an omnivore’s quandary


I am an omnivore, through and through. I’ve never subscribed to removing an entire category of food from my diet, (aside from the overly-processed kind), though from time to time I eat less of something or take a break from it for a season. For me, cooking is life, and sharing a good homemade meal is true joy. If you’re like me, and you read a lot about food, you may be weary of the changing tides of nutritional advice. Nutrition tends to be a rather inexact science, given the very individual response to food, and even though we all need the basics (protein, carbs, fat), there’s never a diet that’s perfect for everyone. What is important is that you listen most carefully to your own body and determine what works for yourself. 

Nonetheless, in conversations I keep hearing of more and more people who have difficulty with gluten, dairy, or both. They feel better or eliminate chronic symptoms when they eat less of these two things, or not at all, which may indicate the presence of a developed sensitivity or allergy to that food. And although as I stated above, I like to eat everything, unfortunately my husband and I find ourselves dealing with this problem as well; he with dairy, and myself with wheat. With that being said, we don’t feel the absolute necessity to completely eliminate either wheat or dairy from our diets, but rather reduce the amount we consume and find better alternatives. In our case that means using wheat with less gluten, eating more grains with no gluten, using raw cow or goat milk, and making alternatives such as nut milks and coconut milk. In any case, I do believe it’s worth trying a period of time without eating gluten or dairy to see how you feel, and you’ll find my reasoning in this low-key and informative post. If you find that entirely eliminating gluten and dairy works better for you than simply reducing the amount you eat, then by all means, do what your body responds best to.

In the future I’ll be adding a gluten-free and dairy-free category to the recipe index, with an intention to post more recipes that fit either or both of those categories, while still publishing those that contain wheat or dairy. In the meantime, I’ve come across a delectable recipe for a gluten-free blueberry-olive oil muffin which I’ve made several times in the last month. Each time I modified it a bit, reducing the sweetness for my taste, but the basic flavors are a wonderful combination. You can also find many more excellent recipes without gluten on Aran Goyoaga‘s beautifully photographed blog Cannelle et Vanille. To make the slightly adapted muffin you see pictured above, use the ingredients listed for the recipe, except substitute 1/3 cup maple syrup for the entire combined amount (3/4 cup) of dry sugars, reduce the olive oil to 1/3 cup, and also reduce the coconut milk to 1/3 cup. One of the techniques Aran uses to bring out the flavor of the lemon zest is to rub it together with the dry sugars to release the oils. Since I used maple syrup to replace the dry sugars, instead, using my fingers I rubbed the zest together with the teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon from the combined measured flours, stirred it back into the dry ingredients, and rubbed everything into the flour with my fingers a little more. Take the recipe’s advice to use paper muffin liners in the muffin tin, and scoop the batter into each liner; this makes the muffins much easier to remove after baking than if you don’t. Served with a thick Spanish-style omelet, this makes a sweet weekend brunch. Take a little time this weekend and spread the joy.

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