This weekend a friend asked if I wanted to join her in a “Six Weeks to Fourth of July” group tone up and get-in-shape plan. Thinking of the bathing suit season ahead, I decided that maybe I should jump aboard, partner with my good friend and the rest of the group, and embrace this challenge.
When I asked her what the group’s game-plan was she told me they planned on eating more whole and pure foods, start making more of their meals from scratch, plus start reading ingredient and nutritional labels on all the food they ate – no exceptions. In addition, they hoped to save money on their food bill during the process.
As she told me the game-plan I shook my head in agreement… again, and again and again. I mean let’s face it… I have never in my life read so many food labels since getting diagnosed with celiac disease!
It then occurred to me that what she was describing as the healthy and more conscience method of eating in order to get-in-shape described the way those on a gluten or allergen free diet eat… and live.
The prerequisites of eating gluten and allergen free are to eat more real “whole” foods, preparing most meals at home and also reading every single ingredient label of any food you eat – basically a cleaner, healthier and more aware way of eating.
When my friend asked if I had any other ideas, tools or guidelines to add to the groups six-week tone-up and get-in-shape plan, I thought about ways my gluten-free lifestyle and know-how could help with this healthier and more mindful way of eating. These are the points that I shared:
Eat more fruits & vegetables: My motto is you can never eat enough. After you’ve had your recommended daily servings, eat more! If you fill up on vegetables and fruit, you will be less likely to reach for pre-packaged fattening foods.
Don’t eat it just because you can: After going gluten-free I find myself eating a lot of foods just because I become so over joyous at finding new gluten-free products. Could it be that every gluten-free cookie I see is calling out my name? I’ve learned to limit the amounts of sweets I eat, and when I do eat them to be very mindful of the taste and flavor, while savoring every bite.
Eat grains that are high in fiber: Some nutritious and healthy gluten-free grains that everyone should try are: Teff, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, flax, indian ricegrass (Montina), legume flours (bean, chickpea/garbanzo bean, pea, lentil), mesquite, millet, and nut flours.
Get creative: Just as a gluten or allergen free diet does not need to be boring neither does a diet for getting in shape. Sometime just the “restriction” of not being able to eat something opens up a window of new food discoveries! Get courageous and make it a goal to try one new healthy food every week.
Use herbs, spices and vinegars: Using fresh or dried herbs and spices can liven up the taste of foods without adding calories and fat. Plus, using spices and herbs assists in using less salt, helping to keep blood pressure low. Vinegars are also great to splash on salad greens, fish, chicken, or steamed vegetables – while adding no calories.
Do you have any tips to share on how to eat gluten/allergen free while staying in shape? If so, please share!