Pursuing Happiness: A New Attitude

Something has changed since cutting out gluten.  Something I didn’t expect.  I knew my diet would inevitably be different and habits and tastes would change, too.  But I didn’t expect a change in my attitude towards food.  I am, what many would consider, a picky eater.  Finnicky is a cooler word for it, I think.  I have very specific things that I like to eat and ways I like to eat them and I’m not usually open to changing those ways.  At least, I that’s how it was before I had to cut out gluten. 

Thanks to gluten’s pervasiveness in our food culture and my apparent extreme sensitivity to it, a lot of food is off limits now.  If so many options are automatically a no-go, why should I restrict myself from any other foods?  Or from exploring new ways to make my old faves?  I've actually enjoyed grocery shopping these last few weeks, wandering the aisles just to see what foods I’ve overlooked in the past.  I get excited when I find new products or random, never-heard-of-before gluten-free foods.  I find myself flipping through our cookbooks, tabbing the gluten-free recipes and wondering why I’ve waited so long to make their acquaintance.  Rather than passing time with social media, I roam the internet reading about all the strange and unfamiliar grains I can still eat or the latest and greatest gluten-free restaurants and bakeries around SF.   It’s like, as soon as my brain associated gluten with being sick - poof! - all my food finnickiness disappeared. 

I didn’t cooked a single pasta dish for four weeks.  As someone who loves pasta and is married to an Italian, that’s got to be some kind of record.  Instead, we've opened ourselves up to new meal options and found gluten-free dishes that were satisfying for both of us.  We’ve eaten things like zucchini and squash risotto made with a homemade vegetable and herb broth, hearty beef and vegetable stew, quesadillas (on rice tortillas!) with grilled chicken, sauteed mushrooms, and gruyere cheese, quinoa with crispy prosciutto, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice, and reggiano cheese.  We've since worked gluten-free pasta back into our weekly menu but we now have homemade Chinese dishes (with gluten-free soy sauce, of course!) and yummy new Vietnamese restaurants mixed in, too.  All things I probably wouldn't have tried before discovering my gluten sensitivity.

The picky finnicky eater in me is now focusing on the foods I would’ve ignored a month ago, the unfamiliar flavors I used to shy away from, and even the things I’ve never heard of before.  Speaking of which, has anyone else heard of sorghum?  I certainly hadn’t before last month, and I’m still not sure how to pronounce “sorghum.”  (Sor-gum …?  Sor-fum …?  Sor-goom …?)  Who knows.  But I’ll try to find it next time I'm at the grocery store stalking the aisles, on the hunt for my next great food adventure.  And I’ll do my darned-est to make it taste as good as it probably sounds.

Are you open to new foods?  Or do you prefer to stick to your tried-and-true faves?

PS - That's butternut squash risotto with rosemary and reggiano cheese in the picture up above.  The delicious and completely gluten-free recipe is coming soon!

(PS #2 - The link up for tomorrow's "Twosday" post will open at midnight California time tonight.  If you want to join the link up, just post two photos on Tuesday (tomorrow) of anything that catches your eye, with little to no words/text.  Can't wait to see what you come up with!)





  1. I'm glad that you're seeing your dietary change as a way to explore new foods - yes there are so many good GF things out there. Speaking of which, if you're interested in the health side of being GF, my cousin (a dr) is very into exploring the GF side of things for health reasons and he has a blog. Let me know if you'd like to read it.

  2. Yum! That looks really good! I have been considering GF eating lately too, as I've read some research about people with the same kidney disease as I have having some luck with it, and improving their health. It's really interesting!

  3. I'm thinking about trying this myself... I'm glad you're having so much
    success and enjoying new flavors. I love trying new foods and flavor
    combos but I'm intimidated by cutting out everything with gluten. It's

    Btw, I'm pretty sure it's "sore-gum" :)

  4. This is awesome! Though I don't have any food allergies, I could definitely relate to this post in the context of revamping my whole diet this year. I'm very open to new foods and love nothing more than discovering a new (and delicious) recipe, but I was very stuck in a bad rut with my eating habits. I love grocery shopping now, and we usually take our time in the aisles to discover new foods that are tasty and still good for us. It's been really fun!

  5. It IS everywhere! It was definitely overwhelming at first, too, but once you figure out where gluten can be hidden, it gets easier to avoid it.

    Thanks for the clarification on 'sorghum.' That's how I was pronouncing it in my head but I never knew if it was right or not!

  6. Really? That's fascinating. It still amazes me how something so simple can affect so many people differently. If you do experiment with cutting it out, I'd be really curious to hear your results. :)

  7. I'd love to read it! Please send me the link. :)

  8. I was so stuck, we were basically eating the same 4 or 5 meals for dinner week after week. It's nice to break out of the rut and find something new. Variety is the spice of life, right? ;)

  9. This is him - don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions! http://bjjcaveman.com/

  10. that risotto looks amazing! and how great that you've been able to take your new diet and use it as a way to be more adventurous with meals!
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

  11. Oh my goodness. That risotto looks amazing, for starters. I've also been wondering what the heck sorghum is and, more importantly, how to pronounce it (haha). I'm really excited to read more of your Pursuing Happiness series! Thank you again!! :)


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