Welcome! Come on in! Make yourself at home and stay awhile. But beware of the odd flying toy, fighting child, dirty sock, or even a mad Mama. If you are looking to read about about a perfect family, this is NOT it. But if you want a real snapshot of day to day life in the deRegt household, you might just find that here. My desire through this blog is to keep in "real" touch with family and friends, beyond the picture-perfect Christmas form letter (hey, what can I say? I believe in wearing your heart on your sleeve). We consider ourselves blessed that there are so many wonderful people in our lives that we can't even keep in touch with everyone. Please leave a comment now and then, we'd love to hear from you, too. Except if you are perfect, then we want you to go away!!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

My Successful Wheat-Free Week

Ok, so Week 1 is done. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

I know I've said it before, but I am really surprised that I was able to do it without caving. Although I'm not doing this for the same reasons I've done other diets in the past, I am so amazed that for the first time in my life (as long as I can remember), I am not craving food continuously. Even though I've cut out a significant part of my regular diet, I don't feel deprived. This is very uncharacteristic of me. And it gives me hope--maybe I can keep this up!!

Some good discoveries/ideas/recipes that have helped me navigate this new world:
-Babybel cheeses--these are great! And I totally don't miss the cracker I used to eat them on. They are portable and very satisfying!
-Greek Yogurt--oh so creamy and delicious. One morning I added a little too much flax and it tasted like I imagine horse feed would. Other than that, I've been loving it. It's so high in protein and low in fat.
-Stuffed Peppers--I made these for dinner one night. I scramble-fried lean ground beef, added onions, carrots, zucchini, peppers, celery, spinach, some bouillon, spices, and about 1/3 cup crushed tomatoes. Then I packed them into some small orange and yellow bell peppers that I had cut the tops off of and boiled for a few minutes. I mixed some leftover crushed tomatoes with water poured it over top and around the peppers, sprinked some cheddar and parmesan over top and then baked them for 30 minutes. Two of them for dinner was very filling and delicious! Leftovers made great lunch. I made too much filling for the number of peppers I had, so I added extra broth and some italian seasoning to it in the pan, boiled and simmered it and it became a tasty soup!
-I know you won't believe me, but I'll share it anyways--burgers taste awesome on a lettuce leaf without the bun!! Truly. Even as I was preparing it I was starting to grumble about how it wouldn't be the same, and it wasn't fair (poor me). But one bite into it and I realized that the bun is really just tasteless filler. A "holder" really. All the same juicy flavours and textures of a great burger can be experienced without it.
-Other good meals have been: Butter Chicken (chicken, spices, onions, crushed tomatoes, and cream). I just chose to have a much smaller service of rice than usual to cut down on my grains, and I didn't notice it; Chicken and Vegetable Satay Kabobs--the marinade I use for this has peanut butter in it and has always been my favourite (i'll try to post it here). With a salad and a few roasted potatoes it was a hit.
-Chicken Salad (chicken, mayo, green onion, celery, salt & pepper). I kind of felt like a kid in a candy store because normally when I make this salad, I would "sneak" spoonfuls of it right from the mixing bowl before putting it in wraps or on a bun. I thoroughly enjoyed taking 1/2 cup of it for lunch with some cucumber slices and almonds.
-And for a sweet treat--Peanut Butter Cookies (peanut butter, egg, sugar). Even wheat-free, I was the world's best mom to my kids when they came home and smelled fresh cookies. So easy. And again, no hording desire to eat 5 of them. I had one, it was nice. I stopped. Who am I??

Some lows:
-The rash is still quite bad on my hand. I thought it went away a bit, but it's not noticeably different.
-Realizing that every single breakfast cereal has wheat in it--even the "healthy" ones!!
-Too much flax is a bad thing (see above note). Especially in oatmeal. Especially after it's congealed in the bowl for 1/2 hour while the children dilly dally getting ready in the morning.
-protein foods are a lot more expensive than carb foods. Thankfully veggies are cheap!

Some highs:
-Everyone's encouraging comments and shared recipes/websites--I look forward to trying some of them this week. I bought the expensive ingredients to do so today (see above point!)
-Feeling more energetic
-Seeing my children choose less carb choices and even enjoy some of the non-carb foods/meals.
-Thankfully appreciating the fact, every morning, that coffee does not contain wheat!!
-Seeing the scale go down even though I'm not counting calories or points, I'm not feeling hungry or deprived. And I'm not exercising. Yay!

Here's to Week 2!!
Allrecipes.com Chicken Satay recipe.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Day 4 of the Wheat-Free life!

Well, I've made it four days. For me, this is an accomplishment. Usually by Day 2 of any diet I am cheating. But then again, this is only the second time in my life I've done a diet for health reasons instead of weight reasons. (Really, they are the same thing, I know, but it's a different mindset.)

I didn't think I was going through withdrawal because I wasn't craving breads, but then I read the section in the book that said symptoms may include drowsiness and fatigue, and a reduced ability to do normal exercise, blurry thought patterns. Bingo!! (Ok, that described me pretty accurately prior to the WF diet as well, but hey...it explained the naps two days in a row! And the fact that I felt like I was walking around in a fog all weekend.)

Seriously, I am surprised at how I am feeling now that the fog is clearing. It's not as drastic as I had hoped, but I am feeling better. I got a little hungry at lunch time today and just had some cheese and almonds. That's all I needed and didn't feel hungry again until supper, nor did I think about eating. It's a weird thing to describe, but I don't feel as "controlled" by food anymore. And my hand rash is slowly clearing up. I'll admit, I honestly expected to see it disappear in 24 hours time, but alas, it hasn't.

The hardest part for me is trying to come up with variety. This is such a different way of cooking than I'm used to. If it were just a matter of replacing the wheat with another grain, that'd be easier. But I'm trying to cut out all grains. Breakfasts are the toughest, as I don't like eggs unless they are on toast (it's a texture thing). But I discovered Greek 0% yogurt with frozen blueberries and flax is a great way to start my morning. I have also had oatmeal, as I'm giving myself some grace with the "other" grains.

Curiously, I am sad about the two big bags of flour that are in my pantry (is it the Dutch in me?!?). And the fact that I have to let go of the pride I felt at baking my own bread for my family on a daily basis. Today I did make a loaf and some buns (the kids are not going cold turkey like we did). The more I learn about wheat (in it's modern form), I view bread as almost poisonous and that I really shouldn't feed it to my kids. Yet I still am. And I'm not throwing out that flour...yet. Can we hear the undertones of an addict here?

I'm thankful and delighted to discover I am really not alone. There is a whole world of wheat-free and gluten-free and grain-free people out there. Not to mention a lot of great recipes. I am still not sure this is a totally do-able thing for me permanently, but so far, so good. Now pass the hemp hearts...

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Wheat: my newest enemy?

I'd like to think of myself as someone who gets along with most people. In fact, even the people who drive me nuts are usually not aware of it (no, it's not you!). Enemies have been few and far between in my life.

However, I've just been learning a lot about the most common food in my diet--wheat. And it's scary. Did you know that wheat can raise blood sugar more quickly than most other foods, including sugar? And did you know that our modern-day version of wheat has been so genetically modified that it's not even the same food anymore? In the last 50 years or so, wheat has been significantly changed to produce a higher yield crop, with absolutely no studies on the effects of those changes on humans.

Have you ever wondered, like I have, why on earth so many people now suffer from all kinds of conditions and illnesses that just didn't seem as prevalent in our parents' childhoods? I'm thinking Autism, ADHD, eczema, allergies, fatigue, obesity...cancer.

This book I'm reading, Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, suggests the connection is the modified wheat we consume in excessive quantities. It entered our diets around the same time all these diseases started increasing in numbers. And he uses extremely scientific (read: complicated and over my head) data to back up this claim. From what I can understand from my scientifically-challenged viewpoint (I failed Chemistry in Gr. 12, ok?), IT MAKES SENSE!!

I won't try to tell you what he all says, but I will tell you that I'm convinced. In the last 6 months, I have been diagnosed with 2 separate medical conditions (both autoimmune related), and just recently have been developing an incredibly itchy and annoying rash on my hands (another telltale symptom). For a year now I've been dealing with severe headaches, fatigue, and low iron. Not to mention an embarrassing version of the lovely title-feature of Dr. Davis' book. If wheat is truly causing all of this, as he claims in his book, then I think it's time for me to kick the habit and see if he's right.

Starting today, I'm attempting to eliminate all forms of wheat from my diet, and hopefully from the kids' diets too, but that will have to be a much more gradual process. Somehow every single meal in this family has come to not just include wheat, but be dominated by it. Pancakes, waffles, cereal, toast, bagels, sandwiches, pasta, buns, breadsticks.....pizza. (Oh, dear, sweet, precious, pizza. Not you, too....) It seems daunting to me, I can't imagine my kids' reactions. Marcel, on the other hand, thinks this could be quite easy as he is a "meat potatoes vegetables" kind of man. We shall see....

So far, Day 1 has been more bearable than the experiment I did earlier this week. They say the results are noticeable right away. I've always known that I feel bloated and fat after a high-carb meal, and I have to say, I'm not feeling that today. The withdrawal symptoms are apparently quite brutal for some people, as the wheat effect on the brain involves the same receptors that heroin does. So this will be interesting.

I'm looking for meal ideas, recipes, etc. The idea is not to replace the wheat with other forms of high carbohydrates though, so good vegetable and other grain-free ideas would be more than welcome! Eggs for breakfast is going to get boring reallllly quickly. I need to keep this interesting. I need to be motivated. I plan on keeping this blog updated with my progress, so if any of you want to follow my progress or even join me in my journey, please let me know!

Ok, wheat, I'm building my team....and I'm about to conquer pizza/movie night with chicken breast "wings", veggie sticks, and sweet potato fries...mmm.