I am ever the skeptic of fad dieting and trends, but I have learned that leading a relatively grain/gluten/refined sugar/dairy free diet really does leave me with a much happier gut and digestive track and feeling overall more energetic. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy and indulge in the occasional pastry or baguette avec fromage. However, as good as it tasted going down,the way I feel afterwards really does call into question the reason I ate it in the first place. Limiting these foods also helps maintain a low glycemic and truly beneficial diet for those with autoimmune, hormonal and metabolic conditions (between me and my daughter, we suffer from 3). This way of eating can actually even have healing properties on the digestive system as well. Aside from people with specific dietary restrictions, omitting trigger foods and having an abundance of nuts, fruits and natural fats (avocado, coconut, olive oil…) are nutritious for everyone, and consistent intake of such high quality foods can help prevent future medical issues as well. At a quick glance, eliminating sugar and processed wheat significantly reduces the risk of developing cardio vascular disease, obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and liver disease and has also been linked to decreasing the risk of developing depression and Alzheimer’s Disease, to name a few. If only it were as easy as just “eat less and move more” … like all vices and bad habits, to reverse sugar dependency and make the brain WANT to eat less, sugar has to go (nb. I am talking about the processed refined stuff, this does not include natural fruit sugar which is high in fiber and other vitamins and nutrients).
Additionally, adding more nuts into your daily diet is good for heart health and provides healthy fats, calcium, protein and other nutrients that are great for your body. I like to bake using combination of nut flours including almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews and coconuts. Each nut flour requires some ‘getting used to’ as it’s never a 1:1 substitution for traditional wheat and other grain flours, but it’s worth experimenting with as the end results are seriously tasty and naturally sweet. Often baked goodies benefit from a little sweetness and I tend to achieve this using unsweetened fruit purees and coconut sugar, a naturally low glycemic, unrefined sweetener.
I often hear that healthy eating “tastes good but it’s just too expensive to do at home regularly…” It is true that some healthy ingredients are more expensive than their conventional counterparts, eg. one pound of almond flour sets you back about $9.00, vs. a pound of the conventional white stuff is about $0.50. But also keep in mind a pound of carrots costs approximately $1.50 per lb, verses a pound of potato chips costs on average $2.99 per lb, and the cost of convenience food verses homemade requires a separate article altogether. It might seem silly to use some expensive ingredients, but there truly are immeasurable health benefits in quality foods. By choosing to eat healthy foods, we are making an investment into our health and well-being for the long term. Think of it this way, you can pay more now for healthy, nutritious and delicious foods or you can pay a doctor and pharmacist later on if you don’t feed your body well. The better foods we put in our body, the better we feel, the healthier we are, and the less likely we are to become sick and have additional medical related expenses in the future.
Also, I strongly believe that people can afford to pay more for food when budgeted appropriately which includes limiting convenience/prepared foods and eating out, as well as maintaining appropriate portion sizes. You don’t have to shop an upscale supermarkets either, I am a mama on a tight budget whenever I go food shopping. Most supermarkets, if not all, have an abundance of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and alternate gluten free grains that won’t break the bank. Lastly, quantity really is equally as important to the actual foods we put in our bellies. It does take more effort and forward planning, but well-planned and budgeted food shopping should and can include healthy ingredients resulting in a tasty end product you make yourself