Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wheat Free Update/ Lemon Buddies

So. It's been 21 days since I went wheat free to help alleviate my chronic kidney stones and kidney pain. Here's what I know-

1. I haven't felt this good in years. Probably since before my first surgery to remove some large stones that were stuck in my ureters about 6 years ago.Subsequent surgeries left a lot of scar tissue and inflammation in my ureters. (Inflammation that I aggravated, unknowingly, by ingesting wheat)

2. I don't miss gluten filled foods the way I thought I would. I have always been a pasta and bread sort of girl. So I was very sad that I would have to do without. BUT there are great companies like Heartland who make products like this:

GF pasta that actually tastes so good Jon-boy didn't even know the difference!
As for the bread, well I haven't tackled that one yet. The little blocks of "bread" I see in the supermarket scare me to death. I mean have you looked at it? It's a tiny brick. For all I know it was a brick that was spray painted to look like bread! Don't get me wrong, I am sure that there are some great products out there, but I don't want to pay $7 for that tiny little thing I don't even know if I will like. There are many gf bloggers (like Lynn) who have bread recipes that look like bread. Fluffy, white, homemade bread. I intend to give them a go and see what I can do.

In the meantime, though, I have developed a liking for white corn tortillas. They make a great sandwich wrap, both sweet (like jelly sammys) and savory (ham and cheese anyone?)

3. I have found that my body functions so much more efficiently when not trying to process wheat. Cutting out wheat meant also cutting almost all processed junk that I really liked (ramen noodles, Little Debbie snacks, and desserts) I've even managed to slim down a little bit as a result. I've lost enough "extra padding" that I was willing to cut my long hair off and donate it(What? No one wants to look like a fat toddler with a bad haircut. Sometimes when I have short hair that's how I feel! Don't judge me LOL). I love the way this cut turned out :)

4. As a cook with a fair amount of experience under my apron, I find new recipes and techniques less daunting. I was petrified when I first read my list of foods I was supposed to avoid. All I could see for a few days was "bad" food. It was difficult for me to see past that list and explore all the foods I could enjoy. Now, I embrace the challenges. I get to seek out new ingredients and culinary adventures.

5. You gotta shop around (the store). My frugal nature sometimes makes shopping a HUGE challenge. Gluten free foods that are marketed specifically as gf tend to be more expensive. That's the nature of the beast, you get to pay extra for companies to print on the package "a naturally gluten free product". But I've found that good, thorough label reading lets me find foods that are gf without the high price tag. I am blessed that I don't have to worry so much about cross contamination. I can eat foods that are processed in facilities that process wheat, dairy, and nuts. I shop the entire store reading labels as I go (just because a product doesn't say it's gf, doesn't mean it isn't. You just have to read the ingredients.) So even though it takes us longer to get through the store that it used to, it's worth it in the long run both financially and health-wise.

6. And finally, my sweet husband is very supportive. He tries not to bring a lot of the non-safe foods home that I like. He helps me find alternative foods for those I shouldn't eat anymore. And when I prepare a new dish he always gives it a go. (In the game of give and take I try to make things that are familiar to him. Example- We'll have grilled pork chops with a new side dish.)

So, friends, that's the wheat free update. I will leave you with a yummy little treat recipe for Lemon Buddies. My dad makes half the batch with lemon and half the batch with lime. Then, he mixes them together for lemon-lime buddies. Yum!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Lemon Buddies
160 calories per 1/2 cup serving

9 cups Rice or Corn Chex cereal
1 ¼ cups white vanilla baking chips
¼ cup butter or margarine
4 tsp grated lemon peel
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar

Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; gently shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container in the freezer. Best when served cold directly from the freezer.