It’s been more than three years that I announced to the world that I would embark on a wheat free diet. I took the picture below, wrote this blog post and got started. For some time I spent hours researching what I could eat and for a long time I thought that only if I made everything from scratch would I succeed. In the past three years, I honed my wheat free eating skills to pro level. And today I’m sharing with you my tips of what I wish I knew back then.
Do you need all these ‘special’ products do eat a wheat free diet?
Because cutting wheat from your diet is no ill feat. It is a staple food for many that is cheap and used in many foods you won’t expect to find it (processed meats such as hamburgers nearly always contain wheat as do many store bought soups and sauces and even crisps!). By now I can tolerate trace amounts of wheat in products, but my body still responds when I eat wheat all day every day. If I balance it out, I have a diet that works for me. But that still means that 80% of my diet is wheat free. Here’s how.
Tip #1: Figure out substitutes that work for you
Wheat is not the only grain on the market, however, substitutes can be expensive. I started off believing that I could still eat roughly the same diet, as long as I now ate non-wheat versions of the foods I normally eat. If you do that, your bank account will suffer as you bleed it dry for wheat free versions of basic foods. Because food manufacturers aren’t crazy and they will charge you up to 5x as much for something as simple as a pasta simply because it is less common. At first I had a lot of spelt too, but since it’s very similar to wheat in its makeup, I found it still caused havoc on my system after a while, be it less quickly than wheat.
Tip #2: Stay away from gluten free
Unless you are a suffering from celiac, there is no reason for you to start on a gluten free diet. Wheat free does not equal gluten free and many gluten free foods still contain wheat, be it minus the gluten. So watch out for that. Also, gluten free products have to get their texture from something other than the gluten and what you will find in these special products are many additives and mainly a whole lot more sugar, to make the product palatable. Especially gluten free bread and many lactose replacements, such as most mainstream soy and almond milk have a lot of added sugars. Which to me is substituting evil with evil.
Tip #3: Eat differently
I found that the only way for me to go wheat free is to change the way I eat. Less to no bread, little to no grains, more fruit, veg and protein. That is pretty much what I started doing. Sure, I found some great wheat free substitutes for pasta and granola mostly, but I found that the best substitute for wheat is simply to eat more greens, more legumes and more healthy fats from (non) dairy products, avocados and nuts. I eat a little bit more fruit now too as fruit contains a lot of carbs, so it’s an easy way to get those into your system when you’re also working out on a regular basis. You just get them in a different format, is all.
Tip #4: Wheat free does not have to increase your grocery bill
That brings me to my next tip. Because I bought so many special wheat free items from organic grocery stores and other places, I started spending a lot more on food. Almost twice as much. After 2 years of paying a lot more for my groceries, I was a little bit over it, and so I decided to change things up and see if I could find cheaper versions that work as well. I did and now eat oats or granola for breakfast that contain 0% wheat. There is a grain called Kamut which makes for a great pasta substitute, but as are corn and/ or buckwheat which are both a lot cheaper than spelt/ kamut. And I have found that rye is another grain that is much cheaper and more mainstream and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
Tip #5: There is no need to make everything from scratch
Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, but I am on a major time constraint as to how much time I can and am willing to spend on making meals. At first I spent most of my time in the kitchen making ‘healthy’ snacks. Substituting wheat for coconut, buckwheat or almond flour, I baked banana breads sweetened with just bananas, honey sweetened brownies and anything far in between. The only problem is that I have to eat all that food by myself and my freezer is not the biggest. Which meant a complete overload of treats and I found that I’m far better off buying my favorite chocolate bar for my Saturday snack than munching away on wheat free baked goodies.
I hope these tips are helpful if you are new to a wheat free lifestyle.
Please leave a comment down below, if you have any more tips yourself.