Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How Changing What You Eat Changes Your Perspective

A lovely reader posted this last comment on my Caffeine Free post:
Erika said...

Out of curiosity - if you eat gluten free and are cutting out the sugars and caffeine - what are you eating? What is left to eat? I ask because I'd like my husband to try something like this (gluten free and less sugar), but I have to be able to present him with some alternatives. If you had some suggestions I could research based on those. Thanks!
It's not easy to go full fledged into gluten free-dom. And obviously not caffeine free-dom. I'm not completely without sugar because they exist in the dairy products, so it's cheating...a little. But it's a drastic departure from my normal day-to-day.

The easiest substitutes for gluten are brown rice pasta. My favorite is Tinkyada. I think that it cooks up easier and better than the gluten-filled counterparts. I also think it reheats better for leftovers. There are mixes for cookies, cakes, and brownies that are main stream. (Not for the sugar-reducing plan, obvio.) The GF bread that's out there is good as toast. Since you have store the bread frozen (so it doesn't crumble to the touch), toasting is really the only way to thaw the bread for a sandwich. There are also GF pizza doughs and mixes. For thin crust, these are great. If they are pre-made, they are probably in the freezer section.

For breading, and for cereal, I use Rice Chex or Corn Chex. Put those puppies in a food processor and you've got yourself some "bread" crumbs.

More and more restaurants are aware of Celiac (In fact, today, September 13 is Celiac Awareness Day), and have created menus, food options, and work with you when you need to be GF. The best thing to do is scout restaurants beforehand to find out what they offer.

The best thing to do is plan your typical menu. From there, you can find substitutions and alternatives. Instead of bread, I serve brown rice. Instead of thickening with flour, I use corn starch. I read lots and lots of labels. You'll become familiar with brands that have gluten and will steer clear. It's not easy to start, but it will become second nature. Although, I'm probably the worst because I forget to tell the wait staff. Half the time, I have to flag them down and tell them that I can't have gluten and to 86 the bun on my burger.

There are a lot of consolations that I have made. I will never get to enjoy a PB&J on soft Wonder Bread. I won't get to sop up my sauce with a piece of hot and delicious Italian bread. But really, you can make a transition to being gluten free.

Being sugar-free is a little harder since it seems to be in everything. A quick elimination is in sauces and fruit. There's tons of sugar in fruit. As for caffeine, not even decaff is safe. There is an amount of caffeine in decaff. If you're looking for a gradual break from caffeine, I would suggest taking out all but your morning pep. Then when you've cut out your afternoon and evening jolts for a couple of days, step your coffee down to decaff and limit yourself to what you have. Stepping down your daily intake will help lessen the headaches and keep you from committing a felony on some idiot.

Based on my previous experience, when you start feeding your body what it needs and not what you want, rest, relaxation, contentment, and serenity fall in around you. My productivity and focus was amazing and my moods were level all the time. No matter the idiot. Once you've had that feeling, you try to get it back. It's not always easy with everyday life, but it's possible.

Good luck as you explore your grocery store, recipe box, and your own tastes! It's a wild ride when you find more than meat and potatoes.


  1. Shout out to me! Woot woot! ;) In all seriousness, thanks so much for the info. I'm going to pass it along to my hubby and see where we go from there.

  2. I'm loving all this info lady, it's really interesting and so helpful! Hoping to cut back on my sugar and caffeine slowly.