We are not going to cook Christmas dinner this year. Marty wasn’t able to get the day off work so we decided it would be easier to go out for a meal. I cooked dinner the last couple of years and it was a challenge finding the ingredients I wanted. This year we have a new one – I’m on a gluten-free diet. There is a theory that eating gluten makes my thyroid disease worse. I have a thyroid hormone that has not been improving with medication and it’s possible that changing my diet will help. I’ve been gluten-free for a couple of months now and I’m certainly doing a lot better than I did this time last year.
Being gluten-free in Japan is not easy. I never thought of wheat as an ingredient in Japanese cooking but it’s everywhere. The main problem is that there is gluten in soy sauce. There is even gluten in most tamari, though I have often heard it described as wheat-free soy sauce. Eating out has become a challenge. I can’t eat noodles, tempura, ton katsu, or yakitori. I have been avoiding my favourite French restaurant as the smell of the bread drives me mad. I can still eat Indian food, but I really do miss pasta and pizza.
Bread is becoming very popular in Japan. The coffee shop I study in on weekdays does not contain a single thing that I can eat. I can bake my own things but I need to be careful about the flour I use. Rice flour is naturally gluten-free but lots of the rice flour here has gluten added to it to make it easier to bake with. There are no gluten-free bread or pasta products in the local shops I was told that that it is possible to buy bread made with rice flour but all the ones I have seen also contain wheat. I have been able to find a few things online but they are expensive and since I do cook a lot of my own food I have just made other things.
I did order a couple of things from the UK and I am looking forward to trying my gluten free Christmas cake. I also ordered a packet of gluten-free rolls, the type that you bake in the over, but they were horrible. I was going to throw them out but I ground them up and made stuffing with them which wasn’t bad at all. I should really try to make gluten-free shortbread for Christmas but I haven’t had the energy to do that. It’s time consuming and I worry that I will spend ages fiddling with it only to find it tastes bad. Maybe this year we’ll have gluten-free cupcakes instead as I know they taste good.