This month marked four years since Husband and I moved to Central Texas from the Chicago area. One of the things I love about Texas is the abundance of food, drinks, snacks, and other items that are Texan made marked with the GO TEXAN logo. You hear so much about the importance of shopping local and buying local, but Texans are fortunate in that you really can support your state and your community economies almost every time you buy food or drinks without much conscious effort.
Some of my favorite products include Kombucha, either Buddha’s Brew, Holy Kombucha, or Kosmic Kombucha depending on what flavor I’m feeling. Buddha’s and Kosmic are made in Austin and Holy is made in Dallas-Fort Worth. When I indulge in an alcoholic beverage, I prefer cider and I really like Austin Eastciders Pineapple or Dry Apple.
As for food, we like to go to our local farmer’s market on Saturday to stock up on farm-fresh, free range eggs, meat, and vegetables. Many of the farmers are from the greater Austin area, and they provide quality products verses what we would find at Whole Foods or other local grocery stores that sell products from around the country. It’s also fun to see what new foods and vegetables are in season, and try new things.
I started eating gluten-free about two months ago at the advice of my NP after reviewing my lab results. I am being treated for a mild auto-immune disease with supplements, my choice rather than taking medicine, and I am trying a gluten-free diet for six months to see if it makes a difference. I believe the logic is that because a few of my hormone levels are off and my thyroid antibodies are attacking my thyroid, that I could have food sensitivities which may be reduced by eating gluten-free. However, I do not have celiac disease.
Many friends and co-workers think that this is a really tough change for me, but it hasn’t been. I have taken the opportunity to try new foods and to try different versions of foods I already liked. With a recommendation to avoid gluten as much as I possibly can, I have been able to wave off donuts, cakes, work-related food offerings of snacks, junk and fast food, and other things I didn’t want anyway with a polite, health-related excuse. Honestly, I prefer the gluten-free pancake mix to any other pancakes I previously ate, and I love it with real maple syrup and grass-fed butter. I eat a lot more fruit for my snacks, and I have found that three of my favorite hamburger joints, Mighty Fine, Hopdoddy, and Bare Burger (which I ate in NYC recently) serve gluten-free buns, and that my favorite salad place in downtown Austin, LEAF, has gluten-free salads and salad dressings available. I treat to eat healthy most of the time, but sometimes you just want something tasty!
People have also asked if I notice anything different since I started eating gluten-free. I have lost five pounds and kept them off for almost two months. I feel less weighted down and bloated after I eat certain meals, especially pizza on a gluten-free crust, and I feel a little more energetic and less tired than I had been feeling. And, yes, I have seen the articles about the risks of eating a gluten-free diet unless absolutely necessary, but I feel like I am still eating a well-rounded, fairly balance diet even with the gluten-free foods that I am eating. Granted, I may inadvertently be eating some gluten due to cross-contamination, but I have avoided foods I know for sure are not gluten-free, with the exception of not knowing every ingredient in the foods I ate at my brother’s rehearsal dinner and wedding. I still did the best I could and skipped the appetizer/cocktail foods when I was told that they weren’t gluten free.
While I have made these changes, Husband has been very supportive and jumped on my bandwagon, which has helped me stay on track and us to still eat meals together. He has also made diet changes to reduce inflammation in his body, and this has helped with his back pain/arthritis/disc repair, in addition to supplements, enzymes, muscle stimulation, ointments and natural treatments, and his inversion table.
Have any of you made any diet/food changes related to health or health concerns? Do you know of any awesome gluten-free foods to recommend? Let me know!