My Favorite Gluten-Free Snacks & Meals

Hello everyone!

Today I will be sharing my favorite gluten-free snacks and foods that I have been eating while being gluten-free/limiting my gluten intake. If you haven’t read my post from yesterday about the reasons I went gluten-free, you should go check it out as well. A couple of these are gluten-free substitutes to foods that normally have gluten in them, but most of them are foods that just don’t have gluten in them, many that I would eat before starting my gluten-free diet; if you’re wondering why they seem pretty common/unoriginal ideas, that might be why. If you’re interested in finding out what I’ve been eating lately, keep on reading!

  • Chocolate Chex – This definitely isn’t the most healthy snack, but I love snacking on cereal, and this cereal happens to be delicious and gluten-free. I had it as my “dessert” on a lot of school nights. Another good cereal snacking option would be good ol’ Cheerios!
  • Burrito bowls (steak, brown rice, black & pinto beans) – This is my favorite lunch. Burritos are one of my favorite foods, but obviously flour tortillas are not gluten-free, so I’ve settled for burrito bowls, which are delicious in their own right. I love to get this exact type of burrito bowl I described at Sharky’s 🙂
  • Burgers (lettuce wrapped) – I can’t say no to a good burger, so I just asked for my burgers at a lettuce wrap at my normal favorite places. It gets some getting used to at first and some places use a lot more lettuce than others, but you still get your meat/protein.
  • Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Nut Kind Bars – These are the tastiest granola bars ever!!! I discovered them at a volunteer meeting where they gave them out to everyone, and I was hooked. I’ve had one in my lunch everyday since.
  • Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta – This honestly tastes just like normal pasta in my opinion (and I’m picky), so I’d say it’s a win. I also love brown rice in general, so that’s a good side dish if you’re looking for one.
  • Toast (gluten-free bread) with fruit – I thought gluten-free bread would be gross, but it’s actually really good toasted. This is my favorite breakfast food at the moment, since I would normally have normal toast with fruit.
  • Hard-boiled eggs – This is a good protein-filled snack or breakfast food. I used to have scrambled eggs in the morning everyday, but hard-boiled eggs are better for on-the-go and rushing in the morning, and I’ve always liked them.
  • Gluten-free chicken nuggets – This is another unhealthy food, but they taste the same as normal chicken nuggets! I’m not exactly sure what brand my mom got, but I think it might be MorningStar. They’re really good and an easy dinner food.

These are honestly the main things that I’ve been eating ever since I went gluten-free. I will say, one gluten-free food I will not recommend is gluten-free pizza. I had some from my favorite pizza place, and it was so disappointing compared to the texture and flavor of their normal pizza. I’m guessing that’s the case with a lot of gluten-free substitutes. I hope this helped you out if you’re looking to to try a gluten-free diet soon. Let me know if you have any recommendations of your own 🙂

Brooke

Why I Went Gluten-Free

Hello everyone!

This is definitely a different topic than what I normally talk about on this blog, but it’s something new that I’ve incorporated into my life and I figured I might as well feature it on here. I have been loosely gluten-free for almost a month now (I’ve had a few days where I ate pizza because I was at friends’ houses and such), and it’s been an interesting experience since I’ve never been on any other sort of “diet” or had food restrictions. I had a couple different motives for deciding to make this change, so I wanted to share my reasoning and experience.

My first and main reason for attempting a gluten-free diet was my constant stomach issues. I’m not exactly sure what’s wrong with my stomach or if it’s a digestive issue, but I had been having burning stomach pain and discomfort as well as issues in the bathroom, and my mom suggested I might have some sort of gluten intolerance. At the time the stomach pains were so intense that I was willing to try anything to make them go away, so we went to the grocery store to get gluten-free bread and pasta, among other things.

I quickly realized that gluten was not the root of my stomach issues. I felt a little better since without eating gluten, I was less bloated by the end of each day, but I still had the burning sensations. However, I decided to stick it through with eating gluten-free because it wasn’t that bad or that drastic of a change, and my friend who went through a similar thing said it takes more than a couple weeks to get all the gluten out of your system.

Before this little experiment, most of the food I ate in a day included gluten, since I eat a lot of carbs and I have a major sweet tooth. This was the second big reason I wanted to play around with being gluten-free; I figured it would force me to eat a little healthier since I couldn’t eat all the cookies and treats that I normally would eat for dessert or go with my friends to get on weekends. It was an easy way to also cut a lot of sugar out of my diet, and I saw results from this; my skin cleared up for the first time in a couple months, and I felt like I looked a lot less bloated everyday.

It was definitely difficult since I did normally eat so many carbs, but it was easy for the most part during the school week. I’ll be making a post shortly about all my favorite gluten-free snacks and meals, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested. I wanted to mention that going gluten-free isn’t necessarily “healthy,” as you can make it as healthy or as unhealthy as you want to. There are definitely lots of gluten-free substitutes and recipes for cookies and cakes, I just chose not to go that route since one of my main goals was cutting out some of those treats and impulses I normally have. I used the strategy of mainly just avoiding foods with gluten, but there were a few substitutes I got like gluten-free bread.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my gluten-free experience thus far. I’m going to continue monitoring how much gluten I have and trying to avoid eating foods with gluten, but I’m not going to continue a strict gluten-free diet. I think it always helps to try out new things to see if they work for you, but I’m still searching for the cause of my stomach problems. Let me know if you have any recommendations 🙂

Brooke

How to Exercise After Quitting A Sport

Hello everyone!

It’s been almost a month since my cheer season ended (you should read some of my older posts about cheer if you’re new to my blog), and it’s been really nice to open up so much free time in my schedule. However, I’m definitely not the most in-shape person and I would rarely exercise outside of cheer practices, so I’ve been left to figure out how to stay in-shape and get myself outside and moving. I know this happens to a lot of other high-schoolers and college students when they quit a sport and are left with no physical activity scheduled into their life for the first time in years, so I figured I would talk about how I’m dealing with it and what I think could help others.

A lot of my friends who also ended their high school sports “career” as well ended up joining a gym. I think this is awesome if it works for you, especially if it’s a local gym since lots of other kids your age/your friends might go there as well, but I wasn’t interested in spending the money and committing to something I probably wouldn’t take full advantage of since I can’t drive yet. However, if you can afford it and you’ll be motivated to go, getting a gym membership is a great idea, especially if you have a gym buddy or two.

For those looking to go a different route, I’m in the same boat as you. It’s super important to keep being active, not just for the sake of looking in shape, but for your physical health and mental well-being. I always notice that being outside and doing physical activity reduces stress since it lets off steam. If you’re unathletic like me, I recommend starting with walks around your neighborhood or local park just to get outside. If you want something a little more intense, you can do jogs/runs.

If you’re looking for a fun weekend physical activity, I highly recommend hiking. I’m lucky enough to live in California with tons of hikes of varying difficulty that are accessible year-round, but I’m sure you can find some spot near you as long as the weather is favorable. It might not be something you have time to do everyday, but it could be a way to switch up your typical weekend hangout with friends while getting outdoorsy. I enjoy hikes because the beautiful views usually outweigh any fatigue I may experience.

If all else fails, just try something new. Popular options are cycling classes (SoulCycle is definitely the most well-known one, but I believe the owner or someone associated with the company has some questionable publicly-expressed values), yoga classes, Zumba classes, or other forms of workout classes. I’ve never tried any of these, but I hope to in the near future since a lot of my friends rave about them and there’s a lot of different options near me.

As far as my personal physical activity right now, I actually got transferred into a PE class for the rest of the semester/school year, so I’m outside for at least an hour a day doing some form of exercise. It kind of sucks to add another class after having a few weeks experiencing going home from school earlier and not having cheer, but I still need one more semester of P.E. credits and if I finish out this semester P.E. class, I’ll be done with that. It’s also actually kind of nice to having some form of physical activity built into my schedule again.

I hope this helped you out or at least made you realize you’re not alone if you’re young and trying to figure out how to stay in shape and active after quitting a sport. I feel like sports are such a typical part of the high school experience and being involved in one was a part of my identity at school for so long, but I’m glad to be able to move on with my life and explore new things- new ways to exercise is just one tiny portion of that!

Brooke