Monday, April 30, 2012

Life Proceeds Gluten Free

Yippee, some time to write!! The past week was busy with house guests and our son's 6th birthday celebration. It was also full of peaceful, aesthetic moments as captured in the photo above. Spring is in the air and life is good. I am beginning my second month of leaving gluten and dairy out of my diet. During the first month my self-diagnoses was confirmed a few times when I unintentionally or intentionally partook of gluten. I still find it a bit bizarre that one day I could eat it, and apparently digest it uneventfully, and the next day I couldn't. But I guess that is how life works. Things change. They are always changing. Usually the changes happen gradually so we have time to adapt but sometimes they broadside us and we are forced to make rapid mental and sometimes physical adjustments.

It really is a fortuitous time, relatively speaking, to go gluten-free. There is a newfound awareness of potential problems associated with ingesting gluten and a resulting infusion of gluten-free labels and gluten-free products in the marketplace. Of course, most whole food is already gluten-free. Some people are capitalizing on this. Just make sure not to be fooled into paying more for gluten-free rice or peanut butter!

At least so far, I feel that I am doing a pretty good job of taking the change in stride. Interestingly, the most difficult adjustment has not been giving up gluten and dairy, but rather changing some of my other ingrained habits associated with food. I am a zero-waste kind of gal and pride myself on shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning up in a way that virtually eliminates any food waste. I don't feel this way about all food, only quality food. I pick up my son from kindergarten at noon and every day I see two large trash cans full of uneaten crappy food-like-substances that his school tries to pass off as an acceptable lunch for the children. I actually feel a sense of contentment that all that junk didn't make it into their digestive tracks. But I wouldn't hesitate to cut off the bite marks of a half-eaten organic apple and save or eat the rest. I know my son and husband's eating habits, so in our home I compensate for what I know my son will probably leave on his plate by putting less on mine and then cleaning his plate when he is done. Well, now that some of his food is off-limits for me, I find myself, oftentimes without success, offering Leo's picked-over or nibbled-on leftovers to my husband. The conversation might go something like this: 
"You could finish Leo's quiche." 
"Uhhh, yeah, no thanks."
"It is still good, it's just mashed up a bit."
"I'm really not hungry."
"If I put it in a container, do you think you might have it for lunch tomorrow?"
"Probably not."
And who could blame him really.
And so, unable to eat it myself; unable even to compost it (which would feel better) because of the bear that regularly visits our property, into the trash it must go. I apologize to the food-gods, bid farewell to the asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms, the gruyere, farm fresh eggs, nutmeg, and cream. And drop it with finality and helplessness into the garbage can. This letting go has been the surprise hardest part of my new gluten and dairy-free life.

Other than that I have been enjoying cooking, baking, and eating without gluten and dairy, and I did a lot of all those things last week. I look forward to sharing as I expand my gluten-free baking repertoire. I was able to find rice flour and potato starch and xanthan gum at our co-op. I ordered sorghum and tapioca flour through Amazon. Yes, you can buy anything from Amazon. I've already made some respectable lemon bars and birthday cupcakes and am excited to continue to experiment.



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