Posts Tagged With: Gluten-free

The Gluten Free Challenge Pt 2: Days 5-7

These are events that transpired about 2 weeks ago, but I’ve just not gotten around to posting. I went gluten free for about 2.5 weeks, at which point, my pain and numbness continued to get worse, so I decided it wasn’t doing me any good. It was worth ruling out, though!

Day 5: Gluten free on the road

I worked at a store in Oklahoma City for the day to help out with coverage. It’s tempting to just “wing it” when you’re working out of town, but I try to pack a lunch and stick to my routine as much as I can. I packed a bowl of beef & cabbage soup, a gluten free biscuit, an applesauce and a yogurt. Since I wasn’t sure when I would be able to eat my lunch, I packed a Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness smoothie for the ride up. I think I’m starting to get the hang of this!

The guys I worked with decided to order wings and they offered to order me some as well. As sweet as the offer was, I said no. I didn’t have any idea what kind of gluten content I’d be getting myself into, so I decided to play it safe. Oh, it was tempting, though, especially when the wings arrived!

Day 6: PIZZA!!!

I’ve been on approximately 1,000,000,000 diets in my life. My goal for as long as I can remember has been perfect moderation. To know when to say yes to the deliciousness of pizza and when to say no. To be able to eat two slices and stop there.

This is where gluten fasting is wildly different from dieting. The time to say yes is never. The time to stop is at 0 slices of pizza.

I had a work meeting at our business office in OKC Sunday evening. The main focus was getting more business accounts at The CellPhone store, and blah blah blah, statistics on our business customers, blah blah, strategies for gaining new businesses, blah blah blah, dinner will be provided.

In case you hadn’t guessed, it was pizza.

Smarty-pants here assumed eating dinner at the meeting would be out of the question. Since I had to drive to the meeting immediately after my shift that day, I packed another Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness smoothie. I’ve got to figure out how to make those myself or this habit could get a bit spendy! Having a belly full of smoothie sure was helpful when I arrived.

There was pizza as far as the eye could see.

Now, my vision is awful, so for me, maybe it wasn’t that far, but still. It was devastating. There were a few baskets of snacks scattered about, but I couldn’t have any of that either, and no one else was interested in anything but PIZZA. There’s just something particularly horrifying about the prospect of saying “no” to that greasy, cheesy goodness. Not just for now. FOREVER.

Meanwhile, my coworkers are reveling in their new-found pizza heaven. Plates were piled 4 and 5 slices high, no one was chewing, just steadily cramming the gooey goodness into their faces. The guy sitting next to me flipped one slice over on top of another and made a pizza sandwich. The wild gorging was like some Babylonian feast and I, I alone resisted the siren call of PIZZA!!!

I had a bottle of water.

On the way home, I started planning the hash brown quiche I would make when I got home. The 45 minute drive seemed to last forever, until finally, I was home! Out of courtesy, I asked Scott what he wanted for dinner before I got to cooking. His response ignited a fury in me the likes of which I could have never imagined.

“Don’t worry about me, I already ate. I had a pizza.”

ISN’T THAT JUST WONDERFUL FOR YOU?!?!?! AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD?!?!?!? EVERYBODY GETS PIZZA TONIGHT BUT ME!!!!!!!

My favorite place in the world to eat pizza is Mazzio’s. I know Mazzio’s isn’t available everywhere, but it’s the best, hands down, as far as I’m concerned. There is no chain, no mom & pop brick oven pizzeria that can top Mazzio’s as far as I’m concerned.

After my considerable hissy fit, Scott insisted on going to Mazzios, where they are now serving gluten free pizza.

Even without the gluten, it’s still better than any other pizza place.

It’s so beautiful!

*Single tear rolls down my face….*

Day 7: You have donuts, I have a smoothie…

Tuesday means early morning meeting at The CellPhone Store. I fixed my breakfast in advance. I was quite proud.

Introducing Rebecca’s Blue Awesomeness! Why, yes, you may have the recipe!

1 banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1 cup apple juice

1/2 cup milk

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smoothie. Enjoy!

 

I’ve decided to try to transition from 2 cups of coffee a day to 1 and then just have a smoothie to go instead of a coffee to go. This was an experiment in mixing the day before, and it was a mad success.

Then I got to work.

There was a box of donuts sitting on the table. Staring at me. Literally

Okay, so I took this picture at the end of the day. It looked much yummier and less plaugey at the beginning of the day.

I stayed strong. I’m jealous of their donuts, yes. But certainly they’re jealous of my delicious smoothie.

Throughout the day, The donuts continued to stare at me. But I had my soup for lunch and my chicken salad roll-up. I tried to throw the last donut away to avoid temptation completely but one of my coworkers stopped me. “Someone might want it!” she said. I WANT IT!!!!

But I didn’t have it.

A much better option, in fact, the number one option for sandwiches is the roll-up. Corn tortillas are much less expensive than specialty tortillas or even regular flour ones. It is, however, very difficult to make a sandwich wrap out of them because of their size and texture. So, what I did was warm the tortillas up on my countertop grill, spread the sandwich mix on them, and roll them up! To increase speadability, I threw everything I wanted in my chicken salad or tuna salad in my mini food chopper and mixed it up like that. Very yummy! Two roll-ups and a bowl of soup make a wonderful lunch!

The Results

By the end of week 1, I was pretty much in the habit. By the end of week 2, it was a no-brainer. However, a few days after the 2 week mark, I started having trouble getting out of bed due to the numbness and pain in my arms and legs. So, it obviously isn’t a gluten intolerance. But, it was an eye-opening experience, that’s for sure!

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Gluten Free Challenge Pt 1: Days 1-4

*Eye roll* Why are you jumping on the gluten free bandwagon?

Back in August, I started having trouble with my left leg going numb when I laid down to sleep at night. Within a few weeks, it started happening at odd intervals throughout the day as well. After about a month, it spread to my left arm, then my right arm. About a week and a half ago, my arms stopped going numb and I started having constant, searing pain. I’ve quit smoking, started seeing a doctor, started seeing a neurologist, had 3 MRIs in 4 weeks (I should have the results on the last one soon!), and still don’t know anything.

Another blogger suggested that it may be gluten ataxia, which you can read more about here, or just go Google crazy–there’s a lot of information out there to sort through.

I started out what I thought would be a one-week challenge, however, based on my research, it can take months to get gluten out of your system and heal enough to feel any kind of relief.  So, I’m probably going to be eating like this for a while, depending on what the doctor says. I’ve decided to document the first week of this insanity here.

Day 1: This can’t be that difficult, right?

I tried browsing recipes on Allrecipes.com, my go to site for food….but filtering for gluten-free foods was a bit tricky. It was much easier on eatingwell.com. This is the part of the show where I started to obsess over cake and bread and crackers. Good grief, when did crackers become the enemy? I finally decided that coming up with a full week’s worth of dinners was too hard when I really didn’t know very much about gluten, so I just came up with two meals: Quiche and Enchiladas.

After work, I hopped over to WalMart to grab a few supplies. Cue the nightmare music.

Hummus is universally safe apparently and there were lots to choose from. Just try finding a cracker to have it on. I googled “gluten free crackers walmart” on my phone and came up with a brand, but couldn’t find it in the store.

I very easily found a gluten-free cake mix. For $4.64. I can get a regular cake mix for $1 at Aldi! I seemed to recall an episode of The Biggest Loser where Chef Rocco Dispirito made something with chickpea flour. That’s what I need! Alternative flour! I went up and down the baking aisle 4 times before I finally found a tiny little bag of soy flour. For $2.08. It was the only alternative flour I could find. I grabbed it, complaining all the way. At least there was a bread recipe on the back. Easy peasy.

When I got home, I saw that the bread recipe called for wheat flour. This is going to be a long week, isn’t it?

Day 2: Brought to you by the number “5!”

I sat down and made out a week-long gluten free meal plan and Scott and I went to Aldi to pick up a few additional provisions for the week. Aldi has gotten some good reviews for their prominent labeling of gluten free foods, so that helped a lot, but it was still confusing. Why is a can of pinto beans gluten free but refried beans aren’t? Why did someone have to put wheat in the beans just to mash them?

We got just about everything we needed there, and then we decided to check out the west side WalMart (I went to the store on the east side of town the night before) and see what kind of gluten free products we could find. I bought a bag of cookies and a box of cookie mix. The already-made cookies weren’t bad.

After WalMart, we headed to Natural Grocers, a store Scott has wanted to check out for a while, but not I. I can’t go to Natural Grocers! I don’t do yoga, I don’t drive a Prius, and I don’t hate chemicals. I love chemicals. Ammonia and bleach are some of my favorites.

Despite not wearing skinny jeans or a peasant skirt, I found Natural Grocers to be quite accessible. I was able to find gluten free everything. Noodles, bread, flour, condensed soups. I picked out a loaf of tapioca bread to try out, partially because Scott thought tapioca would be the yummiest, but mostly because it was the cheapest.

Here’s the financial impact: everywhere we went, there was a common theme: A gluten free item was right about 5 times what I would pay for the same item with gluten.

That evening, I made truly homemade enchiladas. I even made the sauce from scratch. The corn tortillas were store bought, but I was still proud. After 2+ hours in the kitchen, I had prepared a feast of enchiladas, mexican rice and refried beans–all homemade, all gluten free. I greatly prefer flour tortillas to corn, but I can adjust. The beans were great and the rice was magnificent!

Day 3: No Problem

I skipped breakfast and ate leftover enchiladas for lunch and supper. Man, I love going on autopilot.

Day 4: Adventures in Bread

I can eat my potato soup!

A few weeks ago, I started making my own soups and freezing them in individual bowls rather than buying canned soup for lunch every day.

Unfortunately, I have an affection for noodles and dumplings that is just uncanny. (Hehe, un-can-ny! Get it?)

Fortunately, I started using instant potato flakes as a thickener for soups instead of flour, so my potato soup is safe!

I packed a bowl of potato soup in my lunch and a sandwich made with the Tapioca loaf I purchased at Natural Grocer. The slices are tiny, but whatevs. I need to eat lighter anyway. It’s a little dry, but so what? Well, it’s kinda rubbery. It’s kind of…

EXACTLY LIKE EATING A DIRTY OLD SPONGE FROM THE KITCHEN!!!

I tried to dip it in the soup and let it soak, but it was no good. I was eating a dirty old kitchen sponge sandwich. Tiny as it was, I couldn’t finish it. It was too horrible. So, I ended up spending 3$ on a tiny loaf of bread I can’t even eat. I guess I’ll never get the ol’ budget under control.

On the way home, I stopped at WalMart to do some more hunting and found gluten free Bisquick! Finally, a lucky break! It just costs more than twice as much as regular Bisquick for a box half the size (I’m sure it’s meant to even out to 5x the price per biscuit) but it’s Bisquick! I can have biscuits and dumplings and pancakes and waffles and pot pies!!! Woot!

Had it really only been 4 days since I had bread? It seemed like it had been much longer. The mix looked legit, but the directions were a tad bit different. It called for shortening to be mixed in with it. Wha??? Whatever, I did it. For good measure, I also mixed in some cheddar cheese, parsley and garlic powder. Mmmmmm, garlic cheddar biscuits! I love it!

They looked amazing! Amazing! But the true test is taste, right? The taste was…different. The texture was perfect, but all I could taste was the shortening. Maybe margarine next time? (I detest butter–margarine all the way!!!) When I dipped the biscuit in the broth from my soup, it tasted just like a biscuit!

So, in the battle of the bread, we have one major failure and one victory. I’m excited to experiment more with the biscuits, but as much as they cost, they may be only an occasional treat. Based on my research, that may be the rule for all breads.

So Far…

I learned a lot in just a few days. Maybe 2 days after I bought that bag of soy flour, I realized what a ridiculous thing it was to do. So far, I haven’t starved, but we’ll see. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion of my gluten free week. If there is a conclusion.

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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