I’ve acccidentally become a gluten-free blogger. The reason is simple: the learning curve is steep, and over the last 11 months, the portion of my brain concentrating on food has been learning to adapt to a new paradigm. In some cases, I’ve had to let my principles fall by the wayside just to be sure that I could actually eat. Meat became a part of my diet on a weekly basis, rather than very occasional. Dairy fell off the list for over 6 months, and is only recently back in small amounts, and I had to think about every single item that I put in my mouth.
Sadly, I was not thinking about how it was grown, who picked it, whether a fair price was paid for it, how it was transported, or what the broader ecological impacts of the product were. I was wondering if someone had sliced bread on the cutting board before they sliced my apple. Instead of concentrating on sustainability, I was pulling new sticks of butter out of the fridge when I visited people so toast crumbs wouldn’t sneak into my broccoli. I was reading miniscule print to see if there was barley malt in my chocolate, if there was “normal” soy sauce in the crackers, or if my trail mix had been processed on the same production line as sesame sticks. When eating out, I asked if the stew was thickened with flour, not if the lamb was local.
The other night, I had some new friends over for dinner. Preparing the meal required that I rework one of my favorite recipes, but it took a grand total of about 10 minutes to propose an alternative. Overall, I’d say the dinner was a success, but one guest started a conversation that made me sad. He asked about my food buying habits; you know, local, organic, sustainable, etc. Honestly, I now search for the store that carries the crackers I like or that has the cooked cereal I can eat. I have not entirely lost focus on buying local Asian pears and organic eggs; I do still buy some organic products and will buy local again once we’re into the growing season. It’s second fiddle, though, and I had not realized how much lower on the scale of consideration it now falls.
One of my goals over the next year to adapt my dietary restrictions to my old principles. As I plant my garden, and start visiting the farmer’s market, I vow to return to thinking actively about my food’s origins in terms of the food system, rather than potential gluten contamination. I will consider sustainability, and choose local potatoes over bread produced in Canada. I will buy organic cornmeal, and local broccoli. I will do a decent job of stocking up for next winter, no matter how busy work is. Finally, I’ll work on bringing these issues and research to the blog. Requests, as always, are welcome and feel free to call me out as needed.