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Living Without Gluten or White Sugar: My Journey to Wellness

Living without gluten or white sugar. Trendy? Absolutely. Necessary? It is for me.

I don’t have Celiac Disease. My journey to a gluten-free, refined sugar-free life was a little different.

The question I get most often is this: “What’s gluten?” Simply defined, it’s the protein in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is what gives baked goods a great texture consistency. The question that follows is, “How did you quit eating sugar and wheat?” Before we talk about how, let’s talk about why.

A Lifetime of Failure

I gave up wheat and white sugar because I was just fat.

Well, maybe not just fat. You can add in depressed, moody, irritable, and frequently in bed with a migraine. By 5th grade I was officially obese. I stayed that way for the next 14 years. I got to be a world class yo-yo dieter. I was either eating large quantities of food or trying to lose the weight I gained from binging.

Never did I let anyone see me eat a bag of chocolate chips or an entire box of animal crackers. But I did. And for some reason I was always dismayed when my pants no longer fit.

At my heaviest, I was 5’ 5”, over 180 pounds and 21 years old. Most days I was unable to do what most people take for granted. Out of sheer desperation I saw an doctor that practiced alternative medicine. After spending some time with me, he told me to quit eating sugar and wheat. His words were, “It’s going to kill you.” Though the change was difficult, I followed his instructions carefully. After a few weeks I started to feel better. Life felt good again.

I was young, though, and didn’t understand the full implications. I started eating wheat and sugar again. Shortly thereafter commenced the binge eating. Any weight that I lost was quickly regained. The next six years were a physical and emotional roller coaster.

The inevitable day came when I accepted that as long as I ate wheat and sugar, I had no control of what or how much I ate. This is why I failed at every diet I’ve ever tried.

Drawing a Line – Wheat-Free or Gluten-Free?

Years ago, a friend with a similar history told me that she could eat sprouted wheat relatives, like spelt and kamut. After some deliberation, I bought a popular brand and made a sandwich. It didn’t set off any binge eating, but knowing that it was in my house set me on edge. I have a loaf of Udi’s gluten-free bread in my freezer, and quite honestly if I weren’t writing this article I would have forgotten it was there.

Not that Udi’s isn’t a fabulous product, because it is. It just doesn’t cause a mental obsession for me. That being said, I don’t have to be as vigilant about cross contamination as someone with Celiac Disease does. If my chicken is grilled in the same place as a whole wheat bun, I’m ok.

So How Did I Do It?

It was simple – I stopped putting sugar and wheat in my mouth. I know, not the answer anyone wants. There is no easy, magical solution. But it is simple.

Whole, nourishing foods were the perfect place for me to start. My body needed time to recalibrate. I started eating three smaller meals and one – two snacks a day, depending on how hungry I was. If I needed a sweet fix, I ate fruit. My old stand-by is Cottage Cheese and Fruit Salad.

I do the same thing today as I did then. Of course, now I can throw in a gluten-free, sugar-free dessert with no problem. But it took a while to get there.

Most importantly, I do it just for right now, just for the meal in front of me. I don’t worry about what I’m going to eat at Aunt Suzie’s house at Christmas two months from now. Yes, I take care of myself and plan ahead. But keeping the focus on right now takes away the obsession and fear that initially brought me to my knees.

Eating this way has helped me maintain a 60+ pound weight loss for nearly 7 years. I don’t ever recommend that anyone follow in my footsteps – I failed a hundred times over trying to do what worked for everyone else. Instead, I had to learn to listen to my body and walk my own path with food. Everyone’s journey is unique and special. Every woman deserves to decide for herself what foods work for her body and experience the dignity of eating in a way that brings richness to her life.

Here are some of the recipes that have helped me along the way:
• Shredded Chicken Tortilla Soup
• Quinoa, Black Bean, & Butternut Squash Salad
• Healthy 5 Minute Blueberry Banana Ice Cream

This Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash & Swiss Chard is one of my favorites…it’s on my list to make this weekend.

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash & Swiss Chard
serves 4 as a main course
adapted from bon appetit fast, easy, fresh

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
• 3 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
• 2 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
• 2 tablespoons light ancho chili powder
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3 (14.5) ounce cans of reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
• 1 (14.5) ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
• 1 large bunch swiss chard, cleaned, stemmed, and roughly chopped
• kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a 6 quart stock pot or enameled dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium low heat. Add onion and sauté for 10 minutes, until onion is soft. Add garlic and sauté for a minute more, then add butternut squash and stir for 2 minutes.

Add chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add black beans, vegetable stock, and diced tomatoes with juice. Bring to a light boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until butternut squash is soft. Stir in swiss chard. Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes until swiss chard is tender but still bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Thanks so much to Amy Green for this post! Are you familiar with gluten intolerance and/or Celiac Disease? Have you or anyone you know had a similar experience?

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Becky

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have to start living sugar, gluten and dairy free in the hope that it’ll help me manage my endometriosis, so I’m on the look-out for any advice and great recipes to help me.

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Becky – I’m not familiar with what the dietary requirements are for endometriosis but if you have a specific dish you’re looking for or recipes in a certain range I can share some ideas with you.

      • Becky

        Thank you Amy, basically I have to avoid all added sugars, all gluten and dairy, and artificial additives. At the moment I’m mainly focusing on expanding my repertoire of recipes that conform to these requirements. My main problem is that I’m really struggling with fatigue and depression these days, so I feel very overwhelmed and don’t really know where to begin.
        Thank you for your comment.
        God Bless,

        • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

          I started with foods I knew how to prepare and was used to eating, like the cottage cheese and fruit salad I shared above. It has a healthy carb (fruit), protein (cottage cheese), nuts (a healthy fat to help me feel full longer), and the spinach is loaded with antioxidents and nutrients.

          It took me a long time to get into all the alternative flours and sugars. I couldn’t handle it at first. I kept things really simple until I was feeling my best. Then I could take on bigger challenges. 🙂

          • Becky

            That sounds like a good way to begin, thank you for sharing.

    • April Magothin

      Hi Becky! I do the same thing to manage my endometriosis! It really has helped so much and there’s a huge difference in my pain now. I also stay away from soy & processed white rice products as much as possible. The soy affects my hormones and the processed rice has a high glycemic index and makes me feel the same way refined sugars do.
      Best of luck to you and I hope it helps you the way it helped me!

  2. Kendra

    Wow! Thanks for sharing! I have PCOS and have this *feeling* that it would be really helpful to me to completely cut it out, too (or at least most of the way). It is SO addictive to me! I actually had to go on metformin to reduce my cravings it got me so out of whack. Boy is it hard, though.

    But, like you, I had a friend who cut out gluten, sugar, dairy, soy, and all food additives. She was almost immediately able to go off ADD meds and anti-depressants (under the supervision of her doctor), AND her kids, who had some serious sensory issues and behavorial battles, IMMEDIATELY calmed down and started sleeping and acting totally differently. She said that she literally feels like a different person. Makes you think, huh?

  3. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

    Becky – best of luck to you on your new journey. I have found a whole world of food that I didn’t know existed. It’s amazing.

    Kendra – I still eat dairy but yes, eliminating the white sugar and wheat eliminated any depression I had. Still today sometimes I look at my life and am in awe of how simple it all seems after years and years of struggle.


  4. Kristine

    Thanks for sharing (especially sharing those great recipes!). I just recently found out I am gluten intolerant. I have been dealing with bloating, gas, tingling in my legs, fatigue, the inability to lose weight and depression symptoms for years. I have been off gluten for only a week now and have lost 7 pounds and I feel INCREDIBLE. You’re right in that this amswer seems so simple after dealing with all these symptoms for so long. Good luck to you on your journey!


    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free


      Wow. It never ceases to amaze me. Life just kind of opens up, huh? And it doesn’t take long to see results. I was clear-minded in two weeks. Best wishes for continued success.


    • Becky

      That is AMAZING, you encourage me. I’m dealing with depression as well, and have recently been diagnosed with endometriosis and suggested a diet that’s sugar, gluten and dairy free. What I find most difficult, is how to get started, when I find it a struggle to figure out what to eat normally (because of the depression) and struggle with fatigue as well.

  5. carrie @

    Awesome Amy! Beautifully written and what a great journey you are on!! I’m so proud of you!! I can’t wait for your book!

  6. Shannon

    I am very similar in regards to craving wheat and sugar if I even look at it. I have since ended up cutting out grains almost completely. I eat oatmeal here and there, but for the most part stick to sweet potatoes and winter squash for starch.

    I also avoid all sweeteners except a little bit of stevia and the occasional raw honey. I have discovered through my research that hormones are all related to one another, even when they perform different functions. So the insulin spike our bodies receive from grains and sugars can effect our thyroid or our adrenals or disrupt our estrogen/progesterone balance. I recommend that any woman who has any hormone problems stay away from grains and sugars all together.

  7. Tara

    Always a pleasure to read your story Amy! You are a great inspiration to us on how to follow your dreams on step at a time. Thank you for your continued fabulous recipes you test and perfect so we may have delicious food to nourish our body and soul.

  8. Maggie

    Thank you so much being so honest and sharing your journey with us. I am so impressed by your strength and optimism. You’ve found a new way to enjoy life! That chili recipe looks amazing. I will definitely put it on my MUST TRY list!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      You’ll love the Chili…it’s so nourishing. The first time I made it, I was a little worried because there was no meat & I was making it for Joe & I. He loved it, too. The flavors are incredible.

  9. Shirley @ gfe

    I never get tired of hearing your story, Amy. It’s so inspiring! Being gluten-free can really be simple if one focuses on real food. I focus on all I can eat and not what I can’t eat. Once I cut those gluten foods out, I truly didn’t miss them at all. It’s hard to believe, but as you’ve shared, it’s really true.

    As a celiac/gluten intolerance support group leader, I see so many people who have seen their symptoms disappear (like the ones mentioned in comments) much to their amazement. It’s very rewarding to see the transformations and all admit that any difficulty in making the initial transition is well worth the results later.

    However, as I’ve admitted, I find the gluten-free part of my diet easy, but the sugar-free part much harder. I see how it negatively affects my body though so it’s ultimately my goal to be sugar free, too. I’m still a work in progress, but posts like this keep me pushing forward and believing I can do this. Thanks so much, Amy!


    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free


      I’m always amazed at your honesty and how your daily journey is a mission to help others. I know we share a similar “eat for your body” philosophy and though I don’t run a support group I’ve had comment after comment on my blog from people sharing the health improvements once they change their diet.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion here with an open heart.


  10. Wendy@Celiacs in the House

    An inspiring story, Amy. I think you bring up an issue that I have to face and that is that gluten and sugar have similar effects on my body and that though I had to give up gluten with the celiac disease, I have been using sugar for the same comforting, narcotic effects that I got from gluten. My weight issues were never as extreme as yours, but are still a nagging part of my life. Guess it’s time to kick my friend sugar out of my life along with the gluten. Can’t wait for your new cookbook and some more inspiration.

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free


      It’s interesting that you used the words “my friend sugar” because that’s how I felt about sugar, too. It was heartbreaking to let it go…really painful. I’d be lying if I said there were no tears.

      But, it opened the door to a new life. Thanks for the mention of my book…I’m excited too.


  11. Winnie

    Your story is very similar to mine, Amy. I had very similar weight struggles and did spend years strictly avoiding sugar, wheat, dairy, etc. Though I can eat some wheat/gluten and sugar these days without going off the deep end (I’m fine with dairy, but do pretty much stick to raw milk, yogurt, etc), I still try to avoid them, and keep my blog refined sugar-free and about 90% gluten-free…
    Love your recipes and your commitment to helping others with similar issues eat/live well!

  12. Alta

    Your story always amazes me, Amy. So many people struggle their entire lives with food addictions and binging and never find relief. I went gluten free over a year ago because of a whole host of health issues. I went dairy free a few months ago. Like you, I am realizing that I have more food cravings the more I eat sugar and starchy carbs. I rarely eat grains now. They are more of a treat than a staple. Great post!

  13. Sara

    Thank you so much for your story. It is so similar to mine. I am amazed at how I feel when I don’t eat the wheat or sugar. It’s been a major control thing to cut it out – as soon as I revert back to my old habits, the weight and the crappy feeling (and sickness) come back. I applaud you for sticking with it – you are a hero! Stick with it and keep it up.

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Sara,

      I have never thought of myself as a hero…I just got to the place where I had no other choice. I didn’t do it out of bravery. I did it because I had to.

      It’s always neat to hear that I’m not the only one that’s had food struggles. 🙂 Thanks for sharing part of your story.


  14. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free

    Amy, this was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this journey – I know that sometimes it is pretty difficult to reveal all the truths in such a journey. Your turned your story into something amazing by what you are doing to help others. I love that.
    And my own hubby lost 20 pounds by going gluten free (although he does have Celiac Disease). It forced him to stop eating all of the processed and boxed goods, as well as the gluten and fat ladened lunches out with his work partners. He started eating whole foods and it made huge wonderful changes in his mood, energy, and state of mind.
    And cannot wait for your book!!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Kim –

      You bring up a great point about those with Celiac Disease. For so long, it was thought that you couldn’t have Celiac unless you were malnourished and very thin. But that mindset has changed. It’s great that your hubby is eating healthier, too.


  15. Natalie

    Amy, your story is so inspiring. I love your prose and can see your patience in your writing. I have struggled my whole life with weight/food issues. I know it’s time to make a change, but every time I do I fail. Hello depression! I love whole and natural foods and cook with them often. I’ve even tried sugar alternatives, but it is still a struggle. I hope I find the strength to battle through. I know it would be worth the time and effort to make a permanent change. Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes and for sharing your story!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Natalie!

      I know so many women who experience depression when their food & body don’t measure up to certain standards. For me, the shame for eating the way I did compounded my depression. I’d be lying if I said that today I have no body image issues. I do…but they don’t control my life the way they used to. That’s a huge blessing.


  16. Marcia Hock

    Not many people are willing to be as honest about their life as you are. It is obvious from the amount of comments about your story, that you really are doing something great!
    Thanks so much and I look forward to reading more about you!

    Marcia Hock

  17. Alisa

    Thanks for sharing your story Amy! Like you, I don’t have a “need” to cut out gluten/wheat, but have been leaning slowly toward it over the last few years. I have done GF “breaks” (went gluten-free and completely sugar-free – not even maple syrup! for 4 months), and felt better in general. My goal wasn’t weight loss, merely more energy, and it helped. But obviously I haven’t yet stuck to this. I mainly find it hard due to the recipe requests I get from my site and my works from people who aren’t GF. I try not to pigeonhole what I do with too many detailed special diets, but for myself, I would like to cut out wheat and cut way back on sugars in general. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Oh, Alisa! How we food bloggers struggle! I know…Joe and I have been waiting for my book to be finished so we clean up our diet. We’ve been tasting pies, cakes, frostings, and cupcakes way too much. But my due date is so near the holidays and I can’t quite post salads in November & December, can I?

      I think it’s about balance – just like you said. A middle ground where we’re comfortable. And it’s different for each of us.

  18. Katie

    Amy, thank you for sharing your story with us! Mine is so similar, it’s amazing. I hope many people are encouraged – I love your blog and have tried many recipes with great success. Thanks again! 🙂

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free


      Thanks so much for having me! It’s an honor to share at Simple Organic and it’s been wildly fun. You do great work here and I’m thrilled to have been a very small part.


  19. priest's wife

    Amy- I think I am ready to do what you have done- I also have 60 pounds to lose- I can ‘blame’ my five pregnancies, but that is just part of the puzzle. Sugar and possibly gluten need to be eliminated.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Wishing you success as you move forward on your journey! I have found that when I search for answers they always appear.

  20. Heather

    My husband has celiac disease and I am so happy you do not! lol We have switched to coconut sugar in place of cane sugars and enjoy it very much. Softer flavor and oh! the health benefits of coconut sugar! WOW! eating RAW has also made huge improvements on my husband’s health over-all (RAW dairy as well)- we do not succumb to illness as readily as we used to each season. We are so happy to see others approaching eating habits graciously with themselves. According to their bodies. Way to go and keep it up! (and there IS great bread after gluten free-ness!!!!)

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Heather!

      I **love** coconut palm sugar. I agree – it’s incredible. In fact, it’s one of the major sweeteners used in my upcoming book.


  21. Larissa


    Your story is truly an inspiration to all women. In today’s world, it is a daily struggle to “be” the woman that society has accepted as the norm. Eating natural, whole foods, is a lifestyle we should all strive for, regardless of the reason. You, and your story, prove that eating gluten-free, sugar-free is not simply for those who suffer from celiac disease. It is a way of life we can all choose because it is simply good for our bodies. Your recipes are wonderfully tasting, easy to prepare, and adaptable for entire families. Thank you for showing women that lifestyles and eating habits are changeable, manageable, and enjoyable.

    With Love,

  22. Miz Helen

    Miz Amy,
    I am so blessed to have been able to share so much of your journey. My heart is running over with joy as I see how many people you are and will help on their journey. Thank you for being so generous in sharing your time, energy and experience with others. You are a very special lady! I am so proud of you…
    Miz Helen

  23. Regina

    I have known for quite some time that I need to change my eating for my health. I have never known where to start or how to begin. I just know that something has to change.

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Regina,

      That’s where I started, too. It’s a beginning – and for me the beginning was the most important part. I shared this with someone else, too, but when I started looking I for answers I got them. I just had to be patient and do the work.


  24. Ricki

    Amy, I loved reading your story. And your story (as you know) is my story, too! I can so relate–I also had to change to no gluten or sugar for health reasons and am so happy I did. You are such an inspiration to those of us who are still struggling! And thank you for sharing what you did (and do)–it really helps so many people so much!

  25. Lexie


    A lovely post about a lovely woman’s journey to health and well-being. Mental fog, depression, and 10 extra pounds were ailments that disappeared about six weeks into my following the anti-candida diet. I just thought I would mention the diet for the sake of others reading. Ask your N.D. or nutritionist about it. It is a great way to “clean the slate” and then to slowly reintroduce questionable foods back into your diet (like the elimination diet in reverse). For me, I found that about three hours after eating wheat/gluten I went into a zombie-like state … just so tiiiiired! And like others who have left comments, the sugar wreaked havoc on me as well (though I will admit that my sweet tooth has not completely gone away and I still feed it on occasion : ). Modifying your diet can do amazing things. I am a believer. Five years ago I would have laughed in the face of anyone who suggested I cut out gluten, most sugar, and limit my grains to feel better. But it works. Again, I am a believer!

    Kudos to you, Amy, for sharing your story!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Lexie!

      I think it’s great that the anti-candida diet worked for you. I tried it and dropped under 100 pounds in no time flat. It was so unhealthy for me. I’d heard so many great things about it and was committed to staying it. My husband and a good friend had to point out that my clothes were falling off. I felt like a failure at first because it’s worked for so many people. But, it just isn’t for me.

      This is one of many reasons why I am a big advocate of each person having the dignity of deciding how her body functions best. And, the variety keeps life interesting. 🙂 How boring life would be if we were all eating the same thing at the same time!


  26. Jenny R

    I have a number of autoimmune disorders that I only recently found out about. When I found out why I was falling apart 3 months ago I had no idea what to do. More importantly, I didn’t know what to eat!!!! When I started researching this new “torture” diet the doctor stuck me on, Amys site was one of the first I saw. EVERY SINGLE THING I made from her site has been delicious. I am not only introducing myself to different foods because of her recipes but also my picky friends and family are slowly being converted as well. I know I can’t get five years back in 3 months, but I already feel a lot better. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your knowledge. I am very excited about your cookbook (in large part b/c unlike you – I don’t like to cook and am very excited about the 20 minute part!).

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free


      I’m glad you’re feeling better – it is a journey. 🙂 I love that you’re realistic about the results. One of my big character flaws is wanting everything perfect now – I have to remind myself that progress is what matters, not perfection. Sounds like you’ve already got that figured out.


  27. Amy Twomey

    Amy…I had NO idea. I met you recently when you were your small little self and had no clue the journey you have been on to get here today! I am so proud of you and just blown away with the successs you have created for yourself. You are doing amazing things and are giving so many readers a gift of recipes+inspiration to cook in a healthy way. I am a huge fan! I am so grateful that you shared your story with such honesty. You ROCK! Can’t wait to visit again soon.

  28. Vicki

    I’ve known of my intolerance to not only gluten and sugar, but also dairy and nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers – plus some others but these are the three that are so very hard for me to let go of) for over 10 years. I keep eating them because the diet without them is a lot of work and bland and tasteless. I accepted that I would just have to exercise three times as much as if I didn’t eat them, but I could lose weight if I kept that up.

    Well… then 3 months ago I had a very severe reaction to Prednisone. After dealing with heart attack symptoms and sleepless nights for over a month (I took the Prednisone for 1 week), I decided to clean up my diet and see if it helped, because according to the cardiologist – my heart was healthy and the only thing he could tell me was that some people just have irregular heartbeats that cause shortness of breath, dizziness, and a tingling left arm. I felt this was insane – I simply couldn’t imagine living like that for the rest of my life. Within one week, all of my symptoms went and I dropped 10#. But I was crying at every meal because I hate to cook. Everything took so much time – except for chicken and rice or eggs, but I was so sick of those it depressed me to even think about eating them. That is when I started to scour the internet for different ideas. Maybe if I could find 7 recipes I liked, I could just spend one day cooking and freeze them so I could have the convenience of quick meals. I was, and am, seriously stressed and annoyed through this process – I hate it when I make something and then it doesn’t turn out (I’m not a very good cook so often it is ruined simply because I don’t do it right). I get so angry. Then it was my daughter’s bday and I totally quit. I wanted to join in. Now I’m back to the heart attack symptoms that are keeping me up at night. So I’m back on my diet. It was amazing to watch how out of control I got with binge eating and overeating once I’d put that stuff back in my body. I know it isn’t good for me, yet I keep going back to it. I figure as long as I keep up the struggle, I will one day succeed and be able to stay off of it.

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Vicki,

      Thanks for sharing with such honesty. Though I love to cook, I most certainly don’t love to be anchored to the kitchen. During the day most of what I eat is fresh – fruits, veggies, salads. I found a great canned salmon that makes a fantastic salad in less than 10 minutes and I never miss the croutons with some toasted sesame seeds or nuts.

      Believe it or not, I started out eating the same breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks every day for a long time. I couldn’t figure out how to do it any other way. And, today I still eat the same old breakfast day in and day out. I don’t have the time to worry about making it fancy.

      Sending hugs!

  29. Elizabeth L

    Great post, Amy! I am a regular reader of (and subscriber to) your blog…

    I cut out all gluten and sugar cold-turkey (and most, but not all, dairy) more than three years ago now. It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done for my health. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but it’s just a way of life now, and I can’t imagine going back. I pride myself on having made it through three holiday seasons with nary a snitch of sugary Christmas goodies (even though I still bake them with my kids).

    To your readers who feel they need to make this kind of change, there is no better advice than just to do it. It’s very hard in the first days and weeks, but the cravings really do disappear in fairly short order if you stick with it. Good health is worth the short term cravings. 🙂

  30. Amanda

    Thanks for sharing your story Amy! I have been blessed not having any sort of food allergies and my children are free of that as well. I love everything you shared here!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Amanda…you are lucky. I still have your Cast Iron Skillet Brownies on my to-make list. Some days I’m totally amazed at what comes out of your kitchen. You’re totally talented – you have a knack for good food. What I’ve always admired about you is your willingness to embrace everyone’s path and let them be who they are without criticism. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by & supporting me!


  31. Alex@amoderatelife

    I am always amazed when people have doubts about the way individual foods affect individual bodies! Ames, Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us and inspiring everyone to love themselves enough to really explore what it is they need or don’t need for their body, and the courage to make the necessary changes. What a wonderful article, and even though I am commenting on saturday, I would love to share a link to this on my thoughts on friday at a moderate life…on saturday! Hugs Alex PS Big Thanks to Katie for having Amy Guest post!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Alex – it’s funny you mention self love. When I made this change, self love was not even in my vocabulary. The only reason I made the change was because I had no other choice. But today, I choose to eat foods that work with my body because I do care deeply about myself, my life, my health, and I want to bring meaning to the lives of others. I only got there through learning to eat to take care of myself. But, like you said, someone could make the choice for a whole different reason – because they do care to begin with. We all get here how we get here, huh? It makes life so much more interesting.


  32. annette

    great post. i hadn’t read your story before although i visit your blog ALL the time for the recipes. we went gluten free two years ago for my son’s health. he was born with severe eczema and after years of steroid creams i decided to find the cause of it. it ended up being gluten. then through an email from shirley@gfe i realized that dairy might be an issue for him too, it was. shortly after going gf my husbands stomach issues ended and he lost weight. i started listening to my body and realized sugar is a big issue for me. it’s amazing how good you CAN feel if you just pay attention to how you feel after you eat. anyway thanks for posting.

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Annette!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. It takes real courage for an entire family to make the switch. I’m in awe of the improvements in your family’s health. Learning to listen to your body is a process…for me it was hard because I was so out of touch with what my body needed. But today, it’s much a much simpler daily practice.


  33. Rachel

    Amy, I first found your website from my sister, who was looking for GF recipes to try. My son is allergic to wheat (along with eggs and peanuts) and it’s been a rollercoaster over the past couple of years as we find more and more things that we thought were safe but aren’t. Fortunately, he hasn’t had any ER-worthy reactions!

    The rest of the family still eats wheat, but after reading your story and to be sensitive to my son’s feelings, I’ve cut back my own wheat intake dramatically. I’ve found that the less wheat I eat, the better I feel! I haven’t completely cut it out, but I try to have wheat only for one meal in the day. When I have days where I’m not paying attention and eating a lot, I get lethargic and just feeling ugh. When I cut back on the wheat again, I get some of that energy back. The difference is amazing!

    I appreciate your site and your recipes. I’ve gotten pretty good with providing good alelrgen-free meals. I still haven’t had any GF baking turn out consistently well, but we really haven’t missed most of the breads and desserts that I used to bake. I’mnot sure if I really want to try again with that. I mean, if it’s not there, we can’t eat it, right?

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Rachel!

      The gluten-free baking is daunting at first, even with a great recipe. Believe me, I had my share of flops. Sometimes I still do. I think it has to do with our expectations of how something should look because we’re so used to cooking with wheat. But, it gets better. I promise. If you ever want to try your hand at something new, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll help you. If I can do it, you can do it.


  34. Zoe

    Amy, your story is always inspiring to me and also an inspiration to others when I have shared your story with them. 🙂 Although I am not completely gluten-free, I do find that I generally feel better than when I do eat wheat. The only times I eat wheat or have sugar or dairy (with the exception of butter, and even then not always) is when I’m out somewhere or staying with friends or family members who aren’t gluten-free or have other allergies/sensitivities, or someplace that doesn’t offer anything that is gluten-free or can guarantee it such as restaurants.

  35. Ashley

    Hi Amy – thanks for sharing your story here! Unlike many (most? all?) of the commenters here, I’d never really heard of going gluten and sugar free for health/weight loss reasons. I’ve felt for a little while now that it might be time to consider a major change in diet and lifestyle, and I’d like to learn more about this approach, because it might be a good direction for me (when I read the post title there was a huge ‘NO, NOT FOR ME’ that welled up inside…which seems maybe like a clue that I should listen and learn). I’m fairly new to things like ‘real foods’ and I have really basic questions – like, what all constitutes refined sugar – is it just white sugar? Does honey count? What about turbinado and that sort of thing? I can see I have a lot of learning to do, and if there are any resources that you could recommend, I’d love to hear them. Thanks again for sharing your story – it might be just what I needed!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Ashley,

      I subscribe to the school of thought that each person deserves the dignity of deciding what works best for them. Many, many people can eat gluten-full foods and white sugar with no problem at all. I think it’s great. There’s no reason to fix what’s not broken.

      For me, I can’t eat white sugar. I don’t use turbinado either – or brown sugar or evaporated cane juice. They don’t work for me. I do use small amounts of honey on rare occasions but I didn’t use it for years. Again, I think it’s something each person has to figure out for themselves. There really is no right or wrong, only what works for you.

      Resources – I’m not sure what you’re looking for – is it cookbooks or just information? Let me know.


      • Ashley

        Thanks for your input, Amy! As far as resources, I’m looking for anything…blogs, books, cookbooks, I’m even looking at terminology and definitions. When you say things don’t work for you, you mean they triggered problems? Like I said, total newbie here 🙂

        • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

          Yes, things don’t work = they cause problems. I have a list of blogs I love in my sidebar at – that’s a great place to start. 🙂 My recipes page has tons of great recipes that are simple to make.

          There’s a wealth of good gluten-free cookbooks out there, too – Make It Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’Dea, Gluten-Free Girl & The Chef just came out with their book, Kelly from The Spunky Coconut has a great book using coconut flour, Elana from Elana’s Pantry wrote The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Cybele Pascal wrote the Allergen Baker’s Handbook. Silvana Nardone just released Cooking for Isaiah. Ricki Heller – Sweet Freedom. Diane from The WHOLE Gang recently came out with an e-book. I think it takes some time to figure out where you fit and what kind of food works for you, but if you start looking around you’ll find tons of great info. Hope that helps!

  36. Chrissy

    Thank you so much for sharing your story again. You have changed my family’s life and I will never be able to thank you enough. When people ask me how I went about figuring out that my son might be gluten intolerant, I point them directly to your story. My son is healthier and happier than he has ever been and (here’s the kicker) SO IS MY HUSBAND. He never even suspected that he had a problem with his diet. You are truly a God send!

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free


      Actually, you’re the one who has blessed me. Sometimes it’s hard to gauge whether or not I’m doing the right thing with my life. You’re the one who had the courage to try something new for your family and it helped. You really did all the work. When you shared it with me, I knew I was doing exactly what I should be doing. Thank you. 🙂

      Big hugs,

  37. Diana

    Thanks, Amy. I found it interesting that you said that while ever you were eating wheat and sugar you had no control over what or how much you ate. I have just had this experience too. I have tried cutting out sugar and wheat before and feel ever so much better if do, but the last month or so I have relaxed a bit and at the weekend have realised that I have put on about 6 kilos in 4 weeks!! So it is back to the wheat sugar free for me. This article was very timely!
    Thanks so much

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Diana,

      Like you, I learn so much from when I do what I shouldn’t. I wish I could learn the easy way once in a while but it never seems to happen that way. 🙂


  38. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    Amy, you are a wonderful teacher and such an inspiration to others! Thank you again for sharing your story with us!

  39. Herbwifemama

    Did you give up other natural sweeteners too? I initially gave up all grain and sugar, but fell off the grainfree wagon very quickly. Since I “screwed up” there, it wasn’t long before I was eating sugar “just a little bit” here and there, and craving it, and I would cool my cravings by making sugar/grain free cookies with almond flour and honey. But I have a hunch that even honey is too much sweet for me, because it still causes cravings. I have experimented with stevia a bit, and the jury is still out on that one. I’m 90 lbs overweight, and have insulin resistance, and have the beginnings of periodontal disease.

  40. Joy

    Hi, I am so happy to have found your website. On January 1st 2011 I gave up sugar and wheat totally. It is now only day 6 but I am already starting to feel better. After having been a sugarholic (and recently finding out I have a wheat allergy) for so many years this is no easy task. I have not yet lost any real weight….will this happen eventually?? I hope so. I found wonderful recipes on Susan Jane Murray’s website which are great you should check it out. I am definitely going to try some of your recipes….thank you for such wonderful inspiration! I would also like to say that I had to just go ‘cold turkey’ as for me there was never just a ‘bit’ of sugar it had to be a LOT!! Best wishes, Joy. 🙂

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Give it time, Joy!! 🙂 I know, it’s hard to be patient but – at least for me – it was a life style change first and then, the weight came off. Feeling better is the most important part. I went cold turkey, too…there wasn’t ever ‘just a little bit’ for me either.


  41. Jaeny

    My family does not have celiac disease (fortunately) but one of us has wheat allergies, he gets eczema outbreaks whenever he gets a serving of pasta, or bread etc. which was why when we found out wheat was the culprit of all that, we decided to go on a wheat free diet , the problems have cleared out since then, and the whole family are enjoying healthy and wholesome mealtimes.

  42. Roberta Gerrick

    I too have been a yo yo’er for years and am tired of feeling tired and gaining and losing and binging and restricting. I am finally tired of hearing myself complaining about it. Can’t imagine how my family tolerates it. About 2 weeks ago I cut out sugar,wheat, and dairy. I also started working out more. I turned 50 and can’t keep continuing on this destructive pattern. I was very weak and tired the first week. It is getting better and I had a great workout yesterday. The thing I am wondering about is the horrible taste in my mouth. Did anyone else experience that? Looking forward to your post.So glad I found your blog. Roberta

    • Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

      Hi Roberta,

      Congrats on your new journey! How exciting that you’re already seeing some progress!! I don’t remember having a horrible taste in my mouth but some people on my blog have mentioned it. I wonder if it’s part of how your body is detoxing?


  43. Penny Evans

    Hello Amy
    I have been dealing with IBS for many years, and now with menapause and people around me have told me to stop eating wheat, sugar and dairy. however I work for a large manufacturing bakey and we produce cakes, i love sweets and candy but my body is telling me differently – how do i cope with the need to have something sweet especially after i eat a meal or before i go to bed.

  44. Meg

    Hi I’ve been sugar and gluten free for three weeks now, I’m feeling so much better, but I’m wondering how long it took you to start loosing weight, I’m finding I haven’t budged much.
    Plus what’s your feelings on starchy veges like potatoe, etc do you eat these

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