Monday, February 27, 2012

Our Journey begins..........grain 'n' sugar free

Surprise, Surprise!!!
Our family is embarking on a new way of eating.
After much research and deliberation over the last couple of months we have finally decided for most of the family to see if it makes a difference for us.

Why did we start down this path?

Well the initial reason was we have a couple of our family members who have issues with  depression. My research seemed to indicate that  wheat significantly increased depression in those susceptible. It seemed that sugar achieved the same  effect  as well although my research on this is not as significant as yet. I am still waiting for a book to arrive to help me each a more definite decision. However we are now 'sugar free' and use coconut sugar, stevia and honey for our sweeteners.

As we have some other children with anxiety, and hyperactivity which once again from my research seems  to suggest that it comes form a wheat sensitivity.

I also have read in my research that Asthma which we have in the family can also be caused by a wheat intolerance.

What I needed to research before we headed down this path was some significant issues for us.
What can we possible eat when you eliminate wheat. Frankly added sugar was easy to eliminate, finding the added sugars in all it's forms was much harder as we had to read EVERYTHING.

What about feast day cooking?
What can we replace bread with?
What about cakes and cookies?

So these were some of the 'problems' I checked out first. I have spent weeks researching various sites and blogs for recipes and ideas. This meant I had to be sure and make a mind set change.

Although we do not eat a lot of processed foods we did eat bread and packaged cereal as well as canned goods, and some packet foods. What I have discovered is that wheat and sugar in almost everything you buy that has some degree of 'prepared'  process.

We rarely eat packaged snacks and when we do it is one packet of potato ships or family block chocolate between 14 (12 with the boys away), so as you can see it isn't a lot at any one time. These are special foods and not eaten daily either.

So once we made the decision the first thing was to take everything out of the pantry and restock with what we could have.

Below is some information I found useful in us coming to this journey. We have been grain free for over a week now and sugar free for about 2-3 depending on who in the family and using the last of some thing sin our pantry.

As part of the process of seeing if this is effective in behaviour modification and in regards to depression I have taken some notes (personal) on what I see as problems within the family. We have also taken weights and measurements to chart this as well.

I am keeping receipts and records of what we eat based off a fortnightly menu and shopping as I want to record the cost for our family. This is an issue for us too as feeding a large family this way I think will cost a lot. Most of the information and blogs I have found are for small families and so I cannot compare the cost benefit.

So watch out for the posts on: fortnightly menu, pantry elimination, weekly- 'what we did eat', and some great resources and blogs I have found.

The main book I read from for our change in eating habits was ~ Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

Here is a Free Interview

For my gluten free friends are you aware of this quote from the Author of Wheat Belly

"I strongly urge people to avoid commercial gluten-free products. This is because, in place of wheat flour, these products, such as gluten-free whole grain bread, are made using cornstarch, rice starch, tapioca starch, and potato starch. These powdered starches are among the few foods that increase blood sugar higher than even whole wheat. It means these foods trigger weight gain in the abdomen (“gluten-free belly”), increased blood sugars, insulin resistance and diabetes, cataracts, and arthritis. They are not healthy replacements for wheat."

Here are some main points from the book ~

The addictive properties of wheat, for instance, expressed as overwhelming temptation and obsession, obstructed by opiate-blocking drugs, are not directly due to gluten, but to exorphins, the breakdown product of gluten. 

If the gap left by wheat is filled with vegetables, nuts, meats, eggs, avocados, olives, cheese—i.e., real food—then not only won’t you develop a dietary deficiency, you will enjoy better health, more energy, better sleep, weight loss, and reversal of all the abnormal phenomena we’ve discussed

By now, I’m confident you’re attuned to the fact that wheat is not just about bread. Wheat is ubiquitous—it’s in everything

If you wish to roll back the appetite-stimulating, insulin-distorting, and small LDL-triggering effects of foods beyond wheat, or if substantial weight loss is among your health goals, then you should consider reducing or eliminating the following foods in addition to eliminating wheat.
  • Cornstarch and cornmeal—cornmeal products such as tacos, tortillas, corn chips, and corn breads, breakfast cereals, and sauces and gravies thickened with cornstarch
  • Snack foods—potato chips, rice cakes, popcorn. These foods, like foods made of cornstarch, send blood sugar straight up to the stratosphere.
  • Desserts—Pies, cakes, cupcakes, ice cream, sherbet, and other sugary desserts all pack too much sugar.
  • Rice—white or brown; wild rice. Modest servings are relatively benign, but large servings (more than ½ cup) generate adverse blood sugar effects.
  • Potatoes—White, red, sweet potatoes, and yams cause effects similar to those generated by rice.
  • Legumes—black beans, butter beans, kidney beans, lima beans; chickpeas; lentils. Like potatoes and rice, there is potential for blood sugar effects, especially if serving size exceeds ½ cup.
  • Gluten-free foods—Because the cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch used in place of wheat gluten causes extravagant blood sugar rises, they should be avoided.
  • Fruit juices, soft drinks—Even if they are “natural,” fruit juices are not that good for you. While they contain healthy components such as flavonoids and vitamin C, the sugar load is simply too great for the benefit. Small servings of two to four ounces are generally fine, but more will trigger blood sugar consequences. Soft drinks, especially carbonated, are incredibly unhealthy mostly due to added sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, colorings, and the extreme acid challenge from the carbonic acid carbonation.
  • Dried fruit—dried cranberries, raisins, figs, dates, apricots
  • Other grains—Nonwheat grains such as quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat, millet, and possibly oats lack the immune system and exorphin consequences of wheat. However, they post substantial carbohydrate challenges, sufficient to generate high blood sugars. I believe these grains are safer than wheat, but small servings (less than ½ cup) are key to minimize the blood sugar impact.
Looking forward to sharing some more of our journey with you soon!

Blessings to you and your homes,


Sarah Harkins said...

Gae, Best wishes to you on this new food journey! It's been an eye opener for us too.

As far as depression, I have read that eating large amounts of healthy fats (animal fats, butter, virgin coconut oil, nuts, avocados etc. greatly help. On our diet, it's been advised to eat as much as 40% fat!! I'm not sure we have gotten there, but it has been interesting to see that good fats do not make people fat. We've lost more weight than ever-not that that was our intention.

You might want to try converting your milk into homemade yogurt- which is very cost effective. I have written some on that.

Weston A Price and are helpful too.

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting Gae. I've been thinking of doing this too. I've researched and found that wheat is also responsible for acid reflux (which I have) and other digestive problems. And you are right wheat is in things you would never think it was in. A former coworkers son was allergic to wheat and the one thing I was surprised to hear has it in is bottled salsa.

Our family is also in the process of changing up our consumption of wheat - we are going the Nourishing Traditions route which suggests all grains be sprouted.

Looking forward to reading more in the weeks to come.


FrontierDreams said...

Oh Gae, we are on this journey together! I decided to give up all grains, sugars (minus honey), beans (including peanuts) for Lent since I am so addicted to them. It's only been about 5 days but it's been rough. I found two books that seem great recipe wise - especially for cakes, and other sweets : 'Paleo Comfort Food' and 'Make it Paleo'. Being a soy free and dairy free vegetarian makes it a bit rougher on me but I am trying to figure it all out.

maria said...

As you embark in this new journey, keep a journal of what is truly working for each family member. This way, you are able to truly see what is good and what isn't.

This is the way I found out I was not gluten free, but I was a diabetic.

Praying that this new journey will lead to better health for everyone in your family.

Be at peace today my friend,


Susan (HomeGrownKids) said...

Hi Gae,
I'll be following your journey with interest. I am slowly coming to very similar conclusions. I have read Wheat Belly but have read the blog but some of my other reading is along the same lines- stop the grains.

I'm not going all out and doing a radical change but then again, we don't have issues with anxiety, depression or other such things, more so physical health issues which really knock us around.

I wish you all the best on your quest and I do thank you for sharing. :)

Erin said...

Dear friend, supporting and encouraging you{{}} Looking forward to reading about how you go:)

Trish said...

You will definitely see changes in the family, Gae!
We also have some issues with asthma, depression, anxiety, and gluten intolerance.
Though it's difficult at first to maintain dietry changes, it will be worth it as you 'sus out' your individual needs.
I'll be praying for you all.
I understand how important this is for you!

Anonymous said...


Best wishes for you and your family on this new adventure. I try to bake with spelt flour which isn't quite gluten free but it is better. I hope you do post some new favorite recipes.



Molly said...

I look forward to following your journey. I have often thought of making the same change, but haven't been able to commit yet. Maybe once I'm back from vacation.

Best Wishes!!

Anonymous said...

This is a constant battle in my home. It's easy to give u pthe processed foods and sugary snacks not a problem...but bread, and rice are a bit harder.
Around here sandwiches for lunch are becoming a staple because of time constraints. The sprouted bread (I read) can not be digested by children 2and under)

I say, do what you can andleave the rest to God.

I have started my kids on cod liver oil (again) and I use Nourishing Traditions as much as I can.
I have noticed a definite change in attention once I started this and the butter oil.

It does get expensive and I am interested to see how you manage so I can glean some ideas from you!

Meanwhile I wonder if preparing bread a bit different by soaking would help things? I have some recipes for bread that requires soaking the wheat overnight before you begin mixing it with yeast and of course I have read that sourdough bread does not seem to bother people so much in sugar levels.

Gae said...

Dear Sarah,
WE do make home made yoghurt too. We love it.

Yes it is interesting about fats


Gae said...

Dear Nicole,
Yes giving up peanuts would be tough for us too.
I looked at those books too. Do you find them very helpful. I imagine being soy free and dairy free vegetarian would make it more difficult. Thanks for sharing. I love looking at your recipes too.

Gae said...

Thank you Maria, Erin, Molly, Gina, Susan and Trish for your encouragement in this new and different journey


Gae said...

Dear Josette,
Yes bread has been hard for most of the family and finding a quick snack for children has been more of a challenge.
I hear you about time restraints. It is difficult to do all we wisha nd maintain sanity.

I am interested in looking at sprouted grains, when I said so to Saxon (who misses bread the most) he wasn't that impressed.

Is nourishing traditions a book?


Gae said...

Dear Sandra,
Yes wheat seems to be in almost everything you don't make !
I wonder if you could share some more information on Nourishing traditions. There seem to be so many different but connected sides to this whole eating thing. Too much conflicting and yet connected ideas.


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