No Grain, No Gluten — No Problem

WRITTEN BY: Katie Coleman

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When I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. As a happy and otherwise healthy kid, I sat crying on my mom’s lap while waiting for the results. They came back positive, and the doctor told me I would need to learn how to test my blood sugar, count carbohydrates, and worst of all, give myself daily insulin injections — a hefty responsibility for a sixth grader.

What I didn’t know at that point was the profound effect this diagnosis would have on my future; that it would turn me into a responsible, health-conscious adult and offer a basis for a unique career as a small business owner with a truly personal connection to my products.

At the time, the recommendation from my healthcare team was to switch to artificial sweeteners and whole grains. I had always loved to bake, so I continued baking with whole grains more and more, while becoming increasingly skeptical of foods that claimed to be “low-carb,” but had a long list of chemicals in the ingredients. By the time I was a young adult, I had become a full-fledged whole grain spokesperson, and even started a blog about baking with whole grains, which eventually turned into my first food business.

Although whole grains contain large amounts of fiber which supposedly slow down the absorption of starches in my body, they still substantially increase my blood sugar levels, requiring me to take more insulin. At the height of my whole grain days, my blood sugar levels were not where they should have been, I was tired all the time, and I struggled with my weight.

I came to realize that the recipes I was most excited about (those that had the least impact on my blood sugar levels) were those that contained no grains at all. That, combined with the research I had been reading about gluten and wheat, inspired me to remove grains from my diet altogether.

That’s what led me to paleo. It didn’t happen overnight, but the transition was fairly easy since I just felt so much better. Nowadays, my diet consists mainly of following:

  • vegetables
  • eggs
  • grass-fed meats
  • small amounts of fruit
  • avocado
  • nuts
  • coconut
  • dark chocolate

The paleo diet just makes sense for me. I love that it uses human history as it’s guide. It helps me feel connected to our planet and my ancestors, and makes me respect my body for the well-oiled machine that it is. When you feed your body fuel that it recognizes, things happen the way they’re supposed to.

Things I noticed …

  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • Clearer skin
  • Better control of blood sugar levels

My diabetes has caused me to become overly aware of everything I eat and the affect each food has on my body. This gives me a unique perspective as I create recipes for my business, Keep It Real Food Company. Our products are designed to minimize impact on blood sugar levels, which is important for everybody, not just people with diabetes. Our products are all grain-free, high in protein and healthy fats, and free of gluten, dairy and soy.

More and more, we are all realizing how important a diet of whole, quality foods is to living a healthy and sustainable life. This inspires me to take action and create great-tasting snacks made of real ingredients to make you happy inside and out.



Katie Coleman

Born and raised in Mountain View, CA, Katie Coleman is the owner of Keep It Real Food Company and co-host of the podcast Diabetes Unscripted. When not working on her business, she moonlights as a pianist and music director for several theater companies around the SF Bay Area.