Last August I was on vacation with my family and my mom told me that she changed her eating habits and as a result had less headaches and more energy. I had been plagued by migraines, exhaustion and eczema for years. I also had to take beta blockers for mitral valve prolapse and medication for the migraines. I thought changing the way I ate would allow me to feel better as well.
As soon as we returned from our trip I cut gluten and refined sugar from my diet (I have never really been a caffeine drinker so that was cut out as well). Within the first month I began to have a little more energy and most of the itching from the eczema was gone.
In October, for my birthday, I decided to splurge on gluten free brownies and ice cream. The result was awful as I spent the next two weeks with eczema on my neck, arms and legs. BYE BYE Sugar! I learned my lesson.
For Thanksgiving we visited my parents. At one meal I was eating oven baked french fries as part of the meal. Halfway through the meal I commented on how tired I was getting. My mom suggested that perhaps the white potato was the culprit. So bye, bye white potato and white rice. (Thank goodness for Brown Rice and Sweet Potato!)
The results over the last few months has been crazy… I am no longer on any medication and am like the energizer bunny. I have cleaned out and re-organized my house, expanded my dog treat business, created websites for two Artists and I have a full-time job. I feel great, I rarely get headaches, my skin is non-itchy and in great condition and my hair and nails are long and strong.
You may be thinking, what do I eat… In addition to fruits, veggies, chicken, fish and dairy, I have found some fantastic substitutes to help satisfy any food craving I have come across. First I highly recommend fruit leather. I always loved Twizzlers and fruit leather makes a great substitute. I even ventured to make my own (recipe below). I also found Agave nectar to be a great sweetener (artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet, Splenda, etc. have always given me headaches and are not an option for me) and used it yesterday to make chocolate ice cream (more info below)!! As for wanting bread, there are some decent Gluten free breads on the market and stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are really helpful for people with dietary restrictions. Right now I am obsessed with Brown Rice Tortillas and use them for so many things.
The important part of making a change like this is to read labels. You can’t begin to imagine where sugar and wheat hide. Did you know soy sauce contains wheat, or that some tomato sauces have sugar? Luckily there are brands out there that make them without.
You may want to know if I have lost weight… when I first started eating this way I lost a few pounds, but my body has stabilized and seems to be at a happy weight for my body type. I am also constantly asked if it is hard to watch other people eat what I can’t and to avoid the things I can’t eat. I always tell them if this was just a diet for me it would be really easy to cheat, but after what happened during my birthday and the way my body reacted to eating the sugar I know these are things my body can’t process and is essentially allergic too. It is really easy to not want food when you know it makes you sick.
Apple Sauce/ Fruit Leather
1 bag apples (use your personal favorite)
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
dash of vanilla
Start by coring and peeling the apples. Then cut them in large chunks. Place them in a pot with more than enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and simmer the apples with the cinnamon sticks until the apples are soft. Remove the apples from the heat and allow them to cool. Transfer the apples to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth with the ground cinnamon and vanilla. Once everything is blended you can you as apple sauce (which I think is super tasty in Greek Yogurt) or transfer to a dehydrator to turn it into fruit leather!
Chocolate Ice Cream sweetened with Agave – I have to give all of the credit for this one to David Lebovitz. Follow the link for the recipe I used and mentioned earlier. Personally I added a bit more agave than was mentioned in the recipe, but that is just me.