My husband and I have been making some changes recently. We both want to lose weight and get healthier, so we're watching what we eat and our portions. However, it goes much deeper than that for me. After my Celiac diagnosis 3 1/2 years ago, not really understanding what it truly means to eat gluten free, like anyone else newly diagnosed, I went crazy buying up a lot of processed (usually overly processed) gluten free food products from the Health Market at my local grocery store. Now, just because a food product says "Gluten Free" doesn't mean it is healthy or good for you. Many times, it can be just as bad, if not worse just because of the extra ingredients (refined sugars, sodium, etc) included to make up for the lack of gluten. For lunches for much too long now, I've depended on many frozen, prepared, processed meals. I've been afraid to venture out on my own and fell into a comfort zone sort of pattern where I was trying to replace the treats I can no longer eat with high calorie, high carb, high sugar content foods that contain a lot of preservatives, as well. This is not to say that all products in your health market are bad for you. I say this to remind you - read the labels - on EVERYTHING! There are many products out there that use healthy, quality ingredients. Two of my favorites that I use frequently are mixes from Better For You Bakery, which use whole, gluten free grains and ancient grains where possible, with minimal processing, cutting out unhealthy white starches, and Gnarly Pepper mixes that, used with plain, low fat or non fat Greek yogurt, are healthier options to sour cream dips and mayonnaise. There are others out there, as well. You just have to look for them.
Healthy workday snacking
I decided a few weeks ago that I need to find out what other foods I may have issues with, as this is a common problem with Celiacs. Many Celiacs also have issues with dairy, soy and other foods. A woman who's blog I follow, Cupcakes and Yoga Pants, has been doing the AIP or Autoimmune Protocol Diet (for more information about AIP click here) to learn what other foods she has issues with. Following her journey got me thinking about my health and what other issues I may have. While I haven't done the AIP diet, as of 10 days ago I cut out processed foods and am now eating clean, which is naturally gluten free foods, organic and local whenever possible.
Fresh produce and locally raised pork shoulder roast from the Sioux City Farmer's Market
Added bonus of clean eating - weight loss! Other than the effects of detox, mainly in the form of terribly painful muscle spasms in my right arm (which, thankfully, have mostly subsided now), I've been feeling more energetic with no more bloating. I've increased my water intake and decreased my serving size. I'm sleeping better at night and am more alert and focused during the day. I'm making healthier choices, buying most of my groceries each week at the Sioux City Farmer's Market, eating naturally gluten free instead of processed gluten free. In the past 10 days since making these changes, I've gone from the heaviest weight in my life of 185 pounds to 179.2 - in just 10 days! That may not seem like much to some of you, but this is HUGE to me!!! I was always told by doctors that I'd have a hard time losing weight due to having hypothyroidism. With my Celiac and having a hard time absorbing the vitamins and nutrients my body needs, I figured that wouldn't help in the weight loss arena, either. Ha! Just by making these simple changes - and limiting my eating out to Gud n Free, since it is not only 100% gluten free, but they use better ingredients, too. Don't get me wrong, it is still restaurant food, but I keep track of every bite I eat and count the calories as best as I can and work the rest of my meals around it when I eat there. I am NOT giving up my Gud n Free :-) But that is an awesome thing - if you are tracking what you are eating and are aware of every bite you take, you can make adjustments and still enjoy foods you love or a bite out every now and then. Of course, with Celiac Disease, eating out is it's own challenge unless you have a 100% dedicated restaurant like Gud n Free where you can dine.
Sioux City Farmer's Market
As you can see, I still enjoy an iced coffee from my favorite coffee place, Heartland Coffee & Nosh now and then!
I'm also excited about a new free cell phone app I downloaded this week called, Lifesum, which is helping me keep on course by tracking my meals, water intake, my weight and activity. By using this app, I am staying focused and taking it one day, one meal at a time. And I'm feeling satisfied after each meal! I had learned how much tracking your food and fluid intake works many years ago when I was a member of Weight Watchers. I lost 53 pounds by following their Points program and learned so much from my time with Weight Watchers about making healthier choices!! When my health took a nosedive 3 years before my Celiac diagnosis, I ended up gaining all of the weight back, though I hadn't changed my eating habits. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was another sign of Celiac Disease. For more information on the over 300 signs and symptoms of Celiac Disease click here. Since I'm now 3 1/2 years into living gluten free, though I'm sure my gut is still in the healing process, I feel like I'm far enough along to work on the weight loss, too. Doing it this way is a good way to continue healing the damaged villi in my intestines, as well. (for more information on just what exactly Celiac Disease is, click here)
There are many popular diets out there that make it seem like counting points or calories is unnecessary effort in the weight loss journey. I disagree. By tracking your food and fluid intake, you become more aware of absolutely everything that you put into your mouth, which leads to making healthier choices. When you track your activity, you become more intentional about making that extra effort because you are seeing results.
Along with eating clean, I've added Kura Protein Powder smoothies and probiotics, as well as other vitamin supplements that my body has difficulty absorbing to my daily routine. The smoothie powder mix I shake together with one cup of unsweetened cashiew milk and then put in my Magic Bullet mixer (BEST. INVENTION. EVER.) along with whatever fresh, raw fruit I have on hand. My favorite combo is the berry flavor protein powder along with a small to medium banana, fresh raspberries and fresh strawberries. YUM!
Kura Berry flavor Protein Powder smootie with crushed ice, blueberries and raspberries.
Whatever your journey, Dear Reader, stick with it! See it through no matter the work or the cost. You'll be so glad you did! Here's to a healthier me and a healthier you!!