Possessed by Seitan (aka my failed attempt at vegetarianism)

I have been trying to eat healthier lately. I don’t like to call it “dieting” because that just makes something inside of me want to run and hoard (and eat) all of the yummiest, fattiest food in the world: chocolate, cashews, cheese (oh…cheese…), peanut butter…*wipes drool*…you catch my drift.

ice cream, haagen-dazs, diet

Do not look directly at the Haagen-Dazs. I repeat, do not look directly at the Haagen-Dazs. (Source: haagen-dazs.ca)

What was I saying? Oh yeah, eating healthier. So one of the things I’ve been doing is making sure I eat a source of lean protein with every meal. But I was getting sick and tired of chicken and fish. I mean, there are only so many days in a row that you look forward to eating tilapio – no matter how you jazz it up. A friend of mine, a vegetarian, told me about seitan (pronounced Seh-Tahn). Seitan is a very low-fat, non-animal source of protein made from wheat gluten (the sticky, glue-like stuff in wheat – the stuff that holds all the protein) and other herbs and spices added for flavor. She gave me a recipe and I jumped at the opportunity to try something new and healthy in the kitchen. After all, if I’m going to go against Martha Stewart in a DIY-off to take over her world empire, I have to be at my home-made healthiest.

Although the recipe sounded quite involved, it was pretty easy. Make a “dough”, let it rest while you make a broth flavored with chicken stock, ginger, garlic, seaweed, and some soy sauce (I opted out of this because soy sauce, even Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (natural soy sauce) is chock-a-block full of sodium).

Everything was coming together. I took a moment to pat myself on the back. I was trying something new and it was working! Take that, Martha.

The broth was ready and the “dough”, or “meat” had rested and now was the time to slice it, stretch it and put it in the broth to cook for awhile. First off, I *might* have cut the pieces too big because these suckers were puffing up the size of footballs. Well, maybe not that big, but pretty big. A lot bigger than those 3.5 ounces of chicken and fish I’d been eating. I was really starting to like this whole plant-based protein/seitan idea.

After about an hour, I lifted the dense mini-footballs out of the broth and set them aside to cool. I did it! They looked great. I stretched off a sticky, gooey piece of seitan and tasted it. It was pretty good, although I did picture it tasting better if it was deep fried…Still, I was committed to my resolve to eat clean, be healthy, and beat Martha Stewart at everything.

The next day I had packed my lunch and sliced (well, kind of slice/tore) the seitan on top of organic greens. I enjoyed my lunch, savoring every bite.

Shortly after, I started not to feel well. My face and hands started to feel like they were expanding like a helium balloon, except instead of feeling light and airy with an Alvin and the Chipmunks voice, I felt bloated and heavy. And upset to my stomach. In the car. During a five-hour drive to the cottage. On bumpy back roads. Without the convenience of rest stops every few miles. Thankfully I wasn’t driving. But I was so uncomfortable.

This wholesome and nutritious source of protein had infiltrated my digestive system and wreaked havoc. My intestines were possessed by seitan, or should I say, Satan.

I’ll spare you the details of what happened after that, but it’s safe to say that I unknowingly confirmed my suspicions that I am indeed sensitive to gluten and should never, ever have it again.

Martha Stewart, you have won this round…for now. Somehow after my seitan possession, I’m more excited to go back to eating chicken and fish. Tomorrow night’s menu: BBQ’d curry chicken breasts and, my personal favorite, kale chips: clean, healthy and free of Satan – I mean seitan.


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