If you follow me on social media or know me you’ll be aware that I (try to) stick to a gluten and wheat free diet… yep not as glamorous and fun as it’s made to be I’m telling you now. It became almost a fashion trend a few years ago and many people hopped on the GF & WF bandwagon to try to lose weight because they thought that cutting out gluten containing foods was the answer. Unfortunately this is often done the wrong way by eating gluten free substitutions rather than cutting down on processed, starchy and carb rich foods which you can now buy in most supermarkets…
Anyone who joins the GF and WF club for the sole reason of losing weight are adding to the general public’s belief that those of us who simply can’t eat gluten and wheat are doing it for attention or to be slim, rather than because our bodies just can’t handle it like others. Ramble over, sorry I just had to get that off my chest before we start with the helpful bits. *Disclaimer* This blog post is not going to tell you how to lose x amount of weight and I’m not a health or nutritional expert. I will share my helpful tips and tricks that I’ve found help me and share a few gross things about being GF and WF too along the way.
Myth: Gluten free foods are healthier
*Laughs* this couldn’t be further from the truth unless you’ve cut out all the processed foods… Shop bought GF and WF products often have high fat, sugar and salt content especially things like bread, pasta etc. If you want to eat bread but struggle with normal bread then I’d suggest trying Genius bread. It’s fairly expensive at £2-3 for a small loaf but is worth it if you want soft bread as most brands I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many) are very dry. I’m not saying Genius bread is low fat it’s just a nice treat if you really fancy bread and sometimes I do enjoy a good burger! If love pasta then lentil pasta is amazing, super high in protein and full of fibre which helps avoid bloating and gets that digestive system going, it’s also super filling. Fibre is often something that as a GF and WF person I find I don’t eat enough of which can be pretttyyyy uncomfy.
Do you get enough fibre?
I’ve been following a GF and WF diet since the age of 16. After numerous trips to the doctors and being told that I have IBS and can’t eat gluten or wheat that there was nothing more they could do. I’ve had times where I’ve gone days and weeks at a time without being able to go to the bathroom which is SO uncomfortable words can’t even explain. It left me having to take a trip to a chemist on holiday for some extra *help* which was hideous and not ideal really…. So I decided it was time to track my fibre intake to see if I was getting between 20 and 25g the recommended amount, I can sadly report I was getting a pathetic 5-8g per day, no wonder I was having trouble. I’ve started using my fitness pal a free app you can download on your phone, to keep a food diary and track my fibre intake. Since doing this my bowel has been waaaaaay happier and I’ve been able to go to the bathroom most days, if you’ve ever had this trouble you’ll be sure to understand how much of a relief this is literally… The lesson here is gluten and wheat help your bowels so if you’re not going to eat it make sure you’re getting your fibre from somewhere else.
Foods you need to try
I’ve always regarded Chia seeds as ‘health freak food‘ yup that’s right, I now eat these nearly every day as they have lots of fibre, per portion they are quite high in fat but fear not it’s the good fats in these. Linseed is full of fibre but again fairly high in fat. Oats are a great breakfast or pre-workout snack if you’re looking for something to fill you up but can have lots of variety, (make sure to check if they are GF and WF) the bigger the oats the longer they keep you full! A sneaky food/ substitute which you may not realise can contain gluten is protein powder so make sure to check the label. Of course fruit and veg are a no brainer when it comes to having a healthy gut so make sure to get plenty of these in.
Are hidden ingredients catching you out?
Did you know gluten and wheat often hide in many cereals and snacks? A key ingredient used in lots of snack bars and cereals is ‘barley malt extract‘ which has similar effects to gluten and wheat, from what I can tell from the research I’ve done. I think the same stands for malt vinegar too.
An example of My day of eating GF and WF
Breakfast – Overnight oats (recipe coming soon)
Snack – Nak’d bars, Eat Natural bars and Raw bars you can buy these from Aldi
Lunch – Pre Prepared salad with meat or falafel or a jacket potato from the cafe at work with some yummy Tuna on top
Snack – Fruit and a herbal tea to get me through to dinner time
Dinner – I often make this with whatever I have in the cupboard, I eat a lot of rice, with meat and veg or GF pasta dishes too.
I honestly dread going to peoples houses for food, out for lunch, a snack or even for a meal with family or friends because there are so many things that I can’t eat. I find myself checking menus in advance or apologising to the waiter/waitress because I’m being awkward by having ‘no bun’ or wanting the GF menu. I even worry that people think that because I’m into my health and fitness that I eat GF because I’m on some kind of permanent diet (which I’m not) I’d just rather not be uncomfortable or bloated for dayyyys at a time. I’d much rather eat the delicious looking pastry or a burger in a bun or just pick up a sandwich in a meal deal but unfortunately I can’t. I even find myself staring at people’s desserts with envy… maybe I need to get a grip!
By writing this post I’m not advising anyone to go on a gluten free diet unless you truly have to. If you have any serious concerns seek your gp’s advice and think about writing a food diary. When I first had problems with my stomach I was told to keep a food diary for a few weeks and write when I was having problems. I then had to cut out gluten and wheat for a few weeks and slowly reintroduce them to see if I’d just overloaded on gluten and wheat and then when that didn’t work I was tested by my gp and told not to eat gluten or wheat going forward.
I hope this post was useful and that you got a few tips from it too. If you’re also in the GF/WF club then please say hi. If you would like any more posts like this (shorter ones) please let me know or comment your thoughts below.
Thanks for reading,
Love Saff x
If you liked this you may also enjoy: The best 4 ingredient Chocolate Fudge – Easy & Gluten free recipe
Photography: Thom Law Photography