Welcome to: All the Love, Without the Wheat
Hello there! My name is Gretchen, and this blog is my outlet for recipes and thoughts about my family’s grain free lifestyle. I am fortunate to have a teenage son and husband who are game for just about anything, and without (much) hesitation, decided to go “all-in” with me and do this together! I hope to share some of my journey and experiences here along with some tips that I will learn along the way. Like many things, lifestyles (and blogs) evolve, and as our understandings change so will the things that I share with you here.
Having always been an avid home foodie, this is a challenge that I am embracing not as a limitation, but as a way to get closer to the root of good foods and excellent health! I am sharing some of the recipes that I use, or perhaps a combination of ingredients is more accurate, since I truly am not disciplined enough to always write a measured recipe when I cook (I’m getting better at that though!) I hope that my blog will be a good source of inspiration for others who are struggling to make this transition, while I also get support and ideas through sharing with others. Here’s to being free of wheat!!!
Our Grain Free, Low Carb Evolution
In the beginning, I started out with just a thought of trying gluten free eating, as I knew some acquaintances who were feeling much better after eliminating gluten from their diet. At this point I didn’t even know what gluten was, not to mention that it came from wheat. This was the beginning of my research!
While being gluten-free helped immediately, that phase lasted only about a week, when fate would have it that I also ran across the book, “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. After reading the entire book in a day because I was so enthralled by the information, I had a whole new understanding about wheat, and all the ways that it harms our bodies… gluten is just the tip of the iceberg! I contacted Dr. Davis on his Wheat Belly Blog right after reading the book, and have maintained contact ever since through the blog and his author page on Facebook. He is incredibly passionate about the cause, and supportive of those of us following the WB plan.
Well, for the first month or so, wheat was the only grain we had given up; we were still snacking on tortilla chips once in awhile or having quinoa or rice occasionally. We began to notice though, that after eating pretty much any grain type food (and sometimes legumes), we weren’t feeling as good as we did when we weren’t eating them. We were already eating a low carb diet, so the cravings just weren’t there to drive us to want to have grains anymore, which made them much easier to give up than wheat had been initially.
My husband and I have both lost a nice amount of weight (25 lbs and 27 lbs so far at 4 months) while following this plan. Most of the loss was in the first 3 months, and for the past month we have been easily maintaining. While we hope to get off the plateau soon, the weight loss is more like a perk than the main motivation, because the health benefits for us have been life-changing!
Why Grain Free (Low Carb) and Not Just “Gluten Free?”
This is a question I have been asked many times, and it causes confusion for some people who think that getting rid of gluten is the sole answer.
I realized that by saying we were merely “gluten free” wasn’t enough because we had no desire to make use of all the processed, high carb, gluten free products on the market. And yet, we definitely are free from gluten (as well as wheat, corn, rice, potato, etc.)
While many look to these products to provide easy alternatives to the foods they used to eat, it is just trading one poor choice for another that is only slightly better, but far from ideal. These are just as unhealthy as their wheat counterparts and are often loaded with sugar as well as high-carbohydrate alternative starches and flours (rice, potato, sorghum and tapioca for example.) These foods cause BSS (blood sugar spikes) which trigger insulin release, which forms visceral fat and adds to inflammation, and can contribute to developing type II diabetes and heart disease risk factors. The health care/diet industry has vilified saturated fat since the 80’s, but the core problem is really the foods that spike blood sugars. Therefore, we are choosing not to eat processed foods such as “gluten free” crackers, flour mixes, cookies, pastas, breads or cereals because they are still made up of carbohydrates (and terrible additives) that are harmful to our health.
Instead, we eat REAL food, or snacks we make or know are healthy. Meats and poultry (organic and/or free range when possible), fish, eggs, cheeses, lots of above ground veggies, berries, nuts and nut products (almond and coconut flours), flaxseed, coconut, olives, avocadoes and plenty of healthy oils such as coconut oil (both virgin and refined), olive oil, walnut oil, heavy whipping cream, and butter. These are foods that we have always enjoyed, but we are learning to use them in new ways to make our lifestyle choice easier, and more FUN!
You will see that the recipes I am featuring here are mainly Wheat Belly compliant, though they often overlap with Primal or Paleo lifestyle recipes as well. These are not so different ways of eating, though Paleo allows more carbs using sweeteners like honey or agave. WB includes dairy where some do not. It’s all about tweaking your diet to find what benefits your own health the most. They are all similar though, in that they promote a diet that includes healthy fats, protein and carbs from veggies and fruits, while mainly avoiding processed foods.
If you find that you do best when avoiding dairy, just substitute unsweetened almond or coconut milk or coconut cream in recipes that call for milk or cream. Try almond cheese. Use coconut oil in place of butter.
If you are not limiting your carbs as much as I am, swap out the sweetener of my choice, for the sweetener you prefer. I am still working to lose weight, so I keep my carbs low to maintain ketosis. I generally use liquid Stevia (derived from an herb), Erythritol (a sugar alcohol derived from fruit), Truvia and Swerve, which are commercial blends of the two.
If you are vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian, many of these recipes can again use alternative products such as egg substitutes, flax seed or chia seed gel, coconut oil, or in cases where the recipe includes a meat, just skip it and add extra veggies or switch to fish.
Feel free to leave polite feedback in the comment sections! If a recipe was fantastic for you, I would love to know. If it didn’t work out so well for you, I would like to know that too, so that I can add notes to the recipe that might help others in the future. This is all a learning process! I do not claim to be an expert cook or nutritionist; I am just someone who is sharing my own journey with you in the hopes that it will make it better for us both!
If there’s a recipe you would like me to work on, let me know at email@example.com.
In addition to sharing recipes for the food we eat, I am also sharing some of my research by writing articles to support my choices. My hope is that these get you thinking about the reasons behind the lifestyle, in order to make it easier to stay the course. When we have valid information, it makes it easier to change our minds, and then change our habits.
Again, I am NOT an expert or doctor, merely a person who is interested in the substantial link between diet and health. Because I am not a doctor, I read studies by doctors and leading nutritional experts so that I can benefit from their knowledge. I also do not dismiss anecdotal evidence, as real-life changes are what we are after… most of us do not live in a laboratory setting!
If there is a topic that you think I should cover or would like to know more about, let me know… maybe it will result in a new article! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.