With a New Year comes New Year's Resolutions. At Carolina Mama it surely does. All my life, I have loved writing - writing in general and definitely a fresh, clean slate for New Year's Resolutions. Healthy living and wellness are always a part of my plan. And thanks to my Daddy exercise and staying active is part of the fun. So earlier this year, I loved sharing my "Best Kept Diet Secret Ever."
After all, you know it is a delight for me to share good news and good things.
We used the Pamela's Classic Vanilla Cake Recipe ...
... to make our Christmas Red Velvet Cake this year! Yes, we used the food color. Yes, It was divine! Yes, this is a once a year treat. :)
A few of you had some Gluten Free questions and I wanted to reach out and address them and see if I can help you along your own journeys to wellness for 2013.
"How do you shy away from foods you no longer eat?" This is a great question. For me, I made the decision to go gluten-free for health reasons. I do not have celiac disease. For me, I wanted to benefit from omitting gluten from my diet.
As always, when I embrace something I do it whole heartily. So it was only natural for me to research and learn all I could about my decision. I read "Wheat Belly" and "Food, Inc." and "Skinny Girls Don't Eat Salads." :) I liked the name of this one even though I love a good salad. However, I LOVED her theory to "stop starving and eat." Then, I, through a girlfriend, I discovered Pamela's Products!
"Pamela’s Products, started in 1988, is known for delicious, gluten free foods with a full line of baking mixes, cookies, snack bars and ready to eat cakes. As a pioneer in both natural foods and gluten-free, Pamela’s still maintains leadership status in the industry. With ongoing improvement and innovation, Pamela’s Products continues to grow and embrace the many opportunities that lay ahead. (To read about how Pamela started her company, read Pamela’s Story.)"
At any rate, my first goal was to 'go gluten free' so I focused on what I was eating exclusively. This Southern Girl has to guard against volume so next was portions. And that did come with time and I still have to gauge it. I enjoy real food. About this time, I discovered the fabulous blog, 100 Days of Real Food. It is awesome for focusing on the many real food choices out there.
I made the decision to enjoy all of the wonderful foods that are gluten-free. And avoid the gluten, as you know the high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and other fillers and additives. whew, it is a journey. It is eye opening to see what the "food industry" has done to whole foods.
Soon and very soon for me, my body lost any taste or craving for all these crazy fillers. And thanks to my precious Mom and amazing cook, I enjoy healthy foods so it was not difficult to focus on real food.
Here is my key answer to the question highlighted above, the less you eat this 'stuff' the more you do not miss it. So true! I thank heavens - literally - I do not have crazy cravings. I am convinced it was the junk and additives in the food that created these cravings.
How much exercise are you doing and how does it effect your diet? I love exercise though I have a very full life. I do make it a priority and exercise 3-4 times a week. I prefer the weeks when we can be active 5-6 days. However, because I do love exercise and being active, my goal right now is working on my eating and healthy habits more than just exercise.
When I was younger, uhum, I used to be able to exercise and that would keep me in shape. :) Now, I know I need to focus on my healthy living and eating!
Could you share what your daily meals look like? My meals are simple real foods. When we dine out, it is very doable as most restaurants even have gluten-free menus. Or, you can specifically order a certain thing custom to your GF diet. Even Chick-fil-A has a Gluten-Free menu which is helpful with travel.
Breakfast: We focus on protein. We love eggs. I will make an "Egg Bake" which is basically a crustless breakfast quiche and it lasts a couple of days with everyone heating a portion each morning. These have anything like eggs or egg whites, turkey sausage, lean ham, a variety of peppers, broccoli, spices, cheese. It is hearty. I have Grapefruit Juice (1/2 c. and pure grapefruit juice only, no concentrate. So I just buy the Simply brand). I love steel cut oats with a little butter or cinnamon sugar. I also eat thinkThin bars on the go, they are gluten-free and pack 20 grams of protein. So I am satisfied and love breakfast. I always have water and coffee, we brew Starbucks at home, with a little honey and cream.
Lunch: we have been loving homemade soups. I make a hearty soup like Black Bean soup, Chicken and wild rice, a beef and bean chili, etc. in the crock pot and we have lunches for a couple of days. I also like a grilled chicken salad with carrots, broccoli, etc. and a yogurt based dressing. We are not dairy free so we add cheese and nuts. Rice Cakes are my friend. I have always liked them. I put spicy mustard and turkey and cheese one with an apple and/or popcorn. Again, I remember protein: tuna salad, egg salad, lean meats, and other proteins and fruits and vegetables are totally more filling and satisfying.
Snacks: We love fruit, apples and clementine are #1 now, and almonds. We love string cheese. So I may have almonds, apples, a fruit and/or protein smoothie, or a KIND bar which is 5 ingredients of dried fruit and nuts with honey. Easy for transporting and I keep one or two in my purse or car for when I realize I am hungry on the go. They also sell them at Starbucks so I have been known to order my Iced Americano (coffee, skim milk and a raw sugar) and a KIND bar. Perfection and guilt free.
Dinner: Grilled Chicken, Salmon, Fish, grilled vegetables, wild rice. Taco night is black beans and beef corn shell tacos with all the fixings in pure forms/ no preservatives in homemade or organic salsas. Trader Joe's has awesome salsas that we keep on hand. We add lettuce and sour cream or greek yogurt, plain. Spaghetti night is usually a turkey meat or turkey meatballs with my marinara and rice pasta. Rice pasta is a little tricky to cook - just avoid over cooking. And do not rinse with water. I use a fork and a little olive oil to toss before serving.
Dessert: We love ice cream. So I get ice cream withOUT gluten and withOUT HFCS. You have to search for it and read the labels. Now, it is a habit to read the labels and the boys and I have a blast busting the brands and finding the one or two withOUT the additives. Again, Trader Joe's has a great ice cream and other Gluten-Free options. I have to be careful with ice cream because with pure ice cream ingredients comes more fat! So portions is again something I strive for regularly. Also, my favorite dessert and sweet tooth solver is my 73% dark chocolate almonds. I love them!
Hot herbal teas with honey are a part of our nightly routine. And a ton of water from our Britta. We love to fill up water bottles or refillable cups we use at home. Lots of water. The boys drink milk.
Hope this helps. I will make an effort to share more food ideas. Typically, there is an option for gluten-free for most recipes. And cooking at home is so fun because spices do all the work and no crazy preservatives, additives and crazy stuff in our foods.
For those with Celiac Disease and the challenges there, here are a couple of resources:
Mayo Clinic on Celiac Disease.
Chocolate Covered Katie's Gluten-Free Recipes I have used a couple of these dessert recipes and loved them. They are really simple, too.
Gluten Hates Me This is a great resource and blog community by Marlow who has celiac disease. She is so honest and shares her story, her recipes and life.
Hope this all helps.
Tell me about your gluten free journey and or progress. Cheers 2013! And Happy Weekend!
*FTC Disclosure: Pamela's Products provided me with a basket of all of their top products like Chocolate Cookie and Cake mix starters for my Holiday Baking. I LOVE their products and my opinions and my gluten-free story are all my own.