Dairy-Free Update #3

Time for the third update. I’m almost done. I can see the finish line from here! You can read the first post here. I encourage you to follow my progress on Facebook and Twitter as I will be posting more updates in those places.

Dairy-Free Update #1

Dairy-Free Update #2

How Am I Doing?

I’ve gotten used to the diet now. I do not miss bread or anything with gluten. I sort of miss other things like cupcakes, ice cream, and oddly enough–banana pudding. I think I’m just craving those things because I can’t have them. This just reinforces what I’ve been doing for 5 years: eating whatever I want but in moderation. Doing that keeps me from getting this crazy obsessive cravings that make me want to binge.

I wish I had something magical to report. Honestly, I still don’t feel any differently. I WISH there was something. My skin is a little better. I haven’t had any acne breakouts this month, but I don’t know if I can attribute that to going dairy-free yet.

What I can report is that Michael feels like a million bucks. He’s still eating dairy but he gave up gluten entirely. He has noticed a lot of changes and like I said in the last update, it helped his snoring. He’s sleeping much better and I’m thankful for that. He wants to continue doing the gluten-free thing long term. I can support that.

Challenges/Victories

I’m kind of sick of eating rice. I feel like I eat it every day now because it’s gluten-free and easy to make. It’s also something “safe” I can order in a restaurant. I definitely need a break from eating rice!

Something I discovered and wanted to share was an iPhone app I found. It’s called “Shopwell” and it’s a free app. You enter your requirements in it: dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, low calorie, diabetic friendly, etc etc. The list goes on. Pretty much any dietary restriction is listed. So you enter that in and then you can scan foods and it will tell you if it fits your requirements.

My requirements were gluten free and dairy free. I’ll give you some examples. I scanned my raisin box:

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It was okay for me to eat. I scanned a Fiber One Bar, which I knew I couldn’t eat, but to give you the example:

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The app recommends I avoid the Fiber One Bar because it has milk and gluten in it. It also gives better alternatives at the bottom. The app would be good to use while grocery shopping to find the better alternatives. It’s a really fun and useful app. If you have any kind of dietary restrictions, check it out.

Foods of the Week

Michael accidentally bought the UNsweetened almond milk at Costco (i.e. a case of it) and I was worried we were now stuck with like 10 cartons of something we’d hate. Luckily, the unsweetened wasn’t bad. I used it to make chocolate “milk” (how weird is it that chocolate syrup doesn’t have dairy in it??) after the gym, I drank it straight and liked it, and used the almond milk in a bowl of cereal. The sugar from the gluten-free Apple Cinnamon Rice Chex sweetened the almond milk and it was a delicious breakfast.

FSTG Chips

Michael also got some gluten free tortilla chips. We are both fans! They taste just like regular tortilla chips and are salty and crunchy and delicious. Love them! The photo above is what we got, in case you wanted to try them. We tried the multigrain flavor. The jalapeno looks pretty good to me, too.

I made two dairy and gluten free recipes this week. The first one was a fabulous dessert that I will most definitely make in the future. The second was a spicy Asian dish that was also good.

If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash, I encourage you to try it. It’s a fantastic alternative to pasta. Even if you aren’t gluten free, for some people pasta is a trigger food or it wreaks havoc on their blood sugar. The squash has a very similar consistency to pasta. It’s savory and satisfying and a serving is about 40 calories.

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It even LOOKS like pasta! Last night Michael and I made spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and sausage. I cut the squash in half, scooped out the seeds, and placed it face down in a dish with some water in it. I baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour. Then I scraped the insides out and it came out like spaghetti noodles.

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The sausage was less than 200 calories, the squash was around 60, the sauce was around 100 and I had a green salad on the side full of veggies. Such a great dinner! It’s been years since I’ve done spaghetti squash. I need to do it more often.

Thoughts/Observations

The most common question I got was: “Did you phase it out or go cold turkey?” I’m definitely a cold turkey kind of person. It works better for me to just DO something when I have the initial drive and fire of motivation. Phasing it out over a few weeks would have just made me lose interest and desire to try it. I also do better with specific dates. Having something like that to focus on gives me direction. I wanted to start officially on February first and end officially on February 28th because mentally it seemed like a short period of time. I think one of the reasons I failed with the Slow Carb diet was because I didn’t have any schedule in mind. I said “Oh I’ll just do it for a few weeks and see”. I need that specific date!

QUESTION: How long do you last on a diet before you are burned out?

Dairy-Free Update #1

This is the first update for the month of February’s goal of going dairy-free. You can read the first post here. WHY I decided to do this is explained here. I encourage you to follow my progress on Facebook and Twitter as I will be posting more updates in those places.

How Am I Doing?

Doing okay. I didn’t go through any “withdrawals” that a lot of people said I might experience. On day 4 I did feel shaky all day. I’m not sure why because I ate enough calories (or at least, a normal amount) for a rest day. I had a Jolly Rancher candy to suck on to try and help with whatever blood sugar stuff might be going on.

I don’t plan on weighing myself each week as part of these updates but I did step on the scale just to see. I was so tempted I couldn’t resist. And I was happy to say that I lost some weight in only one week! Starting weight: 145.2. First Weigh-In: 143.6!!! A loss of 1.6 pounds in less than 7 days!

Cost

I spent $56 at the grocery initially. I got a bunch of fresh fruit and vegetables. To be fair, I did buy some non-grocery items too. I also went to Trader Joe’s to get more specific items I knew they’d carry at a more reasonable price. I spent $37 at Trader Joe’s.

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Trader Joe’s was also a great resource. I guess I looked frustrated because a guy asked me if he could help. I said I was trying to find gluten and dairy free items but having a hard time finding things that were BOTH. He said they have a list of both G and D free foods and printed it out for me! That was awesome. I went through it at home and highlighted the things that were both. It will make it easier in the future when I go to the store.

Foods of the Week

I found that I didn’t miss dairy or bread much the first week. My foods didn’t change all that much. My snacks were still fruit, my pre-gym snack was hummus and carrots. Dinners weren’t all that different than what Michael and I have done for a few years now.

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I tried one new recipe: Curried Quinoa with Chicken and Peas. It was pretty good but I wish it had been spicy. Michael and I also went out to eat with my parents last Sunday and I was able to order a vegan and gluten-friendly dish that was around 500 calories. It was delicious, filling, and on the plan.

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One night after the gym Michael and I had taco salads for dinner. It was salad, black olives, jalapenos, orange peppers,  ground turkey and onions and topped with guacamole. I love Michael’s guacamole. It’s super simple: avocado, jalapenos, pepper, garlic, worcestershire sauce. We usually add sour cream to it to make it even creamier but we skipped it this time. I also love putting sour cream on top of a salad like this. That’s my norm and it felt weird not to do that. But dinner tasted fantastic! I loved the guacamole and didn’t even miss the sour cream.

Challenges

I went to the grocery store with a list of must buys. Most of it was fresh veggies, fruit and proteins. I did get some almond milk to try. I also bought a box of gluten-free crackers just in case we get the craving for crackers in February.

I tried my best not to buy any items that had dairy or gluten in them. I went to the “organic hippie” section and found some items. Two problems: 1) A lot of things were only dairy OR gluten free but NOT BOTH and 2) The dairy/gluten-free stuff is effing expensive! I’m sorry but salad dressing should not cost $6.

My goal is to eat as much natural foods and not substitutions or fake foods in order to avoid dairy and gluten. I got the almond milk to test it out in my coffee, or in recipes that require milk. Absolute love it!

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Another challenge: Googling recipes. I searched for “gluten free and dairy free breakfast” to get some ideas other than eggs. It was really frustrating to just get recipes for fake food. I don’t want pancakes made with weird ingredients I can’t pronounce or find in my local grocery store. And it seemed like that was kind of it. Or smoothies. I didn’t see very much by way of variety and that was discouraging.

Thoughts/Observations

There’s apparently dairy and gluten in everything. I know that’s kind of a “DUH” statement, but when you’re not usually paying attention to stuff like that you just don’t realize. I didn’t care before, so I never looked. Now? I find it very frustrating to pick up something you think is ok and then you read through the list of ingredients to find dairy or gluten. For example, we have some bean dip from Costco–it contains dairy. Why?? It’s beans! Also, a can of tomato soup has wheat in it. Come on!

I read a really interesting article you might want to check out called Gluten-Free, Whether You Need It or Not, you might want to check it out if this is something you are considering.

“It is not a healthier diet for those who don’t need it,” Dr. Guandalini said. These people “are following a fad, essentially.” He added, “And that’s my biased opinion.” Nonetheless, Dr. Guandalini agrees that some people who do not have celiac receive a genuine health boost from a gluten-free diet. He just cannot say how many.

So that’s the first update. Stay tuned!

QUESTION: If you went gluten or dairy free, did you experience withdrawals?