Bread Lover’s Quest to Go Grain-Free (with bone broth?)

I think I’m going to make it a goal to mention the word pancakes in every post. That way you will truly understand the importance they played in my life just 6 months ago. Don’t get me wrong, I do indulge in a trusty buttermilk pancake on occasion, but since going grain-free 95% of the time in 2015, I’ve been trying to find a good recipe that doesn’t make me cry every time I eat it because it’s not a Colossal Flapper 😦 I’ve been experimenting with grain and sugar-free recipes as other options, but that’s just the beginning of my problem.

What’s a girl gotta do to get some bread without calling in sick to work?

My struggle was real. So real. There were times when I was so frustrated with my inability to not eat grains that I would eat an entire box of Cornflakes in hopes that it would numb the pain, but obviously it made it much MUCH worse. Every time I wanted to eat cereal, or god forbid, a piece of Irish Soda Bread while studying in Ireland; I had to weigh whether getting sick was worth a bite of hearty bread. Honestly, a large majority of the time it was, especially in Ireland. I mean, when would I ever be in Ireland eating fresh bread again? Never. Okay, maybe not never, but still… Ya feel me?

Fresh Irish Soda Bread

Fresh Irish Soda Bread, smuggled back to the States.

It was definitely a rough game to play with my digestive system.

After coming back from Ireland, and adjusting back to awful American food, I completely cut out grains from my diet. I may slip up and eat something decadent in the carb department, but it’s pretty rare. If there’s one place that can always make me cave (besides pancakes) it’s Rustica bakery in Minneapolis. They make the best stomach pain inducing pastries I’ve ever had. Paleo, grain-free, gluten-free (everything-free) people stay away from this place. Kryptonite.
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Anyways, back to not eating bread. Ignore the picture above 😉

It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but my trick to making the transition easier was/is bone broth. I had been meeting with a friend, Dr. Meghan Birt, who happens to also have a blog as well as being a very insightful health coach. Go check out her very impressive website and contact her. She’s the sweetest person too! Okay, so she suggested that I fast on bone broth for 4 days!! Pure shock hit me. She insisted that it would be a good step in healing my gut of the bad bacteria causing me to feel awful all the time and binge eat on Cornflakes and eat my weight in chocolate, among other things. I was a bit skeptical because I saw bone broth as just another “fad cleanse,” and wasn’t sure if I believed I would benefit from basically starving myself for 4 whole days (read all about it here). However, at that point I was feeling so sick and helpless that I probably would have just starved myself for 4 days in hopes that would ‘reset my system.’ At least drinking bone broth allowed me to pretend I was eating something delicious, even if it was basically soup.

After getting over the initial shock of having to eat bone broth for 4 days straight (and water, of course) I went to my local co-op and bought some grass-fed beef bones and veggies, and whipped out my crockpot to make some gut healing liquid. The smell was enough to make me turn back alone, but I was determined to prove to myself that I could just drink this liquid fat for 4 days. Coming from someone who gets ‘hangry’ like none other that would be an insane feet.

After smelling my cauldron-like crockpot simmer away for 24 hours; I picked off the last piece of meat from the bones I had been cooking, and ate it like it was the last thing I would eat before live was over (I’m a bit dramatic). I decided to attempt the bone broth fast the day after New Year’s. It was also going to be my way of cleansing myself of the alcohol that got me through 2014 😉

I had refrigerated the broth overnight and as soon as I opened the container and saw the solidified fat floating on top, I closed the lid. Mortified!! I gathered myself one more time (I’m not a quitter!!) and opened it. This time I ladled out a thermos full and microwaved it. Thus began my 4 days…

Day 1 wasn’t bad, and I was actually impressed at the fact that I hadn’t died without eating 3 meals. Before this I legitimately  thought my life would stop without food. I’m a bit irrational sometimes.

Day 2 got a bit worse. I was getting bored of Netflix and had exhausted The Chew on Hulu, and my inability to workout was starting to get to me. I also stupidly agreed to get drinks with some friends, but obviously couldn’t drink so I brought my thermos and watched them chug beer, as seen in this picture (minus my thermos). By the way, that’s my twinny’s beer in front of me (I’m not cheating).

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Day 3 was the day that I caved and had to resort to my Mother’s love. I drove the 2 hours from Minneapolis to my parents house in the early morning, in an attempt to “beat my hunger home.” It didn’t work. I got about 45 minutes into the ride and felt faint and starving. My emergency thermos wasn’t doing the trick either. I somehow managed to stay coherent for the last hour, but ran straight to my bed when I arrived.

Day 4 was the day I started planning out how I was going to change my life around once I made it through the last day of liquid hell. I didn’t want to just put myself through all of that just to go back eating in a way that was destroying me, mentally and physically. I was in the home stretch, but really it was just the beginning.

I woke up the next morning and was actually terrified to eat anything. I had gotten so used to only drinking broth and water, and I felt my body would fail me if I tried to up the ante. My plan from Dr. Meghan said I could only eat veggies and berries the day after. No meat. That left me with really one option in my mind. A big bowl of steamed veggies for breakfast. My favorite, seriously!

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Being as I was bit skeptical of the whole ‘bone broth fast’ from the beginning, I was very happy with the results.

Two benefits (I found) from fasting:

1. I realized I can actually go a long time without food. My body won’t actually start dying as soon as the smallest stomach growl appears. In fact I frequently skip breakfast (it’s called intermittent fasting, but that’s another story), and that’s insane considering I used to LIVE for my morning meal. I like to think I’m a much less “h-angry” person when I get hungry.

2. It gave me the boost I needed to stop binge eating on awful food. My cravings for sugar were gone. I didn’t consume a box of cereal whenever I was bored. I knew how hard it was to not eat for 4 days, and there was absolutely no way I was going to just go back to the way I used to eat and keep destroying my body. I didn’t want to ruin all my hard work. So, no more bread for this girl.

I kind of fell off the bandwagon while I was traveling Europe, and often times had to just eat what was offered which sometimes meant bread and sugar, but now that I’m back in the States, I am back to eating good foods again.

I’m forever grateful for that crockpot of broth, because it showed me how to heal myself. Yes, a crockpot of liquid can be life changing. Now whenever I’m feeling a bit off with my stomach I just replace a meal with some broth, and I get back on track. It’s a never ending battle, but my trusty sidekick (bone broth) sure has my back 😉

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