gluten break

I am at it again. Yet another attempt to take a break from gluten. I am convinced, based on positive evidence from past adventures, that lessening or eradicating gluten from my diet does help some with my autoimmune condition. Gluten is supposed to trigger inflammation, and my condition is a kind of vasculitis, which is inflammation of the blood vessels. I’ve also just felt better in general when I shy away from foods high in gluten, no specific scientific explanation from me on this though.

The blunt truth here is that one has to be able to afford the expense, if one wishes to eat healthier, or if one has weird illnesses or unusual physical or neurological conditions. The same goes for being environmentally friendly, or eating and buying with half a conscience at all. When one is this poor, saving money is impossible, let alone spending  and eating ethically. So, it is with going gluten free. I just simply cannot afford to buy gluten free specialty products. But the way I do it is to just avoid all the foods that are obviously laden with gluten or gluten based. Wheat noodles. Pasta. Bread. Pastries. Cakes. Cereals. I also try to use fresh produce more. The rest of the time, I cannot avoid the stuff if it turns up in a tin of tomatoes, corn, cheese, soy milk or whatnot that I buy cheap from the shelves. Tapioca and rice flour are also good substitutes for wheat flour, and although these are pricier than wheat flour here in Sydney, the added expense is still quite affordable. (In South East Asia, these flours are really cheap!) I am lucky that the Asian diet is not laden in gluten, not unless you like the greasy glutinous stuff they serve in Chinese Buddhist vegetarian restaurants. I don’t. So I am fine with the simple staples.

OK, so why the sudden craze for vegetables? Well, I had my first try at ordering groceries online from Harris Farms Direct. I’ve always liked these guys, though there have been hits and misses along the way, I like what they stand for. And their Asian veggies are usually cheaper than at Coles. The only one issue I’ve had with their Asian veggies is that they tend to overgrow them and hence the tough, stringy texture of the vegetables. They were offering some Asian veg at only 99 cents a bunch, and 3 free deliveries before the end of August, so I jumped at the chance. I’d requested for a drop off between 6-7pm, but someone called me on the phone to tell me they will be late. The person on the phone also told me that one of the bunches of veg that I’d ordered was not so fresh, and so they did not charge me for it, though they’d included it in my box anyway. The delivery guy came they forgot to give me one of my boxes, and I myself, tired out by then, failed to realise the error. An hour or so later, the delivery chap returned with the missing box, most apologetic. I was struck by his gentle manner.

Well, the said “not so fresh” choy sum was an overgrown giant bunch, slightly yellowing at the leaves. Still good. I thought of the poor folks who hunt around the veggie markets in Asia, picking up the stuff that the stallholders discard, still good to eat, and I told myself, why not? No point wasting. So I sliced up the good bits, and tossed them into my stir fry. The bean sprouts were the freshest I’ve ever had since coming to Sydney. They kept well in the fridge and lasted an entire week, even after opening the pack. Oh, and guess what, the rice vermicelli is much cheaper at Harris Farms than at Coles! (Yes, the soy sauce is more expensive than at Aldi, but Aldi do not offer delivery.)

No complaints, quite the opposite. I understand what happens when a new system or service is implemented and there are endless hiccups. In fact, I am very pleased. I don’t have a car, and I am not strong enough to carry all the stuff up and down the bus on my own. After that experience with the bus doors closing on me, I am also reluctant to overload my trolley again. So, Harris Farms Direct online, I shall return!

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