Jun 15, 2010

The Great Food Dilemma

This is a rather odd post to be posting, but why not?

I've been a gluten-free vegetarian for the past month and a half, and at times it's gone great and at others I've felt like screaming, "what's the point?" The truth is, when I eat meat, I feel sort of heavy and weighed down, and after a schlep to a local farm, I decided to respect the food and my body and go vegetarian. The gluten free adventure started after someone suggested that I consider the diet in order to aid in the healing of a discombobulated stomach that perpetually gives me aches and pains.

So here I am, a month and a half later, and I'm not sure whether to continue forth. The first few weeks of the gluten free diet, I was feeling better and my stomach wasn't as grumpy with me. Then the wedding came, and stress destroyed any progress made. Now, I'm just unsure if it's doing anything. The vegetarianism is something that's a lot easier to carry on with, except for the fact that my husband is a meatatarian and I grow weary of making two main courses for every meal so I have something to eat.

The worst part about being both Gluten Free and Vegetarian, however, is Shabbat. At my own house, I can manage a delicious meal that gives me something to eat with both constraints in mind, but it's the eating out that gets me. At one recent Shabbat meal, I was able to eat the gefilte, the typical salad with some dressing, green beans, and potato kugel. There was a delicious-looking oreo dessert cake, chicken, a kugel with some corn flake topping, and more, but there I was, unable to explore any of them.

The upside to being Gluten Free and Vegetarian is that I probably eat a lot healthier, considering I can't eat a lot of the processed foods out there that contain boatloads of junk that people shouldn't be eating. I just can't figure out whether it's worth it for me to tell people who invite me over that I'm BOTH GF and Veg. Wouldn't it be easier on my future hosts to just throw one restriction at them? I mean, I can offer to bake and bring something that's me-friendly, but some people just aren't comfortable with that, especially when you're new in a neighborhood and people don't know what your kashrut standards are like.

Sigh. Food. I've always had a horrible, incompatible relationship with food. It just seems to get worse as I get older. It would be easier if I were cooking for one, but that's not my life now! So I suppose it's time to buck up and deal with it.

On another note: For those of you interested in Gluten Free food, I'm hosting a giveaway over on my Gluten-Free Kosher Critic blog of Cheddar Cheese Fries (just go look!).

10 comments:

Melissa_O said...

We have been veggie for a little more than a month, I think. It was the compromise to let us have a kosher home. It was just the easiest solution. Because of some surgery, our house has also been an incredibly low carb house, which is a little bit different than GF, but also poses the same problems re: challah and potato kugel, etc.

Food.is.hard. I hate it. It is such a struggle.

I hope you can come to a resolution that works for you and your body, and of course the new hubby :)

Pesky Settler said...

There may be matzah meal in the gefilte fish...

Anonymous said...

Mokumalef says:

IMHO, a good host(ess) should always inquire from his/her prospective guests whether there are any allergies flying around, or even some really strong dislikes or other restrictions.

Anonymous said...

Tell people your dietary needs. Offer them resources on vegetarian and GF cooking if they express any confusion about how to feed you, and have a couple of easy (preferably parve) recipes up your sleeve to suggest. I'm a vegetarian and have a lot of dietary restrictions on top of that, and this is what I do. It really is possible to eat at other people's houses. People who actually care will find you something to eat. I've fed Ashkenazi vegans during Pesach. Anything is possible, I promise.

alto artist said...

This is very difficult indeed. I have a few friends who are various combinations of kosher, veg., and GF, and they sometimes bring their own food to dinners (after checking with the host, of course. Most really do understand that it's a heath issue and do not take it as an affront to their hospitality. Or if they do, they hide it well.) They also check beforehand to see what the menu is so they don't have to first identify what they can eat once they arrive. I was at an event at a restaurant with one of these friends, and when the host learned of his dietary restrictions, she ordered him food from a different restaurant entirely--and it worked out just fine. Slowly but surely, awareness and greater accommodation is really starting to spread regarding GF diets.

Carolyn said...

I pretty much agree with what has already been said. A good host/hostess should ask if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, and if they don't, politely mention it. Offer to prepare a dish for the meal, or send some recipes along. I know I'd be mortified if I invited friends over and didn't prepare a fairly inclusive meal.

I've always felt bad for people who can't eat gluten because a lot of gluten-free food looks...well, bad. That being said, a lot of the gluten-free recipes you've posted here looks pretty delicious! People just need to be educated about the options.

G6 said...

My two cents:
From a medical standpoint, despite gluten free having gained popularity as being one of many "diets du jour", unless you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, eating a gluten free diet will not have an appreciable impact on your "tummy troubles".
Relaxation, along with other options may do far more.

Chaviva said...

@G6 Actually, a gluten-free diet has been shown to aid those with IBS. Individuals with IBS (which, likely, is what I have according to my doctor but in actuality is a catch-all for "we don't know why you have so many stomach problems) have been shown to benefit from a gluten-free diet, just as going lactose-free also has been shown to help those with IBS. It's a lot of trial and error in the end.

shavuatov said...

Definitely trial and error. I have also found that once you're eating 'clean', that other foods that you may not have realised caused you problems before (because they were being masked by a general internal malaise) come up and bite you hard. Cabbage is my latest find (not uncommon, apparently). The only problem being that for me at least, the after-effects are excrutiatingly painful and come on so suddenly, there is little than can be done. 'Doubled up with pain' is an under-statement.

But then, on the bright side, the temptation to try those foods again is almost non-existent.

Good luck with your food journey.

rachel

Dunking Rachel said...

the food thing is hard!
My husband as food allergies to the most common things...thngs that make a typical sahbbat dinner impossible...all things bird...lol..eggs chicken etc...also fresh water fish, nuts and seeds.....

then on top of this for health issues we are now on a low carb diet....and then mostly kosher


nothing is left!...and I am a live to eat type!...
I try to go by the everything in moderation moto but it can be difficult...I also had been a vegitarian in the past for over 10 years...so I get that too!

we make do...often we will have something before we go to someone's house to eat....and then my husband eats what he can...often salad....depending on how close we are to the folks who have invited us, they will already know....in our shull most all folks we socilize with know...

so it is doable...we don't like to be the FOOD ISSUE PEOPLE ...we have gotten fairly low key about it...people are accomading when we are low key and calm...no one like the pushy food issue person!...we do everything to not be that...

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