food

Gluten-free September

I’m going wheat-free this month.  I have some skin issues that won’t go away, mostly redness and sensitivity on my right cheek, and those annoying red bumps on my upper arms.   I don’t eat a ton of wheat, but lately have been indulging more than necessary.  I enjoy and thrive on a mostly vegan diet, I mean vegetarian diet.   I can’t officially call myself vegan, I guess, because I do eat some dairy, including goat and mozzarella cheese (I can’t live without my daily Caprese salad), cream for my coffee, and butter for my popcorn, but that is about it.   I’ll probably phase the cheese out once the summer produce bounty diminishes.  Oh, and I eat eggs occasionally.  It’s hard to really enjoy heavy red wines with a plate of vegetables.  So once a month or so I totally go all out for a big, grass-fat local hamburger with cheese, french fries on the side, and a flight of full-bodied red wine.   This month I will skip the bun, and maybe hit up a steak instead. If I eat this way the guilt and anxiety I feel toward food diminishes and I feel like I can really enjoy the meal.  Eating mostly vegan reminds me that everything I am putting in my body benefits me and my health, and that good feeling erases the guilt and food issues that I have had in the past.   I don’t have health insurance, so this diet is one major way to avoid chronic illnesses and diseases.  Vegan diets aren’t for everyone.  But I find it works well for me.  I watched the movie Forks Over Knives and became totally inspired to change my diet. (It streams on-line at Netflix.com.)  I think making small changes–eating more vegetables, preparing more food at home, avoiding sugar–can radically help people feel better.  Thank goodness wine is both gluten-free and vegetarian!

I think I am a pretty good vegetarian.  I eat a lot of different fruits and vegetables, avoid processed vegan foods like soy patties and fake cheese, and change my grains every few weeks.   I have been experimenting with polenta this summer as a staple grain.  And I alternate between brown rice and quinoa and beans for my weekly meals.  I love kale, melon smoothies, tomatoes, green beans and Flathead cherries right now.  I prepare almost everything at home, and prefer that to eating out.  Life is easier, and cheaper that way, but  I like Thai and Japanese restaurants, the salad bar at the Good Food Store, and the Beans and Greens at Scotty’s Table for lunch. I work in a restaurant where snacking can be rampant, bread is available all the time, and staff meal gets served around 11pm–too late to really maintain or lose weight.  I take my own snacks, pack my own dinner, and eat when I am hungry.  Looking forward to trying out new recipes this month, including cauliflower pizza crust. 

I think this is a good time of year to eliminate something temporarily–alcohol, sugar, bread/gluten, soda, cheese.  I’m giving my face a month free of an inflammatory agent.  I hope it helps!   I will follow up with the results throughout the month.  Happy September!

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