It took a long time for me to get past the mourning period. The full realization that the way I used to eat was now history. We have to let go of the memories of meals past. Pizza and beer, pasta and garlic bread, dumplings and tempura, hamburgers and fries.... It's not easy to let go because these memories are not only of the food, but the emotional attachment we all have to the foods. The transition can't possibly happen overnight. First you have to let go, and then there appears to be a period of acceptance, where you realize that your precious energy is being wasted on pining after what is lost, instead of focusing on what is yet to come. Then we move into a grateful time where we start to feel a bit better and creativity is born of our new found knowledge.
That's where I am now, in the creative period where substitution of food items is starting to fill in the gaps.
Where there was spaghetti, now there is..... *trumpets playing* corn, quinoa and brown rice pasta! Okay, so I have to make my own tomato sauce, but trust me it's delicious! Where there was hamburgers and fries, now there's...... hamburgers and fries! -what? Yes, not everyone puts filler in their burgers. I have found some local restaurants who offer gluten free burgers. And it also seems it was all a lie that you needed to mix flour into the meat to hold it together. There are plenty of substitutions for flour. Flax meal, almond meal, corn meal and pea or lentil flour and these all work great. I've even made my own burgers with rice mixed into the meat, or with no filler at all and they held together fine on my Forman Grill.
Even the egg, it turns out isn't necessary if you are avoiding eggs. I'm finding more and more that the replacement foods can be more nutritious than what I was eating before. There are also alternatives to the basic wheat bun. You have to shop around to find them but when you do find one you like, pay mind to the brand and price. And keep in mind that you can always choose bread slices instead of buns too. And why did I mention fries? Surely there's no wheat on french fries!? It turns out that some kitchens use brands of pre-made frozen fries that have been sprinkled with wheat for crunchiness. I always ask if the place is making their own fries or sweet potato fries. At home I make my own sweet potato 'fries' by slicing and salting (and for me a little garlic powder), and they get nice and crunchy on my Foreman grill. Sweet potatoes it turns out, are really good for you and taste great when prepared this way.
In this grateful and creative stage of food transition, what is actually happening is that we're creating new 'meal memories' and moving toward enjoying foods again. I've pretty much condensed these steps for the moment, but I'll return to the points in later entries. The key to moving forward is reading a lot and learning about more nutritional substitutes to create and re-create meals that we really enjoy and share them with others.