Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So what does a gluten-free, soy-free ovo-vegetarian eat?

Subtitle: is ovo-vegetarian even a thing? Wikipedia says it is!

I get asked fairly frequently "So what DO you eat?" and I can see the questioner's imagination fill up with vegetables. And, obviously, yeah, there's vegetables. Lots of them. The question asker is usually appalled by the thought of a human subsisting on JUST vegetables, and if I want to make them uncomfortable, I just hiss "saladssssss" and watch him or her contemplate a life of just lettuce. It's fun for me.

Never claimed to be a nice person.

If I actually want to be informative/helpful/a good advocate for people with food sensitivities/preferences (if you're new here, and in the interest of full disclosure: I've never been diagnosed with anything, but Dr. Google and I are BFF and I did an elimination diet so I'm an expert on my own GI system, at the very least), I will craft some sort of response. If I'm still feeling grumpy, my response includes something about how surely, question asker, you don't JUST eat meat, cheese and bread, right? Replies to that question range from "...oh.. right.. I guess there's a lot of other stuff to eat" to "Well, I kind of do, but I get your point."

But really, the actual answer is: I eat a lot of the same things. It's true. In addition to having a restrictions self-imposed on my diet, I am a creature of habit, and I've found what works well enough for me, keeps my energy up, and keeps me from feeling horrible. So my day is almost always:

Breakfast: Banana. 2 eggs
Morning snack: Rice Chex and an apple
Lunch: Huge amount of raw veggies. Soup/chili/dinner leftovers
Afternoon snack: peanut/almonds, (egg) protein shake post-run, other snack (gluten-free muffin, date balls) if I'm hungry/need more calories for a workout
Dinner: salad, corn on the cob, or other veggie. Lentil soup, chili, farro stuff, frittatas, bean/squash mixture, veggie burger (either homemade from lentils or Dr. Praeger's which have soy but not gluten!), GF pasta with TVP or other meat sub (soy. sad face.) Dinner is basically a combo of protein, GF-ish carb, and veggies.

Each week Nick and I usually end up going out to dinner one or more times. As far as fast food... although I CAN eat a salad anywhere, fast food salads suck. My solution is to just not eat at traditional fast food places. I carry a lot of snacks. I eat heartily before going anywhere. The few times I've found myself needing a proper meal when out and about and crunched for time, I've had Chipotle. Their burrito bowl with black beans, veggies, and guac is a fantastic, hearty meal. I put all the salsas on it and go to town.

If I can get by just buying a snack on the go, I get nuts. Or potato chips if I'm feeling sassy. Nordstrom has a good veggie/hummus snack pack. Wawa has hummus and veggies, plus pitas if I'm cool with being gassy later (gluten makes me puff up like a champ!).

Dinners out are sometimes challenging. Again, Mexican is a safe option. Rice, beans, corn tortillas (if they have them) and fajita veggies. I stare sadly at flour tortilla chips but then when the entrees come out, it is my time to shine. I tend to get surprised looks from servers when I demolish ALL THE VEGGIES!
This is unrelated but adorable. (source) Found when searching for a suitable "eat your vegetables" image. Cute.

Indian food almost always has a lentil dish and bonus: it's amazing so I would be fine with eating Indian everyday anyway. Thai is a bit trickier because I usually have to choose discomfort or protein, in the form of soy. I usually choose discomfort, because I enjoy tofu and I enjoy protein. For fast Italian, Olive Garden has a GF menu, and though the dishes aren't very exciting, they are food. So it works.

Why don't I eat more sandwiches, crackers, tortillas, etc? 1) I'm cheap as hell. I don't like spending a ton of money on standard grocery fare, 2) It's not very good. Yeah yeah, Udi's bread is manna from heaven. And it's priced accordingly, but it's not real freaking bread. It's not the same. Baked goods that try super hard and fail are depressing. I avoid them out of protest, 3) I make some super-fine GF baked goods at home with Bob's Red Mill AP Flour, so my muffin cravings can be satisfied and 4) GF baked goods tend to be fluff and devoid of nutrients. GF bread is usually MORE processed than regular whole grain bread, so if I can be eating something fluffy and nutrient-poor or forgoing the baked good altogether and just eating an extra serving of nuts (or rice, or lentils, or whatever), I go for the "real," less processed food.

Basically, life requires a little more thought, and I cook a lot more from scratch than I did before, but I enjoy it (usually). Nick is happy too. He is a champ for eating lentils in some form 3 times a week and not killing me in my sleep. 

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