Monday, January 2, 2012

Gluten Free January

I've dabbled in the practice of gluten-free eating on and off for a few years. Funny thing is, I can usually eat pizza, pasta, and pugliese with no ill-effect. So why go gluten-free you ask? First let's question why we eat gluten in the first place. I would suggest it is due to a few simple facts: It is cheap, It ships and stores well, and its protein matrix creates tender loaves that are super delicious. Unfortunately gluten can and does cause havoc with many immune systems. So my reason for shunning gluten from time to time is to help prevent inflammation and enhance recovery from my workouts. That and maybe it will reduce my high blood pressure (doubtful). Also it forces me to try new foods as it's pretty easy to starve on just chicken salad after a 3 hour run.

Gluten free groundrules: Gluten free bread, gluten free pasta, and any other "gluten free product" is not allowed. Replacing wheat flour with rice flour is pointless unless you are, in fact, allergic to the gluten and gliadin in wheat. Since I am not, I will not stoop so low as to eat sub par cookies and cakes. I will just skip eating them altogether.

Eating gluten free is optional when out with friends. There is no point alienating the two or three friends I have because of this experiment (I've annoyed many family members by turning down certain foods in the past). Skipping pizza after a run or asking if there is flour in the gravy just because most people don't consider corn startch is just plain stupid (unless of course even breathing in the flour causes hives or the constriction of the esophagus). Luckily I don't get out much so this should be simple.

Talking about gluten is off limits (except on this blog and unless someone else brings it up and even then the practice of being a self proclaimed expert is both questionable and annoying). Everybody hates a smug foodist and the word gluten uttered in disgust as a diner sneers at a basket of bread is as annoying as one who occupies a certain part of town or texts from behind the wheel.

Without further ado:

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