Rebecca, a grain-free eater, is going to tell you about her journey to sugar-free, grain-free living, and give you a wonderful Macaroon recipe. Take it away, Rebecca!
Hi SOSF readers! I’m the Grain-Free Groupie and I am so excited to be guest-posting today, this is big for me as my usual blogging-audience consists of mainly, myself, occasionally my husband, and a friend or two! Many thanks to Alex for giving me this awesome opportunity, and thank you so much to this awesome blog for giving me so much inspiration!
I only very recently got into the world of blogging, specifically, blogging as it pertains to special diets. I never even read blogs! It wasn’t until one day this past spring, that I was reading an article on HuffPo about diabetes and saw a comment that intrigued me, linking to someone’s blog. I clicked on the link, and from there, my new hobby sprouted! I had absolutely no idea how many amazing, fascinating, beautiful, blogs were out there, that were actually relevant to my life. I made the decision to go completely grain and sugar free just this summer, and thanks to the multitude of resources I’ve found, like this very website, it has been an easy, fun, and very happy process.
Eliminating grains did not happen overnight, and to be quite honest, it wasn’t even intentional. It has been a very gradual process that all began about 16 months ago when I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes while pregnant with my daughter. At the time, I was so shocked and overwhelmed that all I could do was memorize the relevant information, and adhere rigidly to the prescribed diet. I didn’t want to have to think or question anything; I was 100% focused on the health of my baby and couldn’t begin to grasp what it all meant. And besides, once my baby was born, the GD would retreat, and I could go back to my usual high-carb, low fat, nominal protein diet. Right?
Not so fast! Although my daughter was born healthy, on time, and teeny tiny, my blood sugars never totally normalized, and over the next few months I increasingly experienced the unpleasant effects and symptoms of elevated blood sugar. I began to realize, that for me, carbs and/or sugar= high blood sugar and a generally yucky, bloated, lethargic, and dizzy disposition.
I started out with the Glycemic Index diet, which I had heard was great for diabetics. I felt some relief, but it required a lot more time, energy, and math than I could really handle with an infant. Finally, more out of laziness than anything else, I decided to go grain-free. I just figured if I avoided grains altogether I could quit counting carbs, and obsessing over eating precisely the right amounts of carbs, in precisely the right combinations, at precisely the right times. Instead I surrounded myself with whole, clean, high-protein, grain-free and sugar-free foods, with plenty of healthy fats to keep me full and satisfied. About a month into going grain-free, my cravings for sugar and carbs were completely gone. I felt healthier, more energetic, lighter, and brighter than ever. I’ve always loved to cook and bake, though I’ve never been much good at the latter, and I’m happy to say that going grain-free has only made cooking more fun and rewarding, albeit a bit more challenging at times. (Especially when you are constantly faced with ingredients like Xylitol, Xantham gum, and Erythritol??) For anyone contemplating going grain-free, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE UP DESSERTS and you don’t have to subsist on poached chicken breast and lettuce. What you do need is a well-stocked pantry, a little creativity, plenty of herbs and spices, and a willingness to try new things. I started blogging so I could have one place to keep all my recipes, tips, and ideas, and to have plenty of tools at my disposal to refer to when I need ‘em. At first, going grain-free can feel a bit daunting. Your usual trip to the grocery store takes on a new meaning. Take it slow. You do not need to buy five hundred items in one day. Stock your pantry over time, and phase out grains and carbs in stages. I still have some Steel Cut Irish Oats in my pantry (they were really flippin’ expensive!) and I’m not ready to just throw them out. I also have some awesome French Meadow Men’s Bread in the freezer that I may or may not have with some nut butter if I feel like it. Most likely not, but I won’t go off the deep end if I feel like having it.
I have spent a lot of time writing and updating my Grain-Free Shopping List. It might look long at first, but most likely two-thirds of these items you already have, or buy regularly. When I made the decision to go grain-free, I scoured the internet for a list that I could print off and save for future shopping trips. I never found one that I liked, so I made my own. Want a comprehensive list of what constitutes a grain and what doesn’t? Visit Grain-Free Living.
Lastly, I have a special fondness in my heart for one of my first successful forays into grain-free baking. I saw a recipe on a Let’s Do Organic bag of shredded coconut and knew right away I had to make it grain-free and sugar-free. The result was easy and delicious and I haven’t stopped since. Give it a shot, and enjoy!
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Sugar-Free Almond Flour Macaroons
3 egg whites
Combine egg white, oil/butter, vanilla, and sweetener. Then mix in almond flour gradually. Add coconut and combine thoroughly. Roll into one inch balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes at 350 or until golden brown.