What a great reason for new post: it's National Celiac Awareness Day!
My real reason for coming to post is that the first article I saw about celiac awareness day had a photo of some less than stellar cookies and it made me kinda sad. It just reinforced the idea that a gluten free life is one of deprivation. It doesn't have to be. Don't believe me? All of these pictures are things that I've made in my kitchen over the last few years. And all of them are gluten free! (they also happen to be vegan and soy free). There are a lot of them, but bear with me. There is a point.
Zucchini muffins with cinnamon-crumb topping. For more information, see earlier post
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls - Veganomicon
Coffee Chip Muffins. For more information, see earlier post.
Starting on the left, going clockwise: Sparkled Ginger cookies, Chocolate Chip cookies, Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles, Sugar cookies, Lemon bars in center. For the ones without links (all deglutenized versions of recipes from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar), I'll have to lookup my subs and try to post about them sometime soon.
soy and I added a little turmeric for extra yellow). In my pie crust
Lazy Samoas from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Will post substitutions.
Portobello Margherita and Pasta. For more information see earlier post
Portobello Cheesesteak Wrap. For more information, see earlier post.
Black and Bleu Salad. For more information, see earlier post
Colby Block Cheese (The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook) with Food for Life Brown Rice Bread and Grapes. - For more information, see earlier post
Coconut Scones with chocolate drizzle. I made these up in a hurry.
Not sure if I wrote everything down, but I'll look around.
Not sure if I wrote everything down, but I'll look around.
Spinach Hummus Cups. Corn tortillas, cut in quarters (warmed in a damp towel in the microwave to make them pliable), brush on a little olive oil (and optional dried parsley, cumin and fresh ground black pepper) and put them in a mini muffin tin. Bake in the oven at 400 for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Fill with this spinach hummus and top with 1/4 grape tomato.
Fig, Walnut and Cashew Goat Cheese Salad (spinach base). Dressing was a light mix of red wine vinegar and maple syrup (about 1 to 1, but just do it to taste)
I don't really remember what this is and I didn't blog on it. But it looks like the salad is kale, mango, avocado and most likely I squeezed lime on it. The bell pepper looks like it's stuffed with quinoa, tomato, craisins and probably some kind of nut or seed mixed in.
Silver-dollar corn pancakes with strawberries. For more information, see earlier post.
Individual apple gallette from Veganomicon, but made on my pastry crust.
Sure...it looks as if I'm deprived doesn't it?
So here are a few things to remember about the gluten free life (especially if you're new to it or have been wallowing in self-pity for a while):
1. It's not a death sentence. On the contrary, if you go gluten free because your body can't tolerate gluten, you'll feel more alive than you have in a long time.
2. You don't have to put up with yucky food just because it has a gluten free label on it. If it's not good don't buy it. Find another one or learn to make it yourself. (The things I make myself are usually way better than any pre-made product)
3. You are not a victim in this. You can choose to eat gluten anyway. You'll never feel better, but that's your choice. No one is going to force you to make the change.
4. There's lots of help on the internet. If you don't know how to do something ask. You can even ask here. I might not know, but will try to help you find out.
5. There is a big learning curve. Once you've decided to go gluten free, it's going to take a while for it to feel natural. I've been doing this for years and it still doesn't always feel natural. Be patient with yourself.
6. It can get emotional. Sometimes you will feel left out or deprived. Learn the best way to take care of yourself. The way I do this mostly is take my own version of what the rest of the people are having at a party or dinner and enjoy it. Sometimes I even take something completely different that I like way better than what they're eating. They get jealous...hehe.
7. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need. If you're in a restaurant, ask questions. They'll help you. If they don't, don't go back. When visiting friends for dinner if they ask what they can fix for you, make it easy on them. Don't give them lots of crazy ingredients. I usually tell people stuff like this: I can eat any fruit, any bean, any vegetable, rice and most spices (be careful of mixes or cheap versions that might have gluten ingredients cut in). I tell them which oils are safe for me. These things are tasty, economical and can be made in endless combinations. If they don't ask, bring your own or offer to bring a dish for everyone.
8. It's not all about you. Yes, you want people to consider you at every turn. It's nice to have people take care of you. But they have lives too. You might have to put forth a little extra effort. That's ok. On the other hand, if they want to do for you...let them!
A few things to remember if you're not the one going gluten free, but you have a loved one who is:
1. It's not a death sentence. You might have to change which restaurants you can eat in easily with that friend, but your loved one is still the same person. In fact, when they are in less pain or out of that depression (gluten can cause that for some people), you might even like hanging out with them more.
2. Be considerate. Don't switch utensils or dip things in the hummus (or salsa or guac...) without knowing whether they are gluten free. If you don't know, there's no shame in asking.
3. Be patient. It's frustrating. It's emotional. It's a little bit terrifying. And that's just for you. Think about what it's like for the person who is having to relearn everything they've ever known about food. You don't have to put up with them wallowing or being mean to you, but extend a little extra grace. Also don't be afraid to tell them when they're being ridiculous. Good friends need to be told that sometime.
4. Learn what you can. You don't have to learn everything (unless you're responsible for all their food), but a couple rice & bean dishes and a couple dips are nice things to have in your arsenal. Tip: the cherrybrook kitchen box mix gluten free chocolate cake is really good and will save you the expense of having to buy multiple flours if you don't need them yourself. It could make a birthday special :)
Last, but certainly not least, if you think you might be celiac/gluten intolerant...find out!!
So yeah, that was a long post. But I'm pretty passionate about this. I deal with it every day. The people that love me deal with it every day. I'm pretty sure they like dealing with this better than the nasty symptoms that came from my love for bread. I know I do.