The Gluten Free Experiment.
So over two months ago (shuddup), I posted that I was going gluten free and sugar free for Lent (sugar free was changed to low sugar because I used agave a few times and apparently bbq chips have sugar). I did very well, the only time I messed up was when I bought a raw dessert from Whole Foods and realized later that one of the ingredients was water that was filtered through wheat. And I lost eight pounds!
And then I got my hands on some gluten free pasta and that was all shot to hell.
I didn’t buy a ton of fancy flours, or gluten free soy sauce because I wasn’t planning on keeping up with it (and I already have a monster jug of dark soy sauce that is taking me forever to get through). So I didn’t eat a ton of interesting stuff, but I do have a few pictures to share.
Brown rice pudding, I was experiencing sugar withdrawls and PMSing. The rough recipe was:
2 c leftover brown rice
~2 c non-dairy milk of your pleasing (I used unsweetened almond milk)
big squirt of agave
several big dashes of cinammon
cap full of vanilla
handful of cranberries
Throw in a pot, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, don’t forget to stir.
A burrito bowl from Qdoba in Nashville (my podunk town doesn’t have one). Trying to eat vegan in a small town is hard enough, throw in gluten free and my only in-town option was the indian restaurant. We don’t eat out a lot anyway, but one place can get old pretty fast.
Right around the time that Lent started, Cosmo’s had a sale where you bought three logs of Teese and got one for free. They have four flavors of which i’ve only tried one, so I decided to give it a go.
My first combo is brown rice pasta with cheddar teese and broccoli. I didn’t find the cheddar to be much different from the mozzarella flavor in macaroni, and I don’t remember what the mozzarella tastes like straight up (the mozzarella tube I bought is still in the fridge, waiting for pizza).
Next, I tried the melty cheddar, on more broccoli (i’ve been on a broccoli kick lately). This is the kind where you just melt it and it’s all sauced up and ready to go. I put some in a bowl in the microwave. It smelled god awful, I couldn’t even get Brian to try it. I put it on the steamed broccoli, and I think they balanced eachother out because it wasn’t bad.
The next day, I decided to use the rest of the melty stuff on some quinoa pasta. I tried to eat it as is, but ended up doctoring it with some salt and pepper and nooch. It tastes like Velveeta or cheese whiz which is good if you miss that sort of thing, but I really don’t. I also tried the naco Teese and it’s about the same but with jalapenos. It was okay, but didn’t really fill in any sort of craving so for me, i’ll stick to the solid Teese for the occasional pizza.
I bought a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix, and they did taste ‘different’, but were still good. They didn’t reheat so well the next day, but if I had to I would use the mix again. I used agave and that was the most sugar I had consumed in weeks, so I got a headache.
I wasn’t very adventurous during my gluten-free Lent experiment, but I did try out dumpings. The smaller ones are just rice flour, and the bigger ones are chickpea and rice flour. I just used my regular recipe and subbed for the regular flour, about 2/3rds chickpea and 1/3rd rice. I made tiny batchesto play with and then made veggie stew with more chickpea/rice dumplings. The only real difference between those and my regular dumplings was that they got really dense and chewy after sitting in the fridge overnight, whereas my wheat dumplings are usually fine.
When we go to Whole Foods, it’s usually to buy staples like Veganaise, or Tofurkey slices for Brian’s lunch. Usually I just glance over the deli items as we’re walking by, but I saw this grilled pineapple salad and had to grab it. It was a small container, but it was also less than two bucks so I figured it was worth a try. The herbs are cilantro, which I know makes some people gag, but I am not one of those people. So I was inspired to buy my own pineapple and grill it!
I put the cut up pineapple in a bag with some oil, balsamic vinegar, and cilantro and let it sit for a bit. Also, more broccoli! I was trying to figure out what else I could grill since it seems a waste to only grill a few things, and I had broccoli. I just rubbed some oil on those. And if you’re curious, it taste like grilled broccoli.
By the time we actually ate it was pretty dark, so this is from the next day. We also grilled tofu, since I didn’t have wheat free soy sauce marinading was a little hard, so I went with pesto. I ended up making REALLY garlicky pesto, but after it was grilled it had a very subtle flavor. Not totally bland or anything, just if I do this again i’m going to take extra pesto out to the grill for a second coating. Also, you’ll note the lack of grill marks on the pineapple, because my husband and I have a different definition of ‘done’ when it comes to grilling.
Then a few days later, it was time to drive to mom’s for Easter. My friend had a passover party the night before and I was encouraged to break Lent a day early, but I stuck with it. Mainly because I had ordered a stash of chocolate to rip into the following morning. At midnight I was at Perkins eating hash browns so I did use ketchup – I love ketchup so much so not using it was kind of a big deal for me.
I woke up on Easter morning and decided to start light, with a cup of yogurt. And i’m sorry, I have to say it, that coconut milk yogurt is totally overrated. I thought it was too sweet and not a great texture, and god is it expensive. I’ll take soy yogurt and all of the gayness and other crap that comes alone with it. So I ate that, then shortly before lunch I had one of the peanut butter cups (in the gold wrapper). Then after a lunch of pasta, I ate the Sweet & Sara smore pie. Oh my god. So heavenly. I thought for sure i’d feel sick after that, but I didn’t.
Now I realize that you’re probably eyeing that box of chocolate eggs and wondering when i’m going to talk about them. I ate one that night, the raspberry truffle. I’m not nuts about raspberry so I just thought ‘yay chocolate’. Then the next day I split the coffee caramel with my mother-in-law, cause I don’t like coffee. I saved the other three until we got home. My favorites were definitely the nut butter ones.
When we got home I did go a little nuts on sugar, because I was in my own house where I can eat pretty much everything. I tried to eat a Ginger-O and almost died. Then I baked some cookies and ate a ton of dough and almost died. So I decided to stay away from baking for a bit. Since it was warmer I pulled the iced tea machine down for the summer and started making pitcher after pitcher of green/mint tea, but with far less sugar than I normally would. Also, the commissary no longer sells Silk soy yogurt and Kroger only has Whole Soy Co. (which tastes like chalk, yuck), so overall my sugar intake has gone down.
The only negative change I noticed during Lent was that, apparently gluten makes me poop. I did not take a dump for three days at one point. On Easter day, I pooped three times! I don’t know if that’s just me or what, but that’s good to know. If i’m ever constipated i’ll just eat some seitan. The positive side was that I lost eight pounds. And then I got gluten free pasta and I neither gained nor lost weight. And, as it is when you give anything up for awhile, I appreciated it more when I got it back. A lot of people told me that they thought giving up stuff is dumb, but I say it builds character and puts hair on your chest (don’t worry, I waxed it off). I might do Lent again next year, but i’ll probably give up something different, or just sugar instead of the two things together.