I love everything about summer. I love the weather. I love the long days. I love the food. My friends accuse me of being crazy, because the hotter it is -the better I like it. I love to barbeque and go running and eat summer pasta salads. And to paraphrase Shakespeare – Aye, there’s the rub …. The traditional pasta salad shells have lots of gluten in them.
Before I discovered I had gluten intolerance, I was often sick. As a result, my skin actually began to turn grayish. I wasn’t getting proper nutrition, because my intestines weren’t working right.
It took a while to be officially diagnosed with Celiac disease, and in the meantime my body was sending all kinds of signals. It’s like seeing smoke signals and not being able to interpret the clues, but you know there’s a fire somewhere. Now that I watch what I eat, my skin is a normal healthy color again. The last thing I want to do is eat summer pasta, or other traditional summer foods like ice cream, and get sick all over again. But oh how I love summer!
I became determined to find a way to continue enjoying the wonderful summer foods and summer events. After being sick on and off for so long, enjoying summer has taken on new meaning. There is no reason to feel as if you will be left out of the fun. As a Celiac, I promise you full summer enjoyment! For starters, just think about the delicious summer produce like apricots and sweet corn on the cob. I can eat all the fresh fruits and vegetables I want during the summer. I think of summer fruits and vegetables as special treats to be savored.
Also during the summer, the fish is fresher. I buy lots of fish at the supermarket and cook it on the grill. Yes, I often barbeque fish. In this way I enjoy the summer barbeque experience while eating foods that are good for me. Fish also does not tempt me to use sauces that may contain gluten thickeners. I lay fish fillets on foil and sprinkle them with pepper and garlic powder. Then I slice onions and lemon or orange slices and lay them on top of the fish. I put small cubes of butter on top of the onion and fruit rings and close the foil. The packets are laid on the grill and the fish cooks inside the foil. The result is delightful!
Summer is fresh spinach, rhubarb, goat’s milk cheese, strawberries and rosy apples. Summer is raspberries, squash, fresh dill, and green beans. I pickle cucumber slices in the refrigerator, roast fresh pork chops in the oven, and make homemade coleslaw with gluten free mayonnaise.
I also even make gluten free pasta summer salads. I obviously cannot use pasta containing wheat, but there are so many gluten free pastas made now. The original gluten free pastas did not cook very well, because they turned too soft. But today the new pasta products for gluten free living are much more comparable to regular pasta. There is rice pasta and corn based pasta for starters. I use the gluten free mayonnaise again and add a variety of the summer vegetables. I add cherry tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms or fresh peas. Gluten free living means learning to add flavor to foods through the use of spices. I have a cabinet full of spices that have been certified as gluten free. I am free to reach into my cabinet and use any spice on the shelf with no worries.
You must approach summer gluten free living as a way to enjoy the summer bounty worry free. You can even make gluten free homemade ice cream if it gets too hot outside. Kick off your shoes, sit back in the lawn chair, and be thankful you are healthy and whole! Summer is coming and it’s going to be great!
Here are some other tasty dishes you can bring on your next summer picnic:
Bacon & Potato Salad
Curried Chicken Skewers with Almond Satay Sauce
Pineapple & Cucumber Salad