In the hopes of shedding light on some of the grain-free vernacular in the health and dietary blogosphere, we have created this grain-free glossary. We will be adding to it as we come across wonderful resources and hope you find it helpful.

One very important thing to remember with all of these diets:  nutrient density is the name of the game. Each of these diets will stress the importance of high-quality grass fed meats, wild-caught seafood, organic and non-GMO veggies and fruit (when possible), and daily servings of bone broths, fermented foods and beverages (such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and water kefir), and offal (organ meats).

Let’s begin by explaining which foods are actually defined as a “grain”.

amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, farro/emmer, kamut,  millet, oats, popcorn, rice (all varieties), rye, sorghum, spelt, teff, triticale, wheat and any foods derived from these grains such as bread, crackers, oatmeal, pasta, etc.


  • Foods Allowed:  Lean protein, seafood, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, and seeds
  • Foods to Avoid:  grains, gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, processed foods, and legumes (re: legumes, see “Beyond Paleo…“)

“What is the Paleo Diet?” by Robb Wolf
“Beyond Paleo: Moving from the Paleo Diet to a Paleo Template” by Chris Kresser, L.Ac.
“What is the Paleo Diet?” by Sarah Ballantyne

The AIP is a diet is a modification of the Paleo Diet and further restricts foods that are known to be sources of inflammation and “triggers” for many people, especially those with autoimmune disease.

  • Foods Allowed:  For a comprehensive list, see AIP Grocery List by Eileen Laird of Phoenix Helix.
  • Foods to Avoid (in addition to what to avoid on the Paleo Diet):  eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes and any spices derived therefrom), NSAIDS, chocolate, coffee

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Series (Eileen Laird, Phoenix Helix)
Recommended AIP Resources (Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D., The Paleo Mom)
Our Favorite Resources (a wealth of information by Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt of AutoimmunePaleo)
The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases (Amy Myers, M.D.)

The SCD diet began with Sidney V. Haas, M.D., who treated patients in the 1950s afflicted with Celiac and other inflammatory bowel disorders with a non-conventional approach via nutrition.  After getting no help from the medical community (and even being blamed for her daughter Judy’s severe ulcerative colitis), Elaine Gottschall tracked down Dr. Haas who immediately and successfully treated her daughter. In fact, within two years, Judy was symptom-free. By this time, Dr. Haas had passed away and Mrs. Gottschall feared his textbook and years of clinical research would be lost forever. At the age of 47, she went back to school and earned degrees in biology, nutritional biochemistry, and cellular biology. She then self-published a book entitled Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet, which has been a help and guide to people “suffering from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, celiac, diverticulitis, autism, and cystic fibrosis, and other ailments rooted in the digestive tract.” (About the Author, Breaking the Vicious Cycle website)

  • Foods Allowed/Not Allowed:  For a comprehensive list of what to eat, and what not to eat, please see About SCD from SCD Lifestyle and the Legal/Illegal List from Breaking the Vicious Cycle website.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet (Elaine Gottschall, B.A., M.Sc.)
Breaking the Vicious Cycle, Website
“SCD Diet: Can a Specific Carbohydrate Diet Help You?” (Dr. Josh Axe)
SCD LifeStyle

Similar to, and inspired by, the SCD diet, the GAPS diet was developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and outlined in detail in her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  Primarily used in the treatment of IBD, autism, ADHD, depression, leaky gut, anxiety and autoimmune disease, the GAPS diet has been a help to many in their quest for healing.

  • Foods Allowed:  bone broth, steamed non-starchy vegetables, organic wild meats, wild-caught seafood, egg yolks, fruit, avocados, coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, sprouted nut butter, probiotic-rich foods,
  • Foods to Avoid:  processed foods, all grains, processed sugar, starchy carbs and potatoes, artificial chemicals and preservatives, conventional meat and dairy

Welcome to the GAPS Diet  (GAPS Diet Website)
GAPS Diet Plan and Protocol (Dr. Josh Axe)

The Wahls’ Protocol is a diet developed by Terry Wahls, M.D. who defeated progressive multiple sclerosis after intense research on how to feed the body’s mitochondria by consuming enough micronutrients from food. In one year, she went from being bedridden to not only walking without a cane, but completing an 18 mile bicycle tour!

  • Foods Allowed:  The Wahls Diet is very similar to the Paleo Diet. However, the cornerstone of her protocol is feeding the mitochondria (power source of your cells) by eating 9 cups of vegetables/fruit daily.

Wahls Protocol Series (Phoenix Helix)
The Wahls Protocol (Terry Wahls, M.D.)
Minding Your Mitochondria (TED Talk by Terry Wahls, M.D.)

Grain Brain (David Perlmutter, M.D.)
The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan (David Perlmutter, M.D. and Kristin Loberg)
Wheat Belly (William Davis)