, which launches us into processed carbohydrates season."

"They make us tired and sluggish when we especially need energy as we prepare for all the fun stuff and preparation that lead up to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hannukah, and they cause us to gain weight, which we immediately pledge to shed come New Year's."

People have been taught that the refined, processed carbohydrates in foods like white rice, white bread and traditionally baked goods are "bad carbs." We're told we'll be healthier, happier and slimmer if we get stick to the "good carbs" in fruits, nuts and whole grains.

Not true – at least in the case of grains.

"Grasses and grains like wheat are a great food source for goats, cows and the like. But humans have a different digestive process and different nutritional needs. Grasses are not only responsible for unwanted weight gain, but also more serious conditions, including Crohn's disease and other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. We just weren't meant to eat them."

That doesn't mean you have to do without your favorite treats during the holidays. Just make them a different way.

Here are two grain-free treat recipes to get you started:

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed
  • sweetener such as Truvia or stevia extract equivalent to 3/4 cup sucrose
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of fine sea salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or canned coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • melted coconut oil or extra-light olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. Stir together the almond meal, walnuts, flaxseed, sweetener, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir together the pumpkin, sour cream or coconut milk, eggs, and oil in another large bowl. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the almond meal mixture and mix thoroughly.

3. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about half full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out dry, about 45 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pans 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Wheat-free Cauliflower Mushroom Dressing


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 pound loose ground pork sausage
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4-ounce can/jar roasted red peppers
  • 8 ounces Portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground tarragon
  • sea salt + freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Bring approximately 12 ounces water to a boil in sauce pan. Toss in porcini mushrooms and turn heat down to maintain below boiling. Stir every couple of minutes for 20 minutes.

3. In deep sauce pan, sauté sausage in 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with celery and onions, until sausage is cooked. Drain excess oil. Place saucepan back on low heat. Break cauliflower into small florets and add to sausage mix. Toss in drained porcini mushrooms along with approximately 4 ounces of the porcini broth, remainder of olive oil, green pepper, roasted red peppers, Portabella mushrooms and flaxseed. Add onion powder, sage, thyme, tarragon, salt and black pepper and stir.

4. Transfer to baking dish and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes.

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