I’ve been gluten free now for over 6 months which I can hardly believe! I keep thinking I should post some updates for you all on how the transition was for me, and how it has effected me, but realizing I passed the 6 month mark (weeks ago!) finally has me sitting down to share.
There have been some articles recently about gluten-free diets being the ‘latest fad’ in diets from celebs and their followers. While it’s true it’s a growing trend, I think there is good reason for it. Celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder) is thought to present in as many as 1 in 133 people, many of whom go undiagnosed according to Celiac.org. Anyone who has been through the process of being diagnosed with Celiac has typically had a long road, and possibly even false negative results as many tests aren’t accurate.
Gluten intolerance is what I believe I have. That is even more common! It’s believed that 6% of people are thought to be gluten intolerant according to new research.
Weight Loss and the Gluten-Free Diet
Partly this could be due to the major increase in fresh foods I ate in place of gluten filled foods. Instead of a sandwich for lunch, I would eat salad or soups. Instead of having a roll with dinner I would pile on more veggies. Instead of a handful or crackers I ate nuts or fruit.
For people who are underweight they may not be digesting enough nutrients, so it may actually help them attain a more healthy weight.
Gluten Free Food costs
While it’s true there are great products that act as replacements for typical foods, such as Udi’s bread or CherryBrook Kitchens cake and cookie mixes, mostly eating a gluten free diet means just doing without. With the cost of whole foods being pretty expensive, buying a $5 loaf of bread or a $4 cookie mix just isn’t an affordable or ‘centsible’ option.
While our overall food costs have risen slightly, eating gluten-free also forces me to cook more at home so overall we are saving money. With the main staples of my diet (and also the family diet in turn) being more focused on fresh veggies, fruit, and more whole foods it’s made us all healthier as a result.
We do still enjoy the occasional splurge on snacks, Starbucks and eating out but it’s much more difficult to just go out to eat, so I have to think it through more.
The main issue is reading labels or planning ahead when eating out. Gluten comes in many forms, and if you aren’t accustomed to reading labels you may not know that wheat and gluten are in a ton of processed foods. Think everything from soups, sauces, and snack foods to personal care products.
Gluten free Foods
While the main part of my diet consists of whole foods I do have a few favorite gluten free products I can recommend.
Trader Joe’s carries a great array of gluten-free foods including a few of my favorites. They have a DIVINE gluten-free brownie mix and pancake/waffle mix that are both reasonably priced. They also carry frozen waffles that are gluten and dairy free and great for Sunday brunch substitute for waffles.
Most corn chips are gluten-free as is popcorn and Trader Joe’s makes a delicious kettle corn that is a nice treat, and I adore their round tortilla chips-perfect for nacho night. (full list of gluten free foods at Trader Joe’s here)
Wegman’s is the store I most frequently shop at, and they have a dedicated gluten-free section. The only problem is the store I go to keep BREAD in one freezer which is gluten-free on the other side.
They carry a wide variety of brands like Udi’s which make delicious (though pricey!) muffins and breads. My kids love the cinnamon rolls-my 9 year old said they are better than regular cinnamon rolls! I also adore macaroons and love these from Jennie’s Macaroons. The chocolate ones are to die for. Other favorite finds include rice crackers, EnviroKids cereals and bars (perfect for on the go snacking), and a variety of mixes.
Most of these items belong in the “splurge” category for us, they aren’t an everyday purchase by any means.
Gluten Free Restaurants
As someone who has seen organics embraced by even chain restaurants, I’m glad to see so many restaurants and chains embracing gluten free menus. It’s not enough to tell me you’ll check with the chef-since not everyone knows what gluten means. I scout out restaurants in advance if I’m heading out (a rare treat).
My favorite menus are from Seasons 52, Iron Hill Brewery, Issac’c carries a gluten free flatbread, and some Starbucks carry gluten free cookies. (though none near me 🙁 ) Usually a simple google will do the trick, and if it doesn’t I call ahead and ask. I’ve been fortunate that at one restaurant that had no gluten-free menu I scored a waitress whose best friend had Celiac, so she knew exactly what to do and handled everything carefully which was lovely to see.
In most cases you can always opt for bringing along your own food, or if you’re simple gluten intolerant you can likely choose menu items that are safe like grilled chicken (ask if there is a glaze), broiled or steamed fish, sushi, steak and 99% of the time-salad. Sauces, soups, and dressings usually contain wheat-so either opt out, or ask for a list of ingredients to be sure.
Gluten free Lifestyle
Now that I’m on my 6 month mark I can honestly say I’ve seen a huge improvement in not only my weight, but my mental and physical well-being. I am more alert, more focused, and less sleepy without gluten in my diet all a win-win. So when those cravings do come along, I go have a glass of water or a piece of fruit and ignore it. It usually goes away pretty quickly.
Do you have any questions about gluten free diets for me? Ask in the comments and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts.