Friday, February 21, 2014

My Whole30: Day 5 - Why "Goodbye Gluten" Doesn't Cut It

Almost two years ago I went through an awful breakup...

...with gluten. After several months of low energy, frequent illness and poor athletic performance, I decided to hop on the G-free wagon. 

It was not an easy wagon to stay on, let me tell you. For almost a month I attempted to go completely gluten free for seven days in a row. I usually caved to a delicious bagel or cupcake around the second or third day and had to start all over again. Let it be known, my self control is not the greatest. 

When I did finally hit my one week mark, I felt amazing. I wasn't bloated or tired, and I was running more miles than I had in over a year. A total transformation in one week! I was convinced that breaking up with gluten was my saving grace. Almost. So just to make sure it wasn't all in my head, I ate one, mouthwatering slice of pizza. My stomach curled. I began to feel bloated and tired almost instantly. It was the way I had normally felt over the last several months whenever I ate pizza, pasta or bread, but before I had no reason to determine it was because of the G-word.

Check out my article when I first went gluten-free here

Now nearly two years gluten-free, I have decided to take one step further. 

About year ago, while working as a waitress and bartender, a couple of my regulars told me they were on a paleo diet. They told me that all they could eat was vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and some fruit. 

Wait, what? No beans or rice even? Where in the world are these people getting their carbs? They must be starving. Since then, every time I would hear mention of the paleo diet, I would think to myself, "Those people are crazy. I could never do that."

You see, in my eyes I was already cutting out enough. I mean, no gluten? That takes away a lot of stuff! If I couldn't eat rice or corn, I wouldn't be able to eat gluten-free bread, which would mean I would just have to eat a turkey and cheese sandwich without bread, and I'm not a crazy person. Who does that?

But, here is where the plot changes. Over the last couple of years, "gluten-free" has become a lot more popular. Even just five years ago, it was not easy for people with gluten allergies to find wheat alternatives. Now, you can go to your corner market or 7-11 and find a selection of gluten-free snacks. 

Many restaurants have now hopped on the G-free wagon too. Most pizza places offer gluten-free crust, delis offer gluten-free bread, burger places offer lettuce wrapped patties. Being gluten-free has become somewhat of a "fad" and there are too many products out there these days to be able to define gluten-free as "healthy." 

You know how I know that? Because I'm not healthy

When I first kicked gluten to the curb, I started eating more vegetables, protein, and complex carbs. I lost eight pounds in two months and kept it off quite easily. But now since so many gluten-free options have become available, my diet has filled up with pizza, pasta and bread once more. And you know what returned when those foods did? Low energy, frequent illness and poor athletic performance. 

While I still plan to remain gluten-free, I now see that simply staying away from gluten was not the answer. I need to have a balanced diet. So in an effort to reset my eating habits and overall health, I have decided to do what I never thought I could. Go paleo

I am going on a paleo diet for 30 days through a program called the Whole30. The Whole30 is a program that helps "paleo newbies" adapt and understand the benefits of the new diet. To accompany the program comes "It Starts With Food," a book written by Whole30 founders Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.



I began my program on Monday, which means that today is day five of my 30 day program. That means I have gone five days only eating vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and some fruit. No added sugar, no chocolate, no ranch or hummus to dip those cold, hard veggies in and definitely no starchy carbs. 

These first couple of days haven't been too difficult. I can still make a lot of the meals I used to make, just without the added piece of gluten-free toast or rice on the side. It has been difficult to get creative though. I can't eat just eggs and chicken all day. So I have turned to blogs and recipes that will hopefully keep my tastebuds entertained in the absence of my usual sugary and processed food choices. 

There isn't much to report after my first five days of the Whole30 since noticeable changes usually start to show up in the second and third weeks, but I'll be updating my blog every week to share my trials and hopefully, progress. You will hear testimonials from other Whole30 and paleo eaters, as well as quick and easy recipes in case you'd like to try paleo yourself. 

For this week, I give you my recipe for Green Eggs. I accompanied mine with chicken sausage, but if you would prefer to Dr. Seuss it up, you can have Green Eggs and Ham.


Green Eggs

Ingredients:

3 whole eggs
1 cup of chopped kale
1 tsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat your stove top to medium/high heat. Add 1 tsp of olive oil into pan and allow it to heat up until it is runny like water. Take your 3 eggs and blend them in a blender or Magic Bullet with 1 cup of kale. Once blended, pour mix into the pan and cook until desired fluffiness. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with a glass of almond milk and a piece of sausage, bacon or ham!

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