My first gluten/dairy/sugar/booze-free girls’ night went off without a hitch this past Thursday evening. Three of my close friends arrived at my house around6:30, and we got to work right away on the pizzas; or rather, Danielle and I did. She and I are on very similar diets, and I was happy for her camaraderie so I didn’t feel like I was the only one “depriving” myself. Candace and Karen sipped on a delicious smelling chardonnay and ate cheese and crackers while Danielle and I chopped and sautéed veggies for pizza. Sounds a little like torture, doesn’t it? It was a bit at first, but we stayed strong. Into the cast iron: onions, garlic, chard, mushrooms, artichokes, zucchini and green peppers. Onto three gluten-free spinach lavash: basil pesto or tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni, spices, and raw goat cheese or soy-free vegan mozzarella. Once the veggies were done, we piled them on the lavash, topped them with arugula and stuck them under the broiler. The result was three fabulously delicious and healthy pizzas. We ate, laughed, and enjoyed.
Besides a successful girls’ night, my second week “on the wagon” went exceptionally well. My energy levels have been amazing, and I most definitely attribute that to the elimination of gluten and most sugar. I am allowing myself a little fruit and some dark chocolate here and there so that my cravings don’t go completely haywire. I’ve been journaling all of my food daily along with how I’m feeling, and I did notice that despite my increased energy and decreased fatigue, I did get really tired one afternoon on the drive to my mom’s place. After going over my journal entry that evening, I realized that I had more fruit than I should have, and after lunch rather in the morning. The sugar must have spiked my insulin and made me crash. Thanks to my journal, I can make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Snacking has always been an especially difficult challenge for me when it comes to making healthy changes to my diet. Since I work around and prepare food for a living, I have constant access to all sorts of deliciousness. I find myself putting food into my mouth without even realizing it. And once I’m home, the actual hunger hits hard so I always end up snacking like crazy until dinner. When I really thought about it, I realized I probably have the caloric equivalent of a small meal before I even eat the dinner. That’s just not good. So I’ve been experimenting this week with a few things to help me avoid the unnecessary snacking. Eating breakfast and a protein-packed lunch helps, no doubt about that. I’ve also been sipping on lemon water spiked with cayenne pepper all throughout the day, which seems to help curb cravings while also revving up the metabolism and alkalizing the body. When I’m not eating a meal or sipping the water, I’m chewing a naturally sugar-free gum (sweetened with xylitol). I can’t and do not want to put food into a nice, minty mouth!