Free From, Healthy Eating

I reckon that I’m possibly 9, nearly 10, weeks into my restricted diet and I thought I would give you an update on how I’m getting on with it. At the start of December, for health reasons, I gave up wheat, dairy, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

In some respects, I’ve found the switch easy and in others, it’s been tough.

Wheat

Instead of fresh white crusty bread, I’ve been really enjoying the M&S Made Without Wheat range. It’s hands down the best wheat free bread that I’ve found and I don’t miss the regular stuff at all. Whilst on the subject of M&S, they have a fantastic range of wheat free foods – some of the items are better than others. I tried the wheat free sausage rolls and didn’t particularly like the texture of the pastry, whereas the wheat free breaded chicken is perfectly acceptable and the kids even don’t notice the difference to their regular nuggets.

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I’ve been limiting the amount of pasta that I eat, but I do have some gluten free pasta in my kitchen cupboards just in case. I haven’t come across any stand out brands as yet. I tend to have fresh pasta in my fridge for the kids, as it’s just so quick and easy, but whenever they have been dished up the gluten-free pasta they don’t seem to notice too much of a difference either. If they do, they certainly don’t mention it!

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Eating out – Vegan artichoke risotto at the CCA, Glasgow

Dairy

Dropping the milk in my tea has been difficult, and I really miss regular cows milk in my morning cuppa. I’ve been trying to drink my tea black, with sometimes a drop of honey or a slice of lemon. It’s just not the same though. The alternative milks don’t taste right in tea either… and as such I have on occasion had the odd cup of tea with milk in it especially if I’ve been out as not all cafes have honey/lemon (as I write this I’ve got a cup of earl grey next to me with a splash of milk). What I have ended up drinking a lot of is hot water with a slice of lemon, or herbal tea (I’m still on the search for a herbal tea that suits my palette, and one that I did try recently whilst on a yoga course was a Pukka caffeine-free vanilla chai and it was very nice indeed).

I thought I’d miss cheese, but I actually haven’t. I know there are alternatives to cheese, but I am yet to try them. Perhaps that’s something that I can investigate further.

Swapping out other dairy products hasn’t been too bad. I love the coconut milk alternatives… the Coconut Collaborative yoghurt and ice cream is really tasty and another brand that I’ve been buying is CoYo. The CoYo yoghurt is very thick and creamy, whereas the Coconut Collaborative yoghurt is runnier. Another yoghurt brand that I like is Nush, which is made with almond milk, the caramel and hibiscus one is nice over fruit.

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L – Deliciously Ella baked porridge with coconut milk yoghurt and fresh berries which is now a regular breakfast occurrence for me / R – a snack of fresh fruit with coconut milk yoghurt

Refined Sugar

There are plenty gluten free/dairy free cakes and sweet treats available, but not all of them are refined sugar free. It makes it difficult to pick up something sweet, especially when I’m out and about.

Angelic have a range of cakes which have no added sugar, and they taste reasonably good (not as good as a Tantrum Doughnut for example!). However I’ve not been able to find these readily available in the shops. I’ll need to start ordering food online I think.

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Another brand that I’ve recently come across, which I did order from online, is Well and Happy. I can highly recommend the Dark Chocolate Weekender Box. It’s £10 for three gorgeous chocolate bars (free shipping & delivery) and they are free from dairy, gluten, refined sugar and soy. I had also ordered a box of their Blush chocolates, which I have to admit I didn’t like as much – although they look gorgeous with edible petals on the top!

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IQ Chocolate, especially the plush peppermint flavour, is delicious too. More readily available and is made in Scotland!

I face problems when I try to buy other foods, that you’d think would suit my restricted diet… for example, I’ve gone to buy ready-to-eat marinated chicken before only to find it’s got added sugar in it. Sushi also has added sugar. Some crisps even have added sugar… I’m getting used to having to read the back of packets to assess the ingredients list! I also find that I’m cooking from scratch a lot more, as then I know exactly what’s included.

Caffeine & Alcohol

I’ve never been a coffee drinker, and I’ve been drinking decaf tea for a while now, so dropping caffeine from hot drinks has been easy. However, there is still caffeine in chocolate so I haven’t given it up completely but I would say on the whole I don’t intake that much caffeine.

Similarly with alcohol, I don’t really drink that much and I’ve certainly reduced my intake a lot. However I have on occasion had the odd glass of fizz or G&T. Instead, when I’m out I will have a soda water with fresh lime (no cordial).

You can follow me over on Instagram @ethel_blog for more…

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