Well, I have officially made the move over to the "dark side". That is, the gluten-free side. I made the pledge to myself last week, and since then, it is amazing how different I feel. I had been living with this nagging stomach issue for so long that I forgot what it was like to not have it. Now that I don't, my spirit is lighter, I have more energy, and I feel like I can do anything again (and I'm sure my coworkers have noticed a difference in that I actually smile at work again!). I have been eating rice like it's going out of style, but I also added quinoa to my menu last week and remembered just how much I love the grain. It is expensive, so I will be eating it in minimal quantities, but it's nice to venture out and try exotic dishes now and again. I also plan on making polenta a regular staple in my diet, and I will eventually try some gluten-free pastas, although, for now, I'm content to just stick with the basic, non-processed grains.
Yesterday, I travelled with a fellow gluten-free friend to the only gluten-free bakery in town, New Cascadia Traditional, in SE Portland. It was fantastic. All their breads are vegan (save the ones with cheese on top, plus their hamburger buns have an egg wash), and many of their cupcakes and cookies are vegan, too. I tried a Bavarian pretzel (plain) and bought a small loaf of the seven-grain bread to try at home. Of course, like any variance on the routine, it takes a little getting used to the different flavors and textures of gluten-free bread products, but these seemed phenomenally good. I made gluten-free vegan pancakes yesterday morning that will still need a little tweaking when I make them again in the future, but after a sampling, I believe this professional bakery has done enough tweaking that they know how to make their items taste delicious.
If you have any stomach issues that don't seem to be cured by removing lactose and/or meat from your diet, I encourage you to try a gluten-free diet for just a few days and see how you feel. My change was palpable; I had more energy immediately, and my mood lightened considerably. Others, however, might need to feel their way around the diet a while before figuring out if that's the problem or not.
Making the transition to a gluten-free diet is so much easier with the help of an informative cookbook. There is a lovely vegan, sugar-free, and wheat-free (that can easily be made gluten-free) book I picked up recently. The book is called Babycakes, and it is written by a woman who owns a bakery by the same name that's based out of NYC. Its recipes are easy, delicious, and fun, and the pictures are gorgeous. I encourage you to try it out if you are thinking about experimenting with a gluten-free lifestyle.