Going gluten free has made me even more defensive than usual.
Why? Well, there’s all sorts of debate about this whole gluten thing. Most people will agree with the fact that there’s a percentage of the population who has a major problem with gluten. These people cannot eat the stuff without getting really sick. They have celiac. Since it’s diagnosable and has an official name, most people are OK with acknowledging that it exists.
Where you start to lose some of the believers is when you talk about gluten intolerance. This is not something very official. A lot of people have self-diagnosed themselves as having an issue. Other people (like me) have had medical professionals tell them that they “probably have an intolerance and should avoid it” or that their antibody levels are off and their celiac results may be a false negative. A colon biopsy can give you a definitive answer but… that means you need to go and get your colon biopsied. Uh, no thank you.
Here’s what I know.
If we’re out at a restaurant or something and I eat gluten by accident (say forgetting that sometimes flour is used to help bind meatballs), I’m bloated like I’m six months pregnant before we even get in the driveway. I feel sick and lethargic and I don’t want to talk to anyone. Sometimes my stomach aches and burns and twists so that the only thing I can do is curl up in a fetal position and sleep. After a few hours, I start to feel better but it can take days for the bloating and the overall feeling of grossness to leave me.
Call it whatever you’d like, but it happens when I eat foods containing gluten. That means I’d rather avoid the stuff so that I can function like a normal human.
Hey girl. Treat Yo Self is a series (inspired by my beloved Parks and Rec) that focuses on inexpensive indulgences that make you feel good without feeling guilty. Because when momma’s not happy, nobody is happy.
Most of the day I try really hard to fuel myself with healthy, clean foods. Yes, there are the occasional stress-induced dives into a bag of chocolate chips. Yes there is fro yo. A lot of fro yo. Still, most of the time I make good choices.
That said, when the sun sets, the girls are in bed and my husband and I are collapsed on the couch binge-watching TV shows, Momma wants some chocolate. Momma needs some chocolate.
Dark chocolate squares carried me through the winter but the other day I tried something new that has totally captured my heart. Even more impressive, it captured my husband’s heart too.
Before I even get started on this post, I want to make it clear that I’m not telling everyone they should run off and live a gluten free life. It’s not easy to go gluten free (the stuff is in everything from bread and some cheese products to soy sauce and salad dressing) and if you don’t have an issue digesting it, there’s no reason to go crazy and remove it completely.
That said, going gluten free does remove a lot of crap from your diet—but mostly because you eat more clean. Most of the recipes I’ve included here don’t require you to go out and buy expensive gluten free substitutes (which are sometimes loaded with sugar). It’s a lot of real, whole foods that will fill your belly without feeling bad about what you eat.
It’s no secret that I rarely cook. I’m not very good at it, which frustrates me and only makes my feeble attempts at culinary excellence infinitely worse. My husband, on the other hand, enjoys cooking and happens to be way more talented at anything kitchen-related (except for washing dishes. He totally sucks at washing dishes—probably on purpose).
So when I do actually cook something, it should come as no surprise that it is always an insanely easy something (see: zucchini pasta). My latest obsession? Portabello pizza.
So, I may have mentioned it once or twice or maybe a lot, but gluten and I aren’t friends. Some people roll their eyes at this (whether I can actually watch them roll or I can tell it’s happening internally behind their eyes depends on the person). These people seem to think it’s a silly affliction created by a hypochondriac (this study is no doubt in their minds while they smile and nod politely and their internal monologue is riffing on the fact that I’m batshit crazy).
To the naysayers I can only respond with two things: after testing negative for celiac, my doctor recommended I remove gluten from my diet as a trial to see if it had any impact on my stomach issues. Since removing it I feel a billion times better. Unless that changes, I’m gonna keep on keeping on.
For the most part, I’m fine with missing out on gluten-filled deliciousness. I’ve found replacements that I deem satisfactory for most things and try to steer myself towards whole foods instead of processed junk anyway (except for chocolate. There is always chocolate). My latest obsession is an insanely delicious take on pasta: zucchini noodles!