vegan AND gluten-free? are you nuts?

Yes, yes I am. And I do really love nuts, thanks for asking. 🙂

As I’ve changed my eating lifestyle throughout the years, I’ve learned so much about my own body and how it handles certain types of foods. First of all, as I had long suspected, sugar is a killer. If I eat anything with sugar after 6 or 7 at night, I’m pretty much guaranteed to have one heck of a headache in the morning that nothing will get rid of quickly. I later chose to be vegetarian, and then vegan, for ethical reasons and learned along the way that my body really does not like meat nor dairy. This lesson was a hard one to learn because every time I fell of the vegan wagon and ate dairy or (sadly) meat, I would be sick. Really sick.

Some of that sickness was due to me pretty much being lactose-intolerant (this happens after you’re vegan for a long time) but there were many other health symptoms that came back. Issues that I had dealt with my whole life and assumed they were “just the way it’s supposed to be” but that went away when I was vegan. Probably the easiest example to give without going into too many details is acne – once I stopped eating meat and dairy, I pretty much stopped having issues with acne. Acne was a huge deal for me in my life and I’ve had it way past the teenage years timeframe that it’s known for – I had it through my 20’s and 30’s. But, when I watch what I eat, it goes away. If I stop eating vegan, it comes back. I can give you citations to research and science crap that will explain why so let me know if you’re interested in learning more – I’ll put my librarian hat on for you.

So why gluten-free also? Well, I have friends who either have celiac disease or have a strong intolerance to gluten. And there’s some research about how gluten affects your body that I could share with you as well (again, just ask me). But for me, when listening to others describe some of the effects and symptoms they’ve had before going gluten-free, I hear myself and I too would like them to go away. Therefore, I’m going to give it a try. This of course is going to be an interesting project and change for me. Thankfully, going vegan taught me how to cook and bake – and now, I will have to do this even more so I don’t end up buying unhealthy processed & packaged food.

One of my friends shared the blog Gluten-Free Goddess with me. And while perusing it (and falling in love with the recipes!!) I learned that the author also bakes vegan. She has a great “Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet” with helpful tips, including this gem:

“Baking gluten-free and vegan translates to one simple truth that is hard to teach. Because it can only be learned by experience. This one simple truth?

Unlearn everything you think you know- or thought you understood- about baking.”

The whole page and blog is wonderful (with great photos!) and if you’re interested in learning more, I would definitely recommend going there. I feel fortunate because I never really learned how to cook/bake before going vegan so I don’t have too many of the traditional ideas about baking to unlearn. But there are definitely some things there that I needed to unlearn. It will be a new adventure for me  for sure – but one that I believe will have amazing benefits.

Today is officially day one of vegan, gluten-free eating. I’m looking forward to seeing how this choice improves how I feel and pushes me closer to my goal of being healthy overall and running a half-marathon. Oh, and my new one: being a cross-fit athlete by the time I’m 40. Yeah, I’m serious. But that’s another post. 🙂

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