A Big Change: Gluten-Free Living

Technically, this is part 3 of my current weight loss story, but I felt the need for a new title.  First of all, I want to say, I am sharing MY story.  I am not recommending anything to anyone, nor I am claiming to be a gluten-free resource.  You can Google it, there is way too much information out there, and I am not qualified to decipher who is credible and who isn’t.

I also see a lot of people who are angry that gluten-free eating has become a diet fad, because for many it is a an allergy and they don’t have a choice.  I want to stress to anyone who is considering going gluten-free, that it takes a long time to rid your body of gluten and once you have it again, you start all over.  So you can’t just do the gluten-free thing off and on, it’s a long-term commitment and life style change.  And, it’s not a diet because it might not work for everyone.  I am certain I have an intolerance.  I didn’t just put on weight because of candy bars and laziness.  I have been struggling to find something that worked for my body for YEARS and YEARS.

“Why write about it then?” you might wonder.  Well, good question!  If you read part 1 or part 2, you understand that I have been struggling with my weight and thyroid for 11 years.  You also know that I was at an all time energy low, and I needed to find out what was going on for me.  I also THOUGHT I was eating a good diet. I tried to eat whole foods, whole grains, and avoid processed junk, but I still gained weight, despite my heavy working out.  I WAS AT THE END OF MY ROPE.  I had tried everything I knew how to do.  Maybe, someone out there is collecting information about weight loss.  Maybe someone is desperate and doing what I was doing and not seeing results.  Maybe, just maybe, my story will be another’s “Aha Moment!”  Or maybe I am WRITING THIS FOR ME.  So on days when I want Old Chicago’s deep dish pizza or Italian Nachos, I will go back and read what I went through and that will be enough to find a better alternative.

Instead of giving you my theories as to why I think gluten is bad for MY body, I want to tell you how I made gluten-free living work for me, my family, and our budget.  Once again, this is my story, but take from it what you want.  I am not giving advice or telling you to do anything.  I am just sharing.

First of all, people have asked me over and over, “How do you afford the expensive food?”  Well, I will be the first to admit I hate to spend money on the junk of life.  I hate to buy groceries, gas, and household items.  They annoy me, but they are necessary.  Instead, I do my best with sales.  I make sure our family dinners have lots of meat and veggies in them.  I use salsa, GF soy sauce, cilantro, and ginger to add different flavors.  I also use BBQ sauce that is free of gluten and high fructose corn syrup.  The only GF specialty food I buy is my Udi’s bread and pizza crust.  I only eat one or two pieces of bread a day, and nothing more.  I have also learned what stores have the cheapest products.  For example, Trader Joe’s has very inexpensive brown rice pasta and gluten-free chicken broth.  Whole Foods has the best prices on almonds and cashews, which I lightly bake in my oven with traces of olive oil and sea salt.  Whenever I am near one of those stores, I try to stop by and pick up a small amount of their cheapest items, I rarely make a special trip to Omaha for just those items.  The rest of our groceries, I shop according to the sales, and we eat accordingly.  We have shopped like this for years and years.  I also am not a baker, so I am not supplementing my love of muffins or cakes with gluten-free options.  I am choosing not to eat them because they are not good for me.  However, if I had a huge craving for either I could easily go to our grocery stores freezer section and by frozen muffins, cookies, waffles, or really anything I could want.  I haven’t yet, but knowing the option is there, makes me NOT eating it MY choice.

“What do you eat?” is another popular question.  Well, I make stir fries with veggies and meat.  What I put in them varies.  I did learn from my Biggest Loser Cookbook about combining a cup of gf chicken broth, fresh cilantro, ginger, fresh garlic, and 1 tablespoon of gf soy sauce in a small food processor and them simmering my stir fry in it.  That adds a ton of good flavor to my stir fries.  (If I want a different flavor, I add different amounts of ginger, garlic, and cilantro.  Changing the amounts of those things makes a new flavor.)  I also make sure to eat MANY servings of protein and veggies each day.  I also try to eat my fruits in the morning, or at least before 3.  This time of year, an apple and peanut butter make my favorite snack.  I eat eggs for breakfast.  I also eat rice pasta, brown rice, and bread very sparingly.  When I do eat them, I eat just a little bit and try to have the gf bread as close to my workout as possible.  I will be the first to admit I am ready for a new cookbook with new ideas.

Some people have told me, “You are so lucky to have so much time for healthy cooking.”  Well, I don’t have as much as time as you think.  I am subbing, working out, and doing my grad school work, my husband works MANY hours, and I still have the mothering, wife, and family thing going on.  Plus, don’t forget about my photography addiction, and now blogging addiction.  However, I use my time wisely.  I let my crock pot cook for me A LOT. Okay, I admit, it cooks for me EVERY night.  I often cook all of my like meat at once, then I can quickly add it to my meal.  I cut all of my veggies as needed and cut up the whole bunch.  I wash all of my grapes at once, etc.  You all know these tricks, they have been around for ages, and I didn’t invent them.  I do little things each day to make our nights when we are running here, there, and everywhere easier.  McDonald’s is not an option, so I make sure we have things that are options for the whole family, and easy to make or reheat.

I could never give up pizza.” Yeah, me either, so I don’t.  I heard that Godfather’s has a take and bake GF pizza, but I haven’t tried it.  Instead, I quickly throw together my own pizza, as soon as I order for the family.  I eat two slices and put the rest in the fridge for another time.  The best thing about that is that I ALWAYS get my way on what kind of pizza I make and I don’t have to think about anyone else. I am really loving that option, honestly.

I really try to just eat the food that God put on the planet for our bodies.  If He made it, then I can have a taste.  If people made it, then I should avoid it.  

OK, I am sure that my eating habits are not that interesting, but I am writing all of this for two reasons.  One, when others ask what I am doing to lose weight, I have a few links to refer to, so I am not constantly rewriting the same tips and story over and over.  Two, these are LIFE changes, and I know for the long haul there will be tough times.  I HAVE to come back to these to remember why I gave it up in the first place.  I don’t ever want to go back to where I was earlier this year, EVER again.

I have a list of goals and some new things I want to try to keep moving in the healthy direction, but man, I am done writing about this stuff for now.  I will save it for another day.  If you have any questions about what or why I do, please ask!  I am not offended by people wanting to know.  I am not claiming to know anything other than what has worked for me.

Also, remember, I made all of these changes slowly and not all at once.  I am constantly growing, changing, and learning.  So, if you want to change your life, make a list of things you know you don’t like.  Pick one, and start today or tomorrow  but do it sooner than later. There is never the right time, and always an excuse.  We get this one life, shouldn’t we do everything we can to make it happy?

Thank you for reading!  I will return to my regular posts this weekend!

One thought on “A Big Change: Gluten-Free Living

  1. Sounds like you have developed a sound habit. I love love love trader joes! Seriously, if we move to fl it has to be to Clearwater bc they have both Costco and Trader Joes! Let me know when u make that next batch of almonds!

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