No, no, fear not, this is not like in the tabloids where celebrities share that they ate a (brown) rice cake and half a grapefruit. I am sharing what we ate for dinner because this week we went gluten free.
Why gluten free? That is a good question… In part because there are some murmurs that a gluten free diet can be beneficial to your health and also because by changing up the diet for one week forced me to be more conscientious about what I was eating, and how.
Here is what I ate and also some tips to survive…
Monday: Roasted Carrots + Potatoes and Lean Beef (from Mark’s mom) It is always great to be able to start the week with some pre-prepared meals and roasted carrots and potatoes are a low-prep item that allows you to take care of other things while they bake.
Tuesday: Ham + Eggs Omelet and Asparagus.An omelet with a slice of ham folded inside adds a lot of flavor and extra protein when I was making a dinner for one. Quickly blanched asparagus is a healthy and fast way to get some greens.
Wednesday: Quinoa + Collard Greens with Balsamic Grilled Chicken. This is a favorite new way to prepare chicken: skinless breasts, pounded thin and then covered first with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and then 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Cooked for 5-6 minutes on each side in a large pan.
Thursday: Curried Coconut Carrot Soup with Mary’s Gone Crackers Herb Crackers + Quinoa with Artichoke and Spinach. Quinoa is the fastest way to get that starchy, filling feeling on a gluten free diet and that is why late on a Thursday night I made this again, instead of risotto as originally planned. This soup was a huge, HUGE hit. Recipe is below.
Adapated from Chow.com
Ingredients: 1 onion, 1 cup of chopped celery (about 4-5 stalks), 1 box of chicken or vegetable stock (4 cups), 1 can of light coconut milk, 1 cup water, 10 large carrots (peeled and chopped), 2 tsps of curry powder, 1/4 tsp tumeric, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil. Saute onions, celery until softened.
Add the chicken stock and coconut milk and water.
Add the carrots, boil covered until carrots are softened.
Blend. Serve. So simple – beyond, beyond, beyond good!
Image from Chow.com
Friday: Baked Salmon + Polenta + Grilled Eggplant – Success is pending, but this is an old faithful recipe, so I am pretty confident.
What I learned: not being able to grab a piece a bread while I cook, or a handful of cereal, (or cookies!) made me slow down to think about what I was eating, how I was cooking and what I really wanted. I worried it would be difficult, but it was fun and a worthwhile mental exercise and cooking challenge.
Ultimately there was nothing that I made that was outside of my repertoire but there was also no hitting the easy button with a box of pasta, or pizza. Did I miss cookies? Yes, sometimes, but I also loved the fresh oranges, apple slices, grapes and dates that very healthily filled that void.
This was a great challenge and I would be open to trying more food challenges in the future.