making choices with my {food}

I love food, as most of you know.  There is something comforting about it- the entire process of shopping for ingredients, spending time in the kitchen using it to make meals for my family and friends, and then enjoying it at the table along with conversation and laughter.  I love finding new recipes to try, but always enjoy making my tried and true favorites.  Using my collection of cookbooks is wonderful but knowing the recipe by heart is also incredibly satisfying.

Lately, however, I have had a difficult time denying that something is affecting me and while I have some ideas, I have embarked on a journey into food exploration- more importantly how my body reacts to certain foods.  Just over a week ago I removed wheat from my diet.  Cold turkey.  I haven’t had a stitch of it in 10 days.  I will be honest – it is the first time in my entire life (except when I gave up french fries for Lent in 10th grade…) that I have stuck with anything having to do with food restriction.  So, while it probably won’t surprise any of you who actually have some self-control that often one discovery leads to another, it definitely surprised me that I became so cranky.  I mean, I didn’t give up coffee for goodness sake!  I simply opted to not eat wheat.  But after a few days I realized something.  I am a snacker.  I enjoy multiple small snacks throughout the day rather than big meals three times a day.  And while this is fine, it seems that I had become more accustomed to snacking on things that had wheat – AND SUGAR – than I had realized.  By removing the wheat, I also removed a large portion of my usual intake of sugar.  And that, my friends, made me edgy (not to mention short with my kids and overall rather bitchy).  Ten days later however I seem to be functioning far better and don’t feel so agitated, thank goodness.

The part of this process that worries me the most is that gap time between when I stopped eating wheat and the time when I really know “how to do it” – you know, baking, food options, etc…  I look forward to being able to whip up some scones when a girlfriend is stopping by, or bake something for my family for dessert or to celebrate.  For now, I have that lost feeling – really no clue about how different flours behave or what replaces what.  It is okay though, as I am embracing that feeling of walking into what is currently unknown to me.  I mean, how often as an adult do we get that feeling of not knowing what we are doing?  It is not something I often experience and sometimes it is interesting to immerse yourself in a bit of discomfort~  That being said, I am blessed to call a number of gluten-free people friends and they are wonderful with offering advice, recipes, and resources.  Think of all of the new things I am going to learn!

 

One thing I have rediscovered that is delicious and offers a lot of nutritional value is quinoa.  I had a bit of a love-affair with it while pregnant with #3 – we are talking a huge bowl once a day.  Cooked but plain.  I’m over that…  I do really like it though, and thanks to an incredible cookbook I bought last week called “Quinoa: The Every Day Superfood 365″ at the Book Larder while spending an afternoon with a girlfriend in Seattle, I have a huge selection of recipes using quinoa.  I already made one of the recipes to accompany marinated chicken breasts and it was wonderful!  I am excited to experiment with the dessert recipes, as well as the cookie recipes.  Really?  Cookies with quinoa?

I plan to share my progress as I work my way through the maze of food options and am looking forward to seeing what I discover.  I would love to hear if you have any foods that you don’t eat, and why.  (Well, aside from simply not liking them!)  I am always grateful to hear your stories of discovering food issues yourself and how you managed to adjust your eating habits in an effort to be healthier and feel better.

 

The following recipe is one of many delicious sounding recipes from my new cookbook.  If you are looking for a great book with gluten-free options, I can’t recommend this book enough.  I adapted the recipe the other night to what is below as it is what I had on hand.  This recipe would be incredibly versatile as it offers a wonderful base in which you could add anything that you like!

 

Bocconcini & Oregano Salad

adapted for our family from “Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood 365″

 

3/4 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup diced zucchini

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 diced red bell pepper

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

1 clove fresh garlic minced

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup tiny bocconcini balls

 

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 4 minutes.  Remove the lid and fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork.  Set aside to completely cool.

Combine the zucchini, tomatoes, and red pepper in a large bowl.

Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and thoroughly mix all the ingredients.  Add the quinoa and bocconcini and mix until evenly combined.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to three days.

 

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18 Responses to making choices with my {food}

  1. nadia says:

    well as you know aran is great resource and so is sanda and bea and because i often have people over with wheat allergies and i like you like to whip up things when friends are dropping by i have learned some easy recipes that people often as for me to make for them to take home with them.

    so here is an easy one that your whole family will love.

    1 cup of olive oil
    1/2 cup of natural sugar
    two eggs from your lovely hens
    two banana or three
    1/2 cup of almond flour
    1/2 cup of rice or quinoa
    pinch of salt
    1/2ts of baking soda
    as much coconut as you like
    and a hand full of any good chocolate chips

    mix in the order that you see the list
    and bake at 395 for 45 minute or till you bring out a knife clean!

    aran shared the original recipe before she was gluten free than i changed it to gluten free added coconut and chocolate! bea made it three times in a row after she left!

  2. Cathi Nunn says:

    My daughter and I are lactose intolerant and a few years ago she became a vegan ( I eat vegan 90% of the time). We drink alot of almond milk ( which she makes herself) and love it. We also have had stomach issues for years, so we stopped eating gluten for a bit and noticed how much better we feel. We eat gluten every now and then, but we use brown rice and quinoa pastas and they are delicious. Whole Foods carries a wide selection of the different flours and Trader Joe’s has a wide selection of GF products now too – thanks to all the celiac advocates that have brought this disease to the forefront. I look forward to following you in this adventure. xxoo

  3. Cat says:

    You will rock-it mon amie! Cooking without gluten becomes like second nature before you know it! There are no limits–scones, breads, cookies…even baguettes! (mais,oui!)

    Cooking gluten-free (and or dairy free!) is a piece of cake! It’s the eating-out part that remains tricky if you go completely gf!

    You are going to feel fabulous–you will feel better than you ever have–keep your eye on the prize! And it makes you 100x more creative in the kitchen than you ever imagined!

    Bon chance mon amie! You are in great company!
    xx!

  4. Cat says:

    PS–hey! If I can do this in France– in the land of ‘patisserie’ and ‘boulangerie’–and far less resources–you can do it too! : )

  5. Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm says:

    A timely and candid sharing, Kimberly. I relate to what you are going through and admire the way you are facing it. I will admit when I *think* of cutting out something from my diet now it is met with much internal kicking and screaming. I have had a love/hate relationship with food since childhood, related to my body size + body image. I cut out wheat/dairy for 6 weeks (once….15 years ago:) and felt so much better. Though I so missed some of my favorite foods and gradually started adding them back in. Now, the many options for gluten free baking yield such delicious results (I only know this as my neighbor is kind enough to share her explorations in the gluten-free kitchen with me!). I have just added quinoa and almond flour to my pantry and already love both. Excited to try this recipe. There are so many food blogs and cook books with the most tantalizing gluten free recipes! Thank you for including us in on this journey. You are an inspiration. Oh, how I laughed about the lent/french fry comment!!! Happy Spring day to you!

  6. Jean says:

    Seriously considering doing this myself have had stomach problems for years, so am very interested in your walk. Jean

  7. Snacking all day? Quelle horreur! So un-French!!! Good thing you have put an end to this nasty habit ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  8. lissa says:

    I want to get more apt with quinoa as well. I may have to try your recipe! Let me know how your other project goes if you work on it today. I bought this dressing at whole foods which is supposed to be fabulous on quinoa. It’s gf and organic. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    first coat done… just taking a break.

  9. Lyndall says:

    My husband has just gone wheat and then yeast free after allergy testing. So, in support I have lowered my intake too. We had reduced snacking a year ago so that wasn’t so hard for us. The first thing that really grieved us was missing lovely fresh bread at lunch. Then when he added yeast, he also grieved beer and wine -( I have not been so supportive in joining him in that.) I think he will reintroduce small amounts here and there, so if there is a recipe for GF baguette that is worth the baking effort, please share!! (obviously it will need yeast) Will be very interested to see your new recipes!

  10. Quinoa is a staple around our house. I add it to most any soup I make. Preparing a big bowl in the beginning of the week makes it easy to toss over some greens or any salad. We stay away from soy because it’s a hormone/endocrine disruptor and the fact that 90% of soybeans in the U.S. are gmo doesn’t make them anymore appealing.

  11. nazila says:

    I am currently in love with some quinoa burgers I made from the PCC website. I subbed out the flour with rice flour and the little dears snarfed down the whole batch in one sitting. Delicious.

  12. Pam says:

    Cute blog, I just cut out wheat, dairy and sugar. Oh my gosh I want something sweet, baked with icing. I found Cup 4 Cup and it works really well for baking. No guessing since it’s ready to use. Although not eating dairy and sugar limit baking lchoices-but I’ m going to try a strawberry pie this weekend.

  13. I removed gluten from my diet recently as well, and let me tell you, I’m all about quinoa and rice. Honestly, I don’t think I’d survive without them. Getting rid of wheat has made me realize how often I reach for bread and baked goods as snacks. Now? It’s mostly nuts and the sugar I get is usually in the form of fruit. Way healthier. Now I’m just waiting for those pounds to start melting off…

    • kimberly says:

      I could have written the exact same comment. The question is, with the decrease in the sugar, why am I not losing any weight? I am not doing it for that reason, but it seems funny to me that I used to eat a LOT of sugar-filled treats and now I’m not… hhmmm…

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