I am (relatively) gluten-free. That means no wheat (and all its varieties), Rye or Barley. 

The decision came after many years of reading about the damaging effects of gluten on our bodies. I decided to experiment with it. The biggest change I noticed was decreased belly bloat. Who doesn’t need that? So on and off throughout the last couple of years, I’ve kept at it.

This last year has marked my adventure with going GRAIN-free all together! So no grains. More on that in a future post.

When working with clients one-on-one, we experiment going gluten-free. Their results are significant. Weight-loss, decreased joint discomfort, better digestion and more.

Going Gluten-Free Can Be Hard (at first)

When I first started my gluten-free journey, I found it pretty challenging. I didn’t realize how much I depended on products with gluten on it; even the healthy ones! (No Ezekiel bread?!?!)

The gluten-free diet can be frustrating at first when you think of all the things you can’t eat. Most of the things off the food list may taste good, but are not particularly healthy for you anyway: breads, cakes and pies, candies, cereals, cookies, processed meat and seafood, most pastas (although a number of gluten free kinds of pasta are now available), processed sauces, oats (some brands are gluten- free), vegetables in sauce, and some vitamins.

But focusing on all the new and varied foods you CAN eat can help divert your attention and increase success. In fact, many of the foods you can eat, you probably already are. 

Many healthy and appetizing foods are gluten-free by nature, including seeds, nuts, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, eggs, and beans. Be sure to select varieties of these foods that are unprocessed and contain no additives.

There are also a number of grains and starches that are gluten free, allowing you to still be able to bake some of your favorite treats. These include teff, tapioca, sorghum, rice, quinoa, millet, corn, buckwheat, arrowroot, and amaranth. Let’s not forget our gluten AND grain free favorites… coconut flour and almond flour.

1. Quinoa

A member of the grass family, quinoa has cooking properties similar to grains. It is called a psudo-grain. Looks like a grain, acts like a grain, but is not a grain. Quinoa is commonly used in salads, chocolates, and protein bars.

2. Millet

A great source of protein and rich in minerals. It cooks quickly and has a light and fluffy texture.

3. Amaranth

A seed similar to quinoa and millet.  It is also a good source of proteins and can help reduce cholesterol levels.

4. Brown Rice

Loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and protein to balance the carbs. The scientific studies on its ability to reduce the risk of disease are pretty impressive.

5. Buckwheat.

Why they call this one buckWHEAT is beyond me. It is not wheat at all. It is not a grain either. It’s actually a seed that is high in protein and fiber. It supports a healthy heart and is a disease-risk reducer also. This is one of my favorites. I especially enjoy Soba noodles, an alternative to pasta.

Next time you are at the grocery store, go look for these great grains (and seeds)! My local grocery store groups them together under a “Natural/Organic” section in the grain aisle. It also has a whole endcap filled with Bob’s Red Mill, a popular brand among the gluten-free tribe. Ask for help if you need to. If you can’t find it at your local store, then Whole Foods, a natural food store, Amazon or Thrive Market (online) are my go-to sources.

A gluten-free diet requires a change in lifestyle, but it is a powerful, positive change that can have enormous impacts on your overall long-term health.  The more committed you are about avoiding gluten, the easier it will become, and the more you will enjoy the food you eat.  Eventually, you will not even miss those processed foods that used to drag you down.  Take some small steps today, and enjoy the benefits for a lifetime!

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