The two statements I hear most frequently when I tell someone I'm gluten-free: "Wow, that sucks!" and "What do you eat?!"
Well first off, it doesn't suck - yes, sometimes I get
extremely a bit frustrated because eating out can be a hassle and traveling is extraordinarily difficult, but going gluten-free has reinvigorated my love for cooking and baking. The fact that I can't go out an eat a burger or cupcake anytime I want makes me want to come home and cook and bake the best damn food that I can. And that makes it sooooo much better. I have an appreciation for cooking and baking that I didn't have before and that I probably wouldn't have if I wasn't forced to be creative and find the way to eat my favorite treats.
Second off, you can eat plenty of awesome food that is naturally gluten-free or that is super simple to turn gluten-free! I do not subsist off of rice and lettuce (although, I do eat alot of both). Brad and I make plenty of amazing and healthy meals such as:
Seared salmon with pea shoots, pan fried leeks, and a squid ink balsamic reduction (p.s. squid ink is SO good - it has a very subtle earthy woodsy flavor) This is a Brad original creation - I just watched and drank wine :)
My point is - gluten-free doesn't have to suck. It can be just as good, if not better, than the original stuff. It can be healthier too - I use more whole grains and nutritious grains such as quinoa, millet, sorghum, and brown rice than I did when I could eat gluten. See that pizza crust up there? That's mostly millet and brown rice flour - much healthier than plain bleached white flour.
So now that I have addressed the first statement - I will address the second statement/question of what the hell do I eat everyday when I bread, pasta, cereal, and the like can not cross my lips. Now, I could ramble on about what I eat most days but I think a visual presentation is more appealing:
Breakfast: green monster smoothie
My usual breakfast is either a.) a smoothie of some sort or b.) overnight oats. Today happened to be a smoothie kind of day so I whipped up a green monster smoothie last night to bring along to work. This smoothie has banana, pear, unsweetened almond milk, cashew butter, cinnamon, and lots of kale! It is delicous! I love green monster smoothies because you never taste the kale or spinach and it's a good way to pack in some nutrients early on in the day. Plus, the green color just makes me happy.
Lunch: broccoli, chickpeas, and cauliflower mac n cheese
Lunch today is a mish-mash of leftovers/ready-made things that I had on hand. On the weekends, I try to make a batch of something to have for lunch the rest of the week - I normally make soup however, the warmer weather had me craving a lightened up mac n cheese. I made some mac n cheese with almond milk, chicken stock, a little bit of good cheese (Dubliner and cheddar), cauliflower, and a touch of quinoa pasta. Quinoa pasta is my absolute favorite - it is more nutritious than brown rice pasta and does not get mushy and gummy when cooked. I actually baked this in muffin tins so I could portion out the leftovers. I added some chickpeas from a big batch of chickpeas that I cooked up this weekend (buy chickpeas in bulk and make them yourself! A pound of dried chickpeas at my local store is only $1.99!!!! which is way cheaper than canned) for protein and threw in some broccoli, because...well, I just really love veggies. True story.
Snack: turkey slices, mustard, and carrots
For an afternoon snack, I had some carrots with turkey slices and some mustard for dipping. Around here, we go through carrots like nobody's business - I bought a five pound (!!) bag of them 2 weeks ago and we are almost out. I'm surprised we haven't turned orange, honestly.
Dinner: glass at Marco Real Garnache wine, chorizo-stuffed pork tenderloin with black beans, rice, fresh mango salsa, and grilled asparagus at Kuba Kuba
Apologies for the picture - it was taken on my phone! Chorizo stuffed pork tenderloin, rice, black beans, fresh mango salsa, and grilled asparagus (I obviously did not eat the bread). This was insanely delicious!
I will admit - this is not the dinner that I planned out for this post but my mom called and asked me to go to dinner at an awesome Cuban restaurant and I couldn't refuse! Brad works (at his awesome new job!) most evenings so I usually just have to fend for myself for dinner. Before we were dating, I made myself dinner every single night but somewhere between two jobs, grad school, and wedding planning - cooking every night was just not happening. Don't get me wrong - I almost never order food (you really can't get chinese or pizza delivery when your g-free) but I usually just toss together some random stuff and call it a night.
I'm trying to be better about this however because I have a bad habit of not eating balanced meals (I've been cutting out more and more meat from my diet, mostly because I just don't feel the desire to cook it when Brad isn't here) and not eating enough during the evening which has left my body a little angry. Like every other bride-to-be on the planet - I'm trying to get in really good shape for my wedding and I realized that I wasn't getting nearly enough protein and I wasn't eating enough to fuel me through workouts and to keep my body humming along nicely. (I've had my caloric intake needs professionally assessed - which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to get fit - it's amazing how much or how little you really need!) It's strange that you have to eat enough to lose weight, but in my experience, this has been a HUGE factor. Although my workouts have been temporarily sidelined due to my knee acting up, I still try to do some activity everyday - whether it is a quick & dirty strength circuit, kettlebell, or a 3-mile walk with the pup. She loves walks even more than she loves yoga (which sadly I have not been able to do for a week! I'm slightly going insane).
So there it is - a day of eats, completely gluten-free!
See, you can eat so many delicious things gluten-free and it definitely does not suck. Like the recipe I will be posting later this week!