Gluten Free, The Gateway Diet

Don’t let the title fool you. This isn’t about dieting, or losing weight, or people who don’t need the gluten free diet but eat that way because they think they’ll lose weight.

I want to talk about how having to switch to a gluten free diet changed my life, and could change yours if you let it. When I first realized I needed to eat a gluten free diet I went through the stages of grief. I really did. I got angry, I bargained, I got depressed, and then I came to terms with it. In this last stage I also had the opportunity to see this one change in diet as an opportunity to change many of the ways I ate and experienced food.

Growing up, while my parents cooked sometimes, there were many nights when something like Hamburger Helper graced our plates. My parents both worked long, hard hours and I understand that they wanted to make sure their children were fed at the end of the day. This was long before blogs sharing how to eat well after a long day at work, or with 365 slow cooker recipes, existed.

So, I didn’t know how to cook many foods, and I also had been squeamish for years about touching raw meat. Even cold cooked chicken was hard for me to handle. But, when I moved out those things had to change a bit. Yet, I still didn’t know much about cooking, and I certainly didn’t know much about the ingredients in my food.

When I moved to Maui I heard about organic foods, and how we shouldn’t eat too much sugar, and how we should eat more kale. Yet, I didn’t feel like I had the budget to eat that way, and I didn’t think it really mattered too much. After starting to live life without gluten I had to start thinking about the ingredients in my food, and I wanted to make sure I was getting the best nutrition possible for my body and for Devin’s body. So, I began to do research.

I had known about ingredients like High Fructose Corn Syrup being a bad thing to have in my kitchen from trying to diet using Dr. Oz’s book “You On a Diet.” But, I still hadn’t become that interested in cooking. I had even begun to bake glutenous whole wheat breads from scratch. I’d started to love kneading bread. This was actually one of the hardest things to give up when going gluten free. The act of kneading bread had begun to take its place as a stress reliever in my life.

Blogs like Gluten Free Girl, and The Gluten Free Goddess, inspired me. They showed me that I could cook; and they showed us all that we could eat well, and beautifully, without gluten.

Today if you look in my kitchen you will find whole foods. Real foods. You won’t find bottles of vitamins hiding in my kitchen cupboards because I am finding the vitamins in my foods. The only supplement you will find is some ground flaxseed in the freezer.

In my freezer you will find a quarter of a cow (in parts) that come from a local, grass-fed, organic cow which worked out to being just over $3 a pound for everything from ground beef to Porterhouse steaks.

You won’t find glutenous processed dinners, but you’ll find dozens of delicious aromatic spices waiting to jazz up the simple pound of ground.

Instead of gluten you’ll find delicious cheeses, which I couldn’t eat before because my body couldn’t handle them.

You won’t find gluten anywhere, but you’ll find canisters of a wide variety of flours in my cupboards and fridge. You’ll even find a sourdough starter on my counter at this very moment, waiting patiently to be fed.

One great thing about all of this food, is that it actually costs me less now per week than food did when I was eating gluten. Which means I can afford the organics, I can afford raw local honey, and I can buy kale. I can even grow it.

I’ve gotten in touch with my food. I grow vegetables, I know who raised my beef, and I spend hours in my kitchen because I want to be there. And, I only eat a quick dinner of spaghetti when I WANT to eat spaghetti, because I know how to prepare quick dinners for the nights when I need to rush out to meetings or classes.

If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you take the opportunity too to see eating gluten free as a gateway to better living. To a healthier family. To a healthier you. Who knows, you might find yourself exercising next.

6 thoughts on “Gluten Free, The Gateway Diet”

  1. I was already a cook & baker, so the transition was more of a challenge to me than a time of going without. I actually enjoyed changing over except for when I got to something like bagels or donuts that are hard to make at home & have come out tasting & feeling similar to the gluten full that I was craving.

    Even so, I do find that we eat healthier now just by default. There’s a lot of stuff we just can’t have any more so I had to find things I could make to fill those voids. It prompted us to get into our CSA so we have veggies all summer. Winter is still scarce around here and becomes heavy with pasta, rice, & potatoes.

    Are there any good restaurants in Maui that try to use local whole foods in their cooking? We’re getting more & more up here in MI and I find those chefs are usually better at navigating gluten free than the chefs that are used to packaged ingredients.

    1. Check out Market Fresh Bistro, I’o, Pacific’o, and Ko. Also check out Edible Hawaii online. Slow Food Maui is another great resource. I hope you enjoy your stay. I also highly recommend that visitors take time away from the luau shows to learn about Hawaiian history and culture. Check out places like The Bailey House museum in Wailuku.

      1. That is definitely my preference. I love Hawaiian, culture, dance & music, but the real stuff, exploring what it was & how it changed post-missionaries, then again when tourism hit the area full force. We’re doing a couple of “planned outings” but for the most part we’ll just explore & try to absorb whatever comes our way.

        I wish I were better at teasing out how to interact with locals & experience the real culture of a place while I travel. I think I’m too shy to do that well, so end up with more of a tourist experience than what I really crave. Thanks for your suggestions!!

    1. Absolutely! It would be fantastic if more people would begin to see going gluten free as a fantastic opportunity. I definitely understand that feeling of loss though. But, once it can be broken through, that’s great.

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