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Eating less wheat.

May 11, 2012

Wheat

Apparently I am the last one to get the memo that muffins are to blame for my muffin-top, and not my affection for (ahem, addiction to) cheese, the creamier the better.  My curious, self-improving and continually self-educating partner is reading Wheat Belly, so our family’s diet has been under review while we experiment with excluding wheat from our meals.  Now I notice the phenomenon everywhere I go – there are wheat-free options at cafes and restaurants, and magazine articles on wheat-free dinner ideas in every grocery store checkout.

The first couple of weeks of avoiding wheat were really tough.  I realized how often I reach for crackers, cookies, muffins, or toast as a quick snack.  Paired with a piece of fruit it feels like a healthy choice.  Especially because the kids are carb-aholics.  Being the little athletes that they are, they seem to thrive on those complex carbs that give them slow-release energy throughout the day.  Now, I’ve learned to substitute things like nuts or nut butter, or slices of cheese (yes!) for the complex carb option in my snacks.  Also, I’ve ended up eating smaller meals throughout the day.  I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal with yogurt and fruit at 10am, and a bowl of chili at 3pm, instead of a muffin or toast with pb and banana.  I’ve made cold salads with quinoa, beans and veggies to keep in the fridge and snack on, instead of graham crackers or a bagel with cream cheese and jam.

I am not convinced I want to eliminate wheat altogether.  My food culture is based on everything in moderation, and excluding something, and becoming high-maintenance about what I will or won’t eat, doesn’t appeal to me.  However, I have really started to look for whole grain (even whole grain wheat) options, and I’m amazing how much of the food I was consuming was made of processed flour, which I knew (but chose to ignore) was far less healthy and less satiating.  This is especially true of bread, tortillas, pitas and naan, staples in our diet.  Whole grain bread is easy to find, and corn tortillas are easy to substitute when making quesidillas or enchiladas. 

I’m still not going to be extreme in my choices, but I have experimented with substituting half the white flour in a recipe with quinoa flour, with good results.  The quinoa flour has a noticeable, but not bad, flavour, and having some wheat (or white) flour still gives that delicious, gluteny mouth-feel.  Luckily, I don’t have allergies to gluten, or celiac disease, so I can be flexible.  I just refuse to give up my homemade thin-crust pizza dough or the ReBar cookbook chocolate chip cookies, no apologies.  I have to say, I feel great.  I’m eating more throughout the day, but my muffin top is shrinking.  I’m not missing the wheat, or my wheat belly.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn permalink
    June 29, 2012 2:10 am

    I am so on your page. Would love to know your favorite web resources.

    • Alex King permalink*
      June 29, 2012 9:00 pm

      Thanks! So far I’ve found hipgirlshome.com/recipe-index/ has great gluten-free baking recipes, but I haven’t invested in the arrowroot powder, xanthum gum, etc. needed to making my baking truly gluten free. I’ve been experimenting with substituting flours in regular recipes. I’ll try to post my favourite success (apple coffee cake) this weekend.

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