I haven’t been drooling looking at Maggi packs and haven’t even snatched a single roti from my man’s hands, so I can safely say that my wheat-free month has been going well. I must be honest with you though, it hasn’t been a cake walk (ooohh I miss cake!). There are three major challenges that I’m facing this month. To counter these challenges I had to start planning a little better and hunt for wheat-free substitutes.
1. Breakfast battles…
Eggs, Cornflakes, poha and idlis made me a tad over-confident that a wheat-free breakfast will not be a problem. It is not so satisfying to have fried eggs or an omelette without bread, I don’t like cornflakes, I miss eating hot upma and idlis are way too much work for the morning. After a futile game of denial, hunger, anger followed by tears of hunger in the morning, I made a plan for better wheat-free breakfast. After a grocery run I was able to crack the wheat-free breakfast problem.
- Besan or Moong Dal Cheela with tomatoes; is made with a thick batter of dal, chilli and salt along with chopped tomatoes and coriander leaves. Why tomatoes you ask? If you’re making roasted gram flour (besan) cheela, they dry out and crack in the middle without the moisture from tomatoes.
- Rajgira Upma or Jowar Upma; Roasted, puffed Amaranth grain or Jowar Rava is available online as well as in Organic stores. While both upmas are made using the same flavourings as a regular wheat upma, ragira upma absorbs very little water and cooks instantly while jowar rava absorbs more water and takes five to seven minutes longer than wheat upma to cook.
- Thalipeeth – Wheat-free, with a great combination of grains, dals and flavouring. Thalipeeth is a traditional Maharashtrian flavoured pancake. The flour is a mixture of rice flour, dals and flavourings, it is affordable and easily available in Mom-n-Pop stores. Just mix the flour with a little water, pour the batter on a non stick tava and cook it in cow’s ghee.
2. Tea-Time Snack solutions
Again, planning was key, but I replaced biscuits, bread, samosas, bhakarwadi and vada pavs with murmura, chana, sev, makhana and chakli.
3. Finding Food to-go
Sandwiches, roti wraps and rolls were out of question, and it is the worst when you haven’t thought it through before leaving from home. Moong Dal wadas, Bhel, Vada or Omelette without the Pav are good options. I have also started carrying a pack of Til Vadis (Sesame laddoos or chikki), this allows me to munch on something on the go. When I want to pack a lunch from home, I go with vegetable patty with salad and chutney.
The key to giving up one of the most common ingredients in our daily diet is plan. Plan. Plan. I think this is true for anything but more so when you’re trying to eat well. It helped when I thought it through, made a list and went to shop for Wheat-free options. I am not sure if it is the wheat or other lifestyle changes like meditation and exercise but I am feeling lighter and happier lately.
There is only a week left in my wheat-free month. I was lucky enough to enjoy a delicious Amaranth flour based cake last week, which my sister baked for me. It turned out to be the best homemade chocolate cake that I’ve ever tasted. The upside is that leaving wheat has pushed me to explore other grains and unique options. We don’t realise how dependent we are on something until we give it up. If you’re planning to try this or have tried it already feel free to comment below to ask questions, share tips or just say hi. On the days when I haven’t planned what I’m going to eat, I end up feeling hungry and frustrated. Exactly the way I am feeling right now, so I better go and play with some bajra dough and try shaping it into rotis!
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