Most of you guys know that I’ve been gluten free for about a year and a half now. It all started when I read Wheat Belly and began to wonder if some of the symptoms that had been nagging me for years – the ones that didn’t go away when I went vegetarian then vegan, nor when I lost 25 pounds through a healthy diet – were caused by wheat.
I was skeptical and even after I felt better eating gluten free, it was quite some time before I really accepted that gluten is a no-no for me. I’m going to talk more about my story of going gluten free next week, but today I wanted to talk some of the ways I stay healthy and make a gluten free diet work for me.
There is no doubt about it, eating gluten free is more work than eating a traditional diet. It can be overwhelming at first and planning is critical. In the beginning, I was determined that I was going to make everything from scratch. Breads, tortillas, even chips. And for a while I did.
Then reality set in. I got pregnant and felt terrible. Initially, I went back to eating gluten because I just didn’t have the energy to be in the kitchen all day every day. (And gained nearly all of the weight that I gained during my pregnancy during these four months. Maybe it was a coincidence, but more than likely it was a combination of me loving bread and my body having a hard time dealing with it.) It dawned on me early third trimester that I’d actually felt the worst during the time I should have been feeling the best in my pregnancy. I’d overlooked the stomach distress and mental fogginess as just being part of pregnancy.
I got back on track, only this time I did things differently. I’ve got a few go-to meals for when I don’t feel like thinking about food. A few examples are tacos, this pasta, this casserole, Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Quesadillas and these wraps. I do meal planning every week, but I always keep the items I need for my easy go to meals because I know there are going to be days when I’m just not up for what I’ve got planned. (Like right now, when Skye is teething.)
I also realized that it just isn’t realistic for where I am in my life right now for me to make bread and wraps every single day. I still do when I can, but I also keep a stash of Udi’s sandwich bread, baguettes, wraps and pizza doughs for when I don’t have the time. (Yes, they are sponsoring this post, but the reason I agreed to be a brand ambassador for them in the first place is that when they asked I presently had 5 Udi’s products in my house.)
Why I Don't Count Calories
I get questions from readers all the time about what I think is the best program to count calories. I never really know how to answer because to be honest, this is something I almost never do. I should, and I know this, but it is very difficult for me. I’m testing recipes all the time! A bite here, add some seasoning, take another bite. It all adds up and I would drive myself crazy trying to calculate it all.
So, I make sure I eat as much real food as I can and make sure my diet is 100% gluten free. Because if I eat gluten, I’m not going to work out and I probably am going to be less active all the way around.
I think if you can count calories, you should but if it makes you crazy then you have to try something different.
Now first let me say – I am still working on losing my baby weight and it is coming of very, very slowly. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with my age – I’ll be 42 in about 10 days. YIKES. I’ve also been dealing with a knee injury for the last six months that hasn’t allowed me to be as active as I would like.
I’m not where I want to be but I have lost a TON of weight since Skye was born – close to 40 pounds. I was able to complete the first month of Chalean Extreme and then tweaked my knee i and had to take a couple of weeks off. I LOVE THIS PROGRAM – without question is is the favorite program I've ever done..
. I will be back at it on Monday, if my knee is willing.
The next thing I’ve done, which I encourage everyone to do, is count your steps. I use the FitBit, but really any pedometer will do. (I do have to say that the FitBit rocks. It even survived the washing machine!) When I first got it, I found out that I was only taking about 3,000 steps a day. Not good. I started focusing on increasing this and now I try to get 10,000 steps a day. Even if I’m not watching what I eat, I’ve found that there is a direct correlation between how many steps I take and how much weight I lose. Plus it’s a fun game I play with myself. Can I top the day before? Can I outdo myself week over week? I feel like this is something I will be doing 30 years from now.
The hardest thing about being gluten free for me is eating out. We travel a lot and honestly most of the time I just pack a cooler. We’ve made it from Arizona to Florida in the car without ever eating out. Not an easy task with kids.
Feeling like I can’t enjoy eating out is really frustrating. Every time we go to a new city I do a lot of research to find restaurants that have gluten free offerings. One thing I recently learned (on Twitter) is that many restaurants will actually let you bring in gluten free bread. Of course, bread is half the battle. I used to order salads with no croutons or meat, thinking that that was the best way to stay away from gluten. Not so! Yesterday I was at The Hard Rock Cafe and would you believe that they don’t have a single dressing that doesn’t have gluten in it? (What on earth is gluten doing in Balsamic Vinegar Dressing??)
You have to become your own advocate and not be afraid to ask your waiter questions. If they don’t seem to be knowledgeable, ask if there is someone else who might be a little more familiar with gluten free.
As much as I've fought it because I didn't want to be one of THOSE people with a food allergy, I know that for me to be healthy I have to be gluten free. Yes, it's work. But it is work that is worth it.
Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.