Healthy Living, Gluten-Free
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I've been learning a lot about Gluten-Free living lately. As in, reading everything I can get my hands on about the subject for the last 6+ months. And experimenting, and figuring things out the hard way sometimes. And coming to terms with the fact that I will not be enjoying a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin at Great Harvest with my mocha on my regular Saturday morning date with my husband. OK, so time to move on. There is more to life. Thankfully, I am already a skilled baker, and enjoy experimenting more than just a little. I am also into trying new things, which is lucky for me because that is exactly what I will be doing from now on.
I have already invested in a grain mill and a list of new grains to turn into alternative flours. (Which reminds me of the Will Ferrell movie Stranger than Fiction where he brings Ana Pascal a dozen flours. Too cute.) I have adapted my mom's Triple Ginger Snap into a really awesome GF version that everyone at work loves. So much better than the ones they sell at TJ's made with bean flour, ew! I have even made a very passable pumpkin chocolate chip muffin to have with my tea at breaktime, so I am definitely not feeling deprived. I am feeling, however, very annoyed at the fact that I now have to start cooking more often instead of using my 3x weekly lame excuse of "I forgot to take something out for dinner" when in reality I really am just sick of cooking after 37 years and it's a bit of a bore just cooking for two again.
Unfortunately (or maybe not, considering my budget), GF eating possibilities at most restaurants is fairly limited to salads and grilled fish or chicken. And I'm getting kind of tired of those, truth be told. Not coincidentally, I'm sure, I've lost 15# so far. And I'm really having to spend some time wrapping my brain around the fact that church potlucks are pretty much a no-go from now on. Have you ever paid attention to the amount of pasta served there? (We live in the middle of rice country, for gosh sakes. Do these people not have another recipe than macaroni and cheese?) And my biggest lament: what the heck do you eat at a tea party? Certainly not those darling, dainty little finger sandwiches. And it looks like I'll be toting my own scones to the next one.
OK, so life is rough. It's not like I don't have enough to eat. I have been spending some time trying to get a little perspective on this situation. Yes, it's embarrassing to have to ask when invited over for dinner, "What are you serving?" and then wrestling with whether it's rude to eat before coming or risk feeling like you are a whiner for having to say "I have food restrictions."
Most people are not familiar with gluten intolerance. I wasn't familiar with it up until about 6 months ago. Now I find out that quite a few people have it and either don't know it because the medical community has not caught up with the research and they are being misdiagnosed, or know it but they'd rather live with their head in the sand than to make some lifestyle changes. Or they think it's OK to "just have a little", to cut back. Yeah, I thought the same thing too until a couple of graham crackers laid me low all day. It's not like a food allergy: you can't take a pill, and you don't grow out of it. It is what it is, it's genetic, and now that they have the testing available - it is finally being properly diagnosed more and more.
It's easy to default to seeing the glass half-empty and thinking of all the things that I have to "give up" or do without, but think of what a blessing it is to live in a day where, finally, technology has made strides to diagnose - in a much less invasive way without waiting until irreparable damage has been done to the body - a condition that has plagued mankind for centuries.
The reality is that we live in a culture in love with wheat. I am thankful to see more GF foods becoming available on the store shelf. (But it will absolutely MAKE MY DAY to someday walk into Starbucks and find a wheat-free muffin smiling at me from the bakery case. Until then, I guess I'll be packing my own.)