Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gluten Free Chinese Food?

Note for my new followers: I, along with four others in my family, have an autoimmune disease called Celiac's Disease. I'm sure many of you have heard of it. Essentially if we eat gluten (the binding protein in wheat, rye, barley and some oats) our immune systems attack our small intestines. Other parts of our bodies can also be attacked causing headaches, fatigue, joint pain, rashes, fainting, extreme stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Over time if someone with Celiac does not eat gluten free their body experiences more and more harm from itself which can lead to other autoimmune diseases and thyroid conditions amongst other things. My twin sister and I were diagnosed when we were only 1-year-old but due to lack of knowledge about Celiac's Disease 21 years ago we have eaten gluten our whole lives, until last winter that is. We've struggled at times to remain gluten-free and are still learning what all has gluten in it. To be safe I usually stick to things that are known to be gluten-free such as unaltered meats, fruits and vegetables as well as things that specifically say that they're gluten-free.

As you all know, I have weaknesses. One of them being adorable dogs that I can train or cuddle or look at. Another is food, which explains part of the reason for my current battle with my weight (up 50 lbs from my lowest ever weight four years ago, 40 lbs from my wedding two years ago). My weight is affected not only by my love of food but also by depression, my suspected thyroid condition (that I still have yet to get re-checked! I better get on that!), and from eating gluten despite Celiac.

You see, when we realized that my Celiac was likely the cause of my extreme 8-week-long illness in November/December last year I decided to just cut out gluten. Little did I know what all that would entail. I've ignored my body on a number of occasions since then and have seen and felt not only physical but also emotional repercussions. I've indulged in pizza, cheese bread, pie, cake, a simple sandwich, burgers with buns, and who knows what else. When not indulging in gluten-filled deliciousness I indulged in other ways. Did you know Skitt1es and St@rbursts are gluten-free? As are L@y's potato chips? So are potatoes, pudding, cheese, chocolate! amongst other delicious not so good for you items? Needless to say my want for gluten re-directed itself and fueled my love of sugar, salt and calories to a higher than ever before level. One week I decided I was going to only eat things that are naturally gluten-free meaning fruit and eggs for breakfast, salad and fruit for lunch and salad and meat for dinner. I didn't admit how many calories cheese has in it so I used it quite a bit and I wasn't using g-free r@nch to my horror but in that one week I lost 5 lbs! Being so restricted on my diet was hard though and I quickly slipped back into eating half a bag of L@y's at a time and have a candy bar a day and drinking soda. Thankfully without the gluten influence I've only gained back 1 pound but I'm still far, far from where I am comfortable being.

With some changes that Alex and I have made recently I've decided to get out of my "funk" and venture beyond salads and nachos (oi, the calories in those things!). I love Chinese food! Beyond just the pan fried noodles Chinese food is full of gluten. Soy sauce has gluten in it. You know how many Chinese dishes have soy sauce in them? All of them, other than maybe rice. Friday I decided I was going to make a g-free dinner, something with taste in it as I believe part of my longing for candy is the lack of varied tastes in my diet. So my online search for something fun and tantalizing to make began(of course I ignored the g-free cookbooks I have). At only the second site I visited I came across Sesame Chicken. For real? I couldn't believe my eyes, g-free sesame chicken! Could I make it? I didn't care if I could, I was going to try, if it turned out awful we could always eat a salad.

We ventured to the store and got all the ingredients needed, some of which were difficult to find, and I got started. Oh, it was so fun! I borrowed my mom's wok and felt like I was actually cooking something, not just heating up chicken, turkey or beef! You see, I'm not a cook. I find cooking to be boring. Stirring and flipping and peeling and seasoning, blah. This was fun though! Seeing it come together and smelling it actually begin to smell like real Chinese food was amazing! I invited Coreena over to try it but she didn't come, then I invited my older sister and her two children who have Celiac over but they didn't come. That left a ton of delicious food for Alex and I.
So it didn't turn out quite like the picture on her website but I didn't mind, I'm under no illusions that I'm a chef! Let's just say it was so good we couldn't stop eating it and ate way more than our stomachs could comfortably handle! I'll definitely be venturing out to try more recipes soon!

Next time, though, I'll be sure to give us much smaller portions so we don't fill ourselves to exploding! Hopefully eating tasty g-free food will limit the amount of not so healthy calorie-packed treats I want which in turn with regular exercise (walking the dogs in the mornings, using my parents' exercise equipment and my newfound joy of jogging [albeit jogging, walking, jogging at this point]) will help me to shed the extra weight healthily and consistently. A great motivator is seeing photos of myself, while I don't post most of them, be assured, they're not "pretty"! Enjoy your gluteny-goodness, or your g-free treats, whichever way you roll!


  1. So what's the recipe? You got us all excited about sesame chicken, and leave us hangin'?

  2. The Sesame Chicken is link, although I never actually visit my own blog anymore, maybe I should to see that it's not an obvious link! It's a GREAT recipe!