A couple of weeks ago, my cousin Kelly N posted something on her facebook:
"Let’s walk in someone else’s shoes for a week. I can't eat common wheat, (durum wheat that is in a lot of but not all pastas doesn't bother me so I eat that) so I want to challenge someone to walk in my shoes for one week and try someone else’s challenge for a week. It just would have to be something I could do and not cost money, at least not much. Remember you would have to check every label of everything you put in your mouth, you would be surprised how many products have wheat and that includes if you go out to eat with friends. No fresh yummy rolls for you, unless they are wheat and gluten free, but good luck finding gluten free bread at a common restaurant."
I then told her I'd be interested in taking her up on the challenge and she said this:
"I just don't eat things like bread, when I really get craving something that I can't eat I try to find some kind of gluten free substitute, there are some decent muffin mixes out there that I like, but a lot of what I do is just avoiding those foods. Like instead of having a sandwich making a salad out of what I would put in one, or only eating the insides of it. Or something I eat to replace a craving for peanut butter and jelly is peanut butter and fruit, like an apple."
I think it’s a great way to be more aware about people and also the different lifestyles, etc that people live. For this challenge, I'm going to avoid all wheat and things with wheat in them, including durum wheat and semolina. I have decided to keep a sort of journal as I do it:
BEFORE I BEGIN:
This is going to require a lot of planning on my part, since I most of the time when I eat I don’t plan ahead, I just grab what I’m craving that also happens to be in my cupboard. Kelly recommended just not eating bread, but that’s really hard for me. So I’m going to combine that with some gluten-free stuff. Obviously I’ll try for more fruit. Thankfully I subscribe to several food blogs and got some gluten-free stuff from there. The challenge here will be to stick to the diet while not going over my normal budget for groceries in a week. There are some bloggers out there who are gluten-free, like Gluten-Free Girl (http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/), so there was somewhere for me to look for more ideas, thank goodness (my usual food muse at smitten kitchen had plenty of gluten-free recipes, but they were almost all desserts, and the rest were soups, which I prefer to buy pre-made, thank you very much). Besides money concerns, another problem I hope I don’t run in to is that I get hungry very quickly (more quickly than most, anyway) and if I don’t eat then my stomach starts to eat itself, which can be quite painful as you might imagine, so I need to have good snacks on hand and also make sure I eat enough at each meal. I usually do this by having lots of bread, pasta, etc. Not this week though! Should be fun and definitely challenging.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for me since I haven’t the money to spend anyway) baking gluten-free (or without wheat flour in general) is difficult since it requires a mixture of several different types of “replacement” flours, xanthum gum which (though I admit I haven’t looked for it) I know nothing about and therefore naively conclude is not sold in normal grocery stores, and all sorts of flavored extracts, so I won’t be able to showcase any gluten (or wheat)-free recipes that I’ve actually tried, but I will try to showcase a recipe or something that is. (Hanging participle? Don’t know. If it is, sorry.)
For the challenge, I waited until a time after visiting moms and Halloween parties and the first church activity that actually sounded fun that we’ve had in a long while. In real life, of course, having to alter your diet does not wait for a convenient time. I feel sort of guilty because I did this, but we really needed the cheesecake-swirled brownies for that Relief Society sleep over, and I of course needed to sample the things I made for my mom, and of course there were cookies and candies at those Halloween parties that needed to be eaten…
1. Go gluten/wheat free for one week. That’s seven days.
2. Record/ keep track of everything I eat so I know I’m not bending or breaking any rules.
3. Update this log every day so you can be sure I’m keeping my promises.
4. Think of something Kelly can do for a return challenge that is something I do in my daily life. Suggestions, anyone?
http://goop.com/newsletter/15/ (for a “detox” version…see, there are benefits for everyone in a gluten-free diet!)
For those who read this with a little (okay, a lot) bigger budget than mine, or that just want to eat out once in a while, there are several registries with restaurants that are either gluten-free, provide gluten-free menus, or inform the public about the gluten status in their food (which may or may not be helpful—if something has tons of gluten and they tell you, that counts, but obviously isn’t very helpful to hungry you). I’m only doing Utah since that’s currently where I hold residence and because through some of my research I find that most people don’t spotlight any GF restaurants in Utah, which is sad.
http://celiachandbook.com/utah.html (for a “hard copy” guidebook of GF restaurants in Utah)