Over the years, I’ve paid attention to the amount of wheat I eat and to the infamous “carbs”, but that was about it. I thought my body was happy and my weight was fine.
Then, a couple of years ago, when I learned about the science of wheat, gluten, and my digestive tract, I went gluten-free. There weren’t weird things on the list of gluten-free foods, nor did it require extreme new regimes.
It all sounded so simple. As a good friend with many years of gluten-free eating remarked, nonchalantly – “Order a hamburger and fries, leave the bun, eat the fries.” Well, that sounded enticing. Buns, particularly the whole wheat variety, had been on my “good” carb list and fries on the “bad” carb list.
Ha…simple, yes…. but simple didn’t mean “without a thought”.
I soon discovered how much of my food had gluten. There it all was. My simple morning routine – toast, muffin or bagel with fruit… sandwich or salad with croutons at lunch… and a healthy, fresh pasta dish for dinner.
Goodness. Note to self… “Pay attention to what you eat.” The 1st Thought on the adventure appeared. This was quickly followed by the 2nd …. “Yes, that means the snack cookie and the splurge apple fritter with Starbucks coffee, bold.”
What happened next? The 3rd Thought popped in, eager for its ah-ha. “Guess we need to re-think the food lists – the “good” (eat these), the “bad” (don’t eat these) and the “splurge” (eat, occasionally).”
Fortunately, the enticing nature of what I had learned about eating gluten-free was enough for me to keep going. I breezed through the 4th Thought (“Continue or not?”), almost without a thought. Amazing.
Continue I did, to the adventures, waiting around the corner….like stocking my pantry with new foods. Another seemingly, simple task except that it meant I needed to let favorites go. You know the great pasta that we finally find after years of searching? My 5th Thought turned curious “What will I like?”
Actually, I hadn’t realized there were so many options. Pasta and breads can be made with rice (brown and white), potatoes, quinoa, beans, and almonds. Instantly, the grocery morphed into a research library. And, when I got home, my kitchen, became “testing laboratory”. At first, I was the official taste-tester until I got brave enough to ask friends to join in. I soon found out, add wine and it’s a party.
As I tried new foods, it was easy to eat the ones I liked. No thought, here. But what about the ones, I didn’t? Alas, there was no getting around the 6th Thought, turned question.
Eating out, I’d employed the mantra of “Be polite.” (It’s better to not say anything than to say something bad, and if possible, when asked directly, say it was “fine”, just don’t ask for seconds). Thanks Mother and Dad.
But, one Saturday at the local Farmer’s Market, I stopped at a booth where a young man was selling his breads – including gluten-free. We talked for a bit and as I tasted the bread, he commented “See, you can’t tell the difference!”. And then, asked “Do you like it?”
I gulped “Now what” and continued “Well, it doesn’t suit my tastes.” His emotions flashed on his face as he looked for a response to my unexpected comment. So, I smiled and in my best comforting voice remarked “I’m sure it works for a lot of people and I’m glad to have tasted it.” 7th Thought … “It’s okay to tell your truth, nicely.”
This was not the only hidden mantra that came through. I soon heard, “Eat everything on your plate” (Whether you like it or not), translated into the broader mantra of “Don’t waste food.” What do I do with the gluten-free foods I try at home and don’t like? Keep them in the pantry, unused? Fix them, anyway, and get myself through eating something I don’t like? More thoughts. More questions. More choices.
“Yes”… The power of a simple “Yes” is quite amazing; as is the adventure that awaits us, sight unseen, just around the corner.
On the gluten-free path, I discovered that my body liked it and that kept me going. Plus, I experienced aspects of myself that I had taken for granted, like the foods I ate.
For example, I could be patient with myself – letting time work its magic. I was curious, again – finding new foods and flavors. I am an adventurer – my pantry stocked with new options and my awareness alive with new choices. And, I still bake amazing chocolate chip cookies and brownies, gluten-free.
Reminder to self …. “Adventure must start with running away from home.” William Bolitho
Say “Yes” Often… Happy Adventures….Thanks for Reading!