The thought of eating gluten-free has entered my mind on many occasions over the last few years; however, until recently, I avoided the experiment because I couldn’t really get my mind around not eating wheat. As a busy mom of two, I felt that my life was crazy enough without adding the stress of having to closely monitor everything I put into my mouth, plus I was hesitant to jump on the bandwagon that so many others seemed to be riding. I in no way doubt the legitimacy of those suffering from Celiac disease and other medically documented conditions, but could there exist a sensitivity that might not show up on a lab test yet still affect one’s life? I was skeptical to be sure.
Despite my reservations, I’ve listened with open ears to those around me who have removed gluten from their diet with positive results. Issues of lethargy, fatigue, depression, and joint pain have resolved for some of these friends, and since these are struggles that I’ve faced as well, I’ve decided to finally give it a go. Who knows what will happen over the course of this trial. I don’t have a specific timeline laid out, and for now I’m just taking it a day at a time. I imagine that the recipes that I post on the blog in the coming weeks will all be gluten-free, and I’ll also be sharing what I’m learning along the way. (For highlights of my gluten-free eating adventures, be sure check out my Instagram and Twitter feeds.)
As of today, I’ve been trying to eat this way for nearly a week, and I say “trying” because I haven’t been totally successful. Removing gluten is a big dietary change, especially when I’ve grown accustomed to eating more processed foods in recent months. This last year has been a doozy, and sometimes it’s been all I can do to warm up a frozen pizza for dinner. Pizza and other convenience meals aren’t the end of the world, and I think it’s perfectly fine to eat them in moderation, but I had become much more dependent upon them than I realized.
In addition, it has become evident to me how much refined sugar I have been consuming. Things like Girl Scout cookies are a tasty once-in-a-while treat, but when you grab a handful of Thin Mints instead of preparing a wholesome lunch, it doesn’t take a nutritionist to see that there’s a problem. Eating excessive amounts of processed foods and refined sugars isn’t necessarily related to the gluten issue, except that in becoming more mindful of my food choices, my eyes are being opened to the myriad areas for improvement.
My goal over the next great while is to return to a diet that is plant-based and that consists of a variety of whole foods. I’m eliminating wheat, but at present, I’m not seeking to replace it with alternative flours and various gluten-free substitutions for bread and pasta. Instead, I’ll be focusing on increasing my intake of other grains in their whole form – oats, corn, and rice – and, perhaps more importantly, eating many more fruits and vegetables. Nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, dairy, and meat are all going to be playing their parts in my diet. I’ve stumbled a lot these past few days, but I’m already feeling more empowered to make healthy choices for myself and my family.
As for the recipe that I’m sharing with you today, it’s a naturally gluten-free quiche that I adore. It’s not too eggy, the cheeses impart an excellent texture and flavor, and the addition of spinach makes it super easy to get a lot of greens. I’ve already made it twice in the last 4 days since the leftovers are ideal for quick weekday breakfasts. I hope you love it as much as we do.
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use butter or olive oil to lightly grease an 8x8 glass baking dish.
- In the jar of a blender, combine the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese, kosher salt, and pepper. Blend for about 20 seconds until smooth.
- Use clean hands to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the thawed spinach, then wrap it in a clean paper towel or tea towel and squeeze again. Discard the paper towel and transfer the spinach to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to break up the spinach into smaller pieces.
- To the mixing bowl, also add the cheddar cheese and blended egg mixture, stirring to thoroughly combine.
- Transfer the quiche mixture to the greased baking pan, use the back of a spoon to smooth out the top, then bake for 45-50 minutes until set.
- Remove the quiche from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Paula Deen.
I’m sure it goes without saying, but please be advised that none of this gluten-free talk should be construed as medical advice. I’m just a regular gal sharing my personal experience.