My Life without Sugar, Gluten or Dairy


Aligned with my German upbringing, foods like yoghurt, cheese, butter, bread and granola were staples in my diet. I ate them daily. For example, I always started my day with a big bowl of yoghurt or cottage cheese with some type of fruit and cereal on top. It tasted great, was quick to make and I thought it was good for me. A no-brainer, right?


Wrong. All wrong.


About two years ago, I left my naturopath’s office feeling disheartened and frankly, quite at a loss. She strongly recommended I avoid many of the foods I loved. Foods which made up the bulk of my diet. Say what?


Now you may be thinking “That’s what you get for going to a naturopath. Why would you do a thing like that and not expect to have to make changes?”


I have always felt a kinship with naturopathic medicine. Its goal is to prevent illness using natural means versus relying on standard pharmaceutical interventions once you have become ill. Taking preventative measures if far better than trying to fix it once it is broken.


I was looking for answers which regular medicine was not providing me.


Two years ago, I noticed that I caught every cold going around. I never skipped one. If a co-worker was sick, it was just a matter of time before I was as well. Besides the inconvenience and discomfort of it, I was concerned about what was going on with my immune system. I often felt tired, especially after a meal, I had super sensitive skin and noticed I was getting more forgetful. Does that sound familiar to you or someone you know? It’s more common than you may think. My doctor blamed these symptoms on stress, my recent pregnancy and parenthood, aging etc.


I accepted that. At first.


The problem is that those explanations are things you can’t influence much. And conventional medicine does not offer any remedies for them either. And looking at my health that way made me feel powerless. Well, that just was not good enough. I was not prepared to accept things as they were or that there was not much I could do to improve my health. So I started on quest to find out what I could do to feel like myself again. Which brought me to visiting a naturopath.


I am glad I went.



Sounds paradoxical? Let me explain by getting back to that visit. She started me out on a two month cleanse. I had to eliminate certain foods entirely. Specifically, common troublemakers in a western diet: sugar, gluten and dairy. Later, she had me adopt a paleo diet.


Have you ever tried to eliminate certain foods from your diet?

It is not easy to unlearn your food habits.


Neither is finding alternative foods which work around your restrictions and that you actually want to eat. And not be hungry all the time. You can’t jut eat celery all day! After the first shock wore off, I started looking for things I could – and wanted to – eat. And that was hard. I roamed the aisles of my local supermarket, reading the tiny print of the ingredient labels, feeling pretty deprived and grumpy. Everything I usually ate consisted of at least one of the foods I could no longer eat.  Plus, the rest of my family had no restrictions, so that meant I still had to buy the foods I had to stay away from, see them in my pantry and fridge, prepare them and watch others eat them! Every day. Oh, the agony!


I decided to go back to the drawing board.


I researched food substitutions and later also paleo recipes. Here are some of the examples I found. Seed crackers instead of conventional grain crackers. Bread made of almond flour (But I never could find a good recipe for this). Cheese using cashews or sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast. Yoghurt and cream out of coconut milk. Granola out of nuts. Baked desserts from fruits, nuts and vegetables (such as carrots and zucchini cake). Hummus without beans. Dark chocolate without milk. Meals rich in protein and vegetables, which were satisfying even though they had no grains such as rice and pasta. Pinterest became my new best friend.


Once I had a slew of recipes, and became organized around making them in advance, it actually became much easier and the whole endeavour became tolerable. To my surprise, some of the recipes are actually better tasting than the foods they replaced. Pst: In next week’s blog, I will include my favorite coconut milk yoghurt recipe along with a grain and sugar free granola. Be sure to check them out and try them for yourself.


How does your attitude towards food help or hinder your health?


To make this food experiment work, I had to stop focusing on “not being allowed” to eat certain foods. I had to change my attitude towards the foods I could eat. I wanted trips to the grocery store to be fun again. This was not going to happen if I kept focusing on all I could not eat anymore. This perspective was not helping me. Instead, I decided to see my food restrictions as a challenge. And as a great opportunity, and a teacher, to improving my health. That changed the dynamic for me considerably.


Here is a tip I learned along the way: Shop the periphery of a grocery store and not the middle. Most whole foods are located around the outer walls – fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, bulk bins with nuts and seeds – while processed foods lurk within the aisles – chips, crackers, cereal, ready made dishes, pop, prepared treats. The trick is simple: Don’t walk the aisles and you won’t be tempted.



At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned that my food journey started two years ago. Are you curious to hear what happened as a result? My dietary changes made me feel amazing. I never went back to my old ways. I barely become sick. I have lots of energy. My skin glows. It’s easier to get out of bed in the morning and fall asleep at night.


I created a new normal.


I can’t say I don’t miss cheese, butter and cream, but the substitutes I found are pretty darn good. I really don’t miss sugar at all. And THAT is quite something, because I had a real sweet tooth before. I even ate dessert after breakfast! Sweets that I used to crave leave me quite indifferent now.


If someone had told me that two years ago, I would never, ever believed them.


I am curious, are there some changes you have been meaning to make to your diet? I bet there are. What do you want your “new normal” to look like? What needs to happen for you to make the changes? How can YOU turn this daunting task into an opportunity?


If I can do it, so can you!


I am happy to help you find your answers. Please leave your comments or questions below. Also, feel free to reach out by contacting me by clicking HERE. 







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