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Healthy Food Substitutions Part 1: Wheat and Dairy


Today kicks off a new series of blog articles about diet. Diet is one of the most important influencers of health, and I spend a lot of time in my practice teaching patients how to improve their health through the foods that they eat. But changing what you eat every day can be extremely difficult; it requires you to break habits, overcome emotional ties to food, and try new things. None of those things are easy, and it is common for people to feel overwhelmed during the process. But with these articles, I’m going to attempt to make the transition to eating healthy easier to handle: first by explaining why you should (or should not) avoid a certain food, and then by providing you with healthier alternatives that won’t leave you feeling denied or deprived. So today we start with two of the largest food groups in the Standard American Diet: wheat and dairy.



Wheat Products:


Why you should avoid them:


Type O: eating wheat creates inflammation and inhibits the metabolism. It also leads to mucous formation, which can exacerbate diseases like asthma and allergies. In general, the O metabolism functions best on a diet that is lower in grains of all kinds, even the gluten-free ones. So while switching to gluten-free grains is a good start, I also recommend implementing some grain-free alternatives  (for example, wrapping your hamburger in a lettuce wrap instead of a gluten-free bun).


Type A: wheat also causes inflammation  and can slow the metabolism for people with the A blood type. The difference here is the severity of the reaction. Many A’s can eat wheat products in moderation without difficulty. The problem is that the average American eats at least one serving of wheat at every single meal. Therefore, I advise rotating in a variety of different gluten free grains to lower the total percentage of wheat in the diet.


Other special conditions: people with Celiac Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or a diagnosed gluten allergy or sensitivity should avoid wheat regardless of blood type.



Wheat Substitutes:



Breads: My favorite brand is Udi’s Bread. It is affordable, has a light texture, and is easy to find at most grocery stores. The omega flax and fiber and millet-chia loaves are my favorite as they provide extra nutritional value and still taste great. Other good brands are: Canyon Bakehouse, Three Bakers, and Glutino. If you struggle with getting used to the texture of gluten free breads, try toasting them as that improves their mouth-feel and often makes them less crumbly.


Tortillas: corn tortillas are an affordable and delicious substitute for people with the A blood type. If you are a type O or are really craving a white flour tortilla, Mission now makes incredible gluten free flour tortillas! You can find them at most grocery stores with the regular tortillas.


Pasta: my favorite gluten-free pasta is Tinkyada rice pasta. For type O’s, I recommend purchasing a vegetable spiralizer and making “noodles” out of zucchini.


Flour: gluten free baking can be tricky at first. I recommend starting with a mix that says it can be substituted cup-for-cup for wheat flour. The brand I like best f is sold by Gluten Free Creations Bakery in Phoenix. Other good mixes are Pamela’s Bakery, Glutino, and Betty Crocker. I do not recommend Bob’s Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills.


Grains: Type O- try quinoa, rice, amaranth, buckwheat, oats, tapioca, and teff. Type A- try amaranth, buckwheat, oats, cornmeal, rice, quinoa, and millet.





Why you should avoid it:


Type O: besides a few particular cheeses, almost all dairy products are poorly digested by Type O’s. Their gastrointestinal tract is simply not designed to break down and use dairy efficiently. High dairy intake also leads to inflammation and intestinal irritation.


Type A: while this group can tolerate more dairy products than Type O’s, straight cow’s milk is also an avoid for Type A’s. The A blood type creates antibodies to the primary sugar in whole milk: D-galactosamine. Milk also causes excess mucous formation in this group, which can worsen allergies and asthma.



Better Substitutes:




Type O: try almond milk or rice milk. Soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, and goat milk are not as well tolerated.


Type A:  soy milk is a highly beneficial food that lowers the risk of many diseases. Other milks that are digested well are almond milk, rice milk, and goat milk. Coconut milk and cashew milk cause inflammation in this blood group.





Type O: try cheeses made from almond milk and rice milk. Most Type O’s can also tolerate moderate amounts of goat cheese, feta cheese, and mozzarella.


Type A: this group does well with goat cheese, feta cheese, ricotta,  and mozzarella. Soy, almond, and rice milk-based cheeses are also good choices.





Type O: cow’s milk yogurt is poorly digested by this group. I recommend switching to almond milk yogurt or removing yogurt from the diet altogether.


Type A: cow’s milk yogurt is a very good source of calcium and protein for this group.


Ice Cream:


Type O: try ice creams made from almond milk or rice milk. I find that out of these two choices, almond milk has the best flavor and texture.


Type A: switch to frozen yogurt or try almond or rice milk ice cream.




Type O and A: butter creates an inflammatory response in both of these blood types. A great butter substitute is ghee. Ghee is simply butter that has been slowly melted until milk solids are separated out.  Ghee can be found at stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods, and it is also available at many Asian markets.



For a large percentage of the population, decreasing wheat and dairy consumption can dramatically improve health. But as with all dietary advice, one of the most important things to remember is MODERATION. Unless someone has a severe medical condition, a documented food allergy, or Celiac Disease, a bowl of ice cream or a couple slices of pizza once a week is not going to create major damage. Nutrition is a major aspect of health, but mental health and the ability to participate in social events are also incredibly important. I encourage all my patients who follow the Blood Type or GenoType diet to eat foods that are ‘beneficial’ and ‘neutral’ most of the time, and then eat the ‘avoids’ occasionally.  One technique is to stick to the diet when at home, and “cheat” when you go to social gatherings or out to restaurants.




  • Posted by Dr Katie Nuckolls
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