One of my best friends, Stephen Nemora, gave up gluten a couple of years ago, and I’m fascinated with how he’s been able to regulate himself without starving. For this reason (and that he’s easily one of the top 5 most interesting people I know) I’ve decided to highlight him in today’s post.
EF (Me): What are your current dietary restrictions?
SN (Stephen): Current Dietary Restrictions are (1) Gluten / Wheat Free (with the exception of trace amounts & the occasional beer/whiskey) and (2) Low sugar
EF: Why did you choose to give them up?
SN: I went gluten/wheat free winter break 2009. I’d had some form of chronic fatigue syndrome for a couple of years; I’d often be so tired by 9:30 AM that I’d be forced to take a nap. Other days I’d be fine or I’d pass out at like noon or in the afternoon. My energy was totally random. I had blood work done and that came back all clear, so I was convinced it was my diet, maybe a food allergy. Previous to pulling gluten from my diet, I tried eliminating nuts, dairy, eggs, and restricting sodium. When I pulled gluten, my energy stabilized. In addition, after about 2 months, I started feeling another effect. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but it’s like my insides have more clarity or something. Also, my digestion seems more regular. It’s nice.
My acne recently flared up after being relatively clear for over a year. I’m not sure why this happened, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with the artificial sweeteners in a protein powder I was using (Gold Standard Whey). I’ve seen correlations between my sugar intake and clearness of skin in the past, so I think this might work.
EF: What’s the hardest part of having these restrictions?
SN: The hardest part about being gluten-free is that it’s often inconvenient. I can’t just grab a sandwich, or a slice of pizza, or some pasta, or even a bowl of soup (most have flour). Also, I have to read the labels of most processed foods. That being said, inconvenience is the worst of it; I don’t experience cravings, which are common with many diets. Oh, and not drinking beer. That’s kind of hard. I really like beer.
EF: What’s your favorite food?
SN: Samgyeopsal (Korean Grilling) with a big bottle of Soju (Korean booze). It’s amazing. Imagine gorging yourself on big 1/4 thick slabs of bacon, pieces of which you wrap in lettuce then top with a myriad of colorful condiments. Now imagine it drunk. Thankfully, there is no gluten and almost no sugar in this meal.
EF: I have a habit of eating the same things, do you have something you eat way too much of?
SN: Rice, Eggs, Corn Chips, Salsa, Hummus, Kimchi.
EF: Describe what happens when you go to restaurants with people where they don’t have options/very many options for you.
SN: I scream until the chef makes me a custom dish to my liking. But really, I have yet to find a restaurant I couldn’t eat at, you just have to be creative. Remember when I substituted out noodles for grilled veggies at that Italian place? That was delicious.
EF: The restaurant where I ate a 2 person lasagna by myself and made myself sick? Yes. OK, bonus round. What’s something you struggle with?
SN: High Level: Finding Things I’m Passionate About, Finding Compatible Girls, Knowing When to Let Go. Low Level: Acne, Finding Clothes that Fit, I Scowl Too Much
EF: Who inspires you style-wise?
SN: Mid/Late 20-somethings in Asia = youthful creativity + adult sophistication. People/styles that draw attention without using loud colors or anything ridiculous. The principles/elements of design.
EF: What couldn’t you live without in your kitchen?
SN: Frying pan. I invested in a really nice frying pan after being hired at Bridgevine and I have to say it’s one of my favorite possessions. Number 2 is my rice cooker. Number 3 would be sharp knives. I haven’t bought a really nice set of knives yet though because I’m still learning about knives. I think everyone should learn on cheap equipment so they can appreciate the really nice
EF: Any last words of advice?
SN: I drink a gallon of water everyday and so should everyone.