January typically brings on resolutions and goals for the new year ahead. It is a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to set the tone for the rest of the year. I don’t often have New Years resolutions, but this year has been quite different.
For as long as I can remember I’ve experienced digestive issues. Not only was it frustrating, but it definitely impacted my life, where I was able to go, my activities, work, school, etc. Unable to pin-point exactly what was going on, I consulted several doctors and specialists over the years but mostly just “dealt with” the symptoms. At the beginning of this year I completed lab work that indicated significant reactions to gluten. It became clear that I needed to break up with gluten. Although this is not a resolution, and more of a necessary change to improve my health, it has definitely set the tone for the upcoming year for not only myself, but my family as well. Looking back I realize that I had suspicions that gluten was an issue for me, but was in denial. Something about seeing the results on paper really solidified the motivation to commit to a gluten free diet and I immediately began purging the gluten from my pantry.
I feel so lucky to be navigating a new way of eating at this time of my life. I have supportive family members and access to amazing grocery stores, blogs, and recipes. There are so many quality gluten free products available these days that taste delicious and are affordable. My background in nutrition is seriously coming in handy! Even with so much knowledge and great resources there are still challenges that arise. I’m bummed that I won’t be able to sit at Whole Foods and split a piece of pizza with my son while we are out running errands, and that I have to be more conscious of food choices at parties and holidays. I remind myself that change is hard and mourning those experiences is an important and necessary step in moving forward. I remind myself there are so many delicious and nourishing foods that I can still enjoy while (hopefully) helping my body move toward a healthier way of functioning. I questioned whether I would share this information here, and was honestly quite hesitant, but came to the conclusion that my diet changes will affect the content and direction of the blog so it is all part of the journey.
One of my go-to resources lately for gluten free recipes and inspiration is Danielle Walker from Against All Grain. I received several of her cookbooks as holiday presents and, although she is avoiding several food groups due to her autoimmune disease, you would never know it! Her pictures are stunning and everything I have prepared from her blog and cookbooks have been amazing. This recipe is inspired by her AAGwich which has its own social media following: type in the hashtag #AAGwich on Instagram and you will be flooded with beautiful images of lettuce wrap sandwiches. The beauty of the lettuce wrap is that you can fill it with whatever you like and change the flavors based on what you have in your refrigerator. I see these becoming a regular lunch mainstay in our house since regular sandwiches are no longer a good option for us. Luckily, I don’t miss the bread one bit because these lettuce wraps are super satisfying and delicious!
Ingredients (per lettuce wrap)
- 6 large green leaf lettuce leaves; preferably organic
- 3 slices turkey; I like Applegate oven roasted turkey
- 4 slices salami (or 2 slices cooked bacon)
- 1 slice cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp. avocado mayo
- Parchment paper sheets for assembling/rolling
Lay down a sheet of parchment paper; I have been buying the pre-cut parchment paper sheets and absolutely love the convenience of them. Use a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to wipe each of the lettuce leaves to remove any dirt or debris.
Arrange lettuce leaves in a crosswise pattern overlapping the leaves slightly.
Layer the sliced turkey, then the salami, then the cheese, and add the avocado mayo last.
Take the side of the parchment paper closest to you and fold it over the filling diagonally. Tuck it under the lettuce and pull toward you slightly to make it tight. Turns out this step isn’t easy to photograph with one hand, haha!
Roll the ends in toward the center and continue rolling, like you would to make a burrito.
Cut in half and admire how beautiful your sandwich wrap looks! I like to eat mine while watching DVR episodes of Real Housewives, but you can choose how you enjoy your lettuce wrap. Enjoy!