Gluten-free-for-all

Thanks to goodnessknows for sponsoring this post and encouraging me to refocus on healthy living goals!

I remember once proclaiming that I’d rather date a vegetarian than someone who was gluten-free.  I said “vegetarian” like it was something utterly disdainful, the penultimate compatibility failure.  Fast forward a few years, and I’m the (most-of-the-time) vegetarian touting a gluten-free fellow.  Oh, how the tables turn!  Starting this blog 6.5 years ago was sort of like my healthy living “puberty” — back then, I was dipping my toe in the internet’s complex, often conflicting, never-ending pool of health-focused information.  I was intrigued, excited, and totally misguided.  But, just as our bodies physically mature over our lifetimes, our tastes, preferences, and views shift and expand, strengthen and sag too.  And thank god for that.  Otherwise I’d still be eating fat-free dairy for snacks and microwaved broccoli for breakfast every day. goodnessknows

Near the time I started blogging, I learned about the gluten-free diet from my friend Tracy, who, after an onslaught of tummy troubles, found that dairy-free, gluten-free foods made her feel “normal” again.  At the time, “gluten” was a word few people knew or cared much about, and this whole gluten-free diet thing sounded MISERABLE to me.  So, I made it my mission to find Tracy a decent gluten-free, dairy-free pizza so that her new GF life wouldn’t be completely devoid of joy.
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Unbeknownst to me, there was more to eating gluten-free than finding a satisfactory GF pizza.  Though many people, even those without the official “celiac” stamp, believe they feel better when not consuming gluten, I believe I have no gluten intolerance whatsover.  I tested this theory several times through the Whole30, a nutritional reset program in which you cut out most of the foods that can cause gut problems (gluten, dairy, beans, sugar, etc.).  After the 30 days are complete, you slowly reintroduce these foods into your diet to see how your body reacts.  Through this process, I learned my body is down for some gluten–no digestional issues here.  Girl can EAT some bread.  But, I do have another type of gluten problem:  gluten addiction.  Gluten triggers my inner Veruca Salt; when I have some, I want MORE.  Case in point, this Sunday my gluten intake included a piece of almond toast for breakfast, followed by two pieces of toast with eggs for brunch, rounded out by a veggie burger on a giant crusty bun for dinner.  Carb cravings to the max.
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At its core, gluten is simply a protein composite generally found in foods containing wheat, rye, barley, malt, and other grains.  It’s gluten we have to thank for making dough rise and for providing airy structure to baked goods.  Over the years, gluten has become one of the most vilified food components.  In my opinion, gluten’s not so bad.  It’s just that some folks, like my pal Tracy, physically cannot handle gluten in their diet.  Seeing her struggle to find foods that agree with her body made me respect both chefs and food producers who successfully zap gluten without introducing a bunch of random gluten-free filler ingredients.

Likewise, I appreciate that goodnessknows is shifting toward gluten-free production beginning this fall.  All three flavors of goodnessknows snack squares are now gluten-free!  I’ve sampled the gluten-free version of these snack squares and can vouch that they are just as delicious as they were before the change.  Whole nuts, real fruit, toasted oats, dark chocolate plus no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.  These are great for folks on the go, and for folks like me, who are short on time and hungry 24-7.

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Speaking of short on time, I finally found a couple of hours of free time this weekend to think about my dear old blog.  Over the years, this blog has become a large chunk of my life–it’s both my creative outlet and my community.  In Charlotte, I was lucky to be a part of an incredible group of CLT Food Bloggers, and I hope to be the friction that gets the food bloggers here in Columbus collaborating very soon!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of goodnessknows. The opinions and text are all mine.

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