Gluten-free: To Be Fair…

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Okay, so I was not totally fair, nor completely honest, in my earlier post about my new gluten-free diet feeling like a deprivation diet!  I neglected to mention that I have some very good resources right here in my little corner of the world, in the form of friends both young and…less young… 🙂 …who happen to not only survive but thrive in a gluten-free existence!  One of them, in fact, called me within minutes of reading my email about my new “venture” into the world of gluten-free eating, to offer her support, encouragement, strategies, recipes, and more!  A few days later, after hearing about how I’d eaten lots of peanuts and raisins and fruit and cheese (and not much else!) in those first few days, she assured me that there were lots of good options in the gluten-free world, and that there was certainly no need to “suffer”!!  Then, just a few hours later, in a wonderful act of kindness (and in an effort to lend credibility to her claim–a successful effort, I might add!), she brought me a “care package”–some of her homemade gluten-free bread, several of her homemade chocolate chip cookies, a little baggie of Cinnamon Chex (it turns out that most of the Chex cereals are gluten-free!  I’d never noticed…), and a few each of two different types of store-bought GF cookies.  So delicious!!!!  Yum, yum, and more yum!!  “Deprivation” was certainly not a word to be associated with any of those treats!  🙂

On another occasion, another friend presented me with an entire loaf of gluten-free bread–especially tasty when toasted and smeared in crunchy peanut butter–which she had bought at our local grocery store, along with a lovely homemade gluten-free meal–“Mediterranean Quinoa Salad,” which was delicious and which I ate for several days!

Another time, a different friend emailed me a recipe for some flourless cookies, as well as a couple of other flour-free snacks.  I made those cookies right away–about eleven dozen of them!!–and ooo-weee, they are good!!

And on yet another occasion, yet another friend surprised me with yet another loaf of gluten-free bread, this time purchased from a bakery in Albuquerque.  I tried it later that day, toasted, with a little mustard, turkey, cheese, and spinach….Delicious!!  It was the first sandwich I’d had in the past month, and wow, was it tasty!!

And yes, there is gluten-free bread available for purchase at our local grocery store, as a good friend pointed out, as well as a surprising variety of other foods, and they’re even marked on the shelf as such!  They have their own little “Gluten-Free” tag, making it easy to spot.  Who knew?  Certainly not I…until now.  At our local grocery store, which I already was a huge fan of (not to mention a regular supporter of!), there are GF (that’s the standard abbreviation for “gluten-free” for those of us “in the know”….Go figure!  🙂  ) crackers, pasta, cookies, cereal, soups, cake mixes, baking flour…and more!  More, I’m sure, than I even realize.

So, why hadn’t I hadn’t broken down and bought my own loaf of GF bread when it is readily available?  Why haven’t I stocked my pantry with GF pasta and cake mixes and cookies?  Well, for one reason, holy crap, is it expensive!!  Anything specifically made “gluten-free” when it’s otherwise, “normally” not–it seems to me, in my brief foray into this world–is realllllly expensive!  For example, I typically buy a 5-lb. bag of regular, white (wheat) flour for $2ish, maybe $3.  A 1-lb. box of GF all-purpose flour cost me $4.69!!!  And then I went and tried to make some scones with it…and they were just baaaaaaaad!  Wow, were they bad!  Straight into the compost bin they went!  And I’m not one to waste food!!  But these were so bad…..  😦 😦 😦  So yes, GF foods tend to be a good bit more expensive, at least in my limited experience thus far.

Another reason, though, I suspect, is my belief that this--like the fatigue–is just a temporary situation for me.  Just an “experiment.”  I suspect that I have not jumped in with both feet because I have not anticipated that this will be a lifestyle change I will have to make, for life.  I have been willing to try it for the month suggested by my friend who happens to be a physician, doing my best to avoid ingesting gluten and finding new, flourless-yet-tasty recipes to try to cook for my family so we could all eat the same things.  But I have not been ready to try to substitute all things with wheat flour for things similar but wheat-free (bread, crackers, pasta, cake mixes, etc.).  For the sake of this “experiment,” it’s been easier for me to just avoid most things with flour in them, wheat, rice, or otherwise.  But man, that turkey sandwich was good….!  🙂  But I am not yet ready to claim being gluten-intolerant as a part of who I am.

And while I am a few days shy of finishing out my GF month-long trial, so far I can say that there has been no noticeable difference in my energy level.  Am I disappointed that it seems that gluten is not the culprit?  Not completely.  While it would certainly be a relief to find out that that is what has been causing the fatigue, I think I might rather keep on with my daily naps and not have to think so much about what kind of flour I’m eating!!  🙂  I’ll give a more definitive report in another week or so…. Stay tuned!

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