I've decided to go Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free for 30 days!!!
Yikes. For starters, I have a wicked sweet tooth. You can read more about that here.
With the holidays coming up I really wanted to make sure that my body was clean from the white powdery substance that I have been known to abuse:) I will still allow myself natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and stevia, but none of the processed sugars. This essentially means that if I want a treat I need to make it myself (so that I know exactly what is in it). I have found that it is so much easier to resist the temptations of sugar (that I swear seem to surround me regularly) when I know I can go home and still have a treat - just a healthier one. For me it helps when it's not total deprivation.
The reasons for giving up gluten are a little harder to explain. I'll do my best - without completely exposing how crazy I can be. Basically I had a conversation with myself - that's the long and short of it. I believe we each have a body and a spirit. Our spirit knows exactly who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. It knows exactly what our strengths and weaknesses are, and it can pretty much see the big picture of how to get us where intrinsically we want to be. Our body on the other hand isn't always so co-operative. It has natural (or carnal) tendencies that we sometimes need to discipline. Sometimes it needs to be reminded about the big picture as opposed to the immediate fix. Sooooooo, I decided to have a conversation with my spirit. I wanted to know what areas of my body/lifestyle were slowing me down from achieving the body and the health that I want.
It gave me 2 answers (both of which it has been hinting to me for months) - GLUTEN and SUGAR.
Why gluten you might ask? I asked the same thing. All I can really tell you is that many people have sensitivities to it without really knowing. Too much gluten (which is the protein found in wheat, spelt, rye, kamut, and barley) can interfere with our natural bodily functions like metabolism and nutrient absorption. Gluten is in almost everything that average American eats (try giving it up for a while and you'll see exactly what I mean). Some experts believe that the mere quantity we are eating has created sensitivities or allergies to it. A lot of the wheat in our country now carries a lot more gluten in it than it did in the past. This protein is a natural pesticides, and so many crops have been genetically modified to contain extra gluten. (This allows for more crop production.) I don't know EXACTLY why I need to avoid it, but I got the impression that I needed to give it up for 30 days. And so I am.
This of course means that I am trying out new recipes. Some have been great; some not so great (like my first gluten-free bread - not so yummy). I read a phenomenal book called "Gluten-Free Girl" (she also has a fabulous blog with the same name) which completed inspired me. I also came across a great book called "Gluten-free recipes for the conscious cook" by Leslie Cerier. This recipe for brownies was adapted from one in her book.
1 cup apple juice (if you have a juicer, just throw in a few whole apples)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup ground almonds (I used the leftover pulp from making almond milk, but you could just put almonds in your food processor and grind)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (ideally these would come from a local farmer that you trust - I'm lucky enough to have chickens in the backyard)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 inch square or round pan.
In a mixer combine all of the ingredients and stir until well combined. Pour the batter into the greased dish and bake for 30 minutes. It is ready when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
I cut mine and then froze them in a ziplock container. That way I can have a healthy treat when ever I am tempted by the evil stuff :)