Being a mum is rewarding but DOING everything that comes with being a mum is a different type of work. You’re always on the go, you have all the responsibilities in your day job, then at home you’re juggling kids, housework, and everything else for any adult. So, may you’ll agree with us here that finding time to plan, prepare and eat healthy meals that are nutritional and tasty can seem like a daunting and timely task.
Your 9-5 has become more like 24/7, and taxiing the kids around to school, play, and all their clubs is like a third job in itself. Somewhere in there, you want to fit in the time to drop a few kilos or trim up. But, hitting the gym or starting that clean eating thing you promised you’d do both feel like fairytale wishes. By the time you finally get home, all you have energy for is a quick hit of carbs, tonnes of cheese, and anything that’ll help you quickly relax.
But, put down that microwave pasta bake. You can still achieve your weight or figure goals, clean up your eating, AND get your family eating healthier meals.
Seems too good to be true? We’ll be getting you eating that tahini noodle Buddha bowl in no time!
Read on to find out how.
Two Healthy Ways To Lose Weight
Losing weight by going gluten-free
When people first start eating gluten-free, they experience quite a noticeable loss in weight. This is mostly due to cutting out the heavily processed and high calorie foods that gluten diets usually contain, like bread, pasta, snacks, and cereal. However, just swapping to gluten-free breads and snacks won’t help you cut the kilos. There are more and more processed, high in fat gluten-free options with just as many calories as the gluten options. It’s still important to consider what you eat and not opt for the quick and easy high calorie choices.
Cutting out gluten means many people swap for high fibre grain alternatives, like brown rice, quinoa, and millet. Being carbs with good fibre levels means that these foods get digested slowly and the energy is steadily released. This keeps you feeling fuller for longer and less inclined to reach for the snacks, helping you trim your waistline.
Another benefit of the increased fibre is that it helps clear your intensities, helping you keep a regular bathroom schedule. It may sound gross, but it keeps your insides clean, helping you lose weight and feel better.
Finally, wheat can be linked to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) in some people and make bloating worse. Cutting out foods containing gluten, then, should help reduce the effects of bloating and result in a trimmer figure and more comfortable system.
Losing weight with veganism
Studies show that vegans tend to be slimmer with healthier body weights, on average, than those who eat meat. So, becoming vegan could help you lose the kilos you’ve been trying to drop. Omnivores have been found to have the highest overweight and obesity levels compared to those on low meat and no meat diets. The same study shows that each year on a vegan diet can reduce the likelihood of obesity by 7%.
Due to the high fibre and low fat contents of popular vegan foods, you can lose weight even in the absence of exercise. Fibre in the veggies, fruits, whole grains, and pulses fills you up without the need of excessive calories. Foods like meat, cheese, eggs, and dairy, on the other hand, are higher in fats with no fibre benefits. So, cutting the meat and dairy and opting for extra veggies seems like the obvious choice for losing weight.
How gluten-free and vegan diets affect your health
Health benefits of going gluten-free
If you take a look in your local shop at all the gluten foods, it’s likely that a lot of them are processed, high in fats and sugars, low in nutrients, and high in calories. If you cut these out of your diet, you’ll notice you start to feel better.
Swapping these processed gluten foods for healthier, high-fibre, gluten-free options, like rice, quinoa, and millet, will provide you many health benefits with little extra work. Fibre is incredibly important for your bodily functions. It aids your digestive system, maintains bowel health, normalises bowel movements, and provides a slow release of sugars.
These gluten-free foods also show results in improving gastrointestinal symptoms. If you’ve been experiencing troubles like abdominal pain, gas, nausea, constipation, or diarrhoea, see how going gluten-free works for you.
Health benefits of becoming vegan
Becoming vegan shows favourable results in nutrition and health all around, including improving blood pressure and various other health concerns. This is due to the high fibre and nutrient rich foods that vegans eat regularly. For example, high fibre foods, like fruits and vegetables, improve digestion and aid in energy monitoring. A low unsaturated fat content protects against heart disease and cholesterol.
Veganism, thanks to these nutrients, can also help lower your risk of cancers, like lung or stomach cancers, lower obesity, lower blood glucose levels, protect against type 2 diabetes, and reduce the risk of mini stroke.
Furthermore, the high levels of antioxidants in some of the popular vegan foods, like sweet potatoes and blueberries, reduces inflammation (thus reducing problems like arthritis) and aids in multiple bodily functions, like the efficient processing of nutrients.
How gluten-free and vegan diets improve your energy levels and wellness
Energy and wellness with a gluten-free diet
As mentioned previously, the gluten-free diet has a higher level of fibre than a gluten one. Simply swapping white pasta and bread for quinoa and brown rice can greatly improve your fibre content, giving you more energy for longer. Fibre is important for controlling blood sugar levels, helping you to avoid dips and spikes in energy that leave you feeling more tired. After all, fibre is fuel!
Gluten has also been linked to mental health issues, including a foggy mind and depression. By cutting gluten and opting for a gluten-free diet, you can improve your mental state, reduce the effects of depression, and enjoy a better overall wellness.
And, I’m sure you remember at least one time you ate a large meal of pizza or pasta and felt incredibly sleepy and lethargic for the next few hours! See how cutting these heavy glutens can make a difference in your energy and wellness for yourself!
Energy and wellness as a vegan
Becoming vegan is incredible for energy and wellness, with its opportunities for a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fibres. These are perfect for maintaining long-lasting energy and creating more from the other nutrients you eat. Antioxidants reduce inflammation and aid in nutrients being absorbed to create energy. The vitamin C aids in keeping your immune system working efficiently and helps your body absorb iron (thus reducing anemia). Fibre, as we now know well, regulates digestion and impacts and balances blood sugar.
A study on onegreenplanet.org shows that meat is harder to digest than plant proteins, using up more energy just to digest the food. With less energy taken up to digest your vegan foods, you have more energy left over for other things (like finally meeting your friend for coffee!)
This extra energy also improves your mental health and well being. With less lethargy and more energy, you’ll notice a rise in happiness and contentment, a decrease in depression and, in turn, better sleep. You all know that better sleep means more energy and wellness! This is the kind of sleep and health cycle we all want to have.
My daily life is so busy with work and family, how easy is it to go gluten-free and vegan?
Making these changes doesn’t have to be hard, or expensive. For example, cooking quinoa is just as quick (if not quicker) than pasta or porridge, and it can be easily used for any of the three main meals of the day. Add apples and maple syrup for a healthy, gluten-free and vegan breakfast, and put it with your favourite salad items for a colourful, long-lasting lunch.
If it feels difficult to start with, start by making some of these small swaps:
- Soy, almond, or coconut milk instead of dairy milk
- Rice instead of pasta (you can buy gluten-free pasta but it is more expensive, so we recommend using in moderation with rice)
- Make your own pastries with gluten-free flours for healthy, homemade fruit or veggie tarts and pies
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes make perfect (and easy) toppings for oven-baked vegetable cottage pies, or great baked potatoes
- Tofu, mushrooms, and beans instead of meat
- Hummus and tahini are high-health additions to lunches instead of cheeses
Once you get the hang of these, you’ll notice how easy and cheap it can be to adopt a gluten-free and/or vegan lifestyle. It’s also super easy to make it fun and tasty for everyone in the family. With the incredible selection of breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners out there, your partner and children will enjoy the healthier lifestyle just as much as you.
And, with the extra energy and wellness you gain from adopting these diets, you’ll feel more ready to explore more food options and play with different recipes. If any of these take your fancy, you know you’re ready to give it a go, and none of them will take longer than a meaty, gluten-heavy meal to make. In fact, sometimes it’s much quicker!
Want some gluten-free or vegan meal inspirations to get started? Google some of these and see which you want to try today:
- Vegan tahini noodle Buddha bowls (raw or stir fried veggies with tahini sauce and rice noodles)
- Gluten-free and vegan healthy pancakes (made with plant-based milk instead of milk and eggs, and gluten-free flour)- perfect for kids!
- Mixed home-made cereal bars that the kids can make (and you can sit with a cup of green tea)
- Gluten-free pizzas with whatever toppings you and your family want to put on (homemade pizza is way more tasty than shop bought, because you know exactly what you want)
You can see that eating a gluten-free and/or vegan diet can make a big, positive impact on your weight, energy, and health. If you live a busy life of work, children, family, and whatever else you have to juggle, you’ll know how hard it is to make time for yourself to lose weight. Add keeping up the figure you want, eating healthily and cleanly, and improving your energy levels, and it seems there’s not enough time. Becoming gluten-free and vegan can do all that for you, giving you more time to focus on other things you’ve wanted to do.
Why are they so good?
A vegan diet is high in crucial fibres and nutrients that keep your gut, bowels, and insides healthy and energy levels steady. It also gives you a lower chance of certain health issues, like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. A gluten-free diet contains important fibres that looks after you gut, reduces IBS, bloating, and gastrointestinal problems. It also helps you keep long-lasting and steady energy levels and reduces depression.
Whichever you choose to try out, the key is a good balance of different vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and pulses. The trick is to have a colourful plate of food to make the most of all beneficial nutrients.
Opt for fresh foods, make your own meals, get your family involved so they know the effects food has on your body and health, and enjoy the energy and whole body health that these new food lifestyles will give you.
If you’ve already started your gluten-free or vegan food journey, please comment to let us know how it’s going, the benefits you’ve noticed, and some of your favourite new meals!
If you’re thinking about starting your gluten-free or vegan food journey and have some questions, please comment with them below and we’ll see how we (or our other readers) can help you!