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Grocery shopping is a lot easier these days for me, although it's still my least favorite chore! When we first started eating sugar-free and grain-free, I had many extended shopping trips - I searched every ingredient in soups, dressings, crackers, and all of the gluten-free offerings. It took me a while to realize that there are very few packaged items that I would be able to eat. So now, I spend most of my time shopping in the produce section. There are whole aisles that I bypass, especially packaged, canned, frozen, and gluten-free.
My husband and I have both lost a lot of weight since we cut out grains and most all sugars.
We are both just about to where we want to be weight-wise, but we also want to maintain this and limit carbs to keep feeling good. Basically, things without added ingredients, and especially ingredients that I have no idea what they are!
Here is a general list of what I shop for now:
~All kinds of meat - chicken, beef, pork (uncured bacon is fine), and fish. Grass-fed, free-range, organic and wild-caught are the best choices if you can afford them, but not necessary.
~Eggs… we eat a lot more eggs now and try to buy free-range, organic.
~Real cultured cheeses, Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan. Real cheese - not Velveeta or processed types. And butter, lots of butter! We use Kerry Gold pure butter.
~Full fat dairy, such as sour cream, yogurt, heavy whipping cream. We limit these and avoid skim and low fat dairy, as it’s loaded with sugar and carbs.
~Most all fresh vegetables - no corn or potatoes (although some raw potato is good!) and I limit tomatoes and carrots when I'm watching my carb count. Spinach salads with bacon, hard boiled eggs, sunflower seeds.....delicious. Also we grill a lot of asparagus, onion, zucchini, red and yellow peppers and eat fresh green beans.
~Avocados are a good source of fat and omega 3, and a great, easy snack.
~Raw Nuts such as Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Macademia, Almonds, Pistachios. No peanuts unless dry-roasted in a healthy oil.
~Healthy fats and oils - Coconut oil, Olive oil, ghee and butter. No canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil and other vegetable oils (hydrogenation is bad).
~Golden Flax Seed, ground. It’s good for adding omega 3’s. I use it sometimes in smoothies and some recipes.
~Almond flour and coconut flour for baking. NO rice flour, oat, sorghum, tapioca, potato, corn… all very high carb and starchy and trigger blood sugar response. No cornstarch or arrowroot. I've been seeing a lot recipes with arrowroot flour which I've been avoiding as well.
~For sweeteners, I mainly use Sweet Leaf Stevia. We don’t eat many sweets - and we don't have the cravings for them like we used to. But we are experimenting more and I have posted successful recipes that we enjoy. No maple syrup, agave or honey which I see in lots of grain free dessert recipes.
~Fruit, mostly berries. We eat strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. We avoid the high-sugar tropical fruits like banana, mango, pineapple, papaya, or just have very rarely. Sometimes apples, oranges or grapes, but rarely as they are like eating a handful of sugar - darn!
We eat very few legumes (sometimes black beans) because they are high in carbs. And, obviously no breads or pastries, no crackers or chips. I make my own crackers or cheese chips once in while, and they are pretty good! Occasionally my husband splurges on potato chips that are cooked in avocado oil with no other ingredients. And he still drinks his Diet-Coke, but not nearly as much as he used to. I drink lots of water which is good for cleansing and cravings. No beer, but I do indulge in Red Wine once in a while. There are some beers that are not made with wheat, but for me the calories aren't worth it.
The reason we are eating grain-free and not just gluten-free is that the GF (gluten-free) processed foods are made of alternative grains and they are every bit as high carb and bad for you as wheat products. We avoid GF packaged foods like the plague! And, I'm careful in looking for "low carb" or GF recipes as many of them only eliminate gluten but still contain many of the other sugar spiking flours and sweeteners.
If you replace processed wheat foods with processed wheat-free foods, the improvement to your diet is minimal. However, if you fill that gap in the diet with more healthy food (which is naturally gluten-free), the payoff is amazing. You will not lose out on nutrients from bread if you eat in a smart way - and it's not that hard to do! Our appetites have definitely changed and we don't crave all of the snacks and sweets that we used to eat quite frequently.
If you read either of the Wheat Belly books and find out what grains do to your body, I think you'll be inspired to give up grains - and I'd be surprised if you weren't amazed at how much better you can feel both physically and emotionally.