Why we became a Gluten Dairy Grain Sugar Free family
I have never ever considered taking the “regular stuff” out of my family’s food consumption. Wheat and dairy are evils? Say who? Apparently, gluten free dairy free diet is supposed to heal the gut. How? Please, somebody, explain to me, I must have been living in a cave. I was brought up on those things. The hot milk with honey would be the very first thing to start a ” natural ” healing process. They were definitely not ever considered an unhealthy potentially harmful foods. So how and when have we become intolerant to those?
If we were so educated, what made us go “cold turkey”? I am a mother, not a doctor. Everything I have been doing for Nick has always been based on his general well-being state. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a typical boy with a typical appetite. OK, maybe slightly higher than a typical. The alarm would go off on days when his gut wasn’t performing well. Trying to figure out the cause behind that was making me feel uninformed and defenseless. Until the day we visited a naturopath.
The new chapter
Nature’s way of healing. Something I have always dreaded. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Or simple. Or a free choice. No free choices here, sorry. The health guru said we had to follow. If there is a concern about a child’s wellbeing, I, as an experienced mother, would advise taking a child straight to a health practitioner who is devoted to natural remedies treatments. Why? How many times have you repeated yourself to your offsprings not to touch sugary unhealthy foods and they actually listened? In 99% the answer is NEVER. There is a reason for the behavior. Example, sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine. Surprised? But that explains, doesn’t it? The addictive behavior?
So, I made an appointment. She ordered, Nick had to obey. It was not a voice of a mum. It was the authority speaking. Simple. Works. The naturopath performed a live blood test. Then there came the truth. On the computer screen. There were all signs of a stressed gut on that screen. Stressed gut means the one that lacks the good bacteria, therefore is underperformed and unprotected. Again, it made sense. The gut health leads straight to the brain. What the gut eats, the brain gets too. But! It doesn’t end there. The next step is to work out what causes the gut to respond in an unhappy way. AKA What upsets it. The triggers. Do you know you crave what you are normally sensitive to?
For the sake of eliminating the triggers, we must start with the most obvious ones. Gluten and dairy. My favorite foods. My heart warmers. My cravings. Along with those, it just made sense to ditch the grains and sugar ( which we have already had except the honey, I made it last to go ).
What do we eat on a gluten FREE dairy FREE grain FREE sugar FREE diet?
What do I mean by the DIET? Now, here is the definition of Diet by Wikipedia:
1. the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
2. a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
This is what we have been told for years. We believed that a diet is a dirty word, an average person wouldn’t need to have one. Right? WRONG! Every single human being needs TO BE ON A DIET. A HEALTHY one. The good start is to work out what the body is missing and then fill in the gaps.
The definition of the HEALTHY DIET by Wikipedia:
A healthy diet is one that helps to maintain or improve overall health. A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrition: fluid, adequate essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and adequate calories.
Can you see the difference now?
The next chapter
We survived. We made it. Moreover, we have adjusted well. No one threw a tantrum yet. The massive benefit: we introduced MORE veggies. My farmer can’t believe all food I buy from him disappears before a week finished. Yes, a LOT of veggies. Try, triple the amount to the prior life. It’s certainly not cheap. Although considering we are not wasting money on unhealthy snacks, our budget hasn’t really changed. It balanced.
Fresh veggies, fruit, protein shakes, healthy pancakes, cauliflower quinoa rice, eggs, coconut wraps, peanut and almond butter, nuts, mashed potatoes, hummus, coconut yogurt. The list doesn’t end. I am discovering different ideas every day. It’s fun if you want to make it that. It takes guts. Literally haha. Lots of adjustments. The definite mind shift.
Alex’s suggestion for good food substitutes:
- Almond, coconut milk
- Nuttelex butter, avocado, cashew spread
- Coconut wraps, lettuce cups
- Mashed sweet potatoes +pumpkin
- Cauliflower rice and quinoa
- Carob chocolate, dark 80% cocoa chocolate
There is no good substitute for cheese and bread, unfortunately. Vegan cheese contains a lot of unnecessary fillings. I use Nutritional yeasts for a cheesy flavor. Sadly, there is nothing none – dairy that is pure enough to use for melts. Although, the naturopath mentioned that cheese and butter are the safest products on the no dairy diet. They contain the least amount of milk protein. I chose to go strictly none dairy for a month, then introduce the safest products slowly.
Gluten-free breads are made with corn/ rice flour and potato starch to hold the mass together. I do not consider those items healthy so avoid them all together. We have tried a few different GF breads, Paleo too. None ticked the box for me. So I decided to get back to the good old sourdough, my absolute favorite. Be aware, though, not every sourdough is made the same way. The ones at shops or even bakeries are not 100% traditional recipe. I buy mine from a local organic shop or a farmers market. Meeting the bakers or farmers yet has been the best way to source the real foods. Sourdough is believed to be 99% gluten-free due to its fermenting process, that is why sourcing is extremely important.
Here are examples of our daily meals:
Protein shake: Banana ( + mango, watermelon, spinach, pineapple – the choice is yours ), frozen berries ( I choose blueberries for their antioxidant properties ), coconut water, coconut yogurt, Pea Protein powder, GF oats. That’s it. It has everything we need to start the day.
In our household, this must be the most filling meal of the day. Great way to finish the morning exercise routine. The body is set up for the day. After this meals, we normally start cutting out calories for the day.
- Fried eggs (with a dash of coconut oil ) with spinach, Herbamare, and nutritional yeasts sprinkles on a piece of sourdough / GF bread.
- 100% buckwheat spirals / spaghetti with natural tuna / anchovies . Add nutritional yeasts, roasted pumpkin kernels, sesame seeds, GF Tamari or Organic tomato sauce, leftover steamed/baked veggies, leftover meat. Salad on the side.
- Pancakes: GF oatmeal, eggs, banana, homemade applesauce. ( these are Nick’s favorite! ).
- Healthy muffins: blueberries or banana bread made with almond meal.
- Pizza on a GF base with Nutritional flakes.
Eat fruit in between but cut out their consumption around lunch.
Slightly lighter meal.
- I normally use leftovers. Control the portion. Should be light but filling enough to last until dinner. With nuts, rice crackers snacks in between.
- Soups. My favorite hearty recap: whole skinless chicken drumsticks, celery, potato, carrot, spinach, lentils. I use a pressure cooker on 25 mins setting. Lentils make it very creamy. Yum!
- Paleo sausages/chicken meatballs with salad / steamed frozen veggies.
- Warm salad with colorful veggies / lean meats.
The most anticipated time of the day. The family gets together after a busy day to share news, laughs and good eats. That is when our bodies slow down requiring a fulfilling yet light meal.
Dinner should always include fiber and protein aka fresh vegetables or salad and quality meat. No carbohydrates at this time of the day. No dessert after. On my plate, you will always find fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi.
Do we eat takeaways? Sure, do. It’s not the end of times, it is only a strict diet. No pizzas, pastas or burgers, sadly.
Our favorite take away picks
- Asian cooking is generally safe. Only sauces need a thorough checking. I always go for Laksa or Pho soup. Boys love curries or satays with loads of vegetables. Rice or Singapore noodles are fine too. Egg meals, yum!
- Spuds are my cravings. Baked potato with bolognese meat sauce and fresh salad. Hawaiian is a good choice for kids. Absolutely no sauces ( unless sugar-free ) or sour cream.
- Barbecue chook ( plain, not stuffed ) with baked vegetables is a great value for the whole family. Very safe and filling. No gravy, unless home prepared. I raid local Chicken carvery shops to see who’s got the best service. They also offer an abundance of salads and other dishes.
Are there benefits in such a cruel body treatment? The gut-brain connection works in the way that whatever you eat, your brain eats too. Gluten and dairy have been known as foods triggering sensitive reactions potentially leading to the gut and brain inflammation. If our body must defend itself from whatever is causing it a grief, then it inevitably leads to deeper issues longer we leave it.
The benefits gluten dairy grain sugar free diet promotes:
- Natural weight loss. Gluten rich foods are typically high in carbohydrates. Think bread, pizza, baked goodies, pastas, pies, sauces etc.
- Increase in plant-based meals. Since we cut out on foods that fill us up for longer, we must substitute twice as much with vegetables. That, as a result, boosts vitamins, minerals, and fiber intake.
- Symptoms relief or total cure. If the symptoms were more than just sensitivity or irritability, they will start gradually fade away. There is absolutely no miracle, consider it a rather logical scientific sequence.
- Energy escalation. Don’t we all fill sluggish after a good portion of pasta dish? Our body needs a lot of energy to process the carbs, whatever is not quite done, it gets stored for later(smarty pants, hey). Therefore, cutting out on those foods leaves us more energy to use for better functioning.
- Whatever positive comes out of the above four points.
So far it’s been an interesting journey. Informative, eye-opening, challenging. The facts speak for themselves. Our bodies communicate with us the way, we don’t always understand. It takes someone else to point problems out before we start implementing changes. Sometimes, we don’t wish to look deeper, as humans are resistant to breaking habits. Staying mentally strong, gradually applying a mindset shift is the key to identifying whether the present food choices do your family good or bad. It worked for us.