My friends, check out my dinner a few nights ago:
Regular fettuccine pasta in a lightened up cream sauce with spinach and tomatoes. Why? Because my experiment with eating gluten free is officially over!
I talked about it in length here, but to make a long story short, I decided to give up gluten for a solid month (it wound up being an almost 6 week stint) to determine if I had a sensitivity to it. I suffer from allergies, which cause sinus aches and skin issues, and was curious to find out if gluten could be the culprit. The short answer: It’s not!
Aside from 2 minor mishaps – eating a cookie around day 7 before it even dawned on me that it most likely had gluten in it, and caving in and eating a piece of warm bread at an Italian restaurant in Lake Tahoe – I was completely diligent with keeping a gluten free diet. I’ve heard all sorts of benefits that people reap from losing the gluten in their diet, from better digestion and more energy to unintentional weight loss and a reduction in psoriasis, which I mildly suffer from…. but I experienced absolutely none of that. I felt pretty much the same, which is great in general besides my annoying allergies. I kept up the gluten free diet for a bit over the month-long point just to be sure, but I think it’s safe to say, I don’t have a sensitivity to gluten.
Coincidentally, my father-in-law decided to try being gluten free around the same time as me, and he has experienced lots of positive results. Every person is different and reacts to different foods and diets in their own individual way, and as it turns out, gluten is a-okay with me. I definitely feel like this experiment has helped me learn more about gluten and all of the foods that contain it. While I’m going to be eating gluten again, I’m now more conscious of how much of it I’m eating. I don’t think that too much of anything is good, plus gluten’s effects on the body are controversial, so I’m reintroducing it into my diet only moderately. I can live easily without eating gluten daily, but I do think I’ll enjoy some gluten-filled food a few times a week.
Part of me is disappointed and would like to have found a solution to my skin and allergy issues, but part of me is relieved too. Because I have to tell you guys, oh how I missed bread.
I know I know, there’s gluten free bread around, and I’ll get to my favorite one that I tried in a moment, but it’s just not the same to me. I guess the gluten is what gives it that “yum” factor! 😉 If I had to continue eating gluten free, I think I’d wind up losing my love for the occasional PB & banana sandwiches or grilled cheese.
Wanting to find some gluten free substitutes during these weeks, I tried a good number of GF foods. I thought I’d share my favorite ones, so here we go:
I liked a few of Van’s Natural Foods products in their gluten free line, including their Lots of Everything! crackers:
I loved these with some hummus and will probably continuing buying them.
I’m also a fan of their apple cinnamon waffles:
A couple of times I ate a few waffles for breakfast and topped them with things likes chopped apple, granola, honey, cinnamon, banana… ya know, all of my usual favorite kitchen staples!
…which leads me to KIND Healthy Grains Clusters:
As I mentioned in my last post about granola, these KIND cluster products are addicting! My favorite flavors are peanut butter and cinnamon oat with flax seeds. The clusters are made with 100% whole grains like amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet and buckwheat. My favorite way to eat KIND clusters is to sprinkle some over yogurt with fruit. Yum!
Barbara’s Puffins Cereal:
Cereal is my go-to snack to eat a few handfuls of when I come home from the gym starving and am waiting for my dinner to cook, so when I started my gluten free experiment, I knew I needed to find a good cereal substitute. I found that in Barbara’s Puffins cereals. I also ate a bowl of the cereal with blueberries or banana for breakfast a few times.
I mentioned this last week when I posted a recipe for Mediterranean Pasta with Lemon Ricotta, but Tinkyada and TruRoots brands were my favorite of the GF pastas that I had. A few of the pastas I tried had a weird texture or tasted too much like corn, but I’d definitely recommend these two brands. TruRoots makes their pasta with brown rice, quinoa and amaranth. Tinkyada is made from brown rice.
A lot of the gluten free breads seem to be either in the frozen food section or hard as a rock, so coming across Canyon Bakehouse 7-grain bread at Whole Foods was a good find. It was the best bread substitute I tried by a long shot!
Do you have a favorite specialty gluten free food?
If you’re not gluten free, what would you miss the most if you nixed the gluten?