Information and support for low carb and gluten free eating.

Getting started with gluten-free living

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Michael's picture
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Joined: 06/13/2008

So you decided to give up the gluten. Share your experiences!

  • What made you decide to kick the wheat habit?
  • How did you get started?
  • Did you go through "wheat withdrawal?" How long did it last?
  • What kinds of problems did you experience?
  • Was it hard to find gluten-free foods to your satisfaction?
  • What kind of results (health, weight loss) did you experience?
LowCarbForLife's picture
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Joined: 06/10/2008
Gluten free & doing fine!

I have given up gluten, but I am ashamed to say that I am only giving it up for a short time right now. You see, Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and I am going to enjoy my meal of salad, turkey, vegetables, and stuffing. Our gravy recipe does not contain gluten, and I am making my chocolate pecan pie recipe wheat free, so I hope this will be my last fling with bread for awhile. I will skip the homemade baking powder biscuits, so the stuffing is the only wheat product that I am willing to consume. If all goes well, we will find ways to alter our recipes so that we can become wheat free fairly soon.

I realized I was a carbohydrate addict several years ago, but I was unable to control my hunger until I began following the guidelines of the Carbohydrate Addict's LifeSpan Program. I have lost an enormous amount of weight by following these guidelines and I believe the reason it worked for me was because I never had to give up any of the foods I love.

I also believe that my preference of including dark chocolate and nuts in the one meal that I enjoy carbohydrates each day may have helped me on my weight loss journey. There were many days when I kept my carbohydrates limited to our homemade dark chocolate almond clusters, unknowingly eating wheat and gluten free on those days. Thinking I should include healthier foods in my diet, I would intentionally eat breads and other flour products instead of the avocados, dark chocolate, fruits, and nuts, that I was used to eating.

All it took was one of our friends to mention how successful he was at losing weight by cutting out wheat, and I decided to try my own experiment. I gave up wheat for one month and I lost six pounds. My weight had been stable for four months prior to beginning this experiment, and after only one month of going wheat free, I lost six pounds. I resumed eating wheat after this experiment and since my weight has remained the same over the next four month period, it did not take much for me to give it up again.

I was introduced to the book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health recently. It has been quite an eye opener for me because all this time I thought I was addicted to chocolate and it may have been my addiction to wheat all along. It has only been a week since I made the decision to eliminate wheat from my diet and my weight already appears to be dropping!

LowCarbForLife's picture
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Still Gluten Free!

The last time I responded to this thread I had every intention of taking a break from gluten free eating for one day and enjoy the best stuffing recipe that I have ever eaten. It was only a couple of weeks after I began eliminating gluten from my diet when I began to reconsider my decision. I was spending a lot of time researching my new gluten free way of eating and I was pleased to find plenty of recipes that contain whole foods as substitutions.

By the time Thanksgiving day came around, I wanted nothing to do with gluten. I was in charge of my diet and I wanted to remain gluten free. It was not difficult for me because I eat the white meat of the turkey covered in gravy and our gravy was prepared with cornstarch making it gluten free. The chocolate pecan pie that I made was with a coconut crust making it gluten free, and my substitution for the bread stuffing was to make a sweet potato casserole. I boiled the potatoes, mashed them with coconut milk, added some cinnamon, nutmeg, and after spreading it in a casserole dish, I added chopped pecans over the top. It was really simple to make and positively delicious!

I followed the guidelines of my program by limiting my first meal to a deviled egg and olives, using the olives as my vegetable. My main meal began with a salad of romaine lettuce w/avocado, celery, cheddar cheese, cucumber, & our homemade coconut based vinaigrette dressing. The rest of my meal included our homemade turkey w/gravy, sweet potato casserole, steamed asparagus w/mayo, and the best chocolate pecan pie I have ever made. I was completely satisfied with my meal, not missing the stuffing at all!

The Wheat Belly book was quite an eye opener for me. I am determined to remove wheat from my diet and will admit that gluten free eating definitely appeals to me!

Teri

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Joined: 02/04/2011
Gluten free Thanksgiving

Dear Teri,

I noticed you didn't eat wheat-based bread stuffing at your Thanksgiving meal as you were planning at the beginning of this gluten-free experiment. I wondered if you would.
We're still running gluten free in this household, mainly because DH's IBS symptoms have almost completely faded away and for him to stay gluten-free, basically I have to, too. We're not restricting DH7, though she's automatically eating less gluten because she eats with us most of the time.
I actually like living wheat-free. Although it's quite a project to switch your kitchen over to non-wheat-based, it hasn't really been as hard as I thought at first. With one exception. What about FIBER? If you're up for TMI, I have quite a tendency to be constipated, and wheat bran was my go-to solution in everyday life. Good old unprocessed Miller's Wheat Bran. If that's off the list, then I'm looking frantically for substitutes. I don't believe there's enough celery in the universe..... I looked up Benefiber, and it's technically considered gluten-free being less than 20ppm gluten. But it's not nearly as effective...not even if I consume lots and lots of it, which is fairly easy to do because it dissolves easily in my numerous drinks throughout the day, starting with the morning coffee. Then there's Miralax, but again, the effect, though better than nothing, isn't quite right. Plus I don't like the idea of taking something like that every day. And I just don't see me taking a stimulant laxative every day. I've never had to resort to such a thing, and I don't want to start now. I've been looking for oat bran. I know I found it in the past; used it in a few recipes. But now the stores seem to have never heard of it. I can find Oat Bran Hot Cereal OK, but it's not that high in fiber, and very carby. Would be RM only, and probably my only carb. Can't live like that....

Got any ideas? I seem to need extra fiber - more than the recommended 25-30 grams per day. Now that wheat bran is out of the picture, I'm wide open for suggestions.

Thanks,

Mago

Mago

Michael's picture
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Joined: 06/13/2008
Two words: unsweetened coconut

If I may answer for Teri (well, she *did* ask me to!) -- you might want to consider unsweetened coconut flakes. They're:

Lately, I've added a couple of heaping teaspoons of unsweetened coconut flakes to my daily salad -- it goes surprisingly well with LowCarbCompatible Vinaigrette Dressing. In a pinch, you can just eat a couple of spoonfuls (with adequate liquids, of course.)

I've read (though I've not confirmed) that unsweetened coconut also reduces the effect other carbs have on blood sugar, in effect, lowering the glycemic index of other foods when eaten with coconut.*

Teri's whipped up a couple of desserts using coconut flour, and I can assure you they were delicious. Unlike other fiber sources, this one is only too easy to eat.

Give it a try - you might be surprised at how versatile unsweetened coconut can be.

*Sources

LowCarbForLife's picture
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Coconut is full of fiber!

I am liking this gluten free eating myself and couldn't be happier to hear the positive effects it is having on your husbands health problem.

Coconut is something I have always enjoyed eating and I look forward to adding it to some melted dark chocolate, turning them into dark chocolate coconut clusters. I may even melt some dark chocolate, add some toasted coconut, grind some almonds and turn them into dark chocolate coconut-almond clusters! You will be surprised how many delicious recipes that are made with shredded coconut, coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut vinegar, coconut sugar, coconut nectar syrup, and coconut milk. In my opinion, coconut sounds much better than the other fiber you mentioned.

Other than our coconut based dressing, we only began including coconut in our diets on Thanksgiving day. I found several gluten free recipes in my search for gluten free foods and will be using coconut and nut flours as my gluten free flour substitutions. I look forward to the simple recipes I have found and we even purchased three recipe books to get started.



The sweet potato casserole recipe came from the Paleo book and it was made with coconut milk. I did not receive my Cooking with Coconut Flour book until after Thanksgiving so my coconut pecan pie crust was made from a recipe I found on the internet. I added my own recipe of coconut pecan pie filling to it and look forward to making another one fairly soon. With all the fiber I have ingested over the last few days I have definitely noticed the positive effects coconut has had on my digestive system.

I hope you find the simplicity of adding coconut to your diet the perfect solution to your problem.

Teri

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Joined: 02/04/2011
gluten free fiber

Thanks for the tip about unsweetened coconut flakes. I had to go to two different stores in this little Arkansas burg to find unsweetened.

Tonight I tried a couple of tablespoons mixed up with ground flaxseed and some Splenda with a little milk poured over. Not bad. I had this at the end of RM, like dessert. I also had a big pile of green beans, another big pile of broccoli, and a serving of black-eyed pea salsa that I made over Thanksgiving. Will need to look up the fiber content of black-eyed peas. My goal is to get enough fiber from gluten free sources. I've never counted grams of fiber before, though goodness knows I've counted everything else: calories, fat grams, grams of carbohydrates. I may have to keep a written record till I get the hang of what it takes. I love a challenging project, especially when the payoff is better health!

P.S. I bopped over via your link to Wheatbellyblog and saw this fiber issue was a topic there, too. So I'm not the only one.

Mago

Michael's picture
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Asian markets great for unusual ingredients

If you live near an urban center, or visit one occasionally, find an Asian market/grocery store. You'll be amazed at the ingredient selection (if not the prices.) We buy unsweetened (and dessicated) coconut at a fraction of the price found in mainstream stores!

Here's a Google maps search for "Asian market in Arkansas":

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Asian Markets in Arkansas

Michael's picture
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Convert sweetened to unsweetened coconut

In a pinch, I've taken sweetened coconut flakes (the kind found at supermarkets) and converted them to unsweetened. Just take the flakes, soak them in warm water (stirring occasionally) then rinse them out in a strainer. Dry them out in a warm (175° should do it) oven, spread out in a large baking sheet. Don't toast them unless you like them browned.

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Joined: 11/11/2011
On the topic of fiber and "issues"

Just thought I'd suggest what has been so helpful to me (though I am now also going to checkout unsweetned coconut..and get the wheatbelly book).
I've been unable previously to take a calcium supplement or glucosamine, as it would cause havoc with normal "plumbing" function.

Taking a magnesium supplement has taken care of that. I can't take too much or I get an opposite effect to what I want, but one 200 mg tab a day works for me.

Patriciak
"I will only fail if I quit. And I'm not quitting."

LowCarbForLife's picture
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Coconut: Fiber, Vitamins, & Minerals!

Welcome, Patricia! I was hoping you would share some of your knowledge and I am happy you are here. I believe any contribution those of us are willing to share will benefit someone!

My digestive system has never been normal so I never felt I needed to take anything to change it. I have always included vegetables in my diet so I allowed nature to take its course. Taking any type of pills is something I always tried to avoid and I have been successful, except when absolutely necessary. I did take the GTF chromium supplement for quite awhile and discontinued it when I did not feel like taking them anymore.

I believe I am turning into a health nut or crazy person because of my excitement in discovering the health benefits I have been reading about coconut. Since it is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, I took my shopping list to an Asian store. I was successful in finding coconut oil, coconut palm sugar syrup, coconut sugar, coconut vinegar, & dessicated coconut. The only item I have been unable to find is coconut flour, so I will be making another attempt to make my own.

I will continue to try and find whole, natural foods to include in my diet and I hope others will feel free to share their findings as well.

Teri

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Joined: 11/11/2011
I am so sure that my diet is

I am so sure that my diet is still deficient in areas that I decided to use aids like fish oil capsules or calcium/D3/B6 etc...I've long been supposed to take glucosamine for my knees, and calcium for the bone thinning I have and could not due to the wicked backup it would cause.

I would love to get to a point where I can feel confident I am eating what I need to daily to supply these needs (keep meaning to eat more fish weekly etc.) and highly approve of that approach.
For now, nutritional supplement pills are my friend .

Not sure what area of the country you live in, but we have a local store that offers organic local foods, raw milk (Yum), and sells coconut flour and oil etc..I did just do a quick look on amazon.com - I trust Bob's Red Mill products, and he does have coconut flour:http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-Organic-16-Ounce/dp/B000KENKZ8
I have amazon prime so get free 2 day shipping on any qualified item, of which this is one. Maybe this would work for you?

ps..if you are a fan of flavors such as coconut shrimp or chicken, maybe you'd like what I do..I use chicken thighs and cook them in coconut oil (I also use curry powder), I cover, and cook until the skin or if skinless, the chicken, has a golden brown crust. It is good flavor..I'm sure my technique could be better, would love to hear how you and/or your husband would do it. It's cm that way (so far as I recall re using cooking with coconut oil) and yet has that wonderful flavor.

Patriciak
"I will only fail if I quit. And I'm not quitting."

LowCarbForLife's picture
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Vitamin Supplements

I hope you did not get the wrong impression in my response to you regarding supplements. My husband has been taking vitamin supplements for years and it did not take very long for him to give up on trying to get me to take them too. Although I am making healthier choices in my diet, I do not believe that I am receiving all of my daily vitamins and minerals from the foods I eat. Unfortunately, I am horrible at taking pills, so my personal choice will always be to avoid them.

Please feel free to share how you use supplements to enhance your diet, since I can see how it could be useful to others.

Thank you for the information regarding the coconut flour. I have seen it online but I was trying to get it at an Asian market since they are so much cheaper than my grocery and health food stores. I do have a health food store in town where I could probably find it, I just haven't looked.

Thank you for sharing your simple recipe with us. I am a fan of coconut shrimp & chicken, so we will definitely be trying it since it does sound rather tasty.

Teri

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Joined: 02/04/2011
Gluten free fiber is a success!

Greetings, Dear Currys and all low-carbers everywhere! And Happy New Year!
I've buckled back down to the gluten-free lifestyle - about a week now after a minor relapse during the Holidays. My goal is to be completely gluten-free for at least 6 weeks and then re-evaluate. I so very much want to see this wheat belly retreat!

Meanwhile, I wanted to post that unsweetened coconut is a great success in the fiber department. I'm no longer counting grams of fiber to make sure I get "enough" because I know if I eat about 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flake mix every day, all will be well. It's great. What I'm doing right now is mixing about equal parts unsweetened coconut flakes and ground flax seed. Then I add some unsweetened cocoa powder, some Splanda, and mix in a few nuts (either pecans or English walnuts) for interest and crunch. Technically, this would be RM only, but like Teri with the avacados, I find it doesn't trigger any cravings and it's easy to eat with or as a substitute for a CM.

Best wishes to you and your family in the New Year!

Mago

Michael's picture
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Joined: 06/13/2008
Great info!

Thanks for the info - that mix sounds yummy, I'll have to try it. Coconut is interesting, isn't it? We're used to thinking of it as super-sweet, because most of us have been exposed only to the sweetened flakes from the supermarket and used in traditional baked goods. In its natural form, it's not really sweet yet it's got a great aroma and subtle flavor.

Let's hear it for coconut!

LowCarbForLife's picture
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Flour Substitutions

Your unsweetened coconut recipe sounds good. I am still wheat and gluten free and, at this point, it is a lifestyle I want to continue. I do not miss anything that I used to make with flour since I am happy substituting coconut flour and nuts, since everything I have made has tasted delicious.

I am happy with my diet and exercise program and I look forward to following it every single day!

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About Michael

Michael's picture

About me

I'm Mike. I'm LowCarbForLife's (Teri's) hubby. I manage the LowCarbCompatible™ web site, among many other things. I don't follow a strict diet but I do follow LowCarbForLife's way of eating most of the time, since we eat together (and I cook most of the time).

My web site
http://lowcarbcompatible.com

Current Diet Type
Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program (CALP)

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