I know in some of these posts in my Life-Style Change Series will seem like ‘peat and repeat’, but some of the information is so worth the reading it again and again.
Things I have learned.
Go Cold Turkey!
Let me start this post with: please do not feel like you are wasting, since you need to start the clean eating “cold turkey”. Don’t throw out that food poisons you have been buying, give it away or let the ones complaining you are starving them cook it. But… for your own sake don’t fix it for them. If they want to eat it, let them, and they need to enjoy fixing it. My husband still buys white potatoes and there are days that I want them, so I head to my room and have a pity party. It is hard watching someone else eat what you no longer should. Something he has learned, he goes to the store to buy what he wants that I cannot have, plus he cooks it. I place nothing in my buggy that I cannot enjoy! Now on to the kitchen.
When you buy the organic salad greens, don’t be surprised to see proof of bugs. That is what organic means, no bug sprays! Take your salad spinner and fill it up with water and salt. Salt kills them or will make them release from any of the greens. Then re-rinse the greens under spray. Don’t forget to spin them and pour off any extra water. I just store my salad base in that spinner. Things like tomatoes, seeds and fruit, cheese, olives, and any other interesting things do not get put into the base. I use the method of ‘salad bar’ and put them in separate bowls for everyone to help themselves. For the hard veggies that we add to our salad, just slice it right in with your greens. Note: if you cannot afford all your salad items organic, then cheat with only those you can rinse then peel. Dry them with a paper towel before peeling them twice to make sure you have a fighting chance.
Salads can last two or three days after prepping them, so I make enough for two days. Store it in the spinner putting the whole contraption in the fridge. Use just spring mixes, no iceberg. I will have kale, or some other unusual leaf added in it. I use scissors to cut the kale, and a potato-peeler to slice the hard veggies like radishes. Try new greens that you have never experimented with. Things I like to rotate are nuts/seeds and fruit. But don’t add the wet veggies or other goodies until you are ready to serve that night’s portion. Yes, I use shredded cheese occasionally, but limit it to less than a tablespoon.
I use a vinaigrette style dressing, but most of the time mine are dry. My vinaigrette is home-made. Keep one of those pop-top beer bottles to make it in, make only a week’s amount at a time. You need up to 3 cups of ‘green’ daily. I know some protocols calls for 9 cups of veggies and fruit but having the ‘pressed down’ 3 cups works for me. Do not forget that you need “raw” daily, not less than a ‘pressed-down’ cup.
For meats you will have to read labels or find someone who raises livestock, do your own hunting or fishing. You can eat any meat if you keep your serving at 6 ounces or less. When looking for processed meats, try to get them nitrate and nitrite free. Some brands call it “uncured”. Most brands do have it, but some have other fillers that are not good for you. Read your label! Also, these premium meats go bad faster. Buy only a week at a time, unless you are the type to prep meals ahead of time. I have learned that brands do taste different and texture is better with the higher priced brand.
Everyone loves bacon and you can find it at the same price as the nitrite ones. Look for “uncured”. Please stay away from Turkey bacon. It is so full of artificial junk to make it have a little pork flavor. Why poison yourself when you can eat bacon? Don’t forget to add liver to your diet, unless for religious reasons organs are not allowed. Grill it in a pan that you have caramelized some onions in. Fish and shell-fish are great, be careful to stay away from farm raised. But keep your dinners with meat to 5 per week or less.
For lunch meats, just about each brand has the nitrite free varieties. Watch the other fillers when you pick them up. Remember they will spoil quickly, so only buy what you can finish within the week.
Remember that organic fed meats are grain/gluten fed meats.
Another thing I noticed is organic juices tend to be heavier. I add water to mine. About 2 ounces of water to 4 ounces of juice.
I bought a (glass) cold coffee diffuser. I fill it up with filtered water and drop in my already steeped herbal tea to rest overnight. I used that costly tea twice! Hint, to keep tea from becoming bitter, never press or squeeze it. A note is that it will not taste like tea but flavored water. You could also add dried fruit in the diffuser. If I think I will want a touch of sweetness, I will add a teaspoon of raw sugar or honey. I would not put fresh citrus in the diffuser since the acid can eat the mesh basket. Also, you can use essential oils to flavor your water. (A warning: make sure that oil is ok’d for ingesting.)
Let us talk sugar. I buy the raw sugar! I still have white sugar in the house, but I have not bought any more. I am using raw sugar, honey, and maple syrup. I know that raw sugar is like 2 times as expensive, but hey, I am worth it. With the white sugar I was using two heaping teaspoons in my coffee, now I only use two leveled spoons. When I walk in a store I never forget to see if the raw sugar and maple syrup are on sale. This falls into the category of ‘smart shopper’. In my hot cereals I used to add white sugar but now I chop some dates into it and it adds the sweetness. They make sugar from dates so instead of purchasing the extremely costly date sugar just get a package of them and chop them into your water as you heat it.
A hint about using the raw sugar you will find it does not dissolve like white sugar. When you can, let it sit in the liquids for over 30 minutes before adding any other ingredients. If your recipe calls for corn syrup, maple works fine.
What do I use instead of flour? You can find lots of different substitutes. You will have to experiment with your own taste buds.
My system just cannot handle regular pasta anymore. I have finally found pasta that is made with rice instead of wheat. Surprisingly, they taste as good as the wheat ones! I only fix that night’s portion, never enough for left-overs, it does not do well. Warning is that some are made with corn, so read your box. The chickpeas ones were not good at all. The texture and film left in the mouth were not appreciated. Also, if you get a hankering for lasagna then use zucchini or eggplant. The oriental rice noodles are great! If I want a starchy texture some of my choices are sweet potato fries, rice, mashed cauliflower, or mashed turnips.
Processed meals and Corn
Processed entreé and sides, etc. have not been bought since I started reading the fine print!
Corn products have also disappeared from the pantry. If you read all those processed meals/foods, they have corn syrup in them in some form or fashion. I don’t know about you, but when I was eating corn before the grand clean-up, it was never digested. It came out the same way it went in! I think that if we put something in our body, which it cannot break down and use, it may not be such a smart idea to force the substance into our bodies. Even gluten-free products can have corn as an ingredient!
Remember that corn is hidden. Now, I do consider where it is in the ingredients panel. Not corn syrups, but corn starch. If it is at least the 5th ingredient I might accept it. But corn syrup is my “no, put it back” ingredient.
I know I said I was dairy free, but heck, truthfully only milk and ice cream. Since I have never liked or could stand the feel of yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese I do not count them as a dropped food, nor would I miss them. I eat the higher quality of cheeses, love butter, and my ‘real milk’ creamers. Use butter, not margarine, not corn oil, or even veggie oils. If you use olive then go for it, but the extra virgin should not be used for frying, only keep small amounts of it at a time, it goes rank really quickly.
Some people think you need the cultured dairy for the gut benefit. Believe me, if you start cleaning your intake up you will not need it.
On eating out, please ask for a GF menu! The more guest that ask for them sends a signal to the restaurants that people do want these options. I finally was brave enough to ask at our local small-town pizza joint. Lo and behold, they had a homemade GF pizza crust, and to my surprise it was yummy! Some restaurants have symbols on their regular menu but there are hidden allergens in the sauces. Each restaurant has a book with known allergens in it. If you are unsure ask to see it.
If you are not Celiac, when eating at fast food, just ask for that burger without a bun. Ask what grease those fries are dropped in. [If you are eating fries as a cheat.] Ask that they do not put it on Styrofoam. Note: when carrying home leftovers, leave the lid open to the container, the heat may activate some chemicals in the container.
If you are traveling and visiting a home that does not have gluten-free foods, it is hard to eat with them. Since you are visiting them, invite them to eat out. Know the restaurants in that area before you leave.
I carry my own GF breakfast bars to my mother’s house. I carry my own sugar, tea, and snacks. I offer to cook so that I can control what the food has in it. If you have found a new recipe that has excited you, share that by fixing it for those people you are visiting. I have added cauliflower to mashed potatoes. No, I did not eat them, but I cut the amount of white starch/sugar others were scooping onto their plate.
An odd thing I have learned is how easy it is to get second growing from our veggies. Onions can regrow in pots by cutting that root area from the end and sticking them in a pot on your deck. If you were tossing out root veggies that were on their last day, put it in a pot instead of the garbage. Some herbs are the easiest things to grow. The top of a beet can regrow some tasty leaves. I have tried carrots, still haven’t had any luck. Go online and try your luck. Also, if you buy leaf lettuce that still has its root base, give it a try after you use the outer leaves. The infamous “web” has tons of how to videos, check them out.