gluten-free challenge

Mmm Brownies

Last Sunday Michael and I went out to dinner at Apizza Scholl’s. It was going to be our “yay the February challenge is over” meal but I’d ended the challenge about three days short of the full month. Even though I was back to eating dairy and gluten, I still didn’t eat very much of it. Naturally I just kept eating the way I’d been eating for the February challenge, just with some real chocolate for dessert. ūüôā I think knowing that I COULD eat dairy and gluten again, made it easier NOT to.

Michael felt a very real difference when he cut out gluten from his diet. Like I said in previous posts, he wasn’t snoring as much, his throat didn’t feel swollen and he generally just felt better not eating gluten. It was something he was considering cutting out of his diet long term. Even though I didn’t feel any different cutting out gluten and dairy, I don’t have a problem supporting him by reducing and/or eliminating gluten. I didn’t miss bread or pasta, really, so I don’t mind not eating it long term.

Michael wanted to go to Apizza Scholl’s to test out eating gluten after a month of abstaining. Their pizza is our favorite in Portland and the crust is definitely not GF. We went there for dinner to test out how he’d feel after eating a bunch of gluten.

pizzascholls

I have to admit, I kinda missed pizza after refraining from bread products for a month! We got half¬†Margarita¬†with spicy pepperoni on it and half truffle oil cheese pizza (my favorite–which is weird because I hate mushrooms). It was fantastic.

Sadly, a few hours after eating the pizza, Michael said his stomach was bothering him. He didn’t want to give me details, obviously, but this is the first time since the gluten-free thing that he’s complained of stomach issues from food. I feel badly for him because I know he was hoping that the pizza would be ok to eat. ūüôĀ

On a more positive note, earlier in the day, I did some baking!

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Michael had been asking me for days to make gluten-free brownies for him. I looked around for a recipe that had ingredients I recognized (and not a bunch of weird stuff I couldn’t pronounce, let alone FIND in a grocery store) and found this recipe. It seemed simple enough.

Gluten Free Brownie Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 10-12

From: http://thepeacefulmom.com/2011/08/31/simple-gluten-free-gluten-free-brownie-recipe-2/

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • ¬Ĺ cup cocoa powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¬Ĺ cup sifted Coconut Flour
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, blend together butter and cocoa powder.
  2. Remove cocoa butter mixture from heat and let cool.
  3. In a bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla.
  4. Stir in cocoa mixture.
  5. Whisk coconut flour into batter until smooth.
  6. Fold in nuts.
  7. Pour batter into a greased 11x7x2 or 8x8x2 inch pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutrition Facts

Gluten Free Brownie Recipe

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 175-200
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=37176

 

I turned on my Lisa Loeb Pandora station (no shame here!) and got to bakin’!¬†I made the substitute of using the Splenda blend of sugar that I usually use when baking anything. Using the Splenda blend saved me between 25-50 calories each brownie. I also used Brown Rice Flour because that’s all I could find at my grocery store. I was surprised at how many eggs were required for this recipe. Other than that, I liked the recipe because it was simple and didn’t have odd ingredients in it.

IMG_4400

I’m new to all this gluten free cooking/baking. I found a really helpful blog that explains all the differences between the gluten free options. Definitely check it out if you want to learn more about it. In her “Guide to Working with Gluten Free Flours” she explained that gluten free bread is never going to be light and airy like regular bread is and you just have to get over that. I think that might have been my issue with the gluten free thing–I kept EXPECTING it to be the same flavors and textures and it just wasn’t.

So how did they taste? They tasted pretty good. The texture was definitely different than what you are expecting. It’s not the same as a fluffy, moist, thick brownie that you’d make with flour. It was dense, almost cake-like, and reminded me of like sponge cake or maybe coffee cake? It wasn’t bad, just different. I’d also added a handful of chocolate chips to the batter and that definitely made a difference! There were bites of the brownie that had oozing chocolate from the melted chips. I’d make this recipe again and I would add more chocolate chips, or maybe even butterscotch chips to it.

Depending on how big you cut the pieces and if you use real sugar instead of the Splenda blend, the calories can range between 150-200. I cut 12 pieces out of the brownie pan, some slightly smaller than others, so if you make this and cut them all the same size you’d get about 10 pieces.

Michael and I ate our brownies with a glass of chocolate almond milk. It was a nice treat while we snuggled on the couch with Fat Kitty and a movie. Look at him! He stretched out on Michael and pretty much stretched the length of his legs.

yggsunday

We ended up watching “Good Will Hunting” because I found out Michael had never seen it! When we were watching The Oscars and Ben Affleck gave his acceptance speech I mentioned how much I loved Good Will Hunting. When I found out Michael didn’t even know what it was I made him watch it. And he liked it. How could he not?!?

It was a really nice weekend. I’m disappointed that Michael had a negative experience eating gluten again. He woke up Monday was still having issues from eating the pizza the night before. Now the experimenting starts for him. He’s going to try eating little bits of gluten in moderation to see how much he can eat before he feels the effects. And we may be attempting to make our own gluten free pizza at home very soon…

I still feel absolutely no difference eating bread again. The pizza from Apizza Scholls didn’t make me feel bad, the next day I still felt ok. I even had a bagel thin for breakfast and still didn’t feel any¬†difference. My official conclusion: no food¬†sensitivities! Time will tell what exactly Michael is sensitive to.

What’s your favorite brownie recipe?¬†

Dairy-Free Conclusion

I MADE IT.

You can read the first post here. The other updates are here:

Dairy-Free Update #1

Dairy-Free Update #2

Dairy-Free Update #3

I’m glad it’s over. I didn’t see any drastic changes and I don’t see why it would be beneficial OR pleasurable to continue. Now the breakdown.

Challenges

Now is a good time to address this question: Was there cheating involved? Yes, a few times. I’d be lying if I said I was 100% perfect for the whole month of February. There were some weak moments when I just needed REAL CHOCOLATE and not fake crap. I had several small “fun size” candies (i.e. a mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, a Dove chocolate square and a mini Twix bar). I had about 5 total the whole month. I felt mildly guilty for giving in and having chocolate but I tried not to beat myself up too much because overall I did very well resisting things that had dairy or gluten in them.

What I Liked

I actually did discover a lot of things that I enjoyed and will continue to eat. The Omission gluten-free beer was a really good alternative. Almond Milk is something I will continue to drink instead of regular milk. It was a delicious enough substitution that I never felt like I was missing out on something.

Frozen grapes were an excellent dessert option, as was frozen banana slices with peanut butter on them. I loved the RiceWorks chips we bought and will continue to buy those in the future.

What I Disliked

I hated how much processed foods I ate in February. I was trying to find gluten and dairy free options and while I did eat a lot of natural things (fruit and veggies), I also ate more foods that came out of a box. Gluten-free crackers, chips, dairy-free cookies, etc etc. I did not like that aspect of it.

I also disliked feeling restricted. That lead to feelings and desires to binge. I couldn’t wait to be done with diet and I planned all the dairy and bread I was going to eat! I don’t like feeling like that. I think counting my calories and eating whatever I want that fits into that calorie range works best. This experiment is just another confirmation of that.

Weigh-In and Measurements

When I started this challenge I weighed 145.2. I wasn’t expecting any weight loss, so I was happily surprised when I stepped on the scale after one week and saw over 1.5 pounds lost. So what was my final total? 143. I lost 2.2 pounds, which is decent but not mind-blowing enough for me to continue this diet.

As for measurements, there wasn’t a lot of change:

February 1st February 28th
Hips: 37 inches Hips: 36 inches
Waist: 34 inches Waist: 33.5 inches
Thighs: 18 inches Thighs: 18 inches

 

I wish there was more of a drastic change but I did lose an inch around my hips, so that’s something.

Final Thoughts/Observations

It didn’t take long for me to conclude that I could pretty easily go gluten-free but never entirely dairy-free. I didn’t really miss the bread (despite the two food p0rn dreams I had about eating freshly baked bread). My mom commented that when she gave up gluten, she stopped craving sweets and the second she ate it again, those cravings came back. I experienced something similar. I didn’t really crave sweets or candy or chocolate (except for a few crazy cravings in the beginning) and definitely didn’t miss bread or pasta.

gluten-free-jpeg

The dairy was another story. I craved cheese and sour cream. I didn’t think about Greek yogurt or milk as much as I thought I would. As the month stretched on, all I wanted was pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich!!!

Something else I did notice: it did not take very long to adjust my thinking and get used to looking for gluten and dairy free choices. It took about a week and a half and then I just became that person that was gluten free. It felt normal and familiar and not awkward like it did the first week. It almost feels strange to go back to eating the way I used to!

I will probably do another update as I re-introduce gluten and dairy back into my diet and let you know if I felt anything different. Other than that, I’m pretty glad I’m going back to normal.

chocolate

I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t feel any¬†differently¬†or see a drastic change because that means I don’t have to continue the diet.

Now pass me the ice cream!