Resolution to Lose Weight?

Fresh fruit is naturally gluten free.
If you've made a New Year's resolution to lose weight, I have a suggestion to help you… just stop eating wheat for one month.

I personally know about 10 people who are "gluten-free," which means they have cut out all products made with wheat, barley, rye. Only one of these acquaintances suffers from the serious gluten-intolerant condition of celiac disease. The others, like me, discovered the beneficial side effects of eliminating wheat and other gluten products from our everyday meals, forever.

Funny thing… all of these 10 people are either at a normal weight or are thin - in these days where obesity is running rampant. This says something, doesn't it? Like me, most of these friends dropped pounds within two months of becoming gluten free, and have had no trouble maintaining the lower weight as a result of their altered diet. Maybe they were at a heathy normal weight already, since they tend to be nutrition-conscious people, but I am convinced their lifestyle diet is a factor also - it is for me.

I'm not one to impose my eating habits on others, but I like to help those who seek assistance. Learning about healthy foods is one of my passions, and I get pleasure out of sharing the knowledge too.

My gluten-free way of eating was especially helpful during the recent holiday season. I know how gluten foods make me feel (gassy, bloated and other negative side effects), and I just have to think about this to motivate myself to pass on the crackers and breads, skip the pasta dishes, and avoid the cakes, cookies, pies, and other desserts. Doing so certainly helps me eliminate loads of refined sugar from my diet too, since most desserts are based on wheat flour. It actually makes me sad to see so many overweight people filling their plates with such foods, since I know that their health is being undermined, and that they would be much healthier and happier with weight loss.

Believe me, you don't go hungry on a gluten-free diet. There are so many good naturally gluten-free foods! I happily used raw veggies and my homemade gluten-free crackers for holiday dips, and I made sure I offered fresh fruits on the dessert table to my holiday guests as an alternative to the tempting baked goodies. I make gluten-free breads and desserts, as well as pasta dishes - many of my favorite recipes are on this blog, particularly my posts over the last 18 months of being gluten-free. Click on "gluten free" or "gluten-free" in the label listing in the right column of this blog to see some of them.

So many times I hear people react to my gluten-free food choices by saying things like "Oh, I could never give up bread" or "I can't deprive myself of spaghetti" or "But you need complex carbs" or "That's too hard - what would I eat?" How about just trying it for one month? If you are like me, you will see and feel positive results in that short time. January is a great time to commit to going gluten-free.

After more than a year of eating gluten-free, I wrote a report about what I learned and how I felt, which links here. In addition, here are a few simple steps to help get started with gluten-free eating:
  • Educate yourself about how to avoid gluten, by knowing what to eat and what to avoid. Here's a pretty simple starter list of what you can and cannot eat.
  • Read ingredients labels on packages, avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and their flours
  • Discover grains you've never tried, like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, wild rice, and others
  • Try gluten-free pasta, bread, and crackers (read some of my favorites here)
  • Cook with non-wheat flours (there are many options, including all-purpose flour mixes which are gluten-free, like my favorite Bob's Red Mill brand).
  • You might need to "special order" certain dishes in restaurants, like a chicken salad without the bread or substitute cole slaw for macaroni salad. Most restaurants are happy to help. You'll notice that restaurants are jumping on the Gluten-Free Bandwagon and starting to offer gluten-free options, so read the menus.
  • Don't hesitate to say "no thank-you" to foods people offer you, and they likely won't be offended.
All this considered, do your body a favor by trying to stick it out for one entire month. See if it makes a difference to you. If your side effects are positive, and if you convince yourself that you have the will power to make new food choices, perhaps you'll alter your lifestyle diet forever, as I have, knowing that occasional exceptions are ok too, so long as you are not totally gluten intolerant.

There are many easy-read books on the gluten-free lifestyle. Wheat Belly was the book which convinced me to give it a try. Gluten free info floods the internet, with recipe blogs and oodles of tips. Gluten-free and ancient grains are some of the top nutrition trends for 2014, so you'll be hearing more and more about them. The big food giants are fast to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon, and supermarket gluten-free products are multiplying rapidly. Just beware of the entire list of ingredients, since some of these products might have many ingredients you shouldn't be over-eating, as is the case with most processed, pre-packaged foods (sugars, additives, preservatives, artificial ingredients).

Good luck and let me know how you do.

P.S. My New Year's resolution is to paint more this year!!  :-)

My friend Ken's inn, Riverside Bed & Breakfast, offers gourmet gluten-free breakfasts which never skimp on delighting the palate!