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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Our Wheat Free Journey + Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

It started when she was two. 
Random early mornings of getting sick were just that random, at first. But then they seemed to have a pattern. Every other morning. Very early in the morning. For a month or two. Then the sickness stopped. Then it would start again. No rhyme or reason. 
We went to a GI doctor and he seemed to think she just had reflux. We didn't want to get her scoped because it seemed to stop by the time we were able to get into see the doctor. Time passed and her random sick moments became fewer and further between. But I did some reading. Lots of reading. Lots of research. Trying to figure out what could be causing these random moments of getting sick.

We started to try to heal and make the random moments not happen by cutting out Red 40. Then we tried to cut out all artificial dyes. It helped. For a bit. 
Then we noticed she was getting headaches (which is something her dad and I both suffer with). We didn't see a real trend. So we weren't exactly sure what to do. We cut out sugar and stopped eating things with high fructose corn syrup. I no longer bought meats that contained nitrates. We were trying to eat "real" and "clean" food. Then I read more and more about the affects of wheat and heard about the Wheat Belly book and thought it would be a great place to continue our journey. My husband was not thrilled by the idea but once he got on board we went full steam ahead. 
We started our wheat free journey in January of 2014. We are not purists. Since no one in our family suffers from Celiac Disease we didn't take it 100% seriously. We continue to go without wheat for a few months out of the year. But then life gets busy and we take a few short cuts and eat wheat. I will tell you that I feel SO much better when I am not eating wheat. I am not going to get into the science behind it all just check out the Wheat Belly Cookbook by William Davis if you want the science and great testimonials. 

I noticed that my daughter didn't have as many headaches when she quit eating wheat. My little girls arms cleared up from their bumps. My stomach felt much more at peace and my psoriasis didn't flare up as much. Now, like I said, we're not always totally 100% wheat free but we try to eat that way as much as possible. We don't do it because of Celiac or other disorders but we have found it makes us all feel better when we lay off the wheat. I have learned to bake without wheat and have found some great go-to recipes! 
For us it really is about just eating good clean meat with veggies and sweet potatoes. Some times I do use a gluten free noodle but I know not all gluten free products are that great for us either. Trying to eat wheat free has proved to be challenging and time consuming (especially at first) but I have gotten the hang of it now. You should hear my kids reactions when they get to eat a sandwich some place. Since we don't often eat bread it's like a huge treat to them. Lunches have been tricky but I think we've got it figured out and I'm pretty sure my school aged kids who eat lunch away from home are getting enough to eat even without eating wheat. Again, let me stress that we are not always 100% wheat free and we don't always even try. But we make a new effort every month or so. We don't worry about eating wheat free when other people cook for us. We don't tell them what to make us. Obviously, if one of us was suffering from Celiac or something we would be much more vocal about it when eating away from home.
We are about to start another round of going wheat free next week (my husband's birthday is tomorrow and he's asked for gooey butter cake and/or pie so he'll get his birthday wish!). It was so successful for us in January and then I got lazy again in February. We didn't fall completely off the horse but we are leaning pretty far. So, in order to jump start our health we will stop eating wheat at home and stay away from it as much as possible when we are least a month at a time. 

Maybe you've chosen to eat wheat free, or maybe you have someone who suffers from Celiac Disease in your family. I am sure you have found ways to make good healthy food choices and have found what works best for you. Two more books I'll recommend are Diane Sanfelipo's Practical Paelo and Brittany Angell's Every Last Crumb. These books have been very helpful and contain some awesome wheat free recipes that we go back to over and over again.

I also wanted to share with you two "recipes" that are in my regular rotation of dinners around here. I do a stuffed acorn squash and a spaghetti squash in the crock pot!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Pre-heat your oven to 350. 
  • Halve the acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. Put the halves cut side down in a baking dish with a little water. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until soft. 
  • While the halves are baking make your stuffing part. I use ground pork (it's from our family made brats that we hand stuff at the farm during our annual family "butchering"), sweet peppers, tomato sauce, spinach, garlic and onion. Then once it's all cooked I add some dried  cranberries as well!  
  •  Once the acorn squash is soft flip them over, and stuff them with the meat mixture. Then top with some grated cheese and put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes or just until the cheese is melted. 

My kids LOVE eating this.
They love the stuffing and love having the squash be the bowl!!

Another great easy wheat free meal is spaghetti with squash! 
So I just cut up some brats, add a jar of spaghetti sauce and a big handful of spinach in the bottom of my crock pot. 
Then, I cut the spaghetti squash in half (the short way) and scoop out the seeds and then just nestle the squash on top of the meat/sauce/spinach. 

I never knew I could just throw this all in the crock-pot until it was served this way to me when I was with my family. I used to cook it all separate! Save yourself lots of time and just throw it all in there together! 

Cook on low for 6-8 hours and scoop the spaghetti squash out mix it all together and call it good! 
You could use Italian Sausage or ground beef as well.

My kids loved these soft pretzels! 
The recipe is in the Wheat Belly Cookbook.

When my son was craving donuts I found a good wheat free recipe online that looked pretty simple to make and we had donuts! We use coconut sugar instead of white sugar (just FYI).
 I'm still trying to find the recipe. I'll link it up when I find it again!

The Wheat Belly cookbook also has a GREAT recipe for pizza crust. 
You can actually pick it up with your hands...and if you've tried a lot of wheat free pizza crust recipes you know that's not always the case!

What is your favorite wheat free recipe?
 Leave me a comment and let me know. I'm always looking for good, easy wheat free ideas for meals and snacks... so let me have 'em! 

Have a blessed week!

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