I'm thrilled to welcome my good friend Aleyda Batarse of The Dish On Healthy! Aleyda runs the popular @thedishonhealthy Instagram, and I love that we have become so close through our social media accounts! Aleyda takes her gluten free diet one step further as her creations are also dairy free and refined sugar free. All of her recipes are incredible - I am so impressed with her thoughtfulness and dedication to making her recipes delicious AND healthy, all while being a busy mother of two adorable children! Today, Aleyda shares how to make healthy choices while eating gluten free. I'm always "entertained" when people assume that following a gluten free diet automatically means you're super healthy. Some gluten free friendly foods can be loaded with sugar and more - a gluten free diet and a healthy diet don't always go together. Read below for Aleyda's tips on how to maintain a healthy gluten free diet :) I also did a guest blog post on her website so be sure to check them both out! Thanks Aleyda!
Hi! I’m Aleyda, the blogger & founder behind The Dish On Healthy; a foodie blog showcasing deliciously nourishing eats that are dairy, gluten & refined-sugar free. Am super thrilled to be guest blogging on each other’s blog’s this week. Jackie’s become a good friend of mine & very much like yourselves; I just love following along on her daily foodie adventures- which have recently taken her across the country. No big deal. Yep, she now lives on the beach and makes sure to brag (albeit very casually) about it; while the rest of us remain in an East Coast deep-freeze. But, she knows what’s good and her daily eats have us all drooling. Am I right? So thank you again for inviting me to your corner of the web, Jackie.
In 2008, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition & placed on a heavy & strict medication schedule to try and live as normally as possible & mask/control the symptoms. In 2013, I decided to fight back with more than just my meds and gave up what I refer to as the three culprits: gluten, dairy, & white refined sugars. It worked. Three years later, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been and just trying to enjoy life. The thought of giving these up may seem a bit daunting or drastic; but am here to say it’s totally do-able & none of the above actually apply.
Going gluten-free doesn't have to be scary. Today's market has a myriad of yum-worthy goodies that are ready to fill in those glutenous voids. Everyone can breathe easy, Sunday night pasta lives on. And if I dare say, brown rice, chickpea or lentil pasta tastes pretty close to the real, durum semolina wheat thingamajig. Wouldn’t you say? And how about gluten- free bread doesn't taste like (soggy) cardboard anymore. There's finally choice & more than one variety or brand that will do your morning toast some justice.
But before you fill up your grocery shopping cart with all and any goodies that read gluten-free; it's truly what's on the rest of the labels that tells the story. This post is going to enable you with some tips about eating well as a whole and what to look out for when purchasing processed foods targeting those who follow a wheat-free diet.
1. Hidden Sugars. If I can single out the biggest culprit of the group, it has to be white-refined sugars. A lot of times when you take out gluten, food may not taste as great. So, a lot of these processed goodies make up for it in sugar. When I first started eating gluten-free I would buy most of what I ate to make sure it was 100% gluten-free (as labelled). I was buying my waffles, my cupcakes, my cookies, etc. as opposed to making most of these myself with any of the great gluten-free flours. Some (not all) of these store-bought goodies were in turn laden with white sugar to make them more palatable. I started to notice that as opposed to losing weight, I was on an upswing. So, the very easy tip/take-away: read all your labels and single out grams of sugar. They count against you.
2. Watch Out for Soy In an effort to avoid cow dairy, I often find myself having to make a choice between soy or the latter. One of the first things to go when I made the lifestyle change was my daily latte. It didn’t really go away, it just morphed. My favorite coffee shop chain did not offer nut milk for the longest time, so I started getting soy lattes which resulted in mild acne and a hormonal imbalance. Soy will do that you peeps, so it’s important to read ingredients as it’s the most commonly used dairy substitute.
3. Sodium Bloats When you stop consuming gluten & you’re intolerant to it, you’ll notice an awesome de-bloat. I was amazed. Except when I’d go heavy on the sodium which is often the case with most gluten-free wraps, frozen pizza & frozen entrees. I found frozen pasta entrees to be a real problem with the salt. Salt, my friends, will bloat you too and make you retain excess fluid. I highly recommend buying any of the awesome gluten-free pasta brands and making your own bowl. Not only will it taste better than any frozen stuff, it’s also better for you & far more nourishing.
4. Eat Foods That Are Naturally Gluten-Free This one is hands down the best piece of advice. One day it just hit me: instead of going to great lengths trying to find great food that’s labelled gluten-free, why not eat more of the naturally gluten-free foods available to us? They seriously outdo the labelled stuff from a nutritional standpoint & are packed with healthy fats, antioxidants & protein like: wild caught salmon, chickpeas, salad greens, beets, sweet potatoes, eggs & avocado. I really got into fun & eclectic homemade buddha bowls, soups, salads with protein & all things avocado, really. So a perfect dinner would be wild caught salmon, guacamole & sweet potato wedges. It sounds delicious, it is delicious, & it’s gluten-free by design. Can’t beat that!
5. Bake Away Some of the best gluten-free goodies I’ve ever tried over the last couple of years are made with flours that are naturally gluten-free like: coconut flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour or a mix of brown rice flour & tapioca. Don’t be afraid to turn on your oven & look for some healthy recipe inspo & give any of these flours a try. You will love & most importantly, you’ll know exactly what went into them.
And finally, start by making small changes. It’s impossible to execute all of these in unison from the get-go. It’s simply not realistic. So pick your battles, make small changes & remember; they add up & go a long way.
As always, Happy Eating! Be sure to visit my page to catch Jackie’s awesome & very informative blog post.