Restaurant Review: Pena Pachamama, San Francisco, CA

Peña Pachamama --gluten free raw eats and treats; vegan live-raw Bolivian fare

In San Francisco, the air is wicked warm compared to the Northeast, the streets are steep, as are the prices, and the eateries are strewn with "GF" markers -- sometimes celiac-safe, sometimes bandwagon-fad-only. But the famous Bolivian bungalow on Powell Street, a favourite of Robin Williams, Pena Pachamana is no fad. This family-owned restaurant, dim-lit and featuring flamenco and live-music daily for special dinner shows, also serves a fully gluten-free menu -- and its owners take food and the enjoyment and safety of their diners personally.

I love Peña Pachamama, and my visit this last January only highlighted its strengths.

The spot serves all organic fare, altogther gluten free (except for small traditonal salteña cakes brought in, segregated in the kitchen, and served with one sampler plate on request). Also vegan -- which while no necessity for the sensitive celiac crowd -- Pena makes wicke…

Book Review: The Sophisticated Peasant

"Fortunately, there came a point where my desire to get well became stronger than my desire to" do or eat whatever I wanted.
So begins The Sophisticated Peasant, in author Sharon Kane's gentle voice, before transitioning into a treasure trove of personal experience, old and new cooking methods, and recipes rooted in an attitude towards eating as nourishing and palate pleasing as the final products themselves.
Sharon founded Gluten Free Sourdough Company out of her diagnosis, and has become a resource for amazing gluten-free breads and sprouted cookies in the Boston area. Utlizing her recovery journey, she has created products even those "restricted" thought they'd never eat again -- specifically, amazing sourdoughs which don't require wheat or chemicals to shine.
I quibble with the term “healthy” sometimes used in the text, as it has connotation of judgment these days -- as if other food “is not”. But I can’t quibble with the attitude.
In Peasant, she goes …

When a Merry Christmas Isn't: Celiac Chat on Life

When the days are snowy and bright, but the tables are piled with celiac blight. Christmas-tide is full of food. What time isn't? But that's a good thing...unless you have a disorder which makes the larger portion of the food not just inedible, but dangerous.

Perhaps a greater challenge in a holiday season is the focus on food, for feasts require feasting, and that means edibles. But the Western tradition is heaped high with edibles inedible to us.

It does make a wicked opportunity for creativity.

...or a wicked excuse for isolation.

When a happy Christmas isn't happy, it's time to troubleshoot.

Chat about your challenges with a friend
Find something new to do or try
Disorders are ditches in our lives, not the roads

This season, I met up for a date at a little cafe around the corner from St Paul's near Harvard. As we unbundled, and ordered tea & coffee, gluten free came up.
"Seriously," I quipped after a fairly blase remark from him, "You have a su…

Recipe: Chia Chai Pumpkin Mousse, & Gluten Free Griddle Cakes

[ Leave a comment below for a BONUS entry -- open until Dec. 20, 2018 at 12am EST ]

Every year when Winter whips in, the kitchen is cold, and even when it warms up with the oven on or  the heat seeping up from the lower-neighbour's flat, it isn't the time to eat cold too.

Bodies, I think, know that cold is dangerous in the Northeast.

Probably because it is.

Nu Naturals, a lovely little family-owned company I met while visiting California for work last year, makes syrups that are gluten-free and vegan. Since I have a dairy-protein-allergy on top of celiac, this is a wicked boon to me; and I spent a few mornings making warm food and playing with the Chair, Cocoa, and Pumpkin Spice syrups, along with the cocoa powder and my own chia seeds.

Also, egg white protein, because I got a bloody good deal on a heap of it off of Amazon from another celiac-safe company, Now Foods.

Anyhow, warm eats are celiac-can't-be-beats. (Didn't you know warm food is easier on the guts?)

This Chi…

Gluten-Free Treatment Worse Than the Disease? Celiac Chat on Life

I didn’t think Celiac Disease was a disability when I lived as a freelancer, consulting with families and individuals on nutrition. My day necessarily dealt with my, and others’, meals and thoughts about food. I didn't want to think of it as a disability when I was first diagnosed either, because too much grief lay in that; and after all, eating gluten free is a straightforward prescription. Prior to my freelancing, I was a student, working part-time, in a gluten-free bubble, traveling carefully or never at all.
Isn’t it easy as anything to swim in and out of all the gluten-free gregariousness online, and live in a bubble of FOOD, SAFE FOOD, HOW DO YOU MAKE FOOD
...and yet, does the ordinary individual with celiac have the bubble of time to live like that -- like people blog and pin and tweet and post?
I recently finished my graduate studies in philosophy, put my nutrition business on stand-by (I’ve kept clients but am not soliciting more), and transitioned into a full…

Gut Healing Tips: Fall Food, Warm Colours, Eat the Rainbow of the Foliage

When the dark sets in, especially in the North, the cold comes too. In Boston, the sky begins to slump in like Atlas's shoulders -- broad and bowed; and the air and sounds of the city become muffled. Cold creates a physical foreboding. After all, cold like you get in Winter is deadly.

Even with the modern shelter and heating we have, the cold closes in like predator.

O smacking and wackings on the poor tender head! or gut, though Gurgi (in Prydain Chronicles) doesn't mention it; but then, the poor blighter didn't have celiac.

This reading celiac kid-cum-nutritionist has celiac, and I have enough smackings and wackings on my poor tender gut without the additional distress of plunging cold, and sunlessness, to batter it more.

As I paged through a book at lunch last week, celiac thoughts and experience intermingling with the narrative, I read the words rest, & stew, & warm waft of something golden and simmering. The characters were exhausted, and had come to rest. Hung…

When Celiac Could Be Cured -- Or Not?

a celiac cure in the offing? 
"I'm holding out for when I can eat a big gluten-ful muffin."

I wasn't. Am not.

My friend has celiac too, but he was thinking cure and rage rage against the dying of the light. I wasn't.

What a ton of unpleasant bricks, I thought: because I had unconsciously stuck myself square into the idea that my disease was normal.
How comfortable should I be with a disease? Where is the line between acceptance and ingenuity -- and bleak resignation?

"There are lots of things just as good gluten-free," he said after that, "But somethings just were meant to a have gluten. And so was I."

Logically, he's right. No one's body, functioning in health, tries to murder its small intestine when it detects gluten -- that's madness. We were meant to be able to eat gluten without an autoimmune response (regardless of what you think about its other qualities).

The exchange left me with many questions, and a lot of anger, and fr…