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How My Diet Has Evolved: Protein, Gluten & More

Before I started working at Metro in early 2012 I really didn’t know a lot about gluten and its effects on the body. All of that quickly changed as I started to get involved in CrossFit and completed my CrossFit Endurance training just a few months after starting the job.


At my CrossFit Endurance seminar there was a list of recommended reading on the board that included several books about food, nutrition and the current state of the average American diet and what it’s doing to our bodies. Shortly after returning from this seminar our gym hosted a Paleo challenge where I learned all about the Paleo diet.

At the time of the challenge I was eating around an 80% vegetarian diet and had been for many years. My diet included a lot of processed soy, beans and carbs and relatively no lean protein. I decided that Paleo was not for me but that I would cut out dairy, gluten and sugar during the challenge and that for the first time in years I would eat more lean protein. I couldn’t believe in just two weeks how much better I felt, mainly in regards to my digestion and energy levels. And while clearly I have reintroduced all of these foods back into my diet, it’s in a more limited capacity and I have stuck with eating more protein and have reduced the amount of processed soy, beans and gluten that I eat. (I wish I could say the same for sugar but I really don’t know if that will ever happen…or if I want it to!)

This new awareness really helped me shift my eating habits more than anything. Where I used to eat a sandwich every day for lunch, I now turn more to salads, lunch bowls and wraps with lean protein. Where I used to eat pasta and bread with dinner on the regular, I now eat things like sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice instead and focus on making sure that I’m getting in protein + veggies too. I feel very, very fortunate that I do not have gluten sensitivities that cause health issues but I have benefitted from reducing the amount of gluten in my diet overall. Especially when it comes to gluten that comes from processed carbohydrates.

I even started playing around with some gluten-free baking and created some killer recipes including my Perfect Paleo Banana Bread and Gluten Free Mini Carrot Cupcakes.


I don’t buy a lot of bread these days but I do like to keep two favorites in the freezer: my dad’s homemade sourdough and a loaf of gluten free bread (I also love gluten-free freezer waffles!).

Sourdough bread (especially when it’s homemade) is a superior choice over other bread types because it’s more digestible.

– Lactic acids neutralize the phyates int he flour that interfere with vitamin and mineral absorption
– It has a lower glycemic index due to the lactic acids slowing down the rate that glucose is released into the bloodstream
– The lactic acids make the gluten in the flour more digestible


When I’m not in to mood for sourdough (and it’s not exactly an ideal choice for peanut butter toast…) or want something gluten free, I turn to Udi’s. I have tried several brands of gluten free bread and I by far prefer the taste and texture of Udi’s.


Some gluten free bread can be really crumbly and not taste anything like bread but Udi’s holds up to sandwiches and tastes great.


I can pile the bread high with toppings, toast it and cut it and it stays together beautifully. I swear that if I gave this sandwich to someone and didn’t tell them it was gluten free bread, they would never know.

Udi’s offers a variety of gluten free products including breads, baked goods, pizza crusts, frozen meals and more. What I love about their website is that it’s a resource for anyone wanting to learn more about gluten free eating, whether it’s doctor’s orders or just something you’re interested in. There is also a huge library of recipes and a community page including forums where you can interact with others about gluten free living.

I do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach to diet and nutrition but I do believe in trial and error and finding out what works best for you! Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand and you can rarely be successful in one without attention to the other.

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Kiki August 19, 2014, 10:52 pm

    I am a big fan of Udi’s and eat it often. However I recently discovered Canyon Bakehouse gluten free 7 grain bread ( I get it at whole foods) and I like it even better….. Especially for when you are NOT toasting.

  • Caitlin August 20, 2014, 3:10 am

    Do you have a recipe for your dad’s homemade sourdough bread on the blog? Every time you post a picture of it, I get a huge craving. Think it’s about time I make some myself, instead of drooling over yours. haha. Thanks!

  • Lindsay August 20, 2014, 9:47 am

    Can I second the love for frozen gluten free waffles?! Oh my, yum!! Lately, for breakfast or lunch, I’ve been frying an egg and folding the waffle in half for a little sandwich… seriously, so good! Add some good cheese and a pickle… now we are really talking 🙂

    The Millet- Chia Udi’s is my favorite gluten free bread as well, but still, nothing compares to the softness of a really good regular bread. I don’t have a gluten allergy, but I have found that reducing the amount of gluten I eat really helps with bloating an my energy level!! I’m probably 85% gluten free anyway.

    Enjoy your post as always, Jen!

  • lauren August 20, 2014, 3:33 pm

    GF frozen waffles are great and that is by FAR the best GF bread. I had Udi’s whole grain in a restaurant when traveling and they were the biggest GF slices I’ve ever seen. Must be a restaurant pack or something!
    I was pretty gf for a couple years and it made me feel SO great, then a few months after I had my son everything was bothering me, foodwise, so I started eating some organic wheat/whole wheat again thinking I might need some testing (you need to be eating gluten to test correctly). My stomach and joints have been totally fine. I’m gluten cautious now, but I’m glad that I can have some wheat now and not rely on poor substitutes that are full of starch when a craving hits.
    Not sure if I “healed” my system or what. This is clearly an area that needs more research!

  • Brittany @ proteinandpumps August 21, 2014, 8:52 am

    Udi’s is by far the best gluten free bread out there. I love their white sandwich bread and bagels.

  • Elizabeth August 22, 2014, 8:42 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your blog before, Jen, but I’m a regular reader and really enjoy it. We are not a gluten free family and I don’t see us headed that way, though I do try to keep our grains varied. However, we are vegetarians. I don’t want to start a big debate here, but one concern I have with the Paleo diet is that it would be extremely difficult to eat that much lean protein and not have much of it come from factory farms. Perhaps this isn’t something that concerns you, or you’re prioritizing how your body feels over other considerations, but I just wondered if you had thoughts about that.

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