Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wisdom Gleaned From Gluten Free

Hubby and I are learning a lot on our gluten-free February adventure. So much so, I had to devote one of my columns to this experiment in addition to my blog. The most poignant lesson learned was that our diets, prior to February first, were flour-based carb heavy. Apparently, our bodies derived the majority of their nutrients and energy from pizza, pasta, and bread. Much of the sliced bread was consumed in the form of decadent gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches for which Hubby has become known. Not long after giving up gluten it became obvious that our growing spare tires had nothing to do with age—our go-to excuseand everything to do with amber waves of grain.

While we did achieve the gluten free grilled cheese sandwich, the bread was not quite as savory. And it crumbled. Not even hot, melted cheeses could keep it together. But it did look appetizing sitting next to our hot bowls of soup before we tried picking them up and biting into them.

Gluten free grilled cheese & soup | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Picture perfect sandwich before it all came apart.
A little over a week into our experiment, Hubby and I began craving vegetables. All Hubby wanted for supper one night was a salad. When I asked him for supper suggestions, he went into brilliant detail of a fresh salad filled with lots of organic greens, wedges of orange, silky pecans and pine nuts, dried cranberries and raisins, creamy feta crumbles, and sharp cheddar shreds. And if I wanted to top it with glazed salmon, that'd be fine, too.

While we began craving vegetables, we quickly grew tired of rice. We hadn't even eaten all that much rice. However, with our wheat flour substitutes primarily consisting of rice flour, our bodies put up the hand at all things rice. I purchased enough gluten-free flour to live on homemade pizza, pasta, and grilled cheese as we'd always done, but our digestive systems voted the high gluten-free carb diet down.

Chocolate chip cookies don't need gluten | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My new favorite chocolate chip cookies are gluten free.

We discovered there are a few things we prefer to enjoy free of gluten. My chocolate chip cookies are much better made with the flour substitute. And the pecan waffles we made one snow day morning were out of this world. While we don't prefer loaves of gluten free bread for sandwiches, the crumbs made from the loaves, doctored up with homegrown dried oregano and basil, make amazing Italian bread crumbs perfect for meatballs, veggie balls, and breaded cutlets and eggplant.

February is not over, yet. There is more to discover. And at the end of the month, I will share some of our new favorite gluten-free recipes born of this experiment.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
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