Baking Season


It’s been almost a year of dairy-free, gluten-free eating for me. I’m a long way from perfect at this. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that I’m on a gluten-less and dairy-less diet. But it’s been a long while since I’ve had a plate of pasta or a slice of pizza, and that’s saying something. I rarely drink a beer, and I don’t really eat cake and cookies. I’m miles away from where I was last year.

People regularly ask me if I feel better this way, and I wish I could say that I did. Feeling actual ramifications of dairy and gluten would probably help me to refrain from eating them. Instead, I can only make assumptions about what might be happening in my brain and hope that this is a good choice over the long haul.

So it is only the limited strength of my flimsy will power that’s helping me get through this holiday season. There are a lot of religious and secular meanings to Christmas, and for me, eating indulgently is definitely part of it. Here’s what I’d like to be eating: biscuits, pound cake, corn pudding, cookies, cheesecake, pancakes, cinnamon rolls. I’m eating almost none of that. And I haven’t been trying very hard to find substitutes either. Gluten-free pumpkin brownies from Gluten Free Gus are very delicious, but a pumpkin brownie is not the same as a sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles. It’s no use pretending.

So far I’m handling this by trying to bake but not necessarily eat all the things that mean Christmas. I can give lots of it away so that there’s baked-goods-joy to be shared with everybody else. Just because I’ve changed my eating habits doesn’t mean that we all need to be subjected to something called xanthum gum. And if I eat a sliver of pound cake, it’s not going to kill me.

With about a week to go, I feel pretty good. I’m not completely deprived, but I also don’t feel I’ve been run over by the holiday bus. And I don’t feel like I’m undoing all the work I’ve done in the past year. Moderation and restraint are not my usual holiday m.o., but they actually seem to be working pretty well this year.

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