gluten free vs. low carb

I read a lot of blogs.  One of the things I consistently read about are people going on gluten free diets to lose weight.  As a person with a very special diet, I have had to read lots of books to truly understand what I can and can't eat.  When I first started this journey, I decided I would just go gluten free.  That's a diet right?

Unfortunately, it's not.  In fact, if you do not have celiac's, it's probably not a good idea.
What most people don't realize when they buy something gluten free, in hopes of dieting, is that it's actually made with rice flour!  And well, that means it actually has on average 10-15 more grams of carbs that regular flour.  So if you are doing the math, when I decided to try a gluten free diet, I actually GAINED WEIGHT.

Truthfully, the best diet is NO carb.  I turned to a no carb diet shortly after the gaining weight by accident, on a gluten free plan.  My dad recommended a book to me.  In fact, if you want a reason to steer clear from carbs forever, try reading Wheat Belly.  Trust me, it'll do the trick.  I read one subtitle and suddenly everything clicked "Be gluten-free but don't eat gluten-free."  It's amazing the adverse affects flour and even WHEAT flour can have on your body!  Wheat will make you tired, increase your blood sugar, slow your metabolism, make you hungrier, and make your belly fat!  Now I am not completely no carb, I eat limited fruit and very rarely a piece of bread (maybe at a restaurant or something).  Not too long ago I made the decision not to refer to this as a diet any longer.  This is a lifestyle for me.  And it has changed me.  I have lost weight and gained energy. It has motivated me to keep on going and continue living this way.

I have come up with ten tips to help anyone be successful on a low carb lifestyle.  I hope that if you are interested you will give it a try.
1. Use alternatives.
When you are cooking, it is very easy to use healthier alternatives in recipes.
For peanut butter cookies, use peanut or almond flour.  For "fried" or baked breading, use a nut based flour to coat.  Or make changes to your favorites!  Last Easter, I made a squash casserole.  I traded out the mayonnaise with 0% Fage Greek yogurt, used VERY few whole wheat Ritz cracker rounds, and Smart Balance butter.

2. Use vegetables.
Vegetables can be used in more ways than I ever imagined.  Three of the best examples I have are mashed cauliflowerzucchini noodles, and cauliflower sauce.  They are so yummy and satisfying.  When I use vegetables to replace starches, I actually feel full faster and longer.  I would also encourage someone looking to participate in a low carb diet to try new vegetables, like spaghetti squash and acorn squash.

3. Get full on protein.
Tuna, eggs, chicken, almonds, and ground turkey are some of the staples in my life.  I usually make tuna salad, chicken salad, or egg salad for my 20 minute lunch.  I try to make it the main part of my lunch.  I always eat it first and then the rest of my lunch.  My goal is to get full on the protein first.  I give myself more leeway at supper time.  I don't necessarily eat the protein first, because there are usually so many delicious veggies on the plate too :)

4. Cook with seeds.
There are two seeds I currently could not live without--flaxseed and chia seed.  You can put them in anything, and they only add to your meal.  I especially love chia seeds and make several fruit flavored chia puddings for breakfast during the week.  There are so many benefits to these wonderful little seeds.

5. Use fruit.
If you are going to eat a carb, this is the way to do it!  Some of the best fruits you can eat on a low carb diet include--blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, apples and pears.  Sometimes after you have been eating protein and vegetables, just having a piece of fruit feels indulgent. Yum :)

6. Know what you are consuming.
Read labels!  Turn that package around and look at the ingredients.  Are they mostly real?  How many carbohydrates are in the product?  You would be surprised what products you assume are low in sugar or carbs.  While the Atkins program has some great options (breakfast bars and frozen meals!!!), they have something even better and FREE!  If you sign up for information, they will send you 3 free bars, coupons, and the best part--a Carb Counter book.  It lists the carbs in the most popular foods and some options at restaurants.  I highly recommend signing up!

7. Get creative.
Use blogs, recipe books, and just your general knowledge in the kitchen and get creative with how you eat.  Eating well is most of the fight when it comes to weight loss, so do it right!  Some blogs I use to help inspire me in the kitchen include--Skinnytaste, Steamy Kitchen, skinnyms.,and Eat Yourself Skinny.

8. Find things you love!
Eating healthy foods you love and having fun exercising are the perfect combination for success. When I make things that the hubs and I both love, I make it over and over again.  We enjoy eating healthy and it only makes it better when it tastes amazing.  Exercise can be difficult if you do the same thing over and over again.  Find something you are really into.  This summer I fell in love with Zumba, it was different and fun.  It gave me something to really look forward too!
Find what you love!

9. Do your research.
Read books, blogs, and health magazines.  Become informed about the decisions you are making. The best part is that several of them include lots of recipes and eating plans!  Here are a few really good ones--Wheat Belly, The Metabolism Miracle Cookbook, The PCOS Plan, and Why We Get Fat.

10. Make it a lifestyle choice, not a diet.
Living no carb/low carb can be a diet.  However, as soon as its over and you bring those carbs back into your life, you will inevitably gain a little bit of weight back.  Every day I have to choose all over again to make this a way of living, but it is and will be worth it.

How do you live a healthy lifestyle?

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