Let’s do the obvious disclaimer first… I am not an expert/nutritionist/sane person. This is all just in my experience and take that for what it’s worth.
I’ve gotten a lot of comments/emails lately about going gluten (or dairy) free and if I had any tips. I really wish there was a simple answer, but I’m going to do my best to break it down here.
It’s no real big surprise to anyone that I used to be a huge fan of the frankenfoods as I like to call them.
My thoughts on incorporating these foods into my prep diets back then are a topic for a whole other blog post, but I’ll say that going from total junk to healthy junk was just another step in making this a lifestyle for me.
So with that being said, how do you jump from normal “healthy fare” into a gluten and dairy free lifestyle. Well… Baby steps.
I’ll start with dairy because… that’s the easy part.
I grew up drinking milk. We drank a glass of milk with every single meal, had milk in cereal and obviously icecream. Giving up my greek yogurt was tough. That was a meal I ate every.single.day. and loved. It was fast, it was easy…. sure it was a bit of a pricy habit, but whatever. It was easy.
Back when I committed to being a Blueprint athlete I made the choice to go cold turkey on dairy. Since day one I have not had my favorite greek yogurt…. I’ve thought about buying it for a treat offseason, but it’s something that’s just easier to do without. Icecream on the other hand…. Yes, I did have a few trips to the icecream store this offseason and in moderation I am a-ok with that.
As for coffee? Well, I went from cream/half&half/sf creamer to unsweetened almond milk as the first step. Eventually I used less and less and cut it out all together. It was a weaning off process I guess you could say.
Now… for gluten.
At first I committed to gluten free as a prep thing. I looked at it as a couple of months without and then bam, offseason would be back and I’d be once again all over the bread basket. How bad could it be?
I really didn’t eat much to begin with, Ezekiel bread, whole wheat english muffins and tortillas were my biggest offenders. Although, when you actually start reading labels you’d be surprised about what does contain gluten (that you would never suspect. Hello root beer)
There are gluten free breads, tortillas, cereals. Aside from a few things here and there, I really haven’t ventured into that section of the grocery store other than switching from regular quaker rice cakes over to the plain/boring organic and gluten free rice cakes…. to each their own. I think that using these would be a good stepping stone to cutting out that stuff all together.
Instead of going to the gluten free isle at the grocery store I just switched up the carb sources in my life. I added in more fruit, started eating sweet potatoes again and tried quinoa for the first time.
Basically the biggest thing that helped me was eating um…. real food?
My energy levels go down, my skin kind of freaks out and please don’t get me started on my stomach issues. While I can have a bit here and there in small doses, and yes, I still do on occasion, the feelings I get afterwards are not pleasant. Yes, it stinks to sit at the table and stare down the bread basket, but knowing a few hours later I’ll be lying in bed in pain from it isn’t worth it to me.
I don’t feel deprived or like I’m missing out. I enjoy the food sources I choose to eat and there are so many ways to make over quinoa and sweet potatoes that I don’t get bored. (okay… I do love eating the same foods over and over again so that probably helps).
My best suggestion is researching recipes and trying to cook more. Sure it’s more effort and less convenient, but it really is more tasty. While i’m not paleo there are a TON of good sites out there with tasty recipes and the number of gluten free baking/cooking blogs out there is crazy. The resources are there, it’s really just a matter of doing the homework and making the switch.
Does anyone else have any tips or tricks on cutting the gluten out of your life? I’d love to hear from you!