Nearly 20 years ago (that makes me feel old) I was diagnosed with an intolerance to wheat and dairy and advised to cut sugar from my diet. Thus ensued several miserable years in my late teens and early twenties where I ate cardboard alternatives to bread and felt like a social pariah. Remember, this was way before it was trendy to be ‘GF DF’ and there were very few alternatives tucked away in dark, dusty health food shops. Your university years are not quite so much fun when you are the boring one who can’t eat a kebab at 3am or share a pizza for lunch. A student budget doesn’t go far with free-from foods, either. Food became a source of anxiety, embarrassment, and somehow both an obsession and a chore. Then, I met my future husband. He laughed at my faddy intolerances and basically told me to man up. So, I started eating bread, and milk, and ice cream, and pasta. It was so liberating, and my health seemed fine.
Several years, two kids later and a little squidgier and heavier, I was constantly tired and run down and decided to stop living on cakes, biscuits and toast just to make it through the day and to clean up my act. Out went processed and sugary foods and, having read about the paleo diet, I cut back on all grains, not just wheat. The prospect of going back to a life of deprivation was scary, but things have moved on so much. Cauliflower rice, courgetti, chia seeds, coconut yogurt, millions of recipes on the Internet, it was actually pretty easy. This time around, I also wasn’t too strict.
Having eaten like this for over a year now, I decided it was time to try and inflict some clean eating upon my family. In between healthy meals, we can be found munching on takeaways and dunking the odd biscuit and I am known to bribe my children with ice cream on a regular basis.