My Mother has Celiac’s Disease the inability to digest gluten-based foods without leading to various health problems. Even though Celiac’s is often inherited, luckily I don’t have it myself. However, with the awareness of the disease, which forces those who do have it to give up eating gluten altogether, came my sensitivity to its guidelines.
And my concern that I might have Celiac’s led to the possibility of going gluten-free myself, which eventually turned into going gluten-free at home. This has essentially become my standard practice, and one that initially caused me to lose a significant amount of weight, without even trying the reason I didn’t keep losing weight is because once my new diet regimen was fully established, my weight leveled off.
One of the great things about going gluten-free meaning that you eat no foods containing gluten, or as close to no gluten as possible – is that it becomes a part of your lifestyle, as opposed to a “diet,” which seems to require more thinking and planning (and obsessing). If I eat bread, or bagels, or pie or cake (the latter of which I rarely eat to begin with), it all happens outside of my own home, whether at friends, relatives, or restaurants.
As long as you’re not leading the kind of lifestyle where you’re eating out as much or more than you’re eating in, you’ll be in good shape. If you are eating out of the house a lot, then you need a revised plan, something closer to, in addition to eating gluten-free at home, I will also practice eating only gluten-free either at friends’ houses, or restaurants choose the one you eat at more frequently, and make it a gluten-free zone.
So what’s the method behind this madness? Even if you’re perfectly healthy, and your body is completely accepting of all varieties of bread, pancakes, pastries, and so on, these kinds of foods aren’t really doing you any favours on a strictly dietary level; in other words, except for the most whole of whole-grain breads and the like, there are no nutritional benefits to your typical gluten-heavy foods.
One main exception is seitan (pronounced SAY-tan), which is a gluten-based vegetarian meat substitute; seitan is loaded with healthy protein, so it’s definitely a key exception. However, most of us are compelled by numerous nutrition-less products that we could, potentially, keep around our home: cookies, crackers, bread for sandwiches, even cereal, many if not most of which contain gluten; and this is where things get the trickiest especially if you’re also trying to practice a no flour, no sugar diet – for going gluten-free at home.
Does that mean no more sandwiches at home, then? It certainly shouldn’t. There are various gluten-free breads available on the market, mainly rice bread, but there are others if you look carefully. And there are many more gluten-free bread options if you happen to have a bread-maker and are willing to seek out various flours – rice flour, tapioca flour, amaranth, potato starch, etc. – to make homemade gluten-free bread. Another good store-bought choice is corn tortillas, or better yet rice tortillas, both of which make good open-face style sandwiches, as long as you’re OK with doing some toasting.
If you’re a cereal eater, yes, there are challenges, but with practice and initial careful selection that gradually becomes a habit, you’ll find plenty of gluten-free cereal options: Rice Chex or Corn Chex (and its generic equivalents), corn flakes, Cheerios (not technically gluten-free, because it uses an oat flour that has gluten, but still a healthy alternative to wheat-based cereals, in my opinion), many granolas, and of course oatmeal and cream of rice hot cereals are still golden, gluten-free alternatives.
Granted: to some, this going gluten-free at home strategy may sound like a big commitment. However, here’s the thing: once you start doing it, you realize it’s a very doable challenge, and you’ll actually take some satisfaction in doing your research while shopping in order to detect which foods are OK, and which ones have gluten and should be taken off your list.
At the risk of using a cliché such as ‘no pain, no gain,’ indeed maybe that’s what going gluten-free at home is you have to do some work to reap the rewards. However, if you can adhere to this structure, to these limitations presuming you’re not abusing them, by doing something like eating sandwich after sandwich with gluten-free breads at home- no more than one per day please.
I can guarantee you that you’ll lose some weight, possibly quite a lot of weight, depending on your starting size. And once you make this routine a regular part of your life. You’ll find no good reason to go back to the less-healthier lifestyle choices you used to practice.