Friday, November 13, 2009

Days 5, 6, and 7 + Closing Thoughts

Day 5
-egg, cheese, and leftover potato omelette
-turkey chili
-Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornbread (from mix)

Day 6
-Dinty Moore stew
-DeBoles' rice penne with chicken, pesto, and grated parmesan cheese

Day 7
-chicken and black bean nachos from Cafe Rio
-egg, cheese, veggie sausage omelette
-apple sauce
-hot chocolate

Thoughts on Day Five:
-I finally found a repetitive thing to have for breakfast that doesn't involve bagels! For me, breakfast pretty much needs to be the same thing every day or it's weird to me. Just 'cause I'm weird.
-I'm really glad there were leftover potatoes, since they're really good in an omelette.
-The chili was pretty good (had to check it for wheat products since I'd already purchased it before the challenge, but it was clean) and I was taking a little gamble with the cornbread mix, and it was actually pretty good and really close to "real" cornbread-- yellow, grainy, and not cooked enough in the middle. That was the only bad thing about it. It didn't cook properly for some reason and browned and crisped very well on the top and sides, but the inside was a gooey mess inside the shell of the crust. I ate the top, but since the price was pretty high, I expected it to be a little better quality. However, I recognize that gluten-free baking is difficult, so if you're used to baking this way, you'll probably have better luck.

Thoughts on Day Six:
-Again with the breakfast.
-I bought the stew in a portable, microwaveable container and I'm really glad I did because I was able to take it with me to a babysitting gig in Lehi. Accompanied with the apple it was a great lunch-sized meal.
-This meal had the potential to be very tasty. However, the pasta I used was rice pasta, which I guess I'm just not used to, because I cooked it for over the recommended time limit (even though it said not to) but the noodles were still sort of crunchy in the center, and it was a little gross. I would've cooked them even longer perhaps, but I was running late for an evening engagement (institute), so I didn't have the time. However, the taste was pretty good and close to that of wheat pasta. The pesto, chicken, and cheese were also a yummy addition.

Thoughts on Day Seven:
-My bananas are super ripe. Two of them fell off the bunch when I picked it up. But the third (and last) is still good, so yum.
-Lunch was nachos...the chicken was so-so, but I was glad for the wheat-free option at Cafe Rio. Although those huge fresh flour tortillas were so incredibly tempting...
-Out of ideas really for wheat-free dinner meals, so I went with an omelette. And I know that the veggie sausage has some wheat derivative in the vegetable stuff it's made from, but I needed the protein because we're going on a dive trip tomorrow and I'll really need the calories, especially since the water will be cold.

Closing Thoughts
Overall, I'm really glad I decided to take this challenge. It wasn't actually all that difficult until it came to going out to eat, since options are slimmer, especially at specialized establishments. Also, when it started getting towards the end of the week, I started running out of ideas.

While shopping for groceries, I noticed that Target had about 4 options for gluten-free baking mixes, and all of them were for sweets. Can't they carry a more diverse selection for all their shoppers, including those with particular food needs that don't force them to resort to sugary desserts instead of breads and things? The same can be said for the pasta aisle-- DeBoles was the only gluten-free pasta they carried. I had a little more luck at the Sunflower Market. They even had gluten-free options labeled with special tags on the shelf! They also had a slim selection of gluten-free baking options, but did have "healthier" things like pancake mixes, pizza crust dough, and of course my cornbread mix. They even had some all-purpose baking flour that was gluten free! I believe it was also Bob's Red Mill.

Over all, I think that stores need to be more conscious about their shoppers' needs when they choose what products to carry. Before, it was where to find a vegetarian-friendly product, then vegan-friendly, and now I am more conscious of the need for a wider variety of gluten-free products for all our celiac, wheat-allergic, etc friends out there who want to eat normally just like the rest of the world. It is important for stores and restaurants (and everyday people too!) to realize that there are people out there who have special dietary needs, whether it be avoiding gluten, lactose, meat/animal products, sugars, or anything else. However, I have also learned that while living a food-conscious lifestyle can sometimes be difficult, especially in social situations, it doesn't have to be stressful.

As for my personal health during this challenge, I don't feel like it really changed much, but I do feel better knowing that I've eaten more fruit this week than I've probably eaten in the past two months, especially if you don't count applesauce. I sure love the stuff though.

Anyway, tomorrow morning I'll go back to eating bagels for breakfast and having macaroni and cheese for dinner-- although I would like to try spotlighting some "alternate" foods or baking methods on this blog occasionally from here on out.

If you are thinking of trying the challenge for yourself, or just want a few more tips on finding something gluten-free to eat, Kelly just gave me a few more tips on things she does:
Remember to be reading all labels, things you might not expect to have [wheat] do, like more common brands of soy sauce, gravys, some candy, some granola bars, some brands of chili, SOME ice creams even have wheat products in it. But luckily for me, I tend to have only have a reaction to common wheat not other types of wheat I have tried like durum wheat, that type of wheat is what a lot of your pastas are made from, but still read the label on those too, the kraft mac and cheese, top ramen and a lot of other pastas and noodles are made with the common wheat. But remember you can have all the corn, rice, and potato you want. I use corn tortillas instead of flour and rice crackers instead of other types. You can find pre-made wheat free breads, but I haven't found any that I really like yet and they are usually pretty expensive compared to regular breads so I rarely buy them."


LP said...

I think it's really great that you did this for a week! It's true that people with special diets have a harder time finding convenient foods. I'd love to have soup now and then, especially in the colder weather, but I always have to make it myself because the soups in the store (even my beloved spilt pea) are loaded with sodium. And eating out is extremely difficult if you're sodium-conscious and processed-carbohydrate-conscious, too. But the worst one I can think of is that disease where you can't eat anything with phenylalanine in it, like chicken and fish and legumes and bread and potatoes and cheese and diet soda. Or you have to not eat some of those things and be careful about others, plus you have to take medication.


Jared and Megan said...

I'm proud of you. Can I be proud of you? Is that allowed? I think it is...

Anyway, I think it's great that now you're more aware of others' challenges in grocery shopping/baking/eating out/etc. and that you're planning on including more diverse recipes in the future.

So, yeah. Yay you!

Shannon said...

thanks all!
mom- phenyleuketronics? also, if you want to guest blog a soup recipe, let me know!
megan- yes, you can be proud of me. it's allowed.