Thursday, February 3, 2011

Vegan February

Team Emily Barton over the last 5 years (or so) has time and again had the conversation about the challenge of upholding a Gluten Free and Vegan diet simultaneously. Each of us is one, and combining forces would be an adventure. This year is our year and finally we have set the dates, combined our diets and constructed a game plan.


My hope is to document some of the difficult times and successful endeavors of this culinary adventure as well as provide a source for those who are beginning (or in the midst of) becoming gluten free. Its a tough, but rewarding road for those whose lives are made harder by the consumption of gluten.

When I think about how difficult adding a vegan element to my already challenging GF diet, as I depend greatly on goat cheese and chicken to survive, I remind myself that this is not about the struggle, its about being aware of my food again. Being gluten free doesn't bother me anymore. Yeah, bread sure looks good, but I don't crave it and I've conditioned myself not to want it anymore. I prefer being happy and healthy everyday to having a slice of pizza for instant gratification and paying for it for the next week. The focus for me is to connect back to the healthy foods, to be aware of what I eat and to develop even better habits for every day eating.

I get approached often by people trying out a gluten free diet. Its hard to explain the detox without freaking out my friends, but its the reality of what happens when bread is taken from a diet. Its very clear that the body goes through withdrawal. The gluten has a way of filling the stomach quickly, as well as taking time to digest, leaving the feeling of full for a long period of time.

So my first recommendation for the new gluten free is to always ALWAYS have snacks with you. Its so difficult, especially at first, to keep yourself on track and when hunger sets in, its especially hard to justify saying no to a vegan donut. trust me. The first few months, I went without even getting hungry (this is good for your health in general) If you aren't famished, you wont make any irrational decisions, or justify cheating. I never cheated (on purpose... but thats a whole other story) because I knew cheating on the gluten free diet meant that my health was in jeopardy, that I was risking my comfort, sanity and small intestine. So I just didn't. But ice cream? I ate.

My second is to treat yourself when you're feeling the need. There are amazing companies popping up everywhere that make great cookies, cupcakes and other devilishly good things. If you're feeling blue and need some positive reinforcement, go for it. This isn't about feeling a loss its about creating a new way of eating in order to give your body what it needs.

Some of my favorite companies (some are not solely Vegan)

Food for Life - I love their brown rice bread. You've gotta toast it until its toasty. YUM.
Mariposa - Oh, chocolate chip cookies how I remember them being.
Crave - Pumpkin pie to die for
Rudi's Bakery - Their bread is unreal. Seriously, I thought I was eating real real bread
Babycakes - Vegan and Gluten free. I'll be baking out of their cookbook a lot this month.
The Sensitive Baker - A LA stop I always make sure I visit. Their goods are amazing.

My first dinner as an official gluten free vegan included some of my favorite comfort foods:

Roasted sweet potatoes and yellow potatoes
Sauteed Peppers and Onions with Braggs
And Steamed Artichoke with vegan Aioli (Veganase and Red Wine vinegar)

Love you, Mean it.


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