Little triumphs. I'll take 'em. Like forgoing brownie cookies for chocolate chip, pecan, cranberry muesli instead. I also try out the gluten free bread we got – my husband is not a fan at all. I suggest he try it with peanut butter. No luck.
"It's just dry on dry."
I spend most of the day making huge batches of gluten free dishes for the week: turkey-spinach meatballs in chunky tomato-mushroom sauce to be paired with gluten free pasta, beef and broccoli (using farmer's market broccoli).
Turns out, as you probably knew, that gluten can be found in the least expected places. Soy and oyster sauces, for example. There goes a completely gluten-free first week. At least I can still be wheat free.
As I'm talking about this blog series to Owen before bed, I mention it might take three months to see effects.
"I think you should only do it for a week."
I realize that being gluten-free might make it difficult to carry on my duties as restaurant critic – or maybe I'll just have to shift my perceptions about eating out. Either way, I remember I have a farm dinner tonight. I scope out the menu and it looks mostly gluten free. I decide not to ask for any special meals.
Turns out the meal is mostly gluten free, except for a crumble on the peach crisp. I notice the girl next to me and several others asking for the gluten free version. I make a note to ask next time.
The more I tell people about my gluten free experiment, the more I discover how many people are gluten free, or some form of it. Some people don't eat wheat, others don't eat gluten in any form, some don't eat starchy foods, but everyone has a reason for doing it; and most have some concrete example of how it's changed their life, from the minor (better skin), to the major (reduced migraines and stomach problems).
I can't speak to any of those yet, but today my stomach was just torn up. I was in the bathroom so long the motion sensor light went off.
Okay, now I'm feeling it. Tired, that is. The whole day I feel like I'm walking through a fog. A quick Google search informs me that this is an effect of cutting out gluten. Fantastic. Another Google search links wheat-free diets to thicker hair and good skin. Okay, okay. I decide I can do this.
Still tired, still forgoing gluten. Next week, I decide, I will buy loads of complex gluten-free carbs. The gluten free bread is nice enough, but it's about as nutritional as Wonder Bread. Just because it's gluten free, doesn't mean it's nutritionally superior. Something to think about for those who're cutting out gluten for non-health reasons. Rice cakes, for example, are usually gluten free, but with all the health benefits of sugar dipped styrofoam.
TGIF. TGI my birthday. Still tired, but luckily it's an easy day, and my boss lets me leave early. I have an awesome Thai coconut salad (minus the shredded coconut) from Modmarket while I do all the puzzles – even the Jumble.
Owen takes me to dinner at Izakaya Den for my birthday. I've already checked out the menu and gluten-free looks totally possibly. When we get to the restaurant – which more resembles the headquarters of The Dollhouse (Netflix: look it up) – I decide to just go wheat free. We completely stuff ourselves on raw fish, fried brussels sprouts with pork belly, and the best rice I've ever had.
At this point, I think I'm getting used to this gluten free thing. The hazy cloudy brain thing has gone away and I'm feeling better – not tremendously, probably not measurably – but better. My skin, though I don't want to jinx it, looks a crap ton better. I was blessed with sensitive skin that easily burns, breaks out and dries out. I'd probably try anything (just about) if it made my skin better. Shallow? Yeah. My main reason for going gluten free? No. But it's up there.
Meals today were delicious and nearly paleo. Owen made asparagus, purple potato hash, poached eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast; and we whipped up a sweet potato and chicken mix, drenched in spicy coconut curry.
It's been a weird first week. I haven't been as strict or as hardcore as I could be about this glutenfreeism, but I'm treating it as a test week. Can't say I've seen any huge physical or mental changes yet, but I'll keep you posted.