My Easy, Protein-Rich, Gluten-Free Meal!

Hey, Wheatbeaters!

This meal is one of my favourite things to make for lunch. I whip up a huge batch of it that lasts the entire work week, and it totally takes the hassle out of packing lunches. It has a ton of protein too, so it keeps me full until dinner and nixes all those pesky carb cravings. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 can black beans (or bean medley)
  • 1 can diced baby corns
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/4 red onion
  • cilantro

One of the best things about this meal is that it doesn’t need any dressing. The cilantro packs quite the flavour-punch, so it doesn’t lack taste. It’s really easy—just dice up all the veggies, put it in a bowl, and mix! I find that the amount of cilantro needed depends on who is eating it. Some people love eating it (me!) and some would rather just a hint of it. Either way, it’s really important in this meal. 

If you’re still kind of weening yourself onto the low-carb bandwagon, putting this on top of a small bowl of rice or rice noodles might make it more appealing to you. However, I don’t think it needs anything. It’s seriously delicious and great if you’re on a budget! The whole thing cost about $8 for 5 days worth of lunches! Quite the bargain, if you ask me. 

Sorry for the terrible cell phone pictures. I’m awaiting a new camera battery :(

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Adding Coconut Oil to Your Wheat-Free Diet

Hey Wheatbeaters!

I’d like to share one of my little secrets for warding off mid-day hunger pangs.

It’s coconut oil.

A lot of people are resistant to adding something so high in fat to their diet, thinking that it will make them gain a ton of weight. I’ll admit—I was hesitant at first. But the thing is I just replaced my regular cooking oil (olive oil) with it so I don’t actually take in any extra calories per day. Coconut oil is healthy in so many ways! I find that two tablespoons per day (which is about 200 calories) WILL make you lose weight by making you feel full. 

To fit it into my current wheat-free diet, I changed up my breakfast plans a bit. Protein is absolutely essential to making me feel full and stopping me from gorging on carbs throughout the day. Seriously, if I haven’t had protein in the morning I will just wander aimlessly around the kitchen for an hour until I cave and eat bread. Previously, I have had two eggs and a rice cake with peanut butter for breakfast (with coffee, of course).
Now I start my day with the following:

  • a bowl of oatmeal (make sure the bag says gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts (nutty and delicious and keep you, erm, “regular”)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • a splash of milk if it is too thick
  • 1/2 of a small banana diced (I highly recommend adding this because it makes it taste one zillion times better. One zillion.)

So just make your oatmeal and put all this healthy crap in it and voila! Honestly, it keeps me full beyond lunch a lot of the time. PLUS coconut oil has all these great qualities:

  • aids in digestion
  • makes your hair all shiny and stuff
  • prevents premature skin aging (also, reduced my red marks from acne SIGNIFICANTLY)
  • promotes immune system health
  • reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (never hurts to start early!)
  • increases weight loss

There are a million more things that could be added to that list but those are some of the biggies. So I guess my point is that you should add coconut oil to your diet, stop using the other oils, and maybe even comment on this post about how that works for you! I love hearing back from everyone about their progress :)

PS: You can add a bit to your dog’s food and his coat will get shinier. Gentle Ben likes it!

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Delicious Gluten-Free Wraps

One of the biggest complaints I hear (and harbour myself) about eating wheat-free is that there aren’t many ways to “hold” the food. No bread, so sandwiches are out. No tortillas, so you can’t make a wrap. Sometimes I just end up with a big bowl of stuff, which is fine… but it’s nice to have something to transport the food from the plate to your mouth.

I stopped in a little local market and found this pack of 20 rice paper wraps for $1.99 and decided to test them out. So far… LOVE them! They are super easy to use once you get the hang of them, and they make for more portable snacks.

I made some sort of taco-like dish and it was delicious! Plus it probably cost about $10 to make and it lasted about 4 meals. Win win win.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rice paper wrap
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • small handfull of cilantro
  • 1/2 pack of taco seasoning
  • 1 cup rice
  • shredded cheese
  • 1 chicken breast

I could write out the recipe step-by-step, but it is so simple that it’s just not worth doing. Really you just bake chicken how you like it, slice it up, mix it with all the ingredients in a big bowl, and then put it in the rice wrap. I like to heat everything in the microwave before putting it in the wrap, and then I add the cheese on top.

I ended up with a ton of leftovers so I put them in the fridge and made a pot of rice and mixed it all up for lunches. Very easy and convenient! Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of everything in the bowl, but I did take a few of the wrap. And sadly they were done using my phone, so they are terrible quality, but the sentiment is there :)
Also, I recommend dipping these bad boys in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Mmmm…

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My Return to (Almost) Wheat-Free Eating

I have a confession to make… I have been a giant gluten-glutton since October. I have indulged in bread, dabbled in cupcakes, and even baked a loaf of real bread or two. Sigh… 

So that’s why I haven’t posted anything in a while, in case you were wondering. I think the biggest issue with being gluten-free has been going out for food. I started dating someone last summer and he wants to go out for food constantly, almost DAILY, and eating from a restricted menu at the same old restaurants gets really old, really fast. I guess you could say I caved – and boy am I regretting it! 

All that weight I lost? Oh yeah, that’s back. I’m possibly in the worst shape of my life also because I’m in class 7 hours a day sitting at a computer. I’m more lethargic than ever, I swear to god my vision is worse, my allergies have been so bad that I might have to start getting allergy injections again, and I’m pretty sure the bags under my eyes are going to start their own colony. Square one is the worst place to be. 

That being said, I’m going to go back to a *mostly* gluten-free diet. Being 100% absolutely gluten-free is tricky when you go to the occasional birthday party or nice meal, and I’d rather sporadically cheat than be like, “Well, guess I’m not gluten-free anymore! BRING ON THE PANCAKES!” and just binge for months like I’m going into hibernation. I keep having to remind myself that I am not a bear. 

Little Benny has been feeling the effects of my gluten obsession as well. All the carbs make me super tired and lazy, so he hasn’t been getting the long walks he so deserves/needs. Getting back into the groove of things is tricky, but I actually miss eating a clean diet. I look and feel like a whiny bag of garbage. To kickstart this (again) I made a delicious grilled salmon salad! I’ll post the very simple recipe in the next blog entry. 

Also, a little bit of potentially life-changing information for any of the ladies that follow my progress, some of you may recall that I struggled with anxiety/depression which was one of my initial reasons for going gluten-free. Firstly, let me just say that it did help a lot and I was much happier for it. Absolutely try going on a gluten-free diet if you want to elevate your mood and have more energy. But I also learned that my body wasn’t tolerating my birth control, which I had been taking for almost eight years, and I ended up going off of it. I have never been happier with any decision in my life. I know now that putting extra hormones into my body was completely changing  my mood and stopping me from being happy. I’d never even been able to have a long-term relationship before because I was so anxious all the time. I highly recommend looking into alternatives if you’re struggling with anxiety and you’re on the pill. I know that’s not related to being gluten-free, but I think it’s a really important thing to know!

 

Juicing, juicing… And not juicing

Hey Wheatbeaters!

So it’s Day 2 of my fast and I’ve succeeded somewhat. I have only had fruit and vegetables! But I have to eat them in addition to juicing. I seriously can’t live without chewing, it is just too weird. So I’ve been making lots of salads and drinking lots of juice! Here is the recipe I’ve been using; it’s only slightly different than Joe Cross’ original recipe:

6 kale leaves
1 cucumber
2 green apples
4 celery stalks
2 carrots
1/2 a lemon
1 piece of ginger

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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Hey Wheatbeaters!

So I just watched this amazing documentary the other day called, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It follows a man that it morbidly obese, suffering from an autoimmune disorder, and basically just wildly unhealthy.  He decides to turn it all around and go on a 60 day vegetable/fruit juice fast — that’s right, ONLY JUICE for two months!! Pretty crazy, right?

Anyway, he ends up curing all of his issues, dropping over 65 lbs, and becoming a picture of health. Of course, because he is initially taking tons of medication for his condition, he is monitored by a doctor.

It just goes to show how important it is to eat your veggies, and how little carbohydrates benefit you.  I’m doing his challenge starting tomorrow — ten days only drinking freshly made vegetable/fruit juice!  I’m excited and nervous.  I really don’t want to fail right off the bat and go eat a bag of chocolate or something LOL. 

I would encourage everyone to check out the film.  It’s really eye-opening.  The idea is that the fast is supposed to kick-start your healthy eating habits and retrain your taste buds, so once you finish the fast you don’t want to eat crap and you maintain a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruits!

Peace + Love 

6 Tips for Eating Wheat-Free Cheaply

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are concerned about the cost of eating a wheat-free diet, and I’ll admit that I was initially nervous about this too. A diet that is free of wheat, however, can actually be less expensive than one that revolves around it, I have found.

Here are some of my tips for going wheat-free in a money-savvy way:

1) This is probably the most important thing that will save you money – do NOT simply replace all of your wheat-filled foods with wheat substitutes. For example, switching from eating regular pasta (which is cheap) to eating rice pasta (which costs more) is not a wise way of going about things.  Firstly, this kind of negates all of the hard work you are putting into this whole new lifestyle change.  Why go through all the effort of meticulously cutting out wheat only to replace it with more carbs?  Go big or go home, I say!  Because hey, spelt pasta is effing pricy, and you’re not really going to lose much weight (if that is your goal) by replacing carbs with carbs. And your wallet will be all empty and when you open it a moth might even fly out. Honestly, food companies take advantage of people that are gluten-free and they jack up those prices because they know you literally have no other choice.  If you look at the gluten-free aisle, if you have one, it’s all garbage food anyway; cookies, cake mix, chips, etc., the only difference being that there is no wheat.  But if you sit around eating bonbons all day and buying overpriced wheat alternatives, you’re going to end up fat and poor.  So next time you are cooking, pretend carbs don’t exist. To you, they aren’t invented yet.  Make a salad with apples, pecans, spinach and feta cheese. Bake some carrot sticks with ginger and salt in the oven like faux french fries. Slice open a red pepper and fill it with baked tuna and chives. Get creative!  Step away from the carbs.

2) Now I’m going to say the opposite of what I just said (sort of).  If you absolutely cannot live without your rice/spelt/chickpea/coconut bread or what have you, make it yourself. It’s really not rocket science. I know this because I bake my own bread and I definitely do not understand rocket science. Or any math for that matter.  I can, however, deduce that paying $6.99 for a tiny loaf of rice bread every week will tip me over the poverty line. So what you have to do is buy a bread maker.  And you’re going to buy it used. And that’s going to be okay with you because you know that the bread you buy at the store was made in a bread maker that someone else operated also, so it isn’t a gross or disturbing concept.  Now, I can’t speak for every place in the world, but where I live I cannot walk into a thrift store without bumping into a basically new bread maker.  I have had 2 different bread makers – one which was purchased new for about $200, and another from the thrift store which was almost the exact same model but cost $9.  The thrift store one works better. So I urge you to step into your local Salvation Army or equivalent and grab yourself a bread maker. Because you might find that after spending $200 on one that is new, you don’t actually like baking bread. And then you’ll donate it to the thrift store. And someone savvier than you will buy it for $9.

3) This is a bit of a continuation of my last point, but if you are making your own bread with wheat-alternatives, I implore you to venture outside of your usual chain grocery store. The price of rice flour at Safeway is actually laughable it’s so incredible steep.  I have found this to be common at any “common” grocery store.  They market rice flour as though it is exotic or something. But it really isn’t, it’s just not the usual go-to product.  Other cultures, on the other hand, use rice flour, and other types of flour, very often, so that little hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese grocery store on the sketchy end of the street is probably harbouring really cheap rice flour.  This actually applies to all food that you will be purchasing: do not shop at chain stores.  Honestly, the whole point of this wheat-free thing is to be healthier, right? Not to sneakily find ways to almost be eating wheat. So what you need is more vegetables. And where you’re going to buy them is from that little Korean market you usually drive past on your way to the big chain store.  The second you decide to do your produce shopping at a big chain, you have accepted that you are willing to pay upwards of 10% more for your food.  Bananas at my local chain store are 99 cents per pound, and 59 cents per pound at the Nature Market nearby.  $2 for an avocado vs. 89 cents.  $3.99/lb for a red pepper vs. $1.99.  That’s a big difference!   The problem with these markets is you can’t get everything you want there, and honestly, you shouldn’t.  For some strange reason that I’m sure is not so strange once you actually know what it is, milk, cheese, and meat are obscenely expensive at these tiny markets, so I do purchase these items at the chain store.  Basically, if you are willing to go to more than one store to do your shopping, you will save a buttload of cash over time.

4) Learn. to. cook. I cannot stress this enough. And don’t overthink it either. It doesn’t have to be this massive undertaking that leaves you lying awake at night wondering about the preferred width of julienned carrots.  Just do what works for you and keep it simple.  Eating out or buying pre-made “gluten-free” dinners is your ticket to the poorhouse.  Making a salad will cost you about $2, whereas buying one will cost as much as $12.  Buy chicken in bulk and freeze what you aren’t using immediately. Thaw it when you want it, throw it in the oven, and voila. Not hard, but requires adjustment.

5) Don’t buy snack food. I don’t mean “don’t snack,”  just don’t buy food that has been categorized as snack food.  They are always overpriced, never good for you, and are only popular because they require no thought or effort.  But you are willing to put in effort because you’re poor, like me, right?  So instead, you’re going to snack on other things.  Go to the bulk aisle and buy yourself some cashews. Again, it may be worth checking out a smaller non-chain store for these kinds of things.  Don’t buy pecans because they cost so much that they will make you question everything you believe in. Walnuts are cheaper. Peanuts are cheapest but they aren’t actually a true nut, and are therefore not as healthy for you. Especially the salty ones.  Cut up cheese slices for a snack. Kraft Singles don’t count, you cheater. Buy a tub of yogurt and have a small bowl whenever you can’t make it until dinner.  It’s not hard, but it is harder.

6) Eat breakfast often. And I don’t just mean for breakfast!  Ever notice that breakfast is just really cheap? Even at diners or restaurants, it manages to be inexpensive.  A cheap dinner out would probably be $15, but a cheap breakfast will be $3.99 and you will be rolling around like a beached whale due to fullness afterwards. So cook breakfast a lot. Who says eggs, turkey bacon, baked tomatoes, and a rice cake with peanut butter can’t be a dinner? To anyone that does, I ask, who made you king of the meals? I can have my breakfast and eat it too. Twice even.

Okay, I’m sleepy now and my brain has stopped functioning for the day but I hope that helps. Add your ideas in the comments if you like!  Powering…down….beeeeeeeeeeeeep.