Going wheat free

Submitted by John on Sat, 11/17/2012 - 08:09

Here is how I noticed that going wheat free helped me out. I like cooking, but only on a creative basis. I have to be in the mood for it. If my mind is creatively elsewhere, I want to show up where food is, eat food, and get back to creating. So for a time, a large number of my meals were "Open can of southwest flavored canned tomatoes, eat with chips, done."

At Chipotle, I started getting the burrito bowl instead of the burrito, just to see what it was like, and I discovered that I liked the bowl better than the burrito. I often found myself feeling subjectively better after eating Chipotle, and I started wondering why.

I started paying attention to what I was eating, and I noticed that if I had spent the past few days eating meals without wheat (entirely by happenstance: beef stew for dinner, chips and salsa for breakfast, left over stew for lunch, cheesy salmon rice for dinner, leftover salmon rice for breakfast, and then Chipotle), and then followed that up with a good steak burrito bowl, I felt pretty good. If I went from a wheat based diet directly to Chipotle, I didn't get as much of a *pow* good feeling of well being.

I think what it is, is that there are a number of different whole, high nutritional foods in a steak burrito bowl, or at least there is the way I make it (with plenty of mild tomato and medium corn salsa, and all of the vegetables.) If there are any vitamin deficiencies I have foisted upon myself (chips and tomato salsa, tasty, but not too nutritional) then the diversity of the ingredients in the Chipotle is going to help that out.

Sorry, this probably sounds like an ad for Chipotle! I wish there were more, similar restaurant chains or other kinds of food I could make that was similarly tasty. Unfortunately, to make something like this at home would require following a number of different recipes and dirtying most of the dishes in the kitchen, at least as far as the taste is concerned. For me, a big part of the taste is that there are a bunch of individually cooked ingredients that all come together in the final plate. Cooking the vegetables with the meat (like in a stir fry) isn't the same.

As far as dark wheat bread goes, for a time in college I ate nearly nothing but whole grain, whole wheat sunflower seed / raisin bread. I was extremely broke, I bought all of the ingredients in bulk, and I used my roomate's automatic bread machine's timer function to make a loaf every morning before I left for class. I'd wrap that loaf up in a towel and throw it in my bag, and all day I would rip parts off the loaf whenever I would get hungry. It was wonderful and extremely convenient.

10 or 12 years later I discovered my old recipe, so I picked up a second hand bread maker, and started making delicious loaves of bread again. Unfortunately, I discovered that every time I ate a bunch of bread, I felt absolutely horrible a few hours later. Sadly, I suspect that gluten intolerance is a cumulative disease.

And finally, I also had great luck with traditional sourdough breads. Especially using spelt. Spelt is a harder grain to work with, baking wise, but I didn't get the usual gluten blahs when I used it. Unfortunately, Peggy doesn't like the taste of a strong sourdough! And maintaining a starter is too much work for just me.

But I don't have a life threatening allergy to wheat. Usually what happens is I go wheat free for a while, but then I forget and eat a whole bunch of it. I do like egg noodles.

Most of this post came from a comment I wrote on a blog post at A Quiet Simple Life.