If you follow me on Instagram, or if we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed something different about me. I’ve gone gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free! It’s (probably) not a permanent change, but I do plan to permanently change the way I eat. It’s kind of a long story, but stick with me on this one…
Along with a group of friends from church, I’ve set out to try to clean up my act when it comes to food… We’re following a book called The Daniel Plan (which covers much more than food, but I’ll talk about the food part here) that emphasizes eating whole foods, especially lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on the not-so-good stuff like wheat, sugar, and all forms of processed foods. It seems rather simple. And, frankly, it is.
Honestly, nothing about the food portion of The Daniel Plan was news to me. I read a lot about food, we belong to a CSA, I cook from scratch, and we generally eat healthy meals. But, I also love to bake. And, as a result, we have been eating a lot of sweets.
It hasn’t always been that way, though. I think the sweets have crept up on me over the years. When I started writing my blog over 5 years ago, I was writing about the food that we were eating. Gradually, as I tried to constantly share new recipes and worked my way into the baking scene, we started eating whatever I was writing about. I distinctly remember one night when I made avocado-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers for a blog post, and we ended up just eating them for dinner because I didn’t have time to make anything else. They were from scratch, made with unprocessed ingredients. But, I think we can all agree that bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers aren’t exactly a balanced dinner. And, when I was baking batch upon batch of sticky buns or cookies, trying to come up with a perfect recipe, we would end up eating a lot of those, too.
Honestly, it’s surprising that I haven’t gained a lot weight. I can thank running (when it’s warm out) and chasing a toddler around the house (constantly), I suppose. But, it has crept up over the years. And, while my weight may not be a really serious concern, I’ve always had this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I needed to cut back on sugar and wheat.
Even with the nagging voice in my head telling me to cut back on sugar and wheat, it took me quite a while to get around to actually making a change. In the last few months, I’ve read repeatedly about the issues with eating too much sugar and wheat. (I’m not a doctor or scientist, so I won’t explain it to you… If you’re interested, you won’t have to search for long to find a lot of books on the subject! I personally recommend One Simple Change as a good starting point.) I constantly found myself resisting the idea, though, because I love to bake… I have always loved to bake, and I have been planning on passing down that love of baking to my daughter. That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?
Then, I had one of those moments where a lightbulb went off in my head (or, in this case, more like a flood light). My eating habits (particularly those associated with baking) are unhealthy. Why in the world do I want to pass that down to my daughter?
That thought really began to sink in… Sure, I will get the chance to teach my daughter how to bake chocolate chip cookies and make my grandmother’s dinner rolls, but we don’t need to do it every day… Or even once a week! And, while baking is important to me, how much more awesome would it be to teach her how to make a killer vegetable stir fry? I’d much rather pass along a love of healthy, wholesome food than a love of sugar-laden baked goods.
From that moment on, I was all in. I was going to make a change. I started experimenting with more gluten-free flours, eating a lot more vegetables, and I stopped eating sugar. I rallied up a handful of friends who were all interested in getting healthier and we started reading The Daniel Plan together. Last Monday, we started a ten day “detox” that eliminated all sugar (including natural sugars), dairy, gluten, and caffeine.
So far, I am on day 9 of the “detox” and day 12 without sugar… And, I feel pretty good. I’ll talk more about the detox when it’s over! I’ve had my ups and downs, but overall, I think it’s a change for the better. I don’t intend to cut gluten, dairy, and sugar out of my diet forever… But, I also don’t plan to go back to my old ways, either. It’s a balancing act, and I think it is going to be an ongoing challenge to figure out what works and what doesn’t. But, in the end, I think it will all be worth it, not just for me, but for my whole family.
Surprisingly, cooking without gluten, dairy, and sugar hasn’t been as much of a challenge as I had originally thought. In some ways, it has really sparked my creativity. This particular recipe is one that I made for dessert for our group of friends. It also doubles well as a topping for gluten-free oatmeal in the morning with a splash of almond milk. I think it’s a keeper!
Blueberry Apple Crumble (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)
Serves 8 – 10
(Note: Technically, this recipe does contain fruit juice, which is a natural sugar.)
For the fruit filling:
- 4 cups diced and peeled apple
- 4 cups frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
For the crumble topping:
- ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with coconut oil.
Combine the apples and blueberries in a large bowl. Add the orange juice and stir to evenly combine the fruits and the juice. Transfer to the baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until the fruit is soft and bubbly.
Meanwhile, combine the oats, quinoa, pecans, walnuts, spices, and salt for the topping in your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine the ingredients. Gradually add the coconut oil, while continuing to pulse the mixture until it is evenly moistened and the nuts are roughly chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and stir in the sliced almonds and unsweetened coconut.
Take the baked fruit from the oven, and sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the top. Return the pan to the oven (uncovered) and bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes, until the topping is crisp and golden.
Please Note – The links to The Daniel Plan and One Simple Change in this post are Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale price, which helps to keep My Kitchen Addiction up and running. Thanks!