A gluten-free diet can be incredibly restricting, but Beth Manos Brickey aims to show people what they can eat – without resorting to processed food – on her blog, Tasty Yummies.
“After many years of unexplained digestive issues, chronic migraines, and a weakened immune system, I started a 30 day supplement-supported cleanse with a chiropractor friend,” says Beth. “We removed all common allergens to reset my body, getting it back to a neutral state. I then slowly began reintroducing foods to see how my body reacted.”
Beth discovered a severe intolerance to gluten. She removed it from her diet ten years ago, and began to focus more on seasonal produce five years ago. However, her focus is not on restriction, but on celebrating food.
“I enjoy eating: it’s fun, emotional, and a way for me to connect with others and my community. Whenever I have gotten into counting and measuring, treating it like science, it becomes a chore and I feel like I lose that connection,” says Beth. “I consider myself an intuitive eater. I feel like I am in tune enough with my body to know when I have overdone it or when I need a little more of something.”
Yoga is another way for Beth to grow the connection with her body. She’s been practicing for over eight years and now teaches yoga.
“For me it is just continuing the mindfulness. Whether in my kitchen or on my yoga mat, I try to live with a conscious awareness towards my actions,” says Beth. “Taking time out of my day, even if it’s just five minutes, to move my body, tune into my breath, and break up the cyclical habits of everyday busy living allows me to stay connected to myself and my purpose. When choosing the foods I consume and use to create recipes, it’s more of the same. The smallest of changes and choices can make a difference.”
Beth furthers the connection to her body and to her community through eating seasonally, and has a few tips for how to eat locally on a budget.
She says, “Visit local farmers’ markets or connect with a local CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. Share weekly deliveries with a friend. There is something so powerful about actually shaking the hand that feeds you and your family.”
Gluten-free living can be associated with mysterious ingredients such as hemp seeds or psyllium husks, but Beth brings clarity to the lifestyle through Tasty Yummies.
“Hemp seeds are a complete plant based protein. I add them to veggie bowls, blend them into dressings, and add them to my morning smoothies,” says Beth. “Psyllium husks give a better rise to baked goods like pizza crusts or flatbreads. I even love adding a small amount to grain-free cookies to make them chewier.”
For those still struggling to navigate gluten-free eating, Beth says, “Don’t get hung up on trying to recreate the foods you have always eaten. Instead, celebrate and explore the unending list of foods that are naturally gluten-free. Each time you go to the market, grab produce or a gluten-free grain you’ve never cooked with or tasted. Bring it home and challenge yourself to make something new. Get creative and play; be adventurous.”
Check out Beth’s guide for those new to gluten-free living on her blog.