By Sara Spock
A few weeks ago, I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner; fresh bread and a side salad seemed to round out the plate. At some point during my fourteenth slice of bread slathered with butter and my sixth helping of pasta, I realized I could feed a small nation with my gluttony and that perhaps I was eating too much pasta. This realization spurred my decision to try something new, gluten-free. That’s right folks, no pasta, no bread, no wheaty goodness to brighten my life and bring joy to my belly. Gluten-free. The words rang through my house like a death sentence, but if I was going down, my family was coming with me.
I started by taking a week to lower our gluten intake by filling at least half our plate with veggies at every meal and trying out different grains to replace the gluteny ones. With just a week of modified eating, I felt lighter than a pre-gorge elephant and had more spring in my step. Once our adjusting week was over, I kicked it in to high gear. Our first dish was a tasty Lemon Garlic Chicken, Orange Carrots, and Red Quinoa. Fork in hand, my 5 year old eyed the quinoa with suspicion.
“This looks like fish eyes,” he said.
“Mmm, and just as tasty! A little less gummy than fish eyes, though” I replied.
His own eyes nearly popped out of his head as he grabbed a forkful and chowed down. The fishy quinoa was a hit! Added bonus, I liked it for breakfast, too! Toss a handful of toasted nuts, dried cherries, and a squeeze of honey? The quinoa could have been oatmeal, if oatmeal looked like fish eyes. We continued to stretch our menu and come up with new ways to eat.
We are now 2 weeks into our totally gluten-free lifestyle and looking back on the changes, I have some pros and cons.
Cons: No pasta! No bread! No beers! Nothing breaded! No food coma! Honestly, there have only been a couple days when I craved something gluteny and found myself in the bakery department licking the glass cases in an attempt to get a little cake. Those days were rough, but not horrible. When the store manager peeled me off the floor behind the cookie counter, I realized I had extra room for chocolate. I had to buy more toilet paper. Let’s just say, big changes in little digestive systems don’t always go smoothly. Or maybe they go a little too smoothly… Be careful making drastic changes in your kids’ diets. M’kay?
Pros: I don’t ever feel like I ate a brick. I have more energy, mostly because I’m eating more fuel-type foods. Instead of snacking on a bagel or toast, I’m having a handful of almonds, an apple, three or four bars of chocolate. My skin has a fresh glow, which could be the diet or the routine chemical peel I get from scrubbing the bathroom. While I haven’t enjoyed my favorite beers, wine is gluten free. Did you hear me? I said, WINE IS GLUTEN FREE!!! I rest my case.
~Sara Spock is a Mom, Wife, Penn State Graduate, Substitute Teacher, Freelance Writer and Chocolate Addict. When she’s not torturing her family’s digestive tract or looking for gluten-free booze, Sara can be found over at The Hero Complex where she tries to save the world, one. recipe. at. a. time.