A few years ago it was recommended by multiple people (in the medical professions) to go “Paleo”…. All of them knew I was struggling with food sensitivities and other health issues. Of course all of these things are made worse by my weight (which is too much, and has been going up since I got pregnant with my daughter… almost 13 years ago now). The one that took time to explain the suggestion said that because the major things that would be irritating my gut (which is likely an issue) would be gluten and dairy, so if I switched it would cover those). Unfortunately the wonderful messages sent from one person are received by another, and I didn’t hear, remember, or understand some important parts.
I had heard about the 80/20 rule and applied it to this whole “Paleo” idea. Since I wasn’t feeling great about the idea of jumping into something that sounded so restrictive I figured I could do it gradually and pick up parts of it and work toward 80% of the time. And since I started reading about meal ideas in this realm 80/20 sounded like a reasonable option. I could still have everything I wanted, and then I could eat salads and meat and vegetables the rest of the time. So I started working toward gluten free, because no milk sounded like torture. I actually got pretty good about eating gluten free most days…. and then I would go out to eat. Or be strapped for time or not have the flour that was required in the recipes. So 1 meal here and 1 meal there would be okay because that went to my 20%. Or maybe everything else was fine except the salad dressing… and that can’t be much, right?
Then last fall I started reading Wheat Belly Total Health. I really don’t remember anything other than if you eat gluten it undoes the last week of work you put in. And he really doesn’t like the gluten free replacements either because some of the grains used actually have worse reactions as far as blood sugar spikes than wheat. At about this time I also had a consult with a functional medicine doctor (one of the people that had suggested paleo in the first place), and I asked her if this was actually true, and she said yes! So I had to make a choice. Do I want to do this? Do I want to give up on it? And so I decided to give it a try. And decided I needed a plan first and looked at my current situation.
- I usually took a smoothie to work for breakfast- already gluten free, and on the rare occasion I wanted cereal I could get Rice Chex or GF Cheerios.
- Lunch was often made from leftovers and this was fine since that would be gluten free, but if I didn’t have leftovers or forgot them it would be local fast food places or the gas station. None of these places actually have gluten free lunch options. Even if the website said they did, the minute I used that phrase they would refuse service. Item #1 to figure out a plan for.
- For suppers I went through the stuff that we had started eating since I started this part of my health journey. We found we love things like Pad Thai, something we call Mash, chicken or pork chops with a veggie and rice or potatoes for sides, and occasionally things like crustless pizza. Oh, and we can’t forget Chuck Wagon Chow.
My goal here was to find at least 3-4 options for supper on my kid weeks, and then I would batch cook twice on non-kid weeks. Once Sunday night when my leftovers were running out, and it also got my work lunches ready for the week. Then Monday night I would cook the chicken or pork option that I didn’t cook Sunday night. This worked well while I was at that job.
This plan led me to start looking at different meal plans on YouTube and Pinterest for new ideas. I had my basics, and that was good, but without new ideas if you are eating something 4 or 5 meals in a row or days in a row it gets old pretty fast if you aren’t rotating. But a week plan was enough to get started.
So how well did it work out?
The first couple of weeks I felt super yucky (which anyone telling you to go GF should warn you about), but then I started feeling better. Like a lot better. I had actually been putting on a lot of weight, and ballooned up to 310 over the first 6 weeks of being completely gluten free. This is about 15 to 20 pounds above where I had been floating for the previous year or so. And honestly, this was pretty normal for the other stuff in my life right then because I had started trying to lose weight and get healthy. This seems to be a pretty normal reaction for my body, and starting from about the time my daughter was 6 months old til now, I add around 10-15 pounds every time I decide I am going to lose weight. Anyway, I decided I was happy where I was at since I felt so much better and have steadily been losing weight ever since (By December when I started in the kitchen I was down to 305, and when I weighed this morning I was at 280). But there was no way I would have survived even a day in the kitchen before going gluten free… I had barely survived supper prep at home!
Starting a new job did change my routine quite a bit. I actually have options available in the employee dining room that are gluten free and I can eat for free, so I do choose to eat there, and am eating a lot more salad. I have since quit eating pork (99% of the time), and am working towards a kosher way of eating as well.
~Going Green Mom