Do you wonder why we are always looking for substitutes for the foods that we think we need? Like our traditional American breakfast foods... pancakes, waffles, muffins, bread... all those delicious things that a Celiac or gluten intolerant person is supposed to avoid and most of the rest of the world doesn't eat.
I was chatting with a friend today about this and we both wondered why this habit of ours is so difficult to break. Is it really necessary for us to eat those foods that just don't do a body good? Is it because we were brought up this way and have been given such bad, contradictory and confusing guidance on the proper way to eat? We have been eating this way all our lives, it is near to impossible to break? I do think it is possible but for how long? Can I give up half and half in my coffee or coffee in itself for the rest of my life???? Yikes... I really don't know if I could. But you know when it is your health at risk or when you have a little baby growing in your belly you make the changes no matter what, at least I did. I had my boys back to back, so there I was, pregnant or nursing with no coffee and no wine for over four years. My husband loved it because he always had a designated driver. I actually didn't mind it but when I finished nursing my second I was pretty happy about my morning coffee again.
In the past two and half weeks I have been thinking a lot about this because of the Paleo challenge. In my first week of the challenge I searched the internet for recipes and substitutions. I found that many Paleo recipes used coconut flour, coconut milk and coconut oil as a substitute to the regular flours, milks, oils and cream. I was pretty excited to try the coconut products and make new and exciting things like coconut muffins, coconut smoothies, coconut pancakes and more. Wow, this all sounded so great and no problem right? Well all things in moderation! I don't know if this is how you are when you start a new diet but you look at all the things that you are now suppose to avoid and then you go to the alternatives/substitutions list to find out what is now considered "safe" to eat. There always seems to be one thing that people just go overboard on and maybe I went a little overboard on the coconut that first week. I was desperately trying to find something that would satisfy me in the morning over my usual hot bowl of gluten free oatmeal (which I still miss). Unfortunately I found myself sick again with a horrible throat infection, the same infection that I always get when gluten creeps into my diet. But I had no gluten so what's the deal?
I might have mentioned earlier that I have been on the Blood Type Diet for over eleven years now. It was my guidance when I made the shift to a gluten free diet because back then there wasn't much on the market in the way of products or guide books and there definitely were no gluten free bloggers out there. I have tried other diets along the way but I always seem to come back to the Blood Type and sure enough for those of us who are O blood, we must avoid coconut! Now I knew this was on my avoid list but wanting to always validate and experiment I thought I would give it a try. After spending the last nine days recovering from this infection I will now stay clear of coconut.
Getting back to the question... Can we do without the breads, pastas, cereals and processed foods? I think it is possible again but for how long. When I started my gluten free diet the products on the market were horrible. Breads were like cardboard, there were no gluten free beers and the pastas were dry and nasty so I was better off not eating any of that stuff anyway. I did without all of that for quite some time and was fine. But as soon as products improved and more things were on the market I was the first to try and so happy to have found something that tasted like the real thing. I don't think I had a bowl of oatmeal for about eight or nine years and then finally gluten free oats hit the market. I had my first bowl just a few months ago and now I have to give that up again. That was torture. But I'm almost through week 3 of the Paleo challenge and haven't touched it.
So where does that leave me now? Well there is the highly nutritious almond flour substitute which is beneficial for me and I love it. Just don't overdo it!