Friday, January 6, 2012

New year, new resolutions

The Beet

Express Staff Writer

It's 2012, and you know what that means—the apocalypse is coming. Okay, maybe not, and only if the Mayans were right when they made their calendar several thousand years ago.

Apocalypse aside, it is the beginning of a new year. This generally incites feelings of dread, regret and anxiety in even the most emotionally stable. We reflect on everything we failed to do over the past year (lose 10 pounds, run a marathon, finally clean out the junk drawer) and vow to do all that and more in the upcoming year.

We will run two marathons, lose 20 pounds and clean the entire house, throwing out all superfluous junk, and live like the Environmental Resource Center has been urging us to do---simply, without excess packaging or things like aluminum cans and paper plates.

In short, we will be super-people and make sure 2012 is the first year we were able to accomplish every single one of our resolutions.

Unlikely, yes? But I fall prey to this compulsion every year. Even though the end of 2011 saw me 10 pounds lighter than the beginning and fully capable of running a 5K, there are things I didn't do that haunt me.

One of those things is attempting to go gluten-free. After some health problems and watching a friend with similar issues reach the pinnacle of good health simply by eliminating gluten from her diet, I decided at some point this summer that I should try to eliminate wheat and its gluten-containing compatriots from my diet.

Easier said than done. Do you know what contains wheat? Bread, the food of life. Pasta, the key to my carb-loving heart. Baked goods, which have gotten me through many a horrid deadline day. Even oatmeal, which ostensibly should be gluten-free, is often cross-contaminated (don't ask me how) with gluten.

Going gluten-free, even for a month, will certainly be a challenge. There are strange flours like tapioca and rice that must be used, xanthan gum to bind baked goods together and squishy pasta that bears no textural resemblance to the shells, tubes and spirals I love so much.

But it might be worth it just to say that I tried it, even if I fail. After all, that's what resolutions should be about, trying to make your life better but not beating yourself up if they are more stress than they are worth.

While I am eating this Brussels sprouts salad instead of my mom's chocolate chip cookies—and deciding whether it's worth the potential lack of health problems—I'll be thinking of you, sweating it out on the treadmill or buried in the contents of that closet you haven't entered since 1986. Misery loves company, right?


Brussels sprouts salad

From the food blog Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

24 Brussels sprouts, washed, dried and trimmed

8 oz Gruyere cheese, grated fine

6 oz walnuts, broken into small pieces

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

9 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Slice the Brussels sprouts thinly into ribbons. Put the sprouts in a large bowl with the cheese and walnuts.

Put the apple cider vinegar, olive oil and mustard into a small jar, along with salt and pepper to taste. Put on the lid and shake the jar until the vinaigrette has come together.

Dress the salad with the vinaigrette. Toss and serve.

Katherine Wutz:

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