Sunday, 8 November 2009

On being a soy and gluten intolerant vegan

I realised fairly recently that something I'd always taken as one of my key foodstuffs doesn't go down too well with me. I was always a big eater of bread (when I was cycling in Spain I'd often go through two big loaves a day!) and had never associated the tummy aches and digestive issues that seemed my lot with the consumption of gluten. When I went on the 'vegan paleo' diet in September, I noticed something strange. I'd completely cut out all sources of gluten and I felt great! No tummy aches, no inexplicable tiredness following meals, nothing at all.

Once I made that connection, I did a little experiment and sure enough, after eating two pieces of toast, I felt that familiar pain in the gut. While I do really enjoy a well baked (preferably German) loaf of bread, it's just not worth it. The same thing (except with an even more rapid and severe onset) happens if I eat soy. So as from about a month ago, I've decided to go completely gluten free.

At first this move was a little troubling because I was cutting out a whole food group that I used to really enjoy and rely on. But rather than feel limited by this restriction, I've decided to embrace it. I'm not really interested in gluten free substitutes for conventional meals. All the gluten free baked goods and pastas seems to be at least twice as expensive and a pale imitation of the original product. So instead of shelling out $$$ for sprouted spelt 'bread', I began to search for vegan dishes that have always been gluten free and taste great.

The first stop was Indian food. I've always loved curries and dahls and in fact, basically all South Indian food is gluten free simply because it's not a good place to grow wheat! So I've been trying out all combinations of spices and flavours, trying to replicate the kind of dishes you find over there and it's a lot of fun! Delicious too:)

This morning, as a way of procrastinating (I have an exam in 5 hours), I cooked up some Chilean Black eyed beans with pumpkin with a Cabbage Kolambu to go with it. To be honest it wasn't a very good combination, but individually they were delicious! The Chilean dish is definitely going in my list of favourites.

Chilean Black eyed beans with pumpkin

Cabbage Kolambu (not the most appealing photo:P I slopped it in the same bowl I'd eaten the Chilean dish from:P)

Training has been pretty light with just a few short (20 minutes) runs with 72s 400m reps thrown in at the end. Motivation has been low especially when it's been so hot (33 degrees yesterday!). I'm not acclimatised to it and am dreading the Australian summer. It'd sure be nice to be in Europe again to avoid it..

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