As I listened to a DesignSponge podcast (number 50), I realised that I have made good progress in this gluten-free life I now lead. The speakers were discussing decision fatigue, and how by having daily routines it frees the mind to concentrate on creative matters. Their discussion of routine meals might have seemed trivial if I hadn’t spent a month working out my new routines. It was a difficult month, working out new foods to have for breakfast and lunch. Oats and toast were no longer available, and they had been a staple part of my diet. My previous experience of gluten-free substitutes had me thinking that the ‘easy’ solution would be unpleasant, so I have made real food substitutions instead. The breakfast risotto in all its variations is going well. I cook a large pot of rice with spices, then freeze it in portions. Lunch is now a substantial salad. Again, there are variations. I have mastered the art of preparing a salad in the time it takes the coffee pot to do its job. I have also learned to think ahead a little more, making intentional leftovers in the evening for the lunchtime salad. And the evening meal, which was so often pasta or couscous based, now has its substitute grains (more varieties of rice, polenta, quinoa), or sometimes the grain can be omitted without loss of meal satisfaction. I noticed a potato-based pasta in the supermarket, and realised I could just have a boiled potato with pasta sauce (I love boiled waxy potatoes). I don’t want to eat any more weird pastas (rice pasta seems weird to me).
I had lunch with a friend last week, and she was surprised when I took the bread roll from my plate (served in a paper bag!) and slipped it into my bag to take home to my son. She was almost accusing when she asked if I was still doing that gluten thing, as though it was some fad I had foolishly decided to follow. She then ranted about the food labelling laws, and how they were going to be changed, and that foods with 20% gluten could be labelled gluten-free. I told her that I had heard it was 20 (or whatever number) parts per million, not percent. She did not seem to know there was a difference. I pointed out that a well-filled sandwich would probably fulfill the 20% limit, yet would cause symptoms in the susceptible. Her response: whatever. And I noticed my internal response was ‘whatever’. I feel as though I am over the fuss of the gluten issue. I have worked out my regular foods again. Ordering in cafes has become easier as my options have become limited. I am back to having time for life outside food. It is good.