We take so many things for granted and often don’t realize how blessed we really are in the scheme of things. As most know, I have to eat gluten free and have managed it for five years now.
What I would give to be able to eat a KK doughnut or a DD doughnut but I can’t. If I happen to give in to that craving, I end up regretting it for several days as it makes me sick. Sometimes very sick. So it’s something I have to forgo and at times of stress, cravings kick in which can almost be overwhelming. It’s not worth the pain and sickness and as time passes it does get a little easier. But there are those days, especially when someone else is eating something and you smell it, that you really want it.
Gluten-free foods have gotten a little better than five years ago. With some experimentation, I can now pretty much substitute flours with gluten free versions and you can’t really tell the difference. But it hasn’t been easy and there have been some failures along the way.
David and I are still working on a homemade pizza crust recipe that works for us but haven’t found it yet. My husband does a lot of the cooking at times — yes, I’m blessed — and he always makes sure it’s gluten free for me. Having seen me get sick from it, he’s happy to help me avoid it.
I have to admit though, there are those times when I do cave in and have a piece of bread that is not gluten-free. Sometimes it bites me, other times not. Sourdough bread doesn’t seem to bother me like other breads. No yeast rolls for sure. But I don’t indulge all the time, just once in a blue moon.
Now that my youngest daughter is also eating gluten free, I have had to experiment a little more. When she wants something fried, I always get a call. My fried okra, mushrooms and fried green tomatoes taste just like the ones everyone else makes. As does my fried chicken fingers and mac and cheese and other pasta dishes.
Fortunately, many restaurants also now offer gluten free versions of some dishes. I have found though, that some things I thought were gluten free, aren’t and if I eat them at a restaurant, there could be repercussions. So, when in doubt I opt for other choices.
Haven’t found a gluten-free hamburger bun that doesn’t taste like cardboard though. Have found sandwich bread. I also have found some gluten-free doughnuts and while they are good, they are not the same as the gooey KK ones. A carrot cake I found at an Atlanta bakery, is actually better to me than the gluten-loaded version. When we make that trip, we try to stop there and bring home several items you can’t get anywhere else.
Even some chocolate items have gluten in them and since I love chocolate, I have to watch those items as well. You would think after a while, I would not be as sensitive to it, but I have found, the longer I am off it, the more sensitive I have become to gluten.
I have also been working on cutting my sugar consumption. I believe sugar is one of the worst things you can eat. It also becomes addictive. I have been experimenting with other natural sugars like coconut and stevia. David has a reaction to Zylitol so I can’t use it. In an effort to make a 14-layer chocolate cake recently, which actually turned out to only be eight layers, I discovered that you cannot use stevia in an icing recipe that has to be cooked. It tasted awful and I’m just glad I tasted it before I tried putting it on the cake. The gluten-free layers were okay, not wonderful like I was hoping and the cake didn’t look that great but I tried and it was the first attempt. Since I never attempted to make a regular 14-layer chocolate cake, I give myself an A for effort.
Coconut sugar works for most things but not all. If gluten and sugar reduction weren’t enough I am also supposed to work on reducing dairy. It hasn’t been that hard except when it comes to ice cream. You can use coconut and almond milk for substitutions in most things but for icings it does give it the flavor of whatever milk you are using. I also do not like it for ice cream and the non-dairy store versions leave a little to be desired.
Being gluten-free has become a lifestyle choice and it’s not always easy but I think my health is at least better for it and my Hashimoto’s stays in check. My daughter also says she can tell a difference in how she feels after eliminating gluten. She is not intolerant like me, so she has cheat days without the sickness I experience at times if I try to cheat.
We are the food we eat and the food we eat these days is not as healthy as it was in our grandparents’ day. Too many chemicals are used as well as genetically modified seeds are used. If we really knew what they did to our food and what was in it, we’d all probably starve because we wouldn’t eat anything from the store or a restaurant. The fact that I love to garden, is another reason to grow your own food and to support local farmers who don’t use GMOs. I’ve enjoyed sharing foods from my garden this year. I’m hoping we can get a neighborhood garden started which could be bigger next year. We’ll see.
Being conscious of the food you eat, is just another of those choices we are faced with in our lives and I choose to eat healthier and pay attention to what’s in the food. Blessings to you.©2017
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org