I do not believe that gluten itself is a problem. There is NOT whole grain in abundance in 12 steps.
But 12 steps isn't a gluten free program which is a fad and the culprit of auto immune issues is likely hybridized and processed grain. We go into detail about this in Step 9. Gluten itself is not likely the issue. It's throwing away bran and germ and hybriding grain that causes some people issues.
And more evidence is emerging that what we have THOUGHT was reactivity to glutens in grain, is actually reactivity to glyphosate (Roundup) sprayed on the grain, plus the fact that many Americans eat processed grain three times a day, for years--white bread, bagels, cookies, cake.
Less than 5 percent of our recipes in 12 Steps to Whole Foods even have grain. And anyone wanting to follow that diet trend should read Step 9 for our thoughts on this. Wheat isn't genetically modified. It's usually hybridized though, and generally hundreds of times, for many generations of the plant.
You can always substitute Kamut or Spelt or Einkorn all ancient, non-hybridized grains if you have decided no hybridized grain should be in your own room personal diet. And keep in mind that Quinoa, millet and wild rice aren't even really grains. They are seedfruits. Or skip grains altogether if you wish. However, the lowest disease cultures of the world eat lots of grain. And vegetables.
I still use organic, sprouted whole wheat flour occasionally.....however, you can use other flours (try sprouted ones!).....just know that every whole food is different, every flour is different, and coconut flour and almond flour react in a recipe very differently than those with rising / fluffier properties like grains. You might want to put an acid and a basic in the recipe if you use those (a bit of non-aluminum baking powder, and baking soda).....remember it's going to be an experiment and we can't guarantee results with substitutions.
If you're Celiac, you'll want to studiously avoid all gluten grains. However, most who have "gluten sensitivity" will do fine with those grains. They're high in protein, high in fiber, and high in micronutrients. That said, for those who don't want to eat grains, you can certainly avoid those in this program. They aren't hard to avoid.
I personally do not like to eat animal flesh--I don't feel good, nor do I like it--so grains and legumes are staples in my diet. If you eliminate grains AND legumes, you'll have a tough time getting enough to eat WITHOUT meat / animal products, is all.
You may be interested in reading Robyn's blog post called "Wheat Is Good For You! (But Not How You’re Eating It)" and "Why Ketosis Diets Will Fail: The Paleo and Keto Manifesto"