The Great Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Challenge

Posted by Dani on March 11, 2013

Strange things are afoot in the house these days. We have somehow become a gluten-free family. By choice. Sort of. Actually, it was kind of an accident.

This all started back in November when I decided I wanted to start eating clean. Or at least cleaner. Since I am usually surrounded by 2 teens and a husband who eat anything they want, I thought I would propose some kind of healthy eating challenge we could all do together, mainly to ease the burden on me. I thought I’d try suggesting gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, mainly so that we would be forced to avoid all the snack food that we always seem to pick up all the time. I wasn’t thinking gluten was a particular problem for anyone in the house, but I figured that eliminating gluten would eliminate a whole lot of junk food from our diet. And I threw in the refined sugar part just so that we would be at least forced to bake our own sweets, which would really help cut back in that area.

I thought I’d have to do a lot of convincing with the girls. Generally over the years I have been the one trying to convince them to eat better, usually unsuccessfully. But I think their teenaged brains might be starting to understand that eating well is important. Still, I was pretty shocked when they both jumped on board. The younger one plays beach volleyball in the summer, and decided she wants abs. And the oldest is old enough now to care about fitness. So the eating challenge was on.

We decided on a prize just to make it more fun. The winner gets 2 weeks off from any work around the house, with the losers taking care of everything. I thought it would last a few weeks, with my husband caving in within days and the rest of us slowly dropping like flies. What I forgot to consider is my youngest daughter’s deep resentment of doing any work around the house. Any small chore for her is a huge ordeal. Unfair! Misery! Virtual slavery! The drama any time she has to pitch in around here is very…dramatic. She has decided she will not lose. At any cost. She goes to Tim Horton’s at lunch with her friends…eats nothing. She’s been to birthday parties with cake and pizza…eats nothing. She is hardcore.

So because of her, we are still eating this way after almost 3 months. We’ve taken some group breaks at Christmas and for Family Day weekend, but we’ve noticed we all feel horrible and really can’t wait to get back on the diet afterwards. It’s actually amazing that the girls notice it too – I used to think you could eat anything you wanted at the age and still feel great. Apparently not. It hasn’t been too hard to find food that works, and we give ourselves a day off a month just to eat some of the things we miss. So it looks like we will be sticking with this a while longer.

Gluten is a big topic of conversation around here these days. We’re learning a lot. And I’ve realized it is a really big health issue for many people, apparently even for people like us who don’t seem to have a gluten intolerance. I’ve got some great gluten-free finds I’ll be sharing with you on the blog. Coming up soon…gluten-free whoopie pies that taste better than regular ones. You don’t want to miss that!

4 Responses to “The Great Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Challenge”

  1. Matt says:

    I’ve been looking all over for specific meal plans and come across NOTHING. Please post the meals you prepared for each day of the challenge. Thanks–and good effort!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks for your comment. We didn’t really work with meal plans – we made our eating decisions day by day, found substitutions, and gradually changed our habits. If you are looking for a good healthy eating plan, Moulinex is currently hosting a Get Healthy Challenge that comes with a month long meal plan. I have been enjoying the recipes myself. You can read more about it here:

      • Matt says:

        I forgot to mention that I am also gluten-free. Many of the meals I’ve come across have a lot of gluten which make my goal of a sugar free and gluten free existence hard to do. Thanks for the link!

        • Dani says:

          I hear you! We have also struggled with this. The best thing I find is to focus on foods that are not wheat-based, rather than trying to substitute. So we eat risotto, and ethnic meals that don’t depend on wheat. Through trial and error we have found some great pastas (brown rice pasta is our fav), and some dessert recipes (I have a few on the blog). It’s a struggle but it does get easier. Good luck!

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