Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grain 'n' Sugar are we doing?

We are now at  the end of our forth  week of grain 'n' sugar free!!
You may be asking (or not) How are we going with this?
Have we noticed any changes in behaviour and physically?
How are we coping as a family with the new eating habits?
How is the food we are eating and what are we eating now?
Are there any problems?
Are we cooking more, spending more time in the kitchen?
How does it compare cost wise to 'regular' eating?
Will we be continuing on with this lifestyle?

Well it has been a new learning curve in so many ways and then a return to the 'good ole days' in others!
What were the 'good ole days?' Well they were the ones when I spent  more time in the kitchen. Now days I have so many helpers that I often don't spend lots of time cooking. This is a good thing and yet something I miss too.

With this new way of eating I have found it has required a lot more 'prep time' actually. The meals we have been having of an evening have resulted in more meat and veg meals, not necessarily the old recipes, in fact we have been trying lots of new dinner recipes. We did use some of the ideas and recipes from my first Menu Plan but really did not use lots of the snacks or cakes.

We are still adding new things and trying things that I hope will improve general health and well-being as well as specific foods for particular issues.

So we have spent more time preparing food, especially as we have been cooking cooking breakfast as well as having a lunch that is not sandwiches, which is a fairly quick and easy lunch to prepare.

I have recorded and photographed some of the meals and cakes (it is amazing how some of the cakes etc do NOT look like the recipe pictures) and will share what we thought was  a winner and what was a 'dud,' and there were a couple of these.

One of the hardest parts has been feeding our baby. Now, not at regular meal times but the snacks in between. It has been my habit in the past to give our new beginner eaters banana and toast  fingers. Now obviously he still has bananas but finding other reasonable quick food for him to snack on has been a challenge.

Has anyone missed the 'wheat' or 'sugar'?
This question is a double edged sword! We have not missed all those foods that contain hidden wheat and/or sugar at all.

The main thing missed is.........BREAD! We have always been a big bread family, we love it. There is nothing more comforting and warming than fresh, warm bread straight out of the oven with butter and jam on it. Yes I admit it typing that up makes my mouth water. I have not missed it though on a regular basis though. Although some of our children have especially. They have asked for bread on numerous occasions and said how they long for bread. This has been a huge adjustment for the children especially and I am still trying to deal with this.

Added sugar not really missed at all. I have eliminated it from my coffee and with out having cereal added sugar is not such a big deal either. Having said that some of our children like either honey, stevia or coconut sugar in their tea or coffee.
We have added honey or coconut sugar to the few cakes or cookies we have made too.

Confession time: We have over the 4 weeks had a couple of nights while watching movies where we did have a few pieces of chocolate. And last night I indulged and bought a couple of cheesecakes for sweets.
What I noticed after both these times was  this:
For the older children with the chocolate we had some headaches and an episode of  'silliness.'
Today after the cheesecake we have had very hard to deal with and grumpy younger children, especially Moran and Corbyn ( who obviously regressed from the above behaviour) Some of the older children complained of not sleeping well and being tired today as well as being more irritable too.
Conclusion: wheat and/or sugar does have a negative affect on our family and behaviour.

The other complaint has been a constant "I'm hungry!!"
For snacks we have had nuts, seeds and fruit or vegetables and a couple of times the cakes/ cookies from the menu. I am unsure if little children are still hungry or if it is a result of the 'I can't think of something to do so I need something to eat syndrome' that happens and did happen before we started down this path. So not sure for the younger children.
Saxon seems to be perpetually hungry though, so I am still looking into a way of helping him with this.
For Stephen, myself, Autumn, Eden, Vellvin we have not really hungry between meals at all. If dinner or lunch is late I tend to become a little hungry then but not really between meals.

At the start of this  we weighed everyone and took measurements and for some of us there has been a moderate change in weight, (the largest being about 4-5 kgs) and size with drops of up to about 5-6 cm. This was a good result for the older children who were happy about this and the younger children have maintained their weight, except for one child who has lost a couple of kilo's.

The biggest change has been in those family members that I was hoping for with behavioural issues and depression. I am pleased to say that the depression seems to be better with an overall ability to cope as well as a general attitude of  'wellness' as well as less days of actual depression.

Our sensory challenged children, Moran and Corbyn have both had a dramatic improvement.

Moran has been more focused and able to deal with everyday situations.
Moran is being able to stay focused on her lessons better and is finally able to make progress with her reading. She has also  become more responsible and reliable  wanting and being able to help with home life. In fact she has taken great delight in being able to hold and carry her baby brother.
Moran is also sleeping much better which has been a first for her in her life!! She is also getting up better of a morning and able to start her day well with little encouragement form others.

Corbyn has finally stopped being the 'energiser bunny or a Tigger!' At the end of the day when he seemed to spiral out of control has not been happening. He has been quite able to cope with the end of the day and has been going to bed quite well too.  Corbyn has not been as grumpy or easily upset and so the mood of the day is entirely different and better for him.

I am now at the stage where I am planning a new menu (partly done) for the coming fortnight. I am fitting this into pay weeks so as to keep a better track on the cost.

Initially I am sure it cost a little more to replace old ingredients with new and our first fortnight cost was quite a surprise to me. However I admit I have not been scrupulous  in keeping track of this previously and so cannot compare with before as I would have liked.
In fact this could vary greatly on whether we were having a 'lean week' or a 'regular week,' depending on bills to be paid and unexpected events etc.

Another aside is I have found it harder to have a 'lean week' eating this way as one of the staples for us had always been pasta, bread and cereals!
What I did notice was our second fortnight was about $500 less than the previous one and I am hoping we can drop it down again with some different food changes and better snack control.

I do know and have had it confirmed by my friend Erin is that we do live in a very expensive part of the country food wise and utilities wise.
For example my almond flour costs me $19 a kilo and for Erin it costs I think from memory $13 a kilo. Our fruit, veg and meat are significantly more expensive as well.
So obviously eating more of these results in more cost than other parts of the country and having a large family increases the cost too.

Will we continue with this?
Yes we will! I am convinced it is beneficial for all of us and that we are eating a much more healthy and better for us foods.  The general well being is better and people are not as tired (except form late night movie watching on weekends)

I do need to fine tune it for our family and will be making some changes to suit our family, that may or may not be kept in.

For myself I think that if I would like to benefit from some significant weight loss  I still need to exercise. I have been trying to fit this in but just not getting there yet.

 I was going to post  exactly what we ate each day along with pictures of anything different we tried out but this post is already long so will do that as a separate post.

Well how is that for an honest account of how one family has adjusted to a Grain 'n' Sugar free diet?

I am sure this will not be a continued level playing field as we have not struck our first birthday since starting this so be prepared for more ' real life accounts.'
By the way I have found more blogs and resources I will be updating to my past post for my own information as well as anyone else who may be interested.

Thank you for all your encouragement along the way and I hope you continue to be with us on this journey!

Blessings to you and your homes,


FrontierDreams said...

Thank you for sharing this. I am uncertain if I see a change or not yet. I think I may be doing better with my moods and depression tendencies which is huge. I do know I haven't lost any weight - not that I was doing this for the weight loss but I thought that would happen. I am looking forward to see how I feel at the end of these 40 days. I do know one thing, though - I won't go back to sugar again!

Erin said...

I've been so keen to hear how your journey is going. Fascinated to hear everyone's results. Confession here, I 'broke today' and made muffins, paying for it as I type, stomach cramps and headache. Need to revamp our menu, getting bored, due to go shopping next Tuesday, any suggestions before then?;)

Vicky said...

I'm interested, Gae, in which you think made the most difference - giving up the sugar or the wheat? We don't eat a lot of wheat but we'd really miss having bread. I think sugar was easier for us to give up, too - though, we had to go cold turkey to overcome the addiction. God bless:)

Sarah Harkins said...

This is wonderful news, Gae! I am happy to hear your kids are doing well. Did you experience any carb flu? It is always hard in the first week of giving up carbs and sugar for us. Now we don't crave them very often.

Snacks are the biggest hurdle for anyone, I think. I don't know of very many commercial snacks that are flour and sugar free- they seem to be ONLY sugar and grains. Besides the ones that you mentioned, squash fries are a big hit around here, boiled eggs, zuccini "cakes" (shredded zucchini and eggs with cheese on top) Kale chips, veggies and dip, yogurt, and smoothies are mostly what we eat for snacks.

God bless your journey!

Tina Marie said...

Gae,thanks for being so open. We have been grain free for just over a year now. It is definitely more expensive here, too. Do you think you could order almond flour online somewhere? I order mine from the U.S. and even though postage is extremely high, it still beats what you would pay at any health food store here. I order it in 25kg boxes and it lasts our family of six about 3 months. With postage it is between $160 and $200 CAD. We live in a very expensive part of our country, too and food costs are really high. I think this is harder for us to deal with than the actual change in eating. We also have found that when you mix buckwheat flour and tapioca with the almond flour you get a better texture and better taste in baked goods, not to mention it cuts costs drastically (here, anyway). We have a bread recipe that we really like and one for cheese buns that I can send you if you'd like. The loaf is small, but you could easily whip up two or three at a time. Instead of sandwiches, we sometimes use romaine leaves from the romaine hearts and fill those with salmon salad or egg salad, veggies and cheese, mustard or homemade mayo and eat them somewhat like a taco. Snacks for the littles stumped me, too. We generally just do fruit, fresh or dried (raisins) when they are old enough. My son wanted to try to make fruit leather for snacks.

I love that you are all doing much better. I think about you and your family. I wonder how we can do it when our kids are older. My boys just started eating a lot more than they used to. I think they are growing. Who does the cooking? Everyone who can has to pitch in here. There is definitely more prep work, but it is so worth it. God Bless.

Unknown said...

Bread is probably the hardest to let go of- particularly for the children, while I don't miss it mostly, occasionally I think it would be nice. However I was really looking forward to eating a croissant at Christmas and so I did indulge only to find that it really didn't taste that great after all, so maybe bread would be the same!
Well done I am glad you are reaping the benefits!

Gae said...

Dear Tina Marie,
Not sure about ordering on line as the postage to Tasmania is a lot more too, because they have to ship over the water from the mainland.
I would really, really love to have your recipes please. I do find the boys tend to need more than the girls, even little boys
What is the mixture ratios you use when you add the buckwheat etc.
Thanks for offering this help and encouragement
God Bless

Gae said...

Thank you Deanne. It has been and interesting experience for us but one I think is very beneficial
God Bless

Gae said...

Oh we have a couple of kids on dinner prep but I do often help or take over or we all chip in. Definitely we try to have everyone help with the chores

Gae said...

Dear Sarah,
NO we did not experience any carb flu, not even sure what it is but no adverse side affects really.
We really did not have bought snacks but we did make cakes for morning tea so those are the things missed most. Although one cake only gave us one piece each :)
The other thing I have noticed is that non wheat cakes tend to be much smaller
Thanks for the encouragement
God Bless

Gae said...

Dear Vicky,
I actually think that wheat was the item that caused the most change. WE had been gradually giving up sugar over a few weeks prior. I was astounded at the many things wheat was in, one that we ate frequently was chicken we made some instead.
It is harder to give up but the kids think it also caused the most change
Thanks for your input
God Bless

Gae said...

Dear Erin,
I will be posting our menu plan and the results of what we ate over the last month so perhaps that would help you beofre Tuesday
I know I can count on you for help and advice always..thank you :)
God Bless

Gae said...

Dear Nicole,
I would be very interested in how your moods and depression tendencies change with your own journey. It would be so hard to give up milk though and I would love to see your menu plan too.
I didn't start it either for weight loss but 'supposedly' it is supposed to fall off with no wheat and sugar.... not happening here :)
I also agree I would not go back to sugar but some wheat I could be tempted with :)
God Bless

Anonymous said...

is this diet anything like a Paleo diet?

Gae said...

It is similar but different at the same time. I frankly find them a little confusing in the differences but there is plenty of research available to check
Thank you for commenting

MA F said...

I'm sorting through all your links! Thanks for taking the time to put them up.
We started on the GAPS diet a few weeks back and its encouraging to see other families on a similar journey.
It's been funny watching the kiddos looking for snacks, they have been missing crackers, they have been all going about with carrots hanging from their mouths like Bugs Bunny these last weeks :)

Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

I am fortunate in that our fruit and veg here is very inexpensive. For our snacks around here, we almost always have fruit and/or veggies (not a budget buster when I can get oranges at 5/$1, pears for a quarter, organic apples at less than $1.50/lb.) Another popular snack here is boiled eggs. My boys especially like to store them in pickle jars with the pickle juice.


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