Photo: Gluten-free pizza available in a restaurant in town. Basil and sausage, so amazingly good.
About one month ago our family made the decision to go gluten-free after reading Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. You can read more about it on this post.
As I said earlier, a month ago I would have said I was crazy. And perhaps I am crazy, because I have always gently made fun of "fad" diets and now I am on one. But we love our new eating style. Not only have we cut out glutens, but we are trying to really limit many "empty" carbs such as corn, rice and sugar. We don't buy many gluten-free premade foods since they are mostly junk food, and I cook more now. We eat mostly whole foods such as healthy uncured/organic meats, plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, cheese/milk, etc.
I read a great book on coconut oil The Coconut Oil Miracle, so we have added more coconut oil in our diet along with unsweetened coconut and coconut milk. I love coconut oil, we buy Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and I use it in all of my baking and even with savory foods such as eggs and meats. I even use it as a body/face lotion and my skin feels amazing. We also use butter and olive oil in our cooking, but no more vegetable oils.
Shopping is pretty easy; I order my almond flour and coconut oil on Amazon, and everything else I find in my local grocery stores because they are basic whole simple foods that are heathy and easy to prepare.
Breakfast usually consists of a mix of eggs, flaxseed cereal (ground flaxseed, unsweetened coconut, nuts with a tiny bit of maple syrup), almond flour muffins, almond flour pancakes, and fruit (not all at once of course). We also have uncured bacon or sausage every few days.
Lunch is usually our big meal with some type of meat (salmon patties, meat rolls, oven-fried chicken, steak, tuna, lamb roast, chops, etc.) with 2 cooked veggies and maybe some carbs like oven-fried potatoes.
Dinner I usually make a "snack plate" with some fruits and raw veggies, hummus, few slices of hard cheese, olives, maybe some uncured lunch meat, etc. Basically anything I find in the fridge that I don't have to cook.
Snacks are raw veggies/fruit and nuts and seeds.
I sometimes buy Rudi's gluten-free bread (frozen section of the grocery store) and make the boys an open-faced sandwich. We still eat some peanut butter. And we love mixing coconut milk with our regular milk.
I am really not spending much more on food since we don't buy any prepared stuff (other than the occasional bread/snack) and we only go out once or twice a week. We found a restaurant in town that serves 10-inch gluten-free pizzas that are amazing and there are plenty of Mexican restaurants with gluten-free options. We also can have some sushi (with our own soy sauce). But I usually just cook because I have found that I actually love cooking and we eat healthier at home.
We still have some cookies, brownies, cakes, etc., but I make them with almond flour and don't go crazy on the sugar. I don't want my boys to feel deprived and I can't live without some chocolate. The few times we have purchased gluten-free snacks such as pretzels, the boys said they were better than "normal" ones.
We even have spaghetti! My sister Heather showed me how to roast a spaghetti squash in the oven and then scoop out the "noodles". We add spaghetti sauce with venison or hamburger and some spinach and the boys don't notice that they aren't eating real pasta. I didn't believe it until I tried it, but it does taste like al dante spaghetti noodles.
I never realized how many people are gluten-free until I started mentioning we were to our friends and some of our family. There is a huge almost underground movement to eliminate wheat in diets. Our family personally feels great and our wheat bellies are reducing, aches and pains are gone (my carpal tunnel is almost non-existant), and we have more energy. The boys even seem more calm and eat more vegetables without complaining. They even tell me they taste good!
My husband thought he was lactose-intolerant and has been avoiding dairy or taking those lactaid pills for years, but since going gluten-free he can drink milk and eat cheese with no issues. We don't know if it was the wheat in the pizza and not the cheese that was causing problems, or perhaps he can digest things better since he doesn't have those glutens coating his intestinal tract, but it has been a wonderful difference. Strange, right?
My mother was having chronic aches throughout her body starting a year ago and she was told it was arthritis and she needed to go on powerful anti-inflamatories. She has been wheat-free for almost a month and within days of starting this diet her chronic aches were almost gone. She occasionally overdoes it and gets a sore muscle, but within a few days she feels great once again. She has no more acid reflux and sleeps better. She said going wheat-free was a miracle cure for her.
My sister Heather is going wheat-free and my other sister is thinking about it. My father is German and thinks we are crazy and eats my mother's gluten-free cooking but still comes home with bags of bread, muffins, and cookies and has the stomach to show for them (not to mention the reflux and achy joints). We hope he will join us on the "dark" side pretty soon.
We haven't mentioned it to my husband's family yet, they will think we are insane and torturing our children. ;-) But they will find out this holiday season when we avoid their baked sweets, stuffing, and rolls. I dread the lecture that will be coming our way...
So far we don't miss gluten-filled pasta, bread and pastries. I thought I would, but I just don't crave them anymore. I was a carb-craving queen before going gluten-free, and these days I don't have many cravings, I just feel hungry at meal times. Well, except for chocolate. I still crave it but luckily it is gluten-free.
I did raid the boys' Halloween candy and finished off their Reece's Peanut Butter cups the last few days. Not exactly healthy for me and when they find out they are going to be furious. I threw away most of their candy already, but unfortunately the stuff I let them keep was calling my name the last few evenings. I was a bit down and eating chocolate makes me happy when I am stuffing my face, not so happy when I come out of my chocolate-induced haze.
I am going to get blood work done in a few months and I will let you know how that turns out. My blood pressure is slightly lower already (it was normal to begin with), but I have always had elevated cholesterol levels and low thyroid, and it will be interesting to see if those numbers change at all.
Sorry this is such a long post. I know some of you are considering a gluten-free lifestyle, so I wanted to keep you updated on our experiences. I will make a note that I don't know if I would be as motivated to eat this way if I worked outside of the home. It would be so much more difficult. We have to go get ready and hit a local festival with my visiting sister and her kids. Have a great weekend everyone!!!
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