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09 June 2013

Forgetting my taste expectations

I've been gluten-free for over a week now, and it's been an adjustment. I have to think so much more about what I eat, and that alone is a huge adjustment. It's all definitely worth it because I'm already feeling better. I'm sleeping better at night and I haven't had the same degree of stomach issues that I had been dealing with. I've had one or two stomach issues in the past week, but I've been able to eat regularly despite them. This is a huge change from feeling ill almost every day and not being able to eat until mid-afternoon on most days. I'm also feeling less weakened and tired all the time. All in all, the shift into a gluten-free lifestyle has been worth it. Many restaurants are now listing gluten-free options and, if I keep my eyes open, I find a lot of gluten-free options in the grocery store. In fact, today at Target, I encountered a ton of gluten-free options in the baking aisle. Maybe my love of baking hasn't been crushed completely!

The new hurdle that I'm dealing with is with taste and texture. So many normal food options have a gluten-free variety available now. Beer, chips, pasta, snacks ... people are definitely aware of the need for gluten-free. Of course, I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about various gluten-free goods, so I've been eager to try them out. I tried my first gluten-free beers this weekend, made with sorghum and honey.

First of all, they were good. But I was disappointed in what they tasted like. Why? Because I was expecting it to taste like beer. But it doesn't. It's tastes good, just not like what I'm used to.

A rather tasty gluten-free option from a brewery I enjoy.
This one was good, too. 
As I mentioned earlier, Target's baking aisle is a celiac's dream. Lots of gluten-free treats. Since we were having friends over tonight and I wanted to make sure we had a dessert. After lots and lots of back and forth, I decided on chocolate chip cookies. This variety was actually free of everything -- eggs, dairy, wheat ... -- which wasn't as important to me as just being gluten-free. But I figured they were worth a try.

Again, first of all, they were tasty. But, again, I was disappointed with the taste and texture. Why? Because, again, I was expecting one thing and got another. They didn't taste like the chocolate chip cookies that I'm used to and that I love. The texture was more granular, and there wasn't nearly as much flavor as I had hoped. But they were good, and everyone enjoyed eating them before, during, and after dinner.

This whole gluten-free lifestyle change has me realizing that I need start over from scratch with all my previously enjoyed tastes and texture preferences. Nothing I ever eat that is gluten-free will ever be exactly what I remember it tasting like before I went gluten-free. I'm sure this is a period of adjustment and that with time I'll not even remember what things tasted like before going gluten-free. But, for now, I need to retrain my mouth and my taste buds. I need to approach food with no expectations or previous understandings of what this should taste like or how they should feel in my mouth. This may be the hardest part. 

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