I’ve been back to being a vegan for a little over a month now, and despite my sincere hopes that my wheat allergy would disappear with my new eating style, I can safely say that more than one serving of bread or other wheat product leaves me with stiff, swollen joints and a headache. I will try again in a few months, but will probably have to accept that eating wheat pastas and breads is something to avoid. I’ve tried a few brands of rice pastas, and while they are effective vehicles for sauce, they don’t do much for me in terms of texture and flavor. I will keep sampling options and share what I find. I will also try to make pasta from other grains, although it may take some trial and error to get the proportions and technique right.

Bread is a bigger problem for me than pasta; not only do I enjoy eating bread and bagels, I like to bake. In DC last weekend, I ate with family at a neighborhood café that served the most beautiful pizzas I’ve seen in a while. In addition to my rapini (broccoli raab), I ate other people’s pizza crusts and the bread that came with the appetizer. It was delicious, but in the morning I woke feeling slightly hungover and with puffy ankles. This was followed by several days of hotel stay and a conference, and in negotiating multiple vegan meals from an omnivore’s buffet, I ate some pasta and bread. I returned home feeling even worse. The pleasant feeling of robust good health of the previous weeks had disappeared. It was time to eradicate gluten from my diet.

In anticipation of yet another snowed-in weekend, I decided to treat myself to some gluten-free prepared items at the grocery store. Amy’s Kitchen (providers of great frozen natural food for more than 2 decades) provides a search function on their website that allows users to find products based on criteria including dairy free, low fat, gluten free, cholesterol free, lactose free, vegan, soy free, tree nut free and corn free: http://www.amys.com/products/search.php. After selecting “vegan” and “gluten free,” I learned that Amy’s makes 59 products that meet my criteria. Pictures, a brief description, and a link to a pop-up nutritional information window are provided in list form. Armed with this knowledge, I set off to buy a selection of products. Much to my disappointment, the only non-soup items available were two different kinds of pizza, the Single Serve Non-Dairy Rice Crust Cheeze Pizza and Rice Crust Spinach Pizza. I bought a single-serving pizza ($5.99), which I ate for lunch today. It is very different in taste and texture from a conventional pizza, but like all of Amy’s products, is very tasty. I highly recommend this!

Finally, I decided to try a bread recipe that I had been admiring since my vegan aunt sent me the link to http://www.peterandrewryan.com/baking/2010/01/almost-no-knead-bread/. I think of it as 24-hour bread, because it requires a very long (8-18 hours) rise, but the time rising does the work of kneading. It really is as easy as the instructions suggest, and my loaf was almost as pretty as the one in the picture. I’m sure this will be a nice bread to share with friends, although I won’t be eating much of it. Pete’s site is full of tasty (not necessarily) vegan recipes and gorgeous food pictures. Enjoy!

Update to Pete's bread recipe - I've made 2 loaves, both with lemon juice instead of vinegar. The first collapsed when I tried to score it deeply, so I just made a shallow slit in the second loaf and it came out much better.  This really is an easy recipe for a beautiful, tasty loaf.  I'll start living gluten-free on Monday...

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Comments

02/05/2010 13:54

You are forced to share! I'll be a willing recipient of your bread - or, at the least, of that bread recipe. Bread is next on my list of foods to make myself.

I, too, have found Amy's to be a good (tasty and reasonably healthy) pre-made option; not your usual frozen food.

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    Mary Alzire

    Thank you for taking the time to visit my site.  You can comment on any post by clicking its title. I welcome your comments and questions.

    "The Year of the Vegan" is a diary of my challenges and triumphs during 2010 - a year in which I will not consume any animal products. This commitment is motivated by my disgust about the hidden and externalized environmental, social and societal  costs of our nation's food network. Join me considering what we eat, and why.

    This year is also a year of personal transitions - from graduate student and freelance writer living in rural southwestern Virginia to fully-employed DC resident.

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