Thursday, May 24, 2012

Living Gluten-Free + Vegan: 30 Day Vegan, Day 4

Living either gluten-free or vegan can present major challenges.  Suddenly shifting your diet to gluten-free and vegan can push you to the edge of sanity.  Or at least that has been the sum of my experience over the past few years.

Even though I have eaten a mostly vegetarian diet on and off for most of my adult life, my oldest daughter's decision to no longer eat meat (she eats some seafood) still became a challenge.  Mostly because I had other people to feed, particularly two meat-loving people.  But, we managed.  Then entered our younger daughter's troubles with gluten, eggs, and dairy.  Suddenly, we became gluten-free vegans.  Bam.  In one swoop we eliminated several major food groups.

That first year of dietary change brought frustration and more than a few tears.  I struggled to see beyond all the things we couldn't eat and instead shift our focus to the wonderful foods that we could eat.  Eventually, she outgrew her egg and milk allergies, but she and I are both still sensitive to dairy.   We don't drink cow's milk, but it is so hard not to fall back on cheese as a staple.  Aside from tasting delicious, it fills a belly quickly and easily.  It makes a fast, easy, and portable snack or lunch.

But I could feel my body crying out again.  I was relying too heavily on something that wasn't very good for my body, and I was paying the price.  This was one of the many reasons I signed up for the 30 Day Vegan Workshop.  I knew, however, that this wouldn't be a complete fix for us, because this was not a gluten-free vegan course.  No problem.  I've been making substitutions and conversions with ease for a couple of years now.  I know that I can always rely on my simple flour mix (equal parts brown rice flour, sorghum flour, and tapioca/potato starch) and a little xanthan gum for just about any recipe (except bread) that calls for all-purpose flour, and I can expect something close to the original.  Rice, quinoa, brown rice pasta, and beans are my bestest friends.


I'm reminded of how easy it would be to just throw some leftovers in a wrap and call it a lunch.  Oh, I get so stinkin' jealous some days.  I even printed out a couple of the wrap recipes.  Why?  I don't know.  They're sitting in my binder . . . mocking me.  And don't even think about suggesting a brown rice wrap.  Not unless you've tried a brown rice wrap.  And even then, don't suggest it.  I won't get into it, but just accept that I am not a fan.  Ok?  Corn tortillas are great for some things, but I don't care for them soft and unheated.  And then there are lettuce wraps.  Eh.  I'd rather throw things on a bed of lettuce and call it a salad.  Plus, a lettuce wrap doesn't give you whole grain like a normal wrap would, unless you add rice.  But if I'm putting rice in a lettuce wrap, I'd just as soon throw it all together and call it a rice bowl.  Now that I've weighed all the options . . . back to being jealous of you wrap-eating folks.

Focusing once again on what we can't eat.
Shift . . .

Today we had a simple lunch of leftovers and pickies.  A cut up cucumber; a bite of leftover quinoa salad; some fresh spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes; a taste of homemade sauerkraut; and a handful of edamame.  Simple, easy, nutritious, and tasty.

There is a world of simple, delicious foods out there.  My goal this month is to find some new staples for our diet, organize my meal planning around those staples, and focus on the haves and not the have-nots.


  1. The kids still eat rice wraps, but since I found out the only workable brand available is made in a mixed facility, I don't. My go-to away-from-home lunch is a salad, or cold leftovers over rice. I can't help you with the vegan options, but I will tell you I'm jealous of everyone who can grab something to eat away from home without thinking twice.

    1. I know. We have a couple of really great, healthy take-out options around here, but there's always the gluten contamination risk.

  2. OMG I want to hug you!
    I have a gluten intolerance... however I often get so overwhelmed trying to be Vegan AND GlutenFree that I either let some fish back in, or dairy, or let the gluten back in. It's like my brain cannot handle trying to block all of them... but in the small periods when I have managed it for a few days, I feel so amazing! I liked your statement about focusing on what I 'can't' eat as I do that allot. I need to refocus back on what I can eat :) Thank you so much for allowing me to feel like I'm not the only one in this world battling this :D

    1. We'll definitely be adding back in some fish and eggs after this month. Just for the ease of menu planning. I'm so glad you're feeling the positive results of the hard work! You're definitely not alone in this. :)

  3. Thank you! It might sound weird, but it never once occurred to me that I might have a 'focus problem' when I was complaining about all the stuff I couldn't eat. I'm allergic to garlic and anything onion-related, so compared to you I probably should feel bad that I complain at all. ;-)
    Nice blog by the way! I like the name you choose a lot!
    (Psst,I'm not too sure about the grammar I used in the second sentence - I hope you still get what I meant! =) )

    1. Oh my, I think everything I cook begins with garlic and onions, so I can't imagine how difficult it must be to cut those out. I suppose we all have our own perspective issues to deal with.

      Thanks for commenting! :)