Multi-Grain vs. Whole Grain vs. Whole Wheat

It’s hard to ignore the gluten discussion that is all around us now. When you walk into the grocery store, and you’ll find whole sections of baked and assorted goods labeled as “gluten-free.” At your kids’ school, you may find that more and more of your kids’ classmates have to adopt a gluten-free diet. And perhaps you’ve heard friends or co-workers talking about cutting out gluten as part of a detox plan or to lose weight.

Gluten. GLUE-ten. Funny word, right? Was this a word that was part of our colloquial language even a decade ago? I think not. But it’s important that we discuss it, so you can be aware of what it is exactly and how it can affect you.

Many of the foods you may currently be eating contain gluten, which may be wreaking havoc on your body. Present in wheat, rye and barley, gluten is the grain protein that allows baked goods to bind and makes wheat-based dough sticky. Along with the aforementioned grains, gluten is present in many processed foods like soy sauce, malt, junk food, microwaved dinners and many others. Personal care products may also contain gluten, which can be absorbed into the body through the skin or inhaled through the lungs.

Should Humans Eat Gluten Grains?

Unfortunately, these proteins can cause a lot of detrimental issues for many people that consume them. Wheat, rye, and barley are all annual grasses that release seeds for a short time every year. These seeds contain chemicals within their glutens to protect them from rodent and insect consumption, helping the plants effectively reproduce during their short seeding season. This ensures the ongoing survival of the plant species. Unfortunately, these chemicals may be toxic to more than rodents and insects – they may also cause toxicity in human beings. A growing number of people exhibit signs of some form of gluten sensitivity. In fact, findings from a 2007 University of Valladolid Department of Pediatrics and Immunology study suggest gluten consumption causes a harmful effect in everyone who consumes it, regardless of whether they manifest signs of gluten intolerance.

Celiac Disease on the Rise

One of the most widely recognized forms of gluten sensitivity is celiac disease. Once believed to be a rare disorder, celiac disease is on the rise in the United States. Slightly less than 1 percent of the population has obtained an official diagnosis of celiac disease, although health authorities believe the percentage of people with the autoimmune disorder is higher due to a large, undiagnosed population. When someone with celiac disease ingests, absorbs, or inhales even trace amounts of gluten, they sustain damage to their small intestines.

With celiac disease, one’s body recognizes gluten as a foreign invader instead of as food. In response to the presence of gluten, the body attacks the villi of the small intestine, damaging the tiny finger-like projections that are essential in nutrient absorption. The result is malnutrition, stomach pain, bloating, flatulence, and a host of other symptoms. Untreated celiac disease can cause serious illness such as heart disease, certain cancers, thyroid disorders, and many others.

Internal Paste?

If you’ve ever done papier-mâché, then you already know just how sticky gluten really is. For those of you who may be a little less craft-oriented, papier-mâché is an art project where you cover balloons with strips of paper dipped in sticky paste. Once the paste dries and hardens, you have a solid sphere you can paint to look like all kinds of things. What you may not realize, however, is that most papier-mâché paste is made from a very simple combination of wheat flour and water. As the water evaporates, the “glue” hardens, thanks largely to the gluten contained in the wheat flour. Imagine that inside of your body, and it’s easy to see how easily gluten can “gunk” up your insides – even if you aren’t one of the millions of people diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Avoiding Gluten

Fortunately, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are 100 percent reversible merely by avoiding gluten in all of its forms. While the solution sounds easy, however, if you eat processed foods or use beauty products with a long list of hard to pronounce ingredients, it may be very difficult to avoid. If you eat a more natural, fresh plant foods-based diet, however, then gluten is less likely to be a problem. It is important to note, however, that even trace amounts of gluten are not okay for those people with any form of gluten sensitivity. Because of this, people with celiac disease and other forms of gluten sensitivity have to become label sleuths, learning to recognize the various names for ingredients that contain glutens.

Assessing Grains

Still, whole grains are an important part of the diet, providing beneficial fiber and nutrients your body needs. You’ll find I recommend certain grains in The Beauty Detox Solution; however, when you eat grains it is important to know exactly what it is you are getting.

As I mentioned previously, if you’re concerned about gluten (and I believe everyone should be), then you absolutely must avoid rye, barley, all kinds of wheat (whole wheat, graham, cracked wheat, wheat flour, white or wheat pasta, couscous, kanut, eikhorn, and many others), and some oats. While oats do not naturally contain gluten, many oat products are contaminated in processing. The best way to avoid getting gluten with your oats is to find the most minimally processed form of them available – oat groats. That’s why I use oat groats in recipes, especially for the Blossoming Beauty Phase of the Beauty Detox.

Reading Labels

The best way to ensure you avoid gluten is understanding what labels mean. For example, you may find products labeled whole wheat, whole grain, or multi-grain. What, exactly, do each of these designations mean?

Whole Wheat

It is exactly as it sounds. The product contains all parts of the wheat, including the endosperm, germ, and brand. According to the FDA, in order to obtain a whole wheat listing, the product must contain all of these components in the same ratios that naturally occur in a grain of wheat. While whole wheat does contain beneficial fiber and nutrients, however, it also contains gluten and is best avoided. It can be replaced, such as by using brown rice or quinoa pasta instead of whole wheat pasta.

Whole Grain

Products may or may not contain wheat, so a careful reading of the label is required. FDA labeling laws for whole grain are the same as whole wheat: the product must contain all parts of the grain in the same proportions found in nature.


Sounds quite healthy, but when you see this on the label all you know for sure is that the food contains more than one type of grain. The grains may be in whole form, or they may be refined. Reading package labeling can help you define exactly what the multi-grain label means.

Grains to Eat

I recommend eating healthful, whole grains that do not contain gluten. Whole grains have minimal processing and provide better fiber and nutrition than their more refined counterparts. Along with oat groats, I love the following non-gluten grains:

  • Brown rice
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat (which is completely different than wheat and does not contain gluten)

I also recommend soaking grains overnight in order to remove phytic acid and make them more digestible.

Intestinal Healing

If you have been eating gluten grains your whole life, all is not lost. Once you begin avoiding them, you can further facilitate healing by rebuilding good intestinal flora. I recommend daily probiotics  and regular consumption of my Probiotic & Enzyme Salad. It may take as long as a year or two without any gluten in the diet for your intestines to fully heal from the damage, but following The Beauty Detox Solution diet will definitely help and put you on the right path.



Last updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • Pamela

    Thanks Kimberly! I am slowly trying to decrease my gluten intake. Would a gravity colonic also help with this? I have a follow up question more specific to colonics that I was hoping you could help with or even do a post on! I have read all of your posts on colonics but still don’t know how to tell if a place does gravity colonics vs. the kind you don’t approve of. I saw a groupon type coupon for a place near me but wanted to know the right questions to ask to make sure they didn’t just say “yes” to my questions to get my business! Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Pamela

      On their website it says they use “Aquanet EC2000, which is FDA approved and arguably the most professional dual system hydrotherapy instrument on the market today”

  • Emilia

    Hi Kim,

    First of all, I loved your book and it has it’s very special place in my kitchen :)

    I would like to ask you two things: What do you think of spelt? I’ve heard that it contains gluten that is much easier to digest for us and always prefer to use spelt pasta or bread.

    Further, do you use a water ionizer and what’s your opinion on the fact that sink water is acidic, no matter if we put it thorough a regular filter or not..??

    I would appreciate it so much to read your opinion on these two things. :)

    Kind regards,

  • Cliff Smith

    Excellent article! We get so many customers at our online health food store asking about Gluten that we’re happy to see this post. It is an important topic for some, but we have also learned that not everyone needs to avoid all gluten all the time.

  • Maggie

    Hi Kim!
    I’m glad that you did a post on this subject! I read your book last spring and have been eating differently ever since. I used to always buy “Food for Life” brand Millet bread, but have not been able to find it for quite some time (I know that is one you usually recommend) Are there any other brands you approve of? Any thing to look for or avoid when reading the ingredients?


  • anash

    I buy pesticide free grown wheat. People ate this since the beginning of time and its so rich in vitamins if its grown and processed properly. I think the problem is the processing…not so much the wheat

  • shweta

    Hey Kim,

    one quick question…. if i am not allergic to gluten and i have eaten gluten thruout my life, do i really need to take it off my diet?? i mean little bit here and there should be fine right?
    Between very nice article….

    Thanks a tonne,

  • Clarissa

    I grew up eating many whole grain products, and never dreamed that they could actually be considered unhealthy! After just a week of significantly reducing the amount of gluten I was ingesting, I felt such a huge difference — less “grumbly tummy” syndrome. While I am not entirely gluten free yet, by gradually reducing the amount in my diet, I have been able to regain some of my lost energy, and curb some of those pesky pasta cravings. Thanks for the informative article — with all the advertising geared at regaining your energy through caffeine, and other less than healthy choices, a better awareness of how your body processes what you eat, and how to properly fuel it is essential!

    Thanks again!

  • Amy

    Hi Kim,
    I purchased your book this Fall and am hooked on the GGS! I even got a VitaamiX for Christmas. I. Am almost dairy free, but the gluten has been a realm challenge. I really miss sandwiches, toast and pancakes with m y kids on the weekends! I find most of the gluten free products to be lacking in something and most contain so many other funky ingredients. I did not realize that buckwheat was gluten free. Do you have any recipes you could share? Also, pizza is a love of mine…any good substitution ideas? Best-Amy

  • Nicole

    Hi Kim :-)

    Is there another way of preparing oat groats (appropriate for Blossoming Beauties) besides the recipe you have in The Beauty Detox Solution? Also, I’m on day 3 of this phase, is there any alternative to 2-3 celery stalks for breakfast?

    Thanks so much!

  • Julia

    Hi Kimberly! I was only just doing some reading on this very subject last night! Great blog!! I live in a smaller city in Australia, and have found it a challenge to buy gluten-free sprouted breads. I did eventually find a gluten-free buckwheat loaf (in refrigerated section of my fav organic store), but read it contained corn flour & sunflower oil – both of which you don’t like?? I then swapped to the ‘rice’ loaf – first ingredient is brown rice, then rice flour (doesn’t specify white or brown), then something ‘maize’ I believe from memory, sea salt & water. This loaf contains no corn flour, but still sunflower oil. Is this a better option than the buckwheat loaf?

    I’m so grateful for your book – I love it so much!! I’ve been following it for about 3 months now! I started out with the Blossoming Beauty phase for 2 months (as I have a candida issue). My candida was much better (had it tested late december), so I moved on to Radiant Beauty and introduced the GGS! Love it sooo much! Did it for one month, but did feel a little weightier from re-introducing the fruit, and my sugar cravings became intense again. I do have an issue with my adrenals at the moment, and have had intense sugar cravings since I did ballet 10 years ago, and basically survived on lollies. I’m trying my very best to re-balance everything – Does it sound like I still have a yeast issue? I feel like I should be able to enjoy fruit without craving sugar for the rest of the day. I changed back to the Blossoming Beauty phase this week – do you think that’s the right choice? And, how long should I stay with this phase Kimberly?

    Also, is it ok to have some greens and avo first thing (after lemon & probiotic), then after exercise, greens and your raw rolled oat cereal? Wasn’t sure if I could have avo twice and whether it’s long enough for it to digest the first time. Is it ok to have one of your nut pates as well each week on Blossoming Beauty? Love the macadamia one!! Can you also sub sunflower seeds for sesame seeds in beauty nut pate? Can’t find sunflower seeds.

    Sorry for so many questions – it’s just hard to work out on your own sometimes:) Thank you so much for everything Kimberly! Hope to meet you in OZ soon!!!!!

    Love Julia xx

    ps do you have an opinion on laser hair removal? Thought I’d ask you, as you’re my guru!!! :)

    • ellen

      Hi, I know “maize” is corn, so do keep an eye out for that in ingredients lists. There’s a great German brand of gluten-free that’s come to the US this year in a big way: Schär. I like it a lot and it helps me make the gluten-free transition w/o giving up everything I love. I hope it gets to AUS soon for you.

      • Julia

        Thank you Ellen! I will keep an eye out for that brand :)

  • Kathryn Sheets

    I have been eating Ezekiel bread recently but I am looking for an alternative bread that is gluten free. What bread do you recommend?

  • Mary

    What do you think about farro and spelt?

    • Jennifer

      Hi Mary ~ Both farro and spelt have gluten. So, neither of those would go with Kimberly’s plan.

  • Heather

    Hi Kimberly,

    I purchased your Beauty Detox book about 3 months ago. Previously I was eating a pretty healthy diet as was my elementary principles from my parents. However this NEW eating lifestyle is definitely much much more Rich. I was going to the restroom1-2 x daily, know at about 3 mo. later I am still having the hardest time in this area. Oddly I don’t even have the sensation to use the restroom, therefore I have put myself on a daily regimen and go sit on the toilet anyways. Sadly I don’t have very good results and it is causing small hemorrhoids. Do you have an answer to this, or some helpful advice? Oh, by the way thank you for this wonderful book, I lost 20 lbs. in 3 weeks putting me at my size before my children and I feel and look great, other than this restroom issue.

    Thanks Again,
    Heather Joy

  • Anna

    I am sure u get a lot of questions…questions which are so creative and colourful u even havent thought about these kind of questions 😛
    I was a vegan for a year but I ate some soy products and after I stopped all of a sudden I became really bloaded and my skin became really bad ( I never had skin problems)…I am not consuming any soy anymore… this is a year ago…
    but I still feel a little bit ‘soft’ I eat really healthy no soy and I am eating a lot of veggies…since a week i am vegan again and I somehow still feel tired and my doctor told me I am at the border of a thyroid underfunction.
    I am 24 and I worked 3 years as a my body is sure tired of dieting and stress…

    I ordered ur book…eating a lot of green veggies…having the ggs and ordered some chia seeds! 😛 Let’s start yay!

    I feel I need a boost to get my glow back!

    love to u lady!

  • sam

    Hi Kim

    I wold like to ask you if it is ok to eat miso where is barley? Thanks a lot

  • Chelsea


    Thank you so much for these wonderful articles you post. I read The Beauty Detox Solution and loved it. I’ve been a vegetarian for a few years now and always thought I ate pretty healthy but you have taught me so much. I never realized I had such an interest in this before but your book and your knowledge on a healthy, plant based diet has really made me think about going back to school to get my Bachelors in Holistic Nutrition. You have inspired me so much and I just wanted to thank you!


  • AngeloPlaton

    ANOTHER amazing,immensely educational,super informative TRUTHFUL,heartfelt post…..THANK YOU SOO MUCH,Kimberly for spreading truth and LOVE through your wisdom and intelligence with ease and grace!!!NAMASTE!!!<3

  • Julia

    Hi Kimberly, I love reading your blogs, but I also really like the pictures you use!!! Do you do the photography yourself? I love creative things, and I enjoy looking at how these pictures really tell a thousand words! A little off topic I know, but just wanted to share that!! :)

    Love Julia xx

  • Jo

    I have been gluten-free for over a month and I am noticing many changes for the better in my digestion and overall health. But… I love baking and was wondering whether gluten-free baking is acceptable (occasionally, that is!) and not as strenuous on the digestive system. Thanks.

  • Eileen

    It’s no so easy to find the grains you are recommending. Also there are families who can’t afford to go out and buy all these expensive breads and grains. Can you recommend a gluten free and stomach friendly bread or grain that will not break the bank for a family of 5?

  • Lysette

    I went vegetarian about 8 months ago. The vegetarian “meats” that I enjoy very much are the wheat gluten ones. I don’t like the soy ones.
    I do not have any upsets with my stomach at all. In fact, the meals keep me feeling very fulfilled until my next meal.

    So gluten is not bad for everyone right? I mean, it’s better than meat. ;O

  • Rachel

    Hello Kimberly,

    I have cut gluten down to only 5% of my diet, soon to be 0% of my diet, and I think something you said in a previous post is true…being aware of your body is key.

    I do have a question however. I so rarely consume products that contain gluten and I have been drinking the ggs for quite some time now (lucky me I got a Vitamix for my birthday) and my question was whether or not you feel as though some of the headaches/strange bms are due to my body steadily ridding the body of the toxins/detoxing?

    I appreciate your thoughtful entry.

  • D. Jones

    Hi Kimberly,
    I just love your blogs. Thanks so much for pointing us all in the right direction for good health. I was fascinated by what you said about gluten “gunking up” our insides, just like glue! Can you please refer me to some literature or research on this subject? I remember reading that proteins are broken down by enzymes in our intestines, but apparently things have changed and I would like to read more about the digestion of gluten. Thanks!

  • SS


    I devoured your book “The Beauty Detox Solution” in a day!! I have been implementing your tips and am in the Radiant Beauty Diet category for about 2 weeks. I have two questions:

    QUESTION 1: One thing I am unclear about is the Magnesium Oxide capsules. Can I take these every day? I usually take 2. I have been suffering from constipation ever since I got diagnosed with asthma a few years ago.

    QUESTION 2: Will following this diet also alleviate (hopefully remove) my asthma symptoms. I have been on the Radiant Beauty Diet for about 2 weeks and have been feeling more mucous in my chest then usual – is this from detoxing? (I have been taking Mucinex so that I don’t need to use my inhaler)

    Thank you for sharing this amazing information!

  • Maddy

    Hi Kim!
    Im with Julia, can you please give us your insights on laser hair removal?
    Thanks x

  • Krissy

    Hi Kim,

    Can you please give a (couple) recommendations on which probiotics on the market are best and have what they say in them. There is a lot in the news about probiotics and buyer beware. I’m trying to do my homework before I start taking as I want to make sure I’m getting what I pay for. I’m also trying to find ones that are affordable. I’ve read a couple articles and ReNew Life Ultimate Flora Vaginal Support, 50 Billion, Vegetable Capsules has been on the top of a couple lists, have you heard anything about these?


  • Monica

    Thank you for the wonderful article. I have a quick question… when you list the various whole grains such as quinoa that are more alkaline and hence better for you… does it matter how much or little they have been processed (e.g. oat groats vs. rolled oats; whole grain quinoa vs. quinoa flakes)?

    Thank you in advance!

  • Dayana

    Someone please recommend me how to eat unhulled millet! The hulls are nearly unchewable, even when boiled. As for the hulled version, I believe it wrong to leave out part of the fiber, plus I read they use chemicals to do the hulling.

  • Ann

    Hi Kimberly,
    I have been religiously committed to following your beauty detox solution for a couple of weeks (radiant beauty), had my 1st colonic, and I’m experiencing softer skin and of course a lot of weight loss. Have always loved green smoothies & your program is helping me stay on track to achive my beauty detox lifestyle for the long term.

    I wanted to ask you why you recommend nama shoyu & liquid aminos vs tamari in the book when both have wheat as ingredients?

    Also wondering whether you think a B-12 spray would be beneficial for absorption in order to help avoid this deficiency as I transition away from animal sources of the vitamin.

    Thanks so much for any info.

    PS I would love to see more recipes using young coconuts…one of my favorite foods.

  • Kaye

    Hi Kimberly, I purchased your book, follow the lemon water and GGS ritual. I am completely gluten free and have been for years, some of the people here are on the right track, well close anyway. So congratulations everyone going gluten free makes you feel better, and after a while you do not notice the difference. Its a lifestyle change for the better

  • Stevenage

    Мy namе’s Lula from Brot-Dessous, Switzerland and I have to say your article is really informative. The readability of your writing is quite nice and I can assume you are an authority on this subject. With your permission, would you permit me to grab your RSS feed to keep up-to-date with future content? Thanks a ton and please continue the awesome work.

  • Elisa

    Hey kimberly, i am doing the beauty detox solution for a couple of weeks and allready feel much better. I had acne but now my spots are completly gone!!! Thanks so much!! I tried really everything! I have One question: i Loved eating amaranth crunchy with milk but now it does Not workout anymore, so what would you recommend to eat with them? I think Rice milk is no posibility cause it’s Protein? Thanks so much !!

  • http://Speltorsproutedbreads Robert Smoak

    Hey Kimberly,

    Thanks for all the great information. I love your website and have read and use all your books. I have a question about sprouted breads, specifically spelt. Is this a healthy alternative to eat? i.e. (for sandwiches)

    Warmest regards,

    Robert Smoak