Continuing on with our gluten free panel, and I’m going to start chiming in here as well! If you’re just joining us, you can check out part one.
How do you get past the ‘cereal every morning’ for breakfast mentality?
What are a couple of your favorite breakfasts? What do you grab when you’re short on time?
Katie: We’ve never had cereal for breakfast so for us it was never a thing to get over. Simple breakfast: eggs and sausage with fruit, GF oatmeal, Toast (made with Udi’s GF bread) and a smoothie.
Amy: It’s easier now to find good gluten free bars, but before I’d eat GF cereals, mueslis, corn flakes etc with yogurt. Normally I have eggs and fruit. I often boil up eggs and keep them in the fridge so I can just grab one on the go. I also eat leftovers for breakfast.
Jen: I learned to make my own seed and nut granola (it’s really easy!) and we also just eat a lot of eggs. I’ve come up with tons of ways to eat eggs so they don’t get old, and gratins or quiches are really easy to make ahead and taste good even cold. We also like to do yogurt, smoothies, and do something fun like crepes or gluten free pancakes on the weekends.
Cara: Scrambled eggs with cheese and veggies! Larabars are what we grab when we’re short on time.
Michele: Some of our favorite breakfasts: We cook up a pot of gluten-free grains, such as brown rice, millet, teff, or gluten-free oats. Then stir in additions, such as peanut butter, dried fruit, coconut milk, or yogurt, etc. Breakfast burritos (using sprouted corn tortillas) Veggie Omelets GF Buttermilk Pancakes or Waffles or GF Muffins with Homemade Breakfast Sausage (We make extras of these, so they can just be reheated on busy mornings.) Homemade “Trail Mix” Muesli (dried or fresh fruit, nuts/seeds, & coconut) mixed with Homemade Yogurt.
Liz: Yes, getting past the morning sweet and grain breakfast took some creativity. When I first went gluten-free, I relied on other grains for breakfast cereal… puffed millet and rice. Once I realized those weren’t supporting my body either, I simply started eating dinner leftovers for breakfast. It’s my go-to breakfast because they usually are easy on the stomach, low glycemic, tasty, and of course — gluten-free. Other cultures eat savory items for breakfast, but in America we are sweet eaters in the morning, so just adopting other ways of thinking about food helps. In other words: I can eat what I want, any time I want, and that’s okay. So, eating savory “dinner” food at breakfast seems strange for a lot of people, but why? It’s only because it’s not typical in this culture, not because there is something innately wrong with it. Soups, stews, baked potatoes, a few raw veggie sticks, or high quality bacon or sausage always works.
Kat: I love fruit, dairy and eggs, so breakfast for me has always been my favorite part of this diet. Even when trying dairy-free (I have done that off and on) I still enjoy eggs and fruit. My favorite dairy-free breakfast is banana pancakes, with some berries and bacon on the side. (http://www.scdkat.com/2010/08/hot-banana-cold-banana/) My favorite breakfast usually is an omelet with onions and mushrooms, and some yogurt with berries.
Donielle: For us, this one was kinda tough. We gave up cereal a few years ago, but I often made pancakes or muffins for morning when we needed something quick. I first tried to substitute gluten free flours for everything and found that it was just making things more complicated, so we opt to eat naturally gluten free foods. We now enjoy eggs (scrambled, omelet, fried) sometimes with sausage and/or fried potatoes depending on time, yogurt and fruit, smoothies, and usually gluten free pancakes every couple of weeks. It helps if I can prep a few things, like chopped veggies, just one day a week so that I can just grab things out of the fridge and go.
Most people do quick sandwiches and PB&Js for lunch, when you go gluten free how do you handle that meal?
Katie: My kids still eat sandwiches for lunch about 3 days of the week. We use Udi’s multigrain GF bread (the best GF bread we’ve come across) Almond butter and homemade jelly. Or I put a few slices of ham, cheese and GF crackers on a plate with some fruit and my kids love it.
Amy: I make rice salads, pasta salads etc … easy – just need to plan ahead!
Jen: Lunch is leftover dinner usually. Soups only take a minute to warm, salads are easy to prepare for an entire week for quick lunches, and protein dense dips can be easy meals of themselves. Dishes with lots of flavor often taste just as good cold as warm, so even if I need to pack lunch, left-over dinner is easy.
Michele: I usually make a loaf of gluten-free bread each week to add to meals, but we don’t rely heavily on bread to fill us up. (Often leftover pancakes or muffins from breakfast work for PB&J’s too!) Organic stove-popped popcorn is a quick option for tossing in with a meal instead of crackers/chips. Our lunches often consist of leftovers, tossing together chef salad or taco salad, or reheating soups or curries. We also enjoy hummus & veggies (or on corn tortillas) or a caprese salad . Fish or egg salad is great tossed on a bed of lettuce, instead of bread, or make “wraps” with lettuce, instead of tortillas. Foods like apples, carrots, potatoes, and squash are full of carbs, and can round out a meal if you feel it’s necessary. Stuffed baked potatoes or yams, squash/zucchini “noodles” (instead of pasta), zucchini “boats” or pizzas (instead of crust), baked apples are simple to prepare extra at dinnertime, and reheat for lunch another day. We will often cook up a big pot of brown rice or millet (instead of bread), and just add a topping (such as “sloppy joes”, beans, and/or cheese (instead of boxed mac & cheese- http://frugalgranola.com/2009/11/simple-fall-recipe-millet-cheese-casserole/).
Liz: Lunch is usually something light: a salad (so easy to keep it gluten-free) with homemade dressing (requires little to no effort), a loaded baked potato, a veggie quesadilla on sprouted corn tortilla fried in coconut oil, guacamole and chips, soup. I try to eat light during the afternoon because a heavy meal at that time makes me sleepy, so lunch is probably one of the easiest meals to make gluten-free.
Kat: Being exposed to Asian cultures and seeing how they do lunch made me realize it was easiest to just use leftover dinner for the next day meal. Making multiple dishes for dinner ensures enough leftovers the next day and no boredom of just ‘eating leftovers’.
Donielle: I was the one who always ate sandwiches for lunch – my husband always had our leftovers! We now eat a variety of salads, eggs (all kinds, but hardboiled make it super easy) lots of veggie sticks and some homemade dip, a little bit of fruit, pizza toppings on eggplant slices, and I now make extra for dinner to give us all the opportunity to eat leftovers.
Going gluten free often means you’re making more of your own food at home, and making everything from scratch. How do you balance your time in the kitchen and keep up with kitchen chores?
Amy: I make enough for 6 every time I cook so I have 2 portions for dinner, 2 for the fridge for later in the week and 2 in the freezer for when we are stuck.
Jen: I do things in bigger batches whenever I can – chopping up extra veggies at one meal so they’re ready to go for the next, and we’ll eat the same thing a couple days in a row. Foods that freeze well are easy to prepare in large batches, then freeze in meal-sized sections so they are handy for busy evenings. The biggest help is a meal plan! I make it for the whole month, with notes on when to soak or cook items like beans that I do ahead of time.
Emily: I am really making myself clean up after every meal. Really, after every step. (Syrup goes back in the fridge after I use it, not after the meal). This keeps me from falling into the “I’ll get to it right after _____” Also, I use frozen veggies a lot. It’s just easier. I have a lot of fresh veggies but keeping green beans, peas, and now chopped onion (Oh, what a luxury!!) I know I always have a quick stir fry on hand!
Michele: Planned leftovers are important in this process! I typically only do intensive food prep a few days a week, then I have the homemade “convenience foods” to toss into meals for the rest of the week.
Liz: My goal isn’t to minimize my time in the kitchen. We all lead busy lives, and we have become used to quick convenience fixes for food and cooking. However, if we all increased our time in the kitchen, and took that time from some other activity that was unimportant (watching TV or surfing the internet for hours on end… of which I am sometimes guilty myself) and instead focused it into making homemade nutritious meals, not only will we feel good, but we’ll also feel satisfied. Cooking nutritious and traditional whole foods is very satisfying… connecting with yourself, your food, your planet, and other people in the kitchen is a transcendent feeling — you are nourishing and being nourished.
Kat: Over the past couple years I have gotten a lot quicker at preparing food. Chopping up vegetables and slicing meat is a quick task now. I spend less time preparing dinner now than before I was gluten-free. Also, I have invested in some useful kitchen gadgets that not only help prepare food in large amounts, but that are easy to clean afterward. One example is the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with attachments. I find it much quicker to clean than a food processor. I have also learned to ask for help from my boyfriend and roommate. Even just getting them to do 5 minutes of dishes helps me with the stress of feeling like I have to get everything done. And finally, sometimes we don’t get everything done and dishes are left out overnight. It’s not the end of the world!
Donielle: I’m totally bowing out of this question! (if you saw my kitchen today you’d know why!)
How do you not feel deprived when you can’t indulge in some of your favorite meals or desserts anymore?
Katie: I find that there is just about a GF version of everything if you look hard enough.
Amy: I remember how horrible I feel when I eat gluten – I am not even tempted!
Jen: I make a different treat that doesn’t compromise my goals but tastes good. There are so many desserts that are gluten free without buying fancy flours, and for me, my biggest desire was brownies – and I figured out that challenge http://eatingmyvegetables.blogspot.com/2010/08/best-ever-grain-free-brownies.html
Emily: I had to begin looking at it from a spiritual standpoint. It was discipline. I tried to offer the sacrifice up to God(especially for those people that don’t have enough to eat.) I also would think of how bad my skin was. I would complain and be in so much pain so how could I justify eating something that might set it off? And again, I would say, at least my issue can be resolved with something like avoiding gluten. I dont’ have to be on a drug for the rest of my life and I don’t have cancer or diabetes or X. It was about perspective.
Michele: We’ve found that pretty much anything we have typically enjoyed can be made deliciously gluten-free. I plan ahead, and make sure to have delicious gluten-free options for our celebrations!
Liz: Honestly, gluten doesn’t tempt me. There is always an alternative way to make something. Any comfort food or favorite meals always have a gluten-free variation. Gluten makes my body go out of whack, so it doesn’t tempt me to put that in my body.
Kat: I have such a horrible reaction when I indulge in my favorites that I never do that anymore. The few times I have tried old treats that happen to be gluten-free but not very healthy (for example some candy) I found it didn’t taste good anymore. My taste buds have changed, and so my perception of these favorite foods have changed. A slice of pizza no longer looks appetizing to me.
How do you get past the ‘woe is me, I can never eat anything that tastes good again!’ type of mentality?
Katie: I think most GF foods taste pretty good. Bread was the hardest but once we found one all was well.
Amy: GF tastes great! You actually get to eat nice clean food without all the crap they put in!
Jen: I remind myself that knowledge is power, and now I can share a story of hope with my friends. I used to be sick all the time, but I changed my diet, and my whole world is different! I like to look at restaurant menus and figure out how I could make something similar that tastes even better. Fat and spices make so many things taste wonderfully good!
Cara: Realize it’s a choice between feeling good all the time and having 10 minutes of eating something you ‘want’.
Emily: I cooked up a storm! I made it taste good! I have probably eaten more good real food meals GF than I ever have with gluten. There are amazing meals. We just have to think outside the box. I have discovered I adore Indian.
Michele: There are so many wonderful gluten-free cookbooks and websites available. Do a quick search (or call up your librarian) and find some favorites!
Liz: I honestly never dealt with that because I was so focused on how good I felt and was going to feel. Putting an “incurable” disease into remission via food choices feels pretty damn good. I never worried about what I couldn’t eat, simply because I regained my health and life, and also because the world of naturally gluten-free whole foods is just so vast.
Kat: I was so sick before that it really had an impact on my life every minute of the day. I feel freedom now that I am better, more so than feeling trapped by a diet. Plus, the food I eat now actually does taste better than what I used to eat.
Stay tuned………….more to come tomorrow!
You can also check out all of the posts from the week we focused on wheat and gluten:
The Silent Cause to Poor Health – a fabulous, everyone should listen to podcast
The Transition to Gluten Free – a guest post by Kat from SCDKat.com
Gluten Free Easily – a guest post from Shirley of GFE
Gluten Free Beauty – a guest post by Kristen of Gluten Free Beauty
Gluten, Grains, and Children with Developmental Issues – guest post by Cara or Health, Home, Happiness