I am not strictly gluten free, but many of my recipes will be, as we decided the weekly staples on which we will build our home kitchen will not be based on gluten. Here is my personal story of why:
As a cash strapped and busy graduate student, also working full time at a job with long hours in Washington DC and saddled with a long commute and high cost of living, and… with mom and her table three states away, when I wasn’t eating out on the run, my diet deteriorated to what was cheap, fast and easy. In a 16 hour mentally challenging day, there is little time for much more than study and sleep.
With a love of food in my back pocket, this didn’t result in fast food, but in quite a lot of grocery bags high in loaves of whole grain bread, pasta, sausage and cans of tuna, and low in fresh produce and meats. Three years into this high bread and high pasta life, my digestion was reeling, I experienced abdominal pain after every meal, and I began to work with a doctor who instructed I remove gluten from my diet… permanently. That can be a tall order when you’re low on both time and money. But in the following three years by necessity I both had to prioritize time and money into my diet, and I later realized, was the moment I first broke away from the conventional ingredients and techniques of the Mediterranean kitchen I might have followed more naturally with time. It opened my horizon to some of my favorites – like quinoa!
So, I began to make my own oat granola for cereal, and on Sundays made weekly batches of chicken and vegetables in a slow cooker, and with rice, measure lunches for the week I’d haul into work on Mondays, with cups of yogurt, hand fruit, and carrots and hummus for the work week. I began to keep almonds and dark chocolate in my desk, and my body eventually recovered.
Now, years later, I don’t eat exclusively gluten free. If I’m exposed to it when I’m out, I’m ok. But, on a weekly basis, the staples of our home kitchen are not based on gluten.