Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A new challenge: gluten free for 30 days?


During our time in Maui this summer, I had the opportunity to do a fair amount of reading.  Wheat Belly is one the titles I perused from the comfort of my poolside lounge chair.  As someone with a budding interest in nutrition, I’ve found that some of the recent revelations like fat won’t make you fat (even Time magazine is exposing that myth) and that our food pyramid heavy with grains may need to be turned on its head, are very fascinating to me. Nutrition tends to be pretty even handed in our household, so I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon of the latest fad.  As a mostly vegetarian, I’ve never been committed enough to go vegan.  Especially while traveling, my husband and I embrace our flexitarian ways, getting fresh sustainable fish when we can and rarely slipping in a bite of other meats when they are organic, local, and free range. 

Wheat has been a part of our diet.  Most mornings we have a homemade cereal and whole-wheat flour and sometimes wheat bran have been among the ingredients.  We get a loaf of sourdough or squaw bread at the farmer’s market most weeks.  We occasionally have flour tortillas around to serve with bowls of chili or beans.  While sandwiches are not a staple for us at lunchtime we sometimes grab a baguette with some cheese and vegetables for a lunch on the go every other weekend.  So after reading Wheat Belly, I started to wonder what effect (if any) the wheat in our diet is having on us.  I read a few passages aloud to Greg and he replied,  “ I used to think I had a beer belly, but now I think I have a wheat belly.”  Then in true Greg fashion he recommended we take on a challenge.  “We should try going gluten-free.” Try to understand that all of the life changing challenges we have taken on have been Greg’s idea.  “ We should take yoga.  We should be vegetarians.  We should climb Half Dome.”  And the list goes on.  Greg comes up with these grand ideas and then I end up running with them.  When I clarified that most beer is made from wheat, Greg revised his statement.  “Well, lets just try it for a month.” 

So here we are on day one of going gluten free.  I’ve decided at the bare minimum to share what we eat each day, in case anyone else out there is looking for gluten free meal ideas or would like to join us in this challenge.  I do have one disclaimer.  Individuals who go gluten free because they know they have a gluten sensitivity or even more serious celiac disease will need to be more careful about gluten exposure than we are going to be.  So while we won’t be eating bread, wheat products or anything else we are aware contains gluten, we are not going to obsess over product labels that read something to the effect that a product has been processed in a facility that also processes wheat.  We aren’t going to stress over trace amounts.  Yet we understand that many individuals do have to be very very careful about wheat exposure, and our hearts go out to you because wheat is in so many things! 

Here was our first attempt.  Day One Gluten Free:

Breakfast

Overnight oats
¼ cup rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill has great gluten free products)
½ cup raw milk whole fat milk
1 tsp chia seeds
sprinkle of cinnamon

(Place these ingredients in a covered jar in the fridge before bed.  The next morning, heat until warm.  I stir in a drizzle of local honey and top with fruit.  This morning we had farmer’s market peaches on top!)

Lunch

Stuffed avocado with egg salad, rice crackers and melon balls
I got the rice crackers at Trader Joes. (They are made mainly with rice flour and sesame seeds). 

Egg Salad  (I made a lot so we can have leftover for lunch later in the week)
7 hardboiled cage free or pastured eggs (chopped)
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons pickle relish
1 rib celery (chopped)
10 chives or skinny green onions (finely chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
5 basil leaves (thinly sliced) for garnish

I mixed all of the ingredients for the egg salad together (except the basil) and chilled it.  I arrange 10 crackers along side a handful of melon balls on a small plate.  I filled ½ avocado with the egg salad mixture and garnished with basil.  We scooped the avocado filling onto the crackers. 



Dinner
Grilled Eggplant marinated in balsamic vinaigrette served with dirty rice and Burrata cheese 
(fresh tomato, basil and green olive garnish)




Dessert

I made peanut butter fudge.  There is a lot of sugar in this dessert, but no gluten.  We all must make compromises sometimes.  I’ll post this recipe later this week!  Stay tuned!

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