The Wheat-free Life: Lunch and Dinner
If you've already begun your day with a wheat- and cornstarch-free breakfast, you have likely already begun to lose weight, feel more alert, more energetic, and improve pre-diabetic and diabetic patterns.
How about compounding the benefits begun at breakfast and continuing into lunch and dinner? The benefits will then be even greater: accelerated weight loss, increased energy throughout the day - including elimination of the afternoon "slump" - further reduction in blood sugar, further improvement in cholesterol patterns (increased HDL, reduced triglycerides, reduced small LDL).
Here are some typical lunches and dinners that we use in our wheat- and cornstarch-free diet approaches:
Vegetables. Eat unlimited quantities. Salads, of course, can be varied in as many ways as your imagination takes you. But always use a healthy olive oil-based dressing, and use it liberally. Add raw walnuts, pecans, or pistachios (almonds are a little hard on the teeth in salads, unless chopped or slivered), and cheeses. The only vegetable to beware of is potatoes if you are especially carbohydrate or sugar-sensitive. Sweet potatoes and yams are a better choice than white or red potatoes.
Lean meats. Lean red meats, chicken, turkey, eggs, Egg Beaters®. I do believe that cured meats, such as hot dogs, sausages, and bacon, should be avoided because of the sodium nitrite curing process. Although I also believe that saturated fat has been overly demonized, the excessive quantities that come from cured meats are not desirable.
Soups. An endless variety is possible here. Avoid noodles and those thickened with cornstarch or flour. Add beans, more vegetables, and added healthy oils.
Fruits. If you are carbohydrate sensitive (about two-thirds of adults are!), go easy on bananas and other tropical fruits, as well as grapes, which are the fruits that skyrocket blood sugar. Berries, citrus, apples, nectarines, peaches, and melons are the best.
Raw nuts. Raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios are the best. As long as they are raw and not salted, roasted in hydrogenated oils, honey-roasted, party mixes, etc., they do not make you fat.
Healthy oils. I advocate the unlimited use of healthy oils. It is quite clear that the total fat composition of this diet is not an important factor in heart health, contrary to prior thinking. Use olive, canola, or flaxseed oil to your heart's content. Salad dressings should always be healthy oil-based, never high-fructose corn syrup-based fat-free or "lite." Oils should never be super-heated, i.e., frying, because of the unhealthy oxidative byproducts created.
Because dairy products outside of cheese trigger higher insulin responses, I generally ask my patients to not exceed 1-2 servings of milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese per day, and only the unsweetened varieties that you jazz up yourself with walnuts, blueberries, ground flaxseed, etc.
For fiber sources, we use non-wheat fibers (that don't raise blood sugar or do so minimally) like ground flaxseed and oat bran. They can be used as hot cereal or added to other foods like yogurt, even used as breading for chicken or fish (along with herbs and spices).
As with a wheat-free breakfast, including nuts - raw only - with lunch and/or dinner is an easy way to obtain satiety, magnify health benefits, and enjoy something convenient and delicious.
Another basic principal I advocate, especially for the carbohydrate-sensitive, pre-diabetic or diabetic, is to try and add a healthy oil, even in modest quantities, (e.g., one teaspoon), at every meal. Do this, for example, by adding some olive, canola, or flaxseed oil to your soup; eating tuna-in-oil, not in water, or adding your desired oil to the tuna; brushing olive oil on your broiled or grilled vegetables; liberal use of healthy oil-based salad dressings; add olive, canola, or flaxseed oil to hummus, salsa, pico de gallo, or use tapenades and pestos for dips and toppings. This unique strategy generates satiety, blunts insulin responses, minimizes sugar excursions, and is easy and convenient.
As I've urged in past, do not confuse wheat- and cornstarch-free with gluten-free. This is an entirely different issue, though both share a concern over the adverse health effects of wheat.