Yeah. I ate that cupcake immediately after taking that photo. Do I feel guilty? A little. Do I regret it? Heck no! Was it gluten-free? Yes! If you’re like me, then sweets are your weakness. It can be so painstakingly difficult for me to turn down a freshly baked cookie, pie, cupcake or macaroon. I know not everyone has the same food weaknesses. For some it’s salty, potato chip goodness, for other more fortunate souls, it’s brussel sprouts–shout out to you, Ania! All I’m trying to say is: you aren’t alone. Everyone has cravings and everyone has their comfort food, we just try not to default to our comfort food in times of stress or exhaustion.
About a month or two ago, I began the journey to becoming gluten-free, which has turned out to be more simple than I thought. Don’t get me wrong, I still wander through the baked-goods aisle at the grocery store, drooling over the pies and cookies, but the thing that keeps me grounded is the fact that there are alternate options. I’m sure there are those of you this who are starting to mentally yell at your computer screen right now, thinking something like, “HIPSTER!! Way to follow the crowd like everyone else. Really original, Michelle,” then considering shutting your laptop and tending to your delicious cheesy bread in the oven and saying “The heck with this blog post.” I urge you to go turn off your oven and take your cheesy bread out so it doesn’t burn and then come back to the computer. Something in this post will pertain to your life, I promise.
I guess the best way to continue this story is to tell you why I went gluten-free. It’s simple and I have two pretty good reasons. The first is that my sister had a genetic test done and showed my family to have a gluten intolerance. Nothing fatal, just an intolerance. The second reason is a little more shallow. My fiancé’s dad pointed out to me why he doesn’t eat hamburgers with the bun. He pointed out that the bun was just an avenue to get what he really wants to eat into his mouth and the bread was just extra calories and carbs. Immediately, I thought that philosophy was genius and I had a food revelation! It just made total sense; I realized then and there that I have always had the same feelings toward the carby, cheap bun. I hate the cheap buns from the supermarket. All I really want was the lettuce, tomato, burger, and mustard. The bread was just a way to deliver it to my mouth without getting my fingers dirty. And as it turns out, silverware is a fantastic alternative to getting the hamburger to my mouth without getting my fingers dirty!
I guess you could say I’m not medically sure that I am supposed to be gluten-free, since the genetic test was technically run on my sister’s DNA, but I figured that if nothing else, it would be a good way to cut carbs out of my diet. Previously I had been eating egg and cold cuts between bread for breakfast and lunch every day, I eliminated the bread and now eat just eggs and lettuce wraps which results in fewer carbs and more protein. Score! I didn’t write this post to encourage you to adopt a gluten free lifestyle; I’m urging you to see where you could be doing better in your everyday food routine. We all know it can be easy to fall into simple grab-and-go food routines, but by changing the parameters of your diet to not eliminate entire food groups, it forces you to find alternates to your not-so-healthy, go-to items and to see where you are lacking from a different perspective.
A more blatant shift in lifestyle that my fiancé recently took up was juicing his vegetables. He went from never, and I mean NEVER eating any veggies to now juicing them 4-5 times a week, and that has made a huge difference in his life and well-being. I have been juicing for a couple years before the peer pressure of my good habit finally rubbed off on him and he caved, bought a juicer, and now juices more than I do on a weekly basis.
I cave to gluteny goodness about once a week, where I’ll eat some pancakes with my Dad on Saturdays. I usually get a stomach ache from the wheat, but sometimes the pros outweigh the cons, especially when having breakfast with Dad. Anyway, the moral of my going gluten-free was to find alternatives. It really forced me to question things in my diet that I had never questioned to be unhealthy before. Now with this new perspective on food and personal diet, I am able to drop unhealthy routines and substitute them for something much more beneficial for my health.
For me, the shock value of going gluten-free sparked the challenge to find alternatives for things I had never even considered replacing in my diet. The most manageable component for me, was that I didn’t have to cut all delicious baked goods out of my diet. Not only that, I eat pasta, pizza, and bread less while substituting grilled chicken, hummus and steamed veggies as my go-to staples for easy meals. Ultimately, I always try to remind myself, it’s okay to cheat every once in awhile, so long as I’m not cheating every other meal… these adjustments have brought about a true lifestyle change for the better!
I’d love to hear from you… what small changes have you made to improve your lifestyle?