I have moved this post over from my old blog.
You may be wondering how I convinced my kids to go gluten free. Here’s a secret for you: I didn’t ask them. I told them, “I think I might have figured out why you have tummy aches so often. I think it’s the wheat that’s bothering you. How about we don’t eat wheat for two weeks to see if you feel better?”
I was sneaky. I didn’t mention at first that all their favourite foods contained wheat. (I figured that would become obvious soon enough.) Raspberry was immediately on board. He doesn’t like stomach aches or headaches, so I think it made sense to him to try to get rid of them.
My kids have also grown up with me. You may have read my past posts about sugar. I can’t eat sugar without becoming crazy/anxious/depressed/stressed out. It basically causes a day of meltdowns, impatience, and yelling, following by crying and the thoughts that my life is horrible and I must escape it. (It’s almost like I forget everything good for a day.)
I talk with my kids about why I don’t eat sugar; I restrict their sugar intake because I’m pretty sure that even if it doesn’t make them crazy, it’s bad for them in other ways. It’s bad for everyone. I just happen to be an extreme case.
So, the idea that food affects how people feel is not a new idea around here. When I say, “Wheat might be what’s making you feel horrible all the time,” the kids believe me. And they’re smart. They don’t want to feel sick.
My husband, although smart, is not convinced that life without bread can be better. He looks to the possibly gluten-free future and sees meetings in which he can’t eat donuts, fast-food that doesn’t include hamburgers, and mid-day hunger that can’t be satisfied by going through a drive-thru.
I look to his gluten-free future and see more energy, less pain, and more peace of mind. I see it out of my own experience with sugar. I know that giving up the foods I thought I loved was worth it. Sometimes, I still look wistfully at caramel, but then I get over it. I have found ways to make my own ice cream with stevia; I do my baking with honey or agave syrup; I can even pour a bit of maple syrup on my pancakes if I want to. I have found that whole-food sugars can be acceptable in small quantities. I have also developed a taste for non-sweet things. I know that Husband’s tastes will change over time. But, I also realize that there is a grieving process involved in giving up old comfort foods.
A couple years ago, my sister (I think?) gave me a couple books for Christmas or my birthday: Babycakes by Erin McKenna and Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern. Babycakes is a recipe book that is “Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free” (from front cover), and it has many great recipes in it, including an icing recipe that I can eat. Through that book and those recipes, I started into the world of coconut oil, alternative flours, and eating cupcakes again.
Reading Gluten-Free Girl, which is more of a memoir/food-discovery story, changed other things in my brain. I realized then that eating without something — be it sugar or gluten — didn’t have to feel deprived. It could be a glorious opportunity to find new loves. Reading that book changed the way I thought about food, and I think it was a preparation for this day, for this experiment, for success. I can tell my family with absolute certainty that although we are trying life without gluten, we will not be deprived. We will still eat delicious food in abundance.
On Saturday, I went to the cupboard and removed all the gluteny food. There is nothing worse that being hungry and staring into a cupboard full of food you can’t eat. So I decided to make sure the cupboard was full of foods that we like that contain no gluten. Actually, I was surprised by how much was left on the shelves when I was done.
I rediscovered bags of nuts and sunflower seeds, packages of dates and prunes that had been pushed to the back, and jars of home-canned fruit. (No, I have not tried canning yet. Maybe someday.) I pulled out the pasta, but left brown-rice noodles, grains of all kinds, and even a couple gluten-free flours from old experimenting days. Some of these foods may be past their best-before dates, but it still makes me happy to know they’re there. The cupboards are far from bare.
I have some plans to roast some raw cashews I have in the freezer along with some pecans from the cupboard. Maybe I’ll give them a nice, flavourful coating first. I wonder what the kids would like best? I’m imagining a crunchy, maple-y coating on them.
I’ve also made up some popsicles for the kids. (Here you go: the easiest popsicle recipe ever: Pour strawberry yogourt into popsicle molds. Freeze. Eat.
For dinner tonight, I think we’ll barbecue some steaks, potatoes, and carrots. I love barbecued carrots. We’ll have a veggie tray for the picky youngsters who don’t like cooked vegetables, and we’ll slather our potatoes in sour cream and butter. Yum.