A little over a year ago, I wrote several posts about the Wheat Belly Diet. I had seen the doctor for my annual check-up, and he suggested I adjust my eating habits by cutting out wheat and other processed grains. He said it might help me lose a few pounds, but mostly he hoped it would lower my triglyceride level which had been on the high side for several years. Since he was diplomatic about the weight issue, I decided to go along with his suggestion and see what happened. My husband David, who isn’t a picky eater as long as there’s black pepper and hot sauce on the table, agreed to join me in the adventure.
A friend lent me a Wheat Belly cookbook, and I began the slow process of removing wheat products from the house and looking for substitutes. I was surprised to learn how many things contain wheat including soy sauce and some frozen vegetables. I was also surprised to learn how expensive gluten-free products are. A very skimpy box of rice crackers runs close to three dollars, and a twelve-slice loaf of frozen gluten-free bread will set you back seven or eight bucks. In addition, many of the Wheat Belly recipes were not only time consuming but also tended to be dry and bland. Do I need to say that I looked for alternatives to sandwiches and crackers?
Eating away from home offered its own challenges, but we found ways to avoid most of them. When we had lunch at the Senior Center, we declined the bread and sometimes the pasta, and on taco days, we skipped the tortilla and had a taco salad instead. Of course, on volunteer dessert day or at the monthly birthday party, we had a piece of cake. We didn’t want to be fanatics or hurt anyone’s feelings. We ran into the same delicate issues at church potlucks and family dinners, so it was a constant battle of finding and keeping a balance.
Regardless of the surprises and the challenges, David and I were both delighted with our initial results. After a few months, I had dropped eight pounds and David had dropped around twelve. Our excitement was short-lived, though. We had birthdays and summer cookouts, and before we knew it, the holidays were upon us. Even though we avoided the really bad stuff, we still indulged enough to climb back to our original weights.
We didn’t give up, though. I never really got the hang of Wheat Belly cooking, but David adjusted to life without the bread and crackers. I have learned to make pancakes using Masa, and I can make a decent gluten-free biscuit, but mostly we just focus on soups, salads, and lots of veggies.
The real payoff came recently when we had our annual check-ups. David’s cholesterol was down to an acceptable level, and all my levels were good, especially those pesky triglycerides that had defied fish oil and niacin in previous years.
Being on a special diet is a pain, but it’s not too bad if you allow yourself to cheat once in a while. However, going to AJ’s twice in one month, like we did in April, is probably not a good idea. AJ’s is a local all-you-can-eat catfish restaurant – a favorite in Rains and surrounding counties. To me, the highlight of the meal is the dessert bar which features peach, blackberry, and pecan cobblers. I’ll admit that a spoonful of each cobbler along with a healthy topping of soft-serve ice cream might be a bit much. Fortunately, I have a year before my next blood work.
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