Eating kind, gluten-free and vegan doesn’t have to be hard, complicated or take a lot of prep time.  Sometimes I am well organized and prep food on the weekends to make  weeknights easier. A lot of  times I don’t.

So I try to make sure I have fridge, freezer and pantry stocked up so I can throw something together quickly after work.

Last night’s dinner:

Toasted Mybread gluten-free pita, Kite Hill vegan cream cheese, avocado, chives and spicy sprouts drizzled with Isola Cream of Balsamic Vinegar.

It was delicious!

Adventures in Gluten-Free Vegan Eating (or not)

When I started eating gluten free and vegan, I always had *cheat day* at the back of my mind.  You know, the good old *diet* practice of eating *good* six days a week, then eating whatever on the seventh day.  Except, that doesn’t work when you have developed a food sensitivity.

Hey, if you want to indulge in the *cheat* day, I’m not going to judge you.  But my cheat day turned into a cheat weekend  and, well, it did not turn out well.

Last weekend was rough.  We lost a good friend of ours too young and unexpectedly.  We attended her funeral services Friday evening, and then went to join her family and our friends afterward at a restaurant.  There were enough gluten free vegan choices, including salad and little roasted potatoes, that I should have been content.  But I had had a cocktail, and there was bruschetta.  So I ate it, along with the salad and the little roasted potatoes.  

Saturday I woke up with hives and a very *unsettled* digestive system.  By evening I was feeling better and decided to open up the bottle of wine my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day. (which was very good!)  I hadn’t eaten much, and by the second glass decided that pizza was a good idea.  Not gluten-free vegan pizza.  Full on *regular* pizza.  With olives of course.  Sunday was not a good day for my poor body.  Hives all through my scalp, across my lower back and under my arms.  And, well, many trips to the bathroom. 

Cheat days are no longer worth it.  For me anyway.  The concept of *cheat day* is to treat yourself after being so diligent.  But in my case, I only tortured my digestive system.  That was no treat.  I’m a big advocate of *listen to your body*.  I wasn’t taking my own advice, wasn’t listening, and my body had to *act out* to get my attention.

And I have to wonder, if this is showing up on the outside, what damage am I doing to myself internally?  I am sure the answer is plenty.

I guess I can still have cheat days, they just need to look very different.  Vegan gluten-free ice cream. Vegan gluten-free donuts.  French fries. 

This lifestyle is a journey and a process.  I have an 11 year old granddaughter who is recently diagnosed with Celiacs.  She is adapting so much better than I am.  She is amazing!  I look up to her.  And I can definitely learn from her.

When Gluten Attacks

Living the Fae Life,  kind, green and crunchy, is an investment in the earth, and my individual body.  Being kind to my body is just as important as being kind to my home planet.  Whole food, plant based (WFPB).  I don’t always do 100%, but I give it a good try. Usually.  Sometimes. My body decided I should do better.

Five months ago, over the Christmas holidays, my body decided to communicate to me, in no uncertain terms, that is would no longer tolerate gluten.  I broke out in nasty head to toe hives.  Even my hives had hives! (not kidding!) Through an elimination diet process I discovered the culprit was wheat/gluten.  Beer, christmas cookies, stuffing, gluten laden appetizers, all conspired over the course of a few weeks to make my body rebel.  As soon as I eliminated wheat and gluten my body healed.  Simple as that.  Ok maybe not simple.  Gluten is pretty much in everything!

My large family is no stranger to dietary restrictions.  Vegan, vegitarian, pescatarian, lactose intolerance, and recently, two diagnosed with Celiacs.  I am so lucky, they are very supportive of individual dietary choice.  I have friends and aquantences who are not as lucky, so the struggle to eat *clean* is made even more difficult for them.

I haven’t consumed meat or milk in years, but cutting out gluten proved to be much more challenging than eliminating meat had been. (Have I mentioned that  gluten is seriously in everything!)  It is in the majority of vegan products.  Seitan, delicious meat substitute that it is, is as far from gluten-free as you can get.  It’s MADE from gluten!  A lot of main stream veggie burgers are gluten based. Always a label reader, now I feel more like a Private Investigator!

Pinterest has been a great resource for gluten free inspiration, but I have found that so many gluten free recipes are very dairy and egg heavy.  I eliminated the little bit of dairy left in my diet (the occasional butter and cheese) when I went gluten free and feel a lot better for it.  (Both from a health aspect and crueltyfree aspect.)  Since I decided to eat both vegan and gluten free it’s become even more important to me to eat WFPB and eliminate most pre-packaged foods.  More control over ingredients equals better health for me since I’m not unknowingly ingesting allergens.  (Of course, after a long day at work when I lack inspiration, that often means a simple salad.)

Beyond all this is the fact that “gluten-free” has become such a fad that now I come across as a pretentious hipster when I tell people I don’t eat wheat .  10 out of every 100 people in the United States has some sort of problem with gluten. That’s a number to pay attention to.  Maintaining my wellness is more important to me than someone else’s opinion, and so, label me if you feel the need to.  Keeping my digestive system healthy and my body free of hives wins over anyone’s judgmental views.