Hi, Anne here! This was supposed to be posted Friday, but I dropped the ball. Two days late- oops.
I joined up with Jen for gluten-free Lent. I went in knowing I was a cheater right off the bat, because three days into Lent I set off for five days in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort. When I vacation I don’t go -free anything as far as eating/drinking goes!
With that said, I’ve been GF ever since returning from Mexico on February 29, and it has not been too shockingly difficult for me. Pat and I have been eating paleo(ish) since the beginning of February, so I had already removed all grains from my diet. I will eventually get a post up here that’s all about eating paleo and my reasons behind giving it a try, but for now I’ll just focus on the gluten free part.
The biggest adjustment for me upon removing gluten from my diet came at breakfast. I’ve been very used to loading up on the ‘ol grains at breakfast. Typically I’d eat toast or bagels, and definitely a bowl of cereal. Once removing the grains, I’d wake up in the morning just craving this stuff. And it doesn’t help that my kids are still eating all the usual gluten-laden foods (minus a few things I’ve stopped buying: goldfish, graham crackers, and mac ‘n cheese.) For breakfasts now I’ve been eating a lot of scrambled eggs, egg/veggie/sausage scrambles, or a “nut bowl” as we call them, which consists of a bowl of sliced/slivered almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds (any combo of nuts really) with either almond or coconut milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some sliced bananas or a handful of raisins. Like Pat said the other day, this nut bowl does indeed fulfill some childhood-like need to down a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch as you begin your day.
Most of my cravings have been for sweets, but that’s mainly for the sugar, not the flour. I’ve also craved pancakes/waffles a few times, but I found an awesome grain-free waffle recipe that’s proven delicious more than once. Social situations prove a bit more difficult. Last weekend pizza was ordered, and I ate the toppings off mine and left the crust. We just celebrated St. Patty’s Day, and sadly I had to pass on the rye, Irish soda bread, and homemade lemon cake that my MIL made for Pat’s birthday. I did, however, manage to bake a most excellent gluten free cheesecake for that same birthday boy, and it turned out tremendous. I was told the crust was even better than the traditional graham cracker crust.
I’ve surprisingly not had any cravings for bread (other than the breakfast toast) or pasta. I’ve wanted a beer a couple times, but that can be quickly satisfied with a glass of wine. What I HAVE caught myself doing a few times is accidentally tossing back a handful of something gluten-full. The kids are still eating their usual foods, so a few times when I’ve been pouring them a bowl of cheerios, or draining their spaghetti noodles or passing them some pretzels, I’ve come *thisclose* to just throwing those items down my gullet. Without even thinking about it!
Now that you know what I’ve been eating, here’s a little on what I’ve been feeling. In a nutshell…I’ve been feeling great!! I don’t know how much of this can be attributed to gluten free per se, because I’ve made some radical changes to my diet overall since the beginning of February. But with all the ways that we are learning gluten can negatively affect the functioning of our bodies, I feel much healthier knowing that it is out of my diet right now. I’ve definitely been less bloated, and rarely do I get that midafternoon crash of exhaustion like I usually get. Again, if I can attribute this directly to GF eating I cannot be sure, but I like to think that at least some of it comes from the removal of gluten from my diet.
To sum it up, I’m glad I took on this challenge. It really has not ended up being as difficult as I thought it would be. Will I continue GF eating once Lent is over? I can’t commit to completely eradicating gluten from my diet forever, but now that I know that eating gluten free is doable I would like to continue eating a mostly gluten free diet. We’ll see where that takes me…