The case against wheat

Last year, I gave up gluten for three weeks. I have several friends who are gluten free for health reasons, so I wanted to do what I considered to be impossible – completely give up gluten and then reintroduce it to see if I had an intolerance. I was convinced I did. It turns out, luckily for me, that I don’t but the experiment taught me something important: a lot of the foods I thought were necessary really weren’t. I thought it would just be too weird to eat eggs without toast or a tortilla, but it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t really keep bread in the house before, but I ate a lot of tortillas and whole wheat waffles. Now I avoid wheat most of the time, because I’ve read a lot of stuff about how wheat isn’t that great for humans. A lot of the things we consume really aren’t – it’s funny how what we eat is dictated more by society and what the manufacturers make than what we actually need to survive. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat pizza now and then, or a sandwich, but on a daily basis I don’t eat much wheat. (Although my favorite morningstar farm veggie sausage contains gluten and is probably more processed than I should be eating – boo!)

Movie theatre pretzel

It turns out, wheat probably isn’t that great for us. For one thing, the grains of today are not the same as they were 100 years ago. This makes sense, if you think about it. If you try to avoid GMOs (aka A genetically modified organism, an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.) wheat is a definite offender. A study conducted in Britain found definitive evidence that consuming wheat products caused bloating and abdominal pain in patients with irritable bowel disease. You can read about the study here, and it includes a link to the abstract. Normally I only link to what I consider to be “credible sources,” a newspaper, a scholarly journal, something that it would be ok to cite in a paper for grad school, but because this site summarizes a scientific study and I can’t access the study, I decided I would in this case. I was hoping I could actually get a PDF of the study to provide here but unfortunately it’s not available online or in my college’s library.

There’s also a great article by Mark Hyman, MD on the Huffington Post about why wheat is so bad for us. I really recommend reading it!

Brownie dessert

It’s true you can also find as many articles about why wheat is fine and the gluten free craze is just a fad. I agree on one count, just buying cookies and crackers and processed crap that’s gluten free is not better than eating gluten. You’ll notice that my first post, the gluten free waffles, were still a cheat meal. Even though they don’t contain wheat, the various gluten/wheat-free flours still pack a lot of calories. Gluten free doesn’t always mean healthy.

I will never give it up 100%, I do like to indulge occasionally, but wheat will never be a part of my daily diet again. One thing I found when I gave it up was that my food cravings went away. Not cravings for rolls and pasta, but all cravings. I didn’t get hit by the urge that I just had to have french fries that wouldn’t go away. It seemed odd to me, but that’s what happened. It’s easier to make better choices if you don’t have a hankering for something specific and unhealthy. I think everyone should give up gluten for a while and see how they feel. If nothing else, it allowed me to realize that I don’t need a roll with dinner or a tortilla with my fajitas and that saves me calories!

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The “dirty dozen”

It’s true, organic “clean” food is more expensive. That’s why I remember the “dirty dozen” – foods you should always buy organic. Apparently this changes a bit from year to year, which I did not realize until I was looking at images for this post! Important information.

The dirty dozen

Remembering the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” are great, easy ways to eat more cleanly without having to spend a fortune. I found this great wallet-sized list of both. I do forget some of these so I’m going to make sure to have it with me next time I head to the grocery store.

The dirty dozen

Overnight oats (review)

Tropical overnight oats

Overnight oats are something that I was a little hesitant to try. I haven’t eaten oatmeal since I was a child, back then the instant maple & brown sugar was a favorite. A couple times over the years when I was trying to be “healthier” I’d read something about how oatmeal was healthy and grab a variety pack of instant oatmeal from the grocery aisle. I always added sugar, and it never seemed like anything special to me so I usually ate a few packets and then forgot about it.

Cut to my Pinterest obsession. Like a lot of things, I was behind the crowd with Pinterest. I love instagram, but Pinterest just seemed like a waste of time – sharing things that other people shared didn’t make a lot of sense. But during my internship this spring, a fellow intern was telling me about all these creative ideas she had for decorating her new apartment, and they all came from Pinterest! So I checked it out, and unlike the first time I looked at it, I was hooked.

I started my Healthy + Fit board full of things that I wanted to try, healthy recipes and different workouts. That’s where I came across overnight oats.

peach cinnamon overnight oats

I was intrigued at the idea of just mixing up some oats and almond milk with fruit and letting it sit in the fridge overnight. It seemed so simple, would it be any good? I decided to try it because I had purchased some rolled oats and then couldn’t remember where I had seen a recipe that called for them. (oops!) I saw Oh my veggies Coconut Mango overnight oatmeal on Pinterest so I decided to give it a try. Typical of me though, I modified the recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever made any recipe I’ve ever found without modifying it in some way! I changed this recipe because I couldn’t find unsweetened coconut in my regular grocery store, my mango got mushy before I sliced it, and I wanted to use honey rather than agave. This was a lot of poor planning on my part – it really could not have turned out any better though!

peach cinnamon overnight oats

I am eating this 5-6 days a week for breakfast now. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s versatile, it’s vegan, it’s healthy – there’s really no downside to these! They have a hearty feel to them without being heavy. I feel like I’m having a good breakfast and they taste amazing.

My tweaks are pretty simple. I like sweet foods but for breakfast, I don’t want something that tastes like dessert, so 1-1/2 tablespoons seemed like a lot to me. I drizzle about 1 teaspoon of honey on the oats prior to adding the milk & fruit and stirring it all together. The peach cinnamon combo is really simple.

Peach Cinnamon Overnight Oats

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon honey
half a peach, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 scoop unflavored protein powder (optional)*

Stir it all together, refrigerate overnight, and then sprinkle some cinnamon on it the next morning before you eat it.

Nutrition:

225 calories
8 grams protein
39 grams carbs
5 grams fat
* don’t forget to add nutrition info for protein powder, if used.

coconut overnight oats

It’s less clean, but to make these take literally less than a minute to make, instead of using fresh fruit use a fruit cup. Read the label on those though. They’re ALL different. It’s obvious you don’t want the one that’s packed in syrup, but watch what they’re packed in! One little cup can easily be over 100 calories, some have artificial sweeteners, some are packed in juice and have more calories but no artificial sweeteners. I’ve only come across one that was packed in water and had no artificial sweetener. Each fruit is different with the same manufacturer too, so don’t expect Del Monte mandarin oranges is the same as Del Monte peaches. Always read the label! For the first photo above, the tropical overnight oats, I used a Del Monte tropical fruit in juice, so it’s a few more calories than a no sugar added cup but it as no artificial sweeteners.

For the original, tropical recipe, please visit Oh my veggies. I’m new to this whole food blogging thing, and I don’t know the etiquette of writing about and using other people’s recipes but since I didn’t really change much about this one I don’t feel right about reposting it πŸ™‚

30 day plank challenge!

Starting tomorrow (May 1st) I’m doing this 30 day plank challenge! I started this challenge a couple months ago, but then I was sick and slacked off and never picked it back up. I definitely am not letting a plank challenge get the best of me though – so I’m starting again.

30 day plank challenge

If you want to join in, “like” my facebook fan page and check in with me every day! It’s a great way to keep going when it gets tough, when you know other people are holding you accountable.

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog. If you’re looking for clean eating tips,Β  health and fitness articles, makeup and beauty, all after age 30, you have come to the right place! I have found plenty of stuff online about all those things, but nothing that really focuses on how different health or beauty is when you’re not 26 anymore. (Or even over 18!)

I love makeup and beauty products, but I’ve noticed that there are unique things that come from dealing with fine lines and wrinkles. Makeup has become a hobby of mine over the last few years. I’m in the middle of my weight loss journey at the moment, but clean eating has definitely become a lifestyle for me. I also have a lot of goals that have nothing to do with weight loss, such as being healthier overall, and lowering my body fat percentage. I like to feel good, and feel good about what I eat, because I LOVE FOOD! If you’re interested in specifics on my weight loss journey you can check out my post about that.

If you’d like to know more about me, please visit the About page. If you’re interested in some of these topics but not others, just use the categories over there to your right to browse by topic. Health & Fitness and Beauty & Makeup are my most popular categories. I love comments, so please if you have questions, comments, or tips of your own, share them! Thanks for reading. ❀

* Some of my posts contain affiliate links. Using affiliate links helps to support this site, thank you for your support!
All content Β© 2010-2017, Stacey E. Aldridge, unless otherwise noted.

Gluten free, sugar free Belgian waffles

This morning, for my cheat meal brunch, I decided to take my favorite Belgian waffle recipe and make it gluten and sugar free. This is not an overly sweet Belgian waffle recipe to begin with, the original recipe only calls for 2 T of confectioner’s sugar for 8 servings, so I warn you in advance if you like a super sweet waffle then you’re going to be disappointed!

Belgian waffles

Ingredients

1/3 cup almond flour*
1/3 cup coconut flour*
1/3 cup quinoa flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon powdered stevia (I prefer stevia in the raw)
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other diary free milk)
1/3 cup water
1 egg white and 2 egg yolks, separated
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 scoop unflavored/unsweetened protein powder (optional. I use isopure unflavored whey protein)

* or sub 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour

flours

Directions

Combine the flours, baking powder, stevia, oil, milk, water, and egg yolks.

Beat the egg white and vanilla until they stand in soft peaks. Fold into the batter (do not over mix). Mixture will be a bit thicker than a wheat flour batter.

mixture

Pour 1/4 of the mixture into each side of a hot waffle iron (assuming it’s like mine & makes two waffles at once) and bake for about 2 minutes. My waffle iron has a light that goes off when the waffle is done.

batter

waffle maker

Repeat with the remaining batter. Makes 4 servings (aka 4 waffles. What you see pictured is 2 servings.)

Top with your favorite fruit, fruit spread, nut butter, butter, maple syrup, basically whatever you like on waffles. Since I happened to have Fiordifrutta organic fruit spread in Strawberries & Wild Strawberries from my April Love with Food box that I’ve been excited to try, I topped mine with that!

fruit spread

finished

The Verdict

I was actually really surprised at how well these turned out! They were really fluffy, slightly chewy, and turned out better than the recipe did with wheat flour. The Fiordifrutta spread was tasty, but because of the waffles not being sweet themselves, I think I would’ve done better saving it and topping the waffles with maple syrup. Live and learn! The Fiordifrutta spread was a bit like a syrup in consistency however, so if it had been more than a sample it probably would’ve worked better. This cheat meal was definitely worth the work! I ate the waffles with scrambled egg whites and a morningstar farms veggie sausage, since this was brunch.

The great thing about these waffles is that they freeze REALLY well (at least the wheat flour recipe does!) When I have made these in the past with wheat flour, I usually freeze the extras in a gallon sized ziplock bag and then eat them just like a store-bought frozen waffle. Pop it in the toaster and you’re good to go. I am freezing the uneaten waffles from this batch, so I will report back on how they do!

Note: the original recipe link does contain nutrition info. I did not crunch the numbers on this, partially because it was a cheat meal and partially because I just didn’t want to go to the effort of it! If you try this recipe, comment and tell me what you think!

Printer friendly recipe here!

yum

brunch

What is clean eating?

You’ve probably heard of “clean eating” by now and it may strike you as some sort of hipster, hippie, locally sourced, organic, bullshit and in some ways you would be right. I don’t know where the term was coined, but I’m sure you can find it if you look. I’m not talking about anyone’s diet plan called Eat-Clean, I’m not talking about anything marketed to you, I’m talking about simply – Avoid all over-processed, refined foods, especially white flour and sugar. Clean eating basically means eating something that comes out of nature, or as close to nature as possible. Ingredients in what you eat should be things you can pronounce, that you recognize as food. The fewer ingredients in something, the better. As Michael Pollan said, very simply, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Aka – the ingredients in chicken you buy in the grocery store and prepare is “chicken.” The ingredients in a McDonalds chicken nugget is: White Boneless Chicken, Water, Food Starch-Modified, Salt, Seasoning (Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Salt, Wheat Starch, Natural Flavoring [Botanical Source], Safflower Oil, Dextrose, Citric Acid), Sodium Phosphates, Natural Flavor (Botanical Source). Battered and Breaded with: Water, Enriched Flour (Bleached
Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Yellow Corn Flour, Bleached Wheat Flour, Food Starch-Modified, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Lactate), Spices, Wheat Starch, Dextrose, Corn Starch. CONTAINS: WHEAT.
source.

There are volumes and volumes and volumes of information on the internet about why to eat clean and organic. If you have netflix, you can spend just a little over an hour to watch Hungry for Change. It’s a great “beginner’s” guide to what’s wrong with the way we eat in America. Another documentary I highly recommend is Food Matters. You can also find a lot of stuff that says that clean eating is bullshit; that it’s impossible to not eat chemicals – that part is untrue for the most part, if you eat organic vegetables you are avoiding chemicals as much as humanly possible. Or they say some preservatives are ok, afterall salt is a preservative; but my point is you can also say “Well why bother to get fit at all? I’m going to die someday after all and all my work will be for nothing.” It’s not an all or nothing thing here, the point is to eat as healthfully as possible because it makes you feel better.

Bottom line. I like having energy, I like feeling awake, alert, healthy, like I can do the things I need to do. I don’t like feeling bloated, depressed, anxious, hungry, guilty, tired, and ill.