I received a preview copy of Against the Grain:  Delicious Recipes for a Whole Food and Grain-Free Diet from Kate at Modern Alternative Mama as part of an offer to do a review and giveaway of the e-book to my readers.  This is exciting, because I’ve never done a giveaway before — so please bear with me on that portion of the post!

This is a very nicely formatted e-book, with lovely pictures and a lot of recipes to work through.  If you’re new to grain-free cooking, I think it would be an excellent resource – it’s very hard to wrap one’s mind around how to accommodate not having grains in recipes that you’re used to making with grains.  Kate has done a very nice job of presenting some simple, palate-pleasing dishes that could easily become staples in a newly-grain-free repertoire.

There were several new cooking tricks that I learned from this book – which surprised me because although I’m always on the lookout for new tricks in the kitchen, I don’t often find them.  I won’t give them away here, but the Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken recipe is very clever, and I was very skeptical that her Chocolate Brownies recipe would work when I read it … so I tried it out (on J, with a tiny little bite for myself, since chocolate still makes me feel funky) and even though it’s incredibly simple, it actually works to make a very chewy moist brownie without any grain flour – I was a bit flabbergasted!  (J called them the “mysteriously disappearing brownies”.  :)   )

I also really appreciated the opening recipe of the book, the Spicy Lime-Marinated Beef Strips.  I’m still trying to get a handle on marinades;  they don’t ever seem to work out well for me – which is a good sign that I probably need to start with some tried-and-true recipes like this one to get me going.

Unfortunately, because my body is oh-so-ever funky, for me a lot of the recipes needed substitutions because most of them have onions, garlic, or shallots in them – and believe me, if I could use these ingredients in my cooking, I would, because they add so much flavor to a dish!  (A recent attempt at reintroducing them, however, did NOT go well … I will not share…)  This is of course no fault of Kate’s!  But if you do have allium issues, you may have a harder time working with the recipes in this book.

On the other hand, a really nice thing about this book was that it isn’t cruciferous veggie-heavy (i.e. cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, etc.), bean-heavy, or potato-heavy.  Although potatoes are usually not that prevalent in grain-free cuisine because they’re not “legal” on GAPS and tend to be limited in Paleo circles, I find that a lot of grain-free recipes can come to rely very heavily on crucifers, and many GAPS recipes use a fair amount of beans.  Both of these can be problematic for some people.

In other words, I found that this book does a really good job of balancing food sensitivity issues – not everything is crucifer- or bean- or potato-free, but there are plenty of recipes that are, so if you have issues with one or more of these foods, most of the recipes are still useful.  And although there are quite a few recipes that include nightshades, which are also a common sensitivity, in many cases they are in the form of spices which could easily be omitted, or replaced with cumin.

There are a lot of good GAPS-friendly, or GAPS-adaptable recipes in this book.  (A number of recipes do call for coconut milk as a substitution for cream;  if this is used, one should be cautious on GAPS to use a brand of coconut milk — or fresh homemade — that does not use xantham or guar gum, which are grain derivatives.)  It definitely could serve as a very useful supplement to the recipes included in the GAPS book itself.  Against the Grain has a lot of recipes which give some new and flavorful ideas for what to do with all that broth you’re supposed to be consuming!  And you can always add in extra ghee and sauerkraut (or other probiotic ferment) on the side to make them more GAPS-errific:)

My one major caveat with the recipes in this book, especially for someone doing GAPS, is that a number of them call for cooking with olive oil.  According to the GAPS book (p. 273), cooking with olive oil should always be avoided, as it can be damaged under heat;  it is always best served raw.  Coconut oil, or another healthy fat, should be substituted for cooking.

The GAPS-friendly (with a few substitutions) dishes in Against the Grain include all of the main dishes, most of the soups, most of the sides, and most of the desserts.  In fact, most of the recipes in the book could definitely be used, or modified, to supplement the Intro stages – always using homemade bone broth, never canned!—when stock is called for, and adding as much extra healthy fat and probiotics as you can handle when serving.  (No, it is not a problem if there’s a thick sheen of fat on your bowl of soup!  It’s a good thing!  Although it can insulate the soup significantly, so be careful not to burn your tongue!)

I’ve compiled a full list of which recipes from Against the Grain are suitable for the individual stages of Intro.  If you win (or buy — watch out for a coupon code when I reveal the winner next week!) the e-book, feel free to email me (yolkskefirandgristle [at] gmail ^dot^ com) and I’ll send you the full list, which includes any necessary modifications for recipes in the Intro phases.


There are several options for how to enter this giveaway, one entry per option per person (Please make sure to leave a separate comment on this post for each entry!  Without a comment, the entry won’t count!  Also FYI:  If you’ve never commented here before, I will have to approve your comment before it shows up — so don’t fret if it doesn’t show up right away!  I will try to be extra diligent this week about approving comments as quickly as I can.)


1)  Visit the Table of Contents of Against the Grain, and comment below with which recipe you’d like to try and why.

2) Subscribe to updates from Yolks, Kefir, & Gristle (on the sidebar at left, under “Subscribe Via Email), and leave a comment below that you did.  (If you’re already subscribed, simply leave a comment below that you are.)

3)  Blog about Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle, or any of my posts, and link back.  Comment below with the link to your post.  (Your blog post must date after 11/8/11.)

4)  Follow me on Twitter and tweet about any of my posts.  Comment below with your twitter handle to tell me that you followed and tweeted.  (Your tweet must date after 11/8/11.)

5)  Like my page on Facebook.  Comment below that you “liked” my page.  (If you already like my page, simply leave a comment below that you do.)

6)  Tag Yolks, Kefir, & Gristle in a post to your friends/followers on Facebook.  Comment below that you tagged.  (Your tag must date after 11/8/11.)

7)  Email 5 friends about Yolks, Kefir, & Gristle (or any particular post on Yolks, Kefir, & Gristle), cc’ing me at yolkskefirandgristle {at} gmail ^dot^ com, and comment below that you emailed.  (Your email must date after 11/8/11.)

8)  Stumble any post from Yolks, Kefir, & Gristle, and leave a comment below that you did.  (Stumble must date after 11/8/11.)

9)  Pin any post from Yolks, Kefir, & Gristle on Pinterest, and leave a comment below with a link to your pin.  (Pin must be placed after 11/8/11.)


This contest will end on 11/15/11 at 11:59 EST.  The winner will be chosen via random.org.  The winner will be announced on 11/16/11 on this blog.  Winner will have 48 hours to contact me at yolkskefirandgristle {at} gmail ^dot^ com with his or her name and email address, if those have not been entered via the comment box.  No purchase necessary to win.


Good luck, and thanks to Kate at Modern Alternative Mama for the e-book!


This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Healthy2Day Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Turning the Table Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Real Food 101, Traditional Tuesdays, and Fat Tuesday.

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18 Responses to My First Giveaway: Against the Grain E-Book

  1. BeccaOH says:

    Chocolate chip bread sounds appealing. Thanks

  2. Monica says:

    Apple Upside Down Muffins. Since I’m on the GAPS Intro, all I can think about are baked goods.

  3. Ed Fuhrmann says:

    Have “Liked” your page on Facebook for quite a while now… keep ‘em coming!

  4. Lili says:

    What a fantastic cook book!
    Tough call! I have hard time deciding between Salisbury Steak and White Bean Vanilla Cake! Thanks for offering!

  5. Mary says:

    That chocolate chipe bread sure sounds good! I’d love a copy of the book.

  6. Karen says:

    There was a nice variety of dishes which I liked! The blackened fish seemed interesting.

  7. Karen says:

    Liked you on Facebook and already subscribed

  8. linda says:

    I’d love to make the Italian Chili (and am interested in seeing what makes it Italian). Am already a subscriber to your newsletter and have been enjoying your posts!

  9. Diane says:

    I’d love to try the custard recipe! We’re gearing up to start GAPS but I’m still hopeful (delusional?) that I can adapt recipes like that for GAPS.

  10. Diane says:

    I just liked you on FB, too. Thought I’d already done that but I hadn’t so glad I checked!

  11. Diane says:

    Oh, and I already subscribe to your blog, via feedburner in my RSS reader, rather than email. (Just in case that counts. LOL)

  12. I just started following you on Twitter; I am new there, too! I also retweeted your giveaway. I am thinking that the blackened fish sounds pretty good, too!

  13. Jodi says:

    The Beef Tips with Portobello Mushrooms sounds delish! Love love LOVE portobellos and am always looking for new ways to serve them. We are switching to a GF diet for my son who was recently diagnosed as ADHD, so a cookbook for guidance would be wonderful! Thanks!

  14. Cynthia says:

    Just found your blog and liked your Facebook page. Now back to spending some time going thru the archives!

  15. ReneeAnn says:

    I “like” your FB page and use that to keep me updated on new posts.

  16. I would LOVE any of the dessert recipes! Just 1 month ago I began eating only whole foods, and recipes for sweets seem to be extremely hard to find :’(
    The Chocolate Brownies sound amazing!

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