I. Feel. Like. Shit.
These were my first thoughts as I awoke this morning. I just feel like shit. In years gone by (or more truthfully, sometime last month) this thought would be attributed to some over-indulgence with alcohol. This time, however, alcohol is not the culprit, though the wounds were still self-inflicted: I have been on a bread binge, a gluten gorge, and now I’m paying the price.
It started on my 40th birthday. The guests had all left, my husband safely in bed and I was alone with a giant chocolate cake that I had completely ignored right up to 3 am. Then, I did the unthinkable. I took a fork to the cake and terrible things happened. After 6 months of being extra careful and dedicated, I cheated, I cheated hard. But it was a special occasion so I forgave myself immediately. And really, who could tell if it was the cake or the champagne the morning after?
Then up to the cottage I went, guests brought food, my husband showed up with wild blueberry pie (I love pie) and I often wasn’t the one doing the grocery shop, so I simply had to eat what everyone else was eating. Just little wee cheats here and there. After all, I didn’t want to be the fussy person at the table. I’m not celiac, I was on vacation … let the good times roll! But, in the last two weeks, I can’t tell you how many further betrayals there have been. I’ve been on 8 hour road trips, out for dinner with friends, guests in people’s homes, It even went south at my book club. It's a slippery slope and now I’m at the bottom. And I feel like shit.
If there was any ever doubt about what gluten does to me, there isn’t any more. It’s as if the effects of what I’ve eaten in the last two weeks is tenfold compared to any symptoms I was feeling before I gave up gluten. So back up on that horse I go. Cheating just isn’t worth it. (With the exception of the 40th birthday chocolate cake blowout - that was totally worth it.) So with my best foot forward, a healthy lunch of vegetarian salad rolls, which I have for obvious reasons renamed Relapse Rolls.
1/2 Red Pepper
2 inches of Cucumber
1/2 cup of Sprouts
1/2 an Avocado
1/4 cup Cilantro
2 Green onions
6 Rice paper wraps
The amounts above are what I used to make 6 wraps. You can adjust according to how many wraps you are making and the number of ingredients you are using. This isn't an exact recipe, but what you do want to do is slice everything as finely as possible, so a sharp knife is important. I use a cheese grater to shred the carrots, and slice everything else by hand. Prepare your filling by slicing the vegetables as finely as possible and set out before you. I also tend to select my fillings based on colour: they can be quite pretty if you choose a variety of coloured vegetables. The above are my favourites, but use whatever you enjoy. You can add to, or take away whatever you wish.
Fill a flat deep dish with warm water and soak one rice paper sheet at a time for about 20 — 30 seconds, until it is soft. Place the rice paper roll on a clean surface and then add the filling ingredient by ingredient on the bottom third of the wrap. Once you’ve added all the fillings roll the wrap away from you. At about the halfway point fold the left and right sides in to close the ends and then continue to roll away from you. The first few you do may look a little sloppy — don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it. My 7 year old did.
*I serve these with Saigon Soul Food’s Spicey Roasted Garlic Plum Sauce which I was introduced to at the Gluten Free Garage event I went to this spring. Saigon Soul Food also has a line of very delicious frozen spring rolls that are gluten free and are quite delicious. If you can find them, I recommend trying them