You may know that many people suffer from inflammation in their intestines and that gluten is often the main culprit. It takes about 2-3 weeks for our intestines to heal and for our digestion to become stronger. Then we can begin to re-introduce the offending food in smaller amounts, to determine if we can tolerate it. I decided to do a two week experiment on myself and had some great results!
When I first set out to do this, I was intimidated and thought it would be hard but it was not hard at all! The main thing is to have a good plan for what you are going to eat for everyday of the week (in other words: write it down!) and the rest takes care of itself. I have a marker board on my refrigerator where I spell out the weekly plan for myself in no uncertain terms: breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, dessert. I also go to the grocery store or farmer’s market frequently — about every 3 days. This ensures I have a fridge stocked with fresh fruits and veggies so I can whip up a green juice or a quick salad on the fly and not be tempted to eat a something packaged or processed. I wanted to share an example of exactly what I ate for two weeks because I know how helpful it is to have a solid plan in front of you to go by, and I’ve included links for the foods I made that require a recipe.
A fresh veggie juice makes the perfect snack or light meal
*Paleo muffins with honey and/or butter (Earth Balance butter is vegan and dairy free)
*Fresh veggie juice (add chia seeds to keep you full for longer)
*Egg cooked in coconut oil with dash of cayenne
*Celery with sunflower seed butter
*1/2 Avocado with lime and black pepper
*Sliced tomato with basil leaves and balsamic vinegar or sprinkled with sea salt and topped with hemp seeds
*Dinner Leftovers or…
*Rotel and brown rice
*Can of Amy’s chunky tomato bisque – I added hemp seeds and fresh lime juice
*Salad with your choice of veggies and homemade dijon vinagrette (see below)
*Broiled Salmon (I added lemon juice, salt and pepper) with sauteed spinach or steamed green beans
*broccoli, carrot and potato soup
*Tamale pie For this recipe, I used teff flour (instead of oat or rice flour) and a can of gluten-free chili
*Refried bean “tacos” on corn tortillas with picante sauce and fresh cilantro
*Baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon
*A big bowl of roasted veggies, My favs are broccoli, carrot, zucchini and garlic cloves roasted in coconut oil. Top with or dip in miso tahini sauce (see below)
Adding dragon fruit makes frozen banana ice cream extra pretty!
*bananas and raisins drizzled with honey or agave/date/maple syrup
*Coconut date balls
*Frozen banana ice cream
*hot herbal tea
Sauces and dressings:
Having a sauce for your veggies really helps keep them from being so boring. I like to get creative and mix any of the following together in roughly equal parts to jazz things up:
These staples add flavor and protein to bland veggie dishes.
fresh minced garlic
mellow (light) miso
gluten free tamari (this is just soy sauce, only gluten free!)
almond butter or even peanut butter
Examples of two of my favorite combos:
peanut/garlic/soy/ with a splash of rice vinegar
Making your own salad dressing is a good thing to do so that you know what’s in them. It really only takes a few seconds! Sometimes I just use olive oil and either a splash of balsamic vinegar, or a squeeze of fresh lemon/lime juice but if you want more flavor you can make one of these:
Homemade Dijon vinaigrette:
1tsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp red wine or apple cider vinegar
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of agave nectar or brown rice syrup (optional, to add some sweetness)
Creamy almond dressing:
Take about a tbsp of almond butter and stir in some olive oil until it becomes thin enough to pour. That’s it! May sound weird, but it’s sooo yummy and makes a salad keep you full all afternoon.
*When adding chia seeds to juice, allow at least 10 minutes for them to “gel” before drinking.
*It is best to eat fresh fruit on an empty stomach. Most foods take about 2-4 hours to digest but fruit passes through the digestive system very quickly, in about 30 minutes. You don’t want it to sit on top your your last meal and have a chance to ferment in there, so try to wait a couple hours after a meal if you plan to eat fresh fruit for dessert.
* When buying store-bought items such as picante sauce, always check the labels to make sure there’s nothing weird in there. Look for items that have only two or three ingredients (ex: tomatoes, garlic, salt.) Also, your local health food store and international market are your friends when it comes to finding more pure items as well as things like teff flour, miso, tahini, hemp seeds, etc.
*If you don’t have much time and find yourself having a less-than-exciting meal (say a quick bowl of lettuce, carrots and tomato with olive oil and lemon juice for lunch) then make sure your next meal is a tasty one or else you’ll fall off the wagon quickly. The body wants foods that are flavorful and that look pretty so if we cut too many corners for speed or frequently eat something that looks like mush, the body thinks this is no fun and as a result we’re less likely to stick to the plan.
* I’ll admit it – I LOVE COFFEE!! If you are like me and feel you just can’t do without creamer in your morning coffee — do yourself a favor and try blending your coffee in the blender with 1-2 tbsp coconut oil and some stevia, then sit back and watch as your brain says “Yum!” on repeat. The blender emulsifies it like a latte, with a frothy top layer and everything. As you may know, coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. MCTs burn up as fuel in the body very quickly so they don’t have time to be stored as fat, AND they help speed up metabolism and flush out other fats. It’s a win-win! This coffee is a real treat and since I’ve started doing this, I truly don’t want it any other way! Pro-tip: Pour some hot water into your blender (I do my mug too) while the coffee brews to pre-heat them so that the blending process doesn’t steal the heat from your brew.
After doing this for two weeks, all the puffiness that normally surrounds my midsection was gone. My hips also slimmed down. I wish I had taken a “before” shot but here is the after:
If you’ve been flirting with the idea of going gluten-free, I hope this post inspires you to get creative in the kitchen and encourages you to see just how easy it can be!