Gluten Free Week

There’s a lot of information being thrown around the blogsphere and in health news about gluten free. There are a lot of people with an intolerance to gluten that are coming out of the woodwork because it’s a relatively newly recognized intolerance. It’s also being hailed by some as a healthier lifestyle.

I do not have a gluten intolerance (thank goodness!!), but I decided to give it a try for a week. I had tried enough products, and found enough recipes, that I thought it would be doable.

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Day One: Taco Salad with Rice Chips, and a Lamb Burger with Zucchini, Roasted Red Peppers, Feta.

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Day Two: A mahi-mahi burger, and an attempt at Ari’s “Fettucine” Alfredo (I hardcore overcooked the squash, but the sauce was bomb!)

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Day Three: A Tuna-Cado (avocado stuffed with tuna salad and baked), and Indian Food Happy Hour (essentially a pita-less gyro).

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Day Four: Bunless Burger, and my take on the Autumn Salad from Iowa Girl Eats…I used TJ’s Pear Gorgonzola Champagne dressing, I subbed out low-fat gouda for the feta, and subbed pistachios for the peanuts. I’m. Obsessed.

Day Five was a lot of leftovers, so I didn’t photo journal. :-\

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Day Six: Broadway Grill Date with Jasmin! I had a bunless burger, sweet potato fries, and then we ended it with Fro-Yo! 🙂

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Day Seven: I worked all day, and Jasmin had given me some GF pizza crust to try that she recommended. I made two of my fav pizzas on them. Top: Red Sauce, Pepperoni, Pineapple, Olives, and Gorgonzola. Bottom: White Sauce, Spinach, Chicken, Artichoke Hearts, Bacon, Fresh Garlic. This was the one GF product I really couldn’t get behind. The crust was mealy both times, even cooking it longer the second time. It didn’t really *taste* bad, but the texture really didn’t sit well with me.

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My two favorite GF products. I absolutely have been buying these since my GF week. I love them. Get to Whole Foods and buy some. I used the lime flavor chips in my taco salad, and would really like to play with crumbing them up and using them to make chicken nuggets or to top off GF pasta dishes.

I also tried (later on) TJ’s Brown Rice Fusilli, and I have to say, I really like it. The first time I used it, I definitely almost went over the over-cooked line (a little gummy), but the second time, I followed the bag directions to a T, and I COULDN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE. It really is a great substitute and really inexpensive. $1.99 for a bag! I’m looking forward to trying the other shapes they have, and using it in a butternut squash mac & cheese I’m going to try next week!

20121115-135611.jpgI also gave Annie’s GF Shells & White Cheddar a try…I must say, I didn’t notice anything different about the noodle texture. The sauce was kind of weak, but I think I remember that the last time I tried the regular S&WC from Annie’s (also, my milk had gone bad, so I just used a tbs of margarine, but that’s how I’ve always made boxed pasta anyway, I didn’t grow up adding milk…weird, I know). Pastaroni S&WC, unfortunately, is where it’s at. Also, from what I’ve compared, there is no caloric difference between rice noodles in general and regular noodles. But I figure I may as well sub out where I can, and I really don’t eat boxed M&C much anymore anyway.

So the deal: This experiment forced me to cut out something I love (and eat too much of), and I was able to find quite a few delicious substitutes and ways around it. I’m absolutely going to work on incorporating more GF options in my life.  While I didn’t really lose weight, I FELT lighter; I never felt like I had eaten a super heavy meal like I do a lot of times with pasta & bread dishes.  Of course, I was also being a more conscious eater.  I definitely understand why GF is an option many non-GI folks look into, and I think it’s totally do-able in this day and age of better and more attainable GF products.  While completely excluding it from my diet is not something I choose to do, I will be making more GF and low-gluten choices in the future.  (And as a server, this absolutely helped me to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat at work, which has actually come in handy!!)

And there you have the official W&S opinion on going GF when you’re not GI. I encourage you to give it a try!!!

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