Well, it's the fourth day of me being totally gluten-free, and I have to say that I'm feeling pretty good! Considering that yesterday was the first day I hadn't had a stomach-ache since before the holidays, I'm pretty happy so far with the results of my gluten-free experiment. I'm definitely still not 100%, but I feel better today than I have in at least a month. It might just be a mental thing, since I'm doing something that theoretically will help, or I'm just really gluten-intolerant. Regardless, I'm sticking to the new way of eating. And I'm serious about it, too!
For one thing, our kitchen is now entirely gluten-free! I decided that in order for this test to be worthwhile, I had to be hardcore. Sure, I could have boxed up my gluten-free pantry staples and hid them away for the month... or just tried to ignore all that yummy pasta I couldn't eat... but I decided to get rid of it. Why tempt myself? Plus, I'd need the limited kitchen cupboard space for gluten-free items.
I'd noticed a "Feed Your Neighbors" box about a mile from here a few months back. It's just a wooden box, about 3 foot wide by 2 feet high, sort of like a rabbit hutch. In the summer, I'd see fresh produce, mostly just a few things here and there, but then it started to have more items. And, since the items weren't always the same, I figured people were actually using the box. I never took anything from the box, because I didn't need anything what with my farmer's market basket every week, but I've been meaning to add to the box ever since I noticed it. Well, we just filled it up! I had boxes of cereal, pasta, and grains, all unopened, and canned goods with pastas. Nick just went with the last of our gluten foods, everything from the fridge or freezer that we thought someone might want to use. We saved a couple goodies for Nick's mom and my friend, Jen, but other than those few things, our house is free of gluten.
Secondly, I hosted my very first Bling Bling birthday party last night. It was for one of my "Bling Bling graduates" and her friends/family. We made buttons, magnet rings, and bottle caps. I set up a table in their living room and the kids were surprised and delighted to be making crafts with me. Most of the kids were younger, too, which was a new experience. But it went so well! I had a blast, the kids had a blast, and even the grown-ups loved it, since the kids made cute jewelry as gifts for them. I definitely hope to host lots more parties in the future! One thing that I anticipated was birthday cake.
I knew I'd be offered food at the party, and I also knew that I'd have to refuse it. I thought about it in advance. I could have said I wasn't hungry or made up an excuse, but I decided to be straight up and explain that I was gluten-free. I made a joke of it, saying I couldn't eat anything good, and I'm pretty sure no one was offended. The cupcake table was so pretty I took a picture of it, and I was so sad not to be able to eat one of the guava filled delicacies. And, sure, since this is an experiment, for now, I could have ate a cake to be polite (and to satisfy my sweet tooth), but I know that this experiment will be useless if I'm not a total nazi about every single thing I put in my mouth. In a way, I feel like I passed a test by saying no to the cake and the amazing empanadas I was offered. Especially since I was HUNGRY! Still, I stayed to sing happy birthday, of course!
In the realm of gluten-free, I have discovered a yummy snack: Blue Diamond almond Nut-Thins. They are pricy, at $3 for a 4 oz box, but I'll just eat them occasionally. I'm pretty sure I have to get used to lots of stuff being pricey if I'm sticking gluten-free. Nick's friend, Rose, said one of the hardest things about the gluten-free diet is getting used to paying a lot for bread. Speaking of, today I am making gluten-free bread in the bread machine my mom gave me over the holidays. I'm using a mix from Bob's Red Mills. I'll confess that I don't have high hopes for the bread, but my mom gave me the mix so I figured I'd try it.
In the crockpot for dinner, I have a weird dish: Groaty pudding made with salmon and cream cheese. If you don't know what Groaty Pudding is, well, it's probably best described as beefy oatmeal. And if that doesn't sound appealing, you aren't alone in that sentiment. Nick wasn't excited about it either, when I made it over the holidays. He agreed with me though: it is delicious on a cold and snowy day like today. Sometimes I make it vegetarian and sometimes I use beef, but today, I decided to see what would happen if I used salmon, since I found an ancient packet of fish in my freezer, and cream cheese, since I won't be using it on bagels anytime soon (or ever... nooooo!). I'll update with how it turns out.
UPDATE: Wow! The Bob's Red Mill bread is AWESOME. It smelled great, looked like "real" bread, and tastes fantastic. I was worried because of the bean flour, but really, this stuff is good. I had some hot out of the bread oven smeared with red pepper jelly then served nice thick slices with our dinner, which I'm calling Scandinavian Groaty Pudding. It was delicious!