I’ve been eating “gluten free” about 90% of the time for the last couple of months and there are a few interesting things about it. First off, it’s a challenge to find things without wheat. You never realize it until you actually pay attention.
My biggest weaknesses when it comes to food are sourdough bread, ramen and Taco Bell. So even before I started this, I knew it would be a challenge in the first place, so I wasn’t cutting gluten cold turkey (Hello, Guinness!). I’m not the healthiest eater, nor will I ever expect to be. Quite frankly, I love food too much to give up all everything, and really love unhealthy food even more. What I didn’t expect to miss was bagels. I probably grab a bagel for breakfast every couple of weeks, usually because I am running late during a workday or because Noah’s has really great coffee. But since I started paying attention to gluten, I’ve noticed a couple of healthier alternatives to the typical bagel. Noah’s recently made their “healthy” bagels a little more tasty and Sweet Note Bagels is getting some serious praise for their gluten free bagels. Now I just need an excuse to get to Philadelphia and try them.
Back to eating gluten free, though. I lost a few pounds in the 60+ days which is not really a surprise, after all, most foods I cut out were packaged and full of preservatives. What was most surprising is how much cutting out gluten affected my digestive system. If I go a couple days without eating it, I feel much better, both in an energy and mental sense. Obviously there are a lot of variables that can influence how you feel, but one thing I have noticed consistently is when I eat something processed ( ie. loaded with enriched wheat flour) like Mac N Cheese, my stomach is in shambles for the next 12 hours. Considering my affection for spicy foods and normally iron (but talkative) stomach, it took me by surprise. But after a couple of months, there is no doubt in my mind that I need to be more conscious of my food choices and gluten will definitely be at a minimum.
Our society caters towards profits and not people. Everywhere you turn, you have the option of eating processed foods. I was just handed some pretzels and cookies from a flight attendant, both have enriched wheat flour as the very first ingredient. Cheaper foods, more processed, more automated, more profitable. In an effort to avoid an early death, or more reasonably, unhealthy foods, I’m going to put more energy into the food I make and more thought into what I eat moving forward. With that said, the whole gluten free thing may not be everyone’s first choice, considering our comfort foods are likely off the menu, but for me, it made me appreciate good food even more, so I consider it a success even if I am not sticking to it 100% of the time. More importantly, a learning experience.