Showing posts from March, 2014

Listers: Food is Fuel . . . (Or, Engines Also Take Coolant and Brake Fluid)

. . . but so is music. So are stories and friends, travel and puzzles.

You can be a very sick coeliac and not be gluten'ed if all you concern yourself with is food. A fellow gluten-free Tweeter (Glutenfree Woman, mother and business owner of Ivy's Garden GF Chinese Food) recently shared this article concerning how unhealthy an obsession with eating healthy can be. In a similar vein, you can be malnourished and eat extremely well.

You can be a very malnourished kid and eat the pinpoint-perfect diet if all your parents feed you is food -- leaving out attention, challenges, discipline, time, love, laughter.

Are you leaving out nourishing yourself as a whole person?

This is the perfect subject for the Monday-theme LISTERS. Tumbling free after coeliac diagnosis for me has not just meant re-learning how to eat, it has meant learning how to balance my whole life so that it is wholly free.  I see "whole food" as a way of talking about getting all my needs met: whole food = w…

Shoestring-It, or Why Does a Bloody Loaf Cost Both Arms and a Leg?

A simple and common-sense strategy to avoid paying a whole week's pay for half-a-week's ration of coeliac-safe bread is this:  Buy and eat naturally gluten-free foods.

Imitation-gluten'y products are hit-and-miss all 'round. Sometimes the hit is pleasant, and as a coeliac/celiac, I have a brief burst of 4 year old tip-tap happy. ("Oy, BAGEL!")  But more often than not, I like the real thing.

(An addendum: Silver Hills Bakery gluten-free breads do a balletic-balancing-act of taste and texture. Nothing like fluffy wheat-filled loaves. Everything like excellent gluten-free, unique, GMO-free and organic with under 5 ingredients. My review here.)

So Number One Tip: Beans and rice are gluten free, and half the world eats them on less than a shoestring.

They are also delicious variously spiced; muddled with fresh vegetables; spooned over corn tortillas, or sauced and baked.
Be adventurous, try something new.
So Number Two: Buy in bulk
No, I don't mean out of bins.…

Restaurant Review: Travelling to a "T" -- Is It Gluten Free?

...and is it wallet-whacking deadly on the bank vaults?
Those are the two questions I ask most often when traveling: Coin-cost and Coeliac-safe.
If it breaks the bank or breaks my gut, 'tis a bad beginning to the game of happy-meanders-across-continents.
What makes travelling fun, even celiac?
But I won’t go in-depth on travel tricks this time around. (My first run after diagnosis will long-travel you can findherewith some good tips, both for eating safely and cleanly, and for that shoestring-budget.)
This is simply about the most excellent eatery on the globe if you’re celiac, nestled in beautiful San Juan Capistrano CA, USA.
It is aptly named: Cloud 9 Bakery.
Sandwich shop, patisserie, purveyor of perhaps the best bread you’ll ever taste, Cloud 9 is owned by Oliver and his wife, a couple from Kenya whose son’s food reactions lead them experimentation – and near perfection – in creating gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, all organicbreads, muffins, whoopie pies, cupca…

Try-It Tuesday [TTT]: Frijoles con Cebolla y Heirloom Beans

"Write it. Shoot it. Publish it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE." -- Joss Whedon
...I usually reserve the above quote for stories, film, and the desultory dipping I do into "DIY" felt Pikmin and other Nintendo characters for younger siblings' b'days.

But it applies just as well to food.

Getting the celiac diagnosis knocked me flat on my nose at the foot of mountain: It was a mountain of "how do I learn to eat now?"  I could sit at the bottom, and take whatever cardboard crackers and pasteboard breadsticks offered me. Or I could out, and up, and perhaps MAKE.

Mountains always look like adventure, even if this one was steep. So I went up.

This is one of my favourite recipes hand's down, and has been since I was quite small. It's naturally gluten-free, it is naturally simple to make on a shoestring budget; and it is naturally and wholly delicious. Oy, but who doesn't love Mexican food?

These are homemade frijoles, but I don't always re-fry…

Listers: Literary Looking Again -- Food in Fiction (or Things You Don't Think 'Til You Have Celiac)

. . . and is it gluten-free?

I never thought when I was 12 and curled up half the day reading Jacques' Redwall or Lord of the Rings or The Three Musketeers --  or even Harry Potter -- that I would some day wonder if the food were edible.

It certainly sounded edible.

In Jacques' stories, it got such a heaping health of attention, I sometimes skipped whole paragraphs because after all, that many words must be redundant when applied to cream, crusts, cheeses, and fish, yes?  I wanted to get to the hacking and slashing adventure. I wanted the puzzles and mystery.

But now as I wonder, or re-read, I think: Was it edible?

One doesn't wonder about these things unless one has celiac disease. It's food, isn't it? You don't think about it, silly; you eat it. Or turn your nose up like a proper picky prig of an eater and go munch crackers.

That said, it made a perfect topic for a  listingLister Monday: Could Fiction Food Be Gluten-Free?

1. Pumpkin Juice (in Harry Potter)


Saturday on a Shoestring: Budget, Budget, Budget...But it Just Don't Budge

Spring is here. Or, so the calendar claims.  On the dust-it-up-and-out note, I'm tidying Tumbling GF.

My mind races like mad, and I can crunch data and pull in intersections and connections -- but I tend to try to throw it all out with the same speed I scan it internally. That can work for a bulldozer and a heap of dirt.  But it doesn't work for pacing an article on budgets, celiac disease -- or recipes.

I cook the same way. By smell, taste, rather intuitively -- 99% of the time my experiments come out top-knotch the first wing.  (Every now and then I go nose-first into dingy disaster area of turmeric gone-mad or a cookie that tastes like dirt. Very occasionally. But it's usually pretty outside at least.)

Anyhow, the absolute opposite of that on the penduluum is trying to box-tick and organize like a solicitor on speed whose specialty is the minutiae of wills and trust. I briefly tried that. It would work wonders for someone whose personality fit; but it's an extreme, …

Recipe: Got Catch 'Em All, Poke' -- Bowls?

If you've ever eaten Japanese or Hawaiian, you may have seen this laid out; or perhaps marinating in the kitchen. Bloody brilliant! ...what is it? Might have been your first reaction, unless you also grew up in Hawaii or Japan. In which case, you know it: it is  the Poke Bowl.

It does not include pocket monsters.

Sushi seems to be the long-way-round as far as time goes on food prep.; and my friend who did grow up in Japan says her family made bowls, not rolls.

They were sushi ingredients, but heaped up and muddled in a rice bowl.  It's a comforting food, and the flavors blend to create a mix of sushi with what one might describe as cold stew -- pho. Except not. Not to mention it takes much less preparation than traditional sushi.

I've made half a dozen now, and never taken a photo -- I enjoy it too much to break the time by photography.
But this is one Yumiko made:  It didn't even include rice, just  sesame seeds, cilantro, soy sauce (glutenf-free) sprinkled over fresh…

Tricked-Out Tuesday [TTT]: Our Pop Culture Radar Takes on Pop Psychiatry -- Gluten is EVERYONE'S Problem ... RIght?

The Atlantic ran this novel-length article  ("This is Your Brain On Gluten") on the psychological impact of celiac disease last year -- and gluten overall. In short, it links dementia, ADHD, and Alzheimers along with a passal of other neurological and mental disorders with the consumption of gluten.

Brilliant for us celiacs, yes -- surely the whole world will hop on the bandwagon and ditch the deadweight grain dragging us into the depths of mental decay!
But then, honestly? Could wheat be a root cause of illness in our worldwide community?
This is pop culture at its broadest (and finest): Paint things all one color, wide conclusion, no one can miss it, make a mob. (Mobs, they will all run the same way; lovely for people who like to make money of predicting trends.) 
Then again, I'm wary because celiac disease is serious, and to claim everyone needs to ditch wheat is often indicative of a rooted misunderstanding as to the genetic disorder and autoimmunue reaction involved…

Listers: Literary Lollygaggers -- They Probably Had Celiac

Sometimes, one just wonders. . . I read non-stop, and occasionally my brain mingles meals with literary pursuits. This time, it probably came of being gluten'ed, brain-fogged, and in that hungry place where your body wants food but your gut hurts and doesn't.

Don't you think heaps of characters must have had celiac disease? Or avoided it narrowly by diets happily gluten-free and specific -- like Pooh's. (Honey!)

'Isn't it funny how a bear likes honey... I wonder why he does ... Buzz buzz...'  (Obviously, because honey is gluten-free...)

But then there's Jane Eyre: measly, under grown, melancholy, with a pinched face.

 Who more like a celiac, never diagnosed? Miserable, and fatigued, and apparently prone to fits of high-drama which indubitably stemmed from malnutrition, unbalanced hormones, and the mental illness oft-associated with malabsorption of certain nutrients.

No, I never did like Jane Eyre. But perhaps if she had been diagnosed, she wouldn'…

Tricked-Out Tuesday [TTT]: A Message From Our Pop Culture Radar

How does celiac disease show up in pop culture?
Answer: It doesn't. At least not professionally. Until this--
30 Rock actor and friend have teamed up to create this mobster short film: Storyline? Mafia boss gets diagnosed celiac. Crisis. What happens to spaghetti, cannoli, minestrone, lasagna, PIZZA? Mamma mia! and less appropriate exclamations.
At last, a professional movie project that -- tongue-in-cheek -- approaches the pitfalls of celiac disease. Support the project, and get it rolling!
...and watch the appeal trailer: it's sidesplitting.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Honey Banana Green Smoothie, and Chocolate!

So it may be winter, but sometimes there's nothing for it but a smoothie. And this smoothie is looking forward to Spring, and St. Patrick's Day in its green.
 I used to love shakes and malts. But as a celiac, malts are quite obviously out. Shakes would be all right, dairy-wise, if it weren't for the fact that -- like many celiacs -- I'm dairy intolerant as well.
This only leaves bananas. Peanut butter. Chocolate. Honey. And in this case, a bit of spinach -- which slips beneath the deep sweet of frozen banana and rich cocoa stunningly, without a hint of leftover taste for itself.
Er, so this is hardly an instance of abject scarcity or deprivation.  Although it took awhile to adapt and improvise, this smoothie is a great muddle of mixing flavours and textures to get delicious.
Dairy was always a go-to, and adds creaminess. Malt gives a certain richness. Sans both, what to do? A lot of experimenting.
Banana gave me the sweet and cream.  I added vanilla protein powder, an…

Recipe: Pumpkin Banana Ice Cream

Overnight meals are lovely: one wakes up, and it's already prepared.
That's what this Pumpkin Banana Ice Cream has become for me. I experimented quite a bit with ice creams, and I love Nada Moo and Cashewtopia (Organic Nectars) (one coconut, one cashew-based).  But they are not the shoe-string  variety for keeping within a budget.
Not to mention it's heaps more fun to have the accomplishment of creation on your hands, and a meal that tastes exactly like you want.
This ice cream is creamy, with a bit of a tart edge, complemented by the rich sweetness of ripe banana. Cinnamon and vanilla smooth it out. It goes brilliant as a topping to baked fruit, granola, or eaten plain. But I usually spoon it over my Chocoalate-Stuffed French Toast on the weekends.

Pumpkin Banana Ice Cream
1/4 pureed pumpkin 1 small ripe banana, mashed 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp cider vinegar 1 tsp sugar (or dash stevia) 2-4 tbs soy milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
Mix and mash until fully…