Behaviour Modification: Progress not Perfection

Posted by: | October 24, 2010

Over the past couple of months my diet has gone through a bit of an overhaul. After continually feeling drained, sluggish and unsatisfied with my eating I began to look into the types of changes I could make to help boost energy levels throughout my day. With plenty of research and a strong support system, me and my dinner plate finally kissed grains goodbye.

It was a slow and progressive change since going cold turkey just doesn’t agree with me. The first step in my process was to eliminate wheat and gluten completely. Plenty of people are forced into gluten-free diets, while many others choose to exclude wheat for preventative reasons. It seemed impossible at first but knew it could be done with some hard work. Taking a stroll down some new isles in my grocery store reassured me this in fact would be possible (and easy). Personally, I have never been directly bothered by wheat though was curious to see the role it played in how I’d been feeling.

The biggest challenge for me in making this step was losing the ability to bake; that was until I discovered quinoa flour. Quinoa flour seemed to be the perfect alternative. It is high in protein and didn’t seem to effect the quality of the recipe at all. I could still enjoy the occasional muffin or cookie. Life was good.

After becoming all too comfortable in my gluten-free transition, I knew it was time to move on. My next step was to cut out all other grains I was consuming. This was definitely a little more difficult and presented new, yet exciting, challenges to overcome. The first thing I did was invest in a “bible” per se, The Grain-Free Gourmet, written to help those with celiac disease, colitis and Chrone’s disease prepare delicious and nutritious meals that fit within their diet parameters. Although I have not personally encountered any of these ailments, I knew eating grain-free would help reduce inflammation in my body just as it does in those living with these illnesses.

Once again I was faced with the challenge of baking successfully since quinoa was cut. It was time to reinvent my recipes and thankfully came across yet another (but better) alternative. Almond meal (nothing but crushed almonds) worked wonders. Not only did it work well in several recipes, but contains even more protein than quinoa flour. As a vegetarian, I found this to be very exciting news. Once again, the occasional comfort muffin made the transition more tolerable.

Now that I’ve been successful in this dietary adjustment for 2 weeks, I can report back in saying living grain-free has improved my energy levels tremendously! I find I have an easier time getting up in the morning, have avoided those 3 pm crashes and all-round just feel great.

I know this transition is not for everyone but whatever your goal may be, remember that it’s all about progression not perfection. Focus on what you are doing (or would like to be doing) most of the time and forget about what you are doing some of the time. In my opinion, we all deserve a break once and a while. I know I’d be the first in line for a slice of freshly baked sourdough now and again.

Since baking is my passion, I thought I’d leave you with one of my grain-free muffin recipes. Let me know what you think!

Cranberry Muffins

3 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups cranberries

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup honey

3 eggs

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with large baking cups. Combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Combine the cranberries, vanilla, honey and eggs in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Evenly fill each baking cup with the batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Enjoy!

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3 Responses to “Behaviour Modification: Progress not Perfection”

  1. Jen says:

    I completely agree! I have been adjusting what I eat over the past few years to find what works best. I used to think it was so important to eat so much of this, so much of that, at certain times, etc and I ended up just feeling stressed out about trying to do it perfectly. Now I just focus on including mostly healthy foods (local, sometimes organic, mostly fruits, veggies and legumes), keeping the portions small and having treats when I want them and it seems to work! Its difficult to make dietary changes at first because your body doesn’t like to change, but after about 2 weeks, it gets used to it. So i find its really important to stick with it until you get the improvement your looking for!

  2. Mel says:

    Thanks Thea!

    I will try these as soon as I can come up with some backing time 🙂 they look awesome. Please share recipes anytime you have time. I am gluten-free and dairy free don’t bake much at all.

  3. Thea says:

    Having limitations on what you can eat (by choice or not) can ceratinly be a challenge, especially when dealing with a hectic schedule. I now find I have to take extra time at the beginning of the week planing each meal as well as devote energy to “kitchen creativity” in order to still enjoy all my favourite meals. Although there is more time involved, the planning forces me to do it all at once before I grocery shop. The other positive is that I don’t have to think about it for the rest week!

    If you are looking for recipes, I would definitely check out “The Grain-Free Gourmet” cookbook or

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