A Guest Post from Kat of SCDKat.com
When I look back at what I used to eat, it seems like everything was based around gluten. Cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, cookies for snacks, and pasta for dinner was a normal day for me. When I went gluten-free, I didn’t know what I should be eating. I started buying rice pasta, rice cakes, gluten-free flat breads. None of it tasted good and none of it was satisfying. On top of that, while being gluten-free helped with some of my digestive symptoms, I was still suffering from fatigue, bloating and other complaints.
I realized that a lot of the gluten-free foods I was buying were kinda junk. They were devoid of any nutrients and flavor, serving only to satisfy the intense carb cravings I had. I decided to take a more whole-foods approach to eating gluten-free. I felt a bit of relief over not having to master the art of gluten-free baking flours, which I had avoided trying because it seemed so complicated. Instead of finding replacements for wheat in my meals, I started changing my perception of what made a meal. I realized I didn’t have to have a starch or grain every time I ate. I now rarely eat starchy foods with my breakfast, opting instead for a higher fat and protein meal with a little bit of fruit. Some of my favorite dinners are just meat and vegetables with nice rich sauce.
What I noticed right away was how much better I felt. No longer was I filling up on food with few nutrients. I was eating plenty of whole food with lots of vitamins, minerals, healthy protein and fats. I ended up going completely grain- and sugar-free and never looked back. The bloating, digestive upset and fatigue finally started to go away. I had been gluten-free for 6 months but was not recovering well. Going on a more whole-foods, grain-free diet got rid of many of my symptoms right away. It was also a lot less stressful. I didn’t need to spend time in the kitchen figuring out complex recipes and ratios of gums and flours. Simply cutting up some meat and vegetables was the basis of all my food preparation.
It’s easy enough to incorporate some naturally gluten-free sources of starch into meals. Sweet potato, squash, beets, carrots, turnips, and parsnips are all good choices. Thing is, it’s pretty easy to fall into having rice or potatoes with every single dinner. When I stopped eating grain, it started to feel like I was having potatoes with every meal. Then I just decided to do without a starch for a few meals and really enjoyed it. The easiest way to do this is to have a variety of foods to choose from. I went to the farmer’s market and health food store that had a good selection of produce. I picked out a variety of vegetables and fruit, so that I would not feel like I was eating the same thing every day. Instead of eating just chicken, beef and pork, I found other sources of meat and seafood available locally. To save money, I did bulk orders for meat, chose cheaper cuts and organ meats, and bought some vegetables or fruit frozen when they weren’t in season. One lesson I learned from eating a lot of Chinese cuisine, is any vegetable can be stir-fried. So whenever I came across a new vegetable I hadn’t tried before, I would simply stir-fry it with some butter and garlic. I don’t think I found a single one that didn’t taste good like that.
I kept my meals very simple and focused on learning a few quick and easy recipes I could rely on for busy work days. While a grain-free pizza or zucchini-noodle lasagna can sound good, chances are the first time you attempt one you will be overwhelmed with how long the process takes. I found the slow-cooker became my best friend. Tough but nourishing cuts of meat were easy to cook in it. You don’t need prepared sauces or broth if you use cuts of meat that are on the bone. As it cooks, it will flavor itself, often only needing salt & pepper to taste good. A whole squash can be cooked in a slow-cooker so you don’t have to fuss with peeling, chopping or hovering around a hot stove waiting for it to finish. Simple meals and snacks from a few basic ingredients can be delicious and nourishing. Each picture here in this post is of a meal or snack that is quick to make with just a few ingredients. No prepared sauces, broths, flours, or complicated ingredient lists. They’re delicious enough that I enjoy them on a frequent basis.
My transition to a gluten-free diet was difficult at times. But, I managed not to get too stressed out about making perfect meals early on. Not being afraid to experiment allowed me to come up with some pretty easy recipes. Also, finding a few blogs to follow for recipe ideas helps tremendously. Often it only take a bit of inspiration to try something different, and you might end up enjoying it for a long time.
I have been following the SCD diet since January 2008 for self-diagnosed Celiac disease. As part of the diet I don’t eat grains or sugar and I prepare all my food from scratch. I believe that food plays a huge role in achieving health and want to share my experiences in restoring my own health through change in diet. The recipes I post follow the SCD and GAPS diet protocols, but can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to eat Real Food.
Visit Kat at www.SCDKat.com
You can also check out all of the posts from the week we focused on wheat and gluten:
The Silent Cause to Poor Health – a fabulous, everyone should listen to podcast
The Transition to Gluten Free – a guest post by Kat from SCDKat.com
Gluten Free Easily – a guest post from Shirley of GFE
Gluten Free Beauty – a guest post by Kristen of Gluten Free Beauty
Gluten, Grains, and Children with Developmental Issues – guest post by Cara or Health, Home, Happiness