Tag Archives: gluten

My Diet: The Mystery Revealed

I got a message from a friend last night. She has been gluten-free for a while now but is still having gastrointestinal problems. Most of my friends know how crazy sensitive my stomach is and how much I have to do (and not do) to tame it. So voila! A page just for that. Check out the panel just above this post for “My Diet.” Or click on this link.

Feel free to ask any questions or let me know if you think something I said was wrong.

I hope you’re all having wonderful days! It’s important to keep that smile on right now, after the Holidays. Maybe if you fake it for a while, you will convince others AND yourself that it’s real 🙂

Thursday Recipe: Build-a-Salad

 

*to those interested, birthday update at the bottom of the page

Whenever I mention healthy eating, people’s automatic reaction is, “I hate salad.” Let me share something, me too. The typical restaurant salad is cold, unsavory, and wholly unsatisfying. But I’ve recently determined that they’re doing it wrong. As I’ve mentioned before, my current lifestyle goal is only eating grain for lunch and restricting carbs at dinner. This is not to lose weight but to prevent a haphazard insulin spike right before bed. So “salads” have become my go to dinner options and I’ve realized, they’re not all that bad!

To build a great salad just replace whatever carb you were going to use (pasta, rice, potatoes, etc) with dark leafy greens (I prefer spinach). This means that you get the healthy without sacrificing the hot and savory.

Recently, in the vain of cooking a big portion of one thing, I made cooked a big batch of lentils and steamed some extra veggies I had lying in my fridge. Here is the result:

^ Start with the leafy green base. Don’t worry, it will be covered up soon.

^ Add whatever warm veggies you decided to cook. I have zucchini, red bell peppers, and eggplant.

^ Pile on whatever protein you want. I made lentils but you could do any kind of meat or legume.

^ Top it off with a healthy fat like goat or sheep cheese (pretty much lactose free) and some oil based dressing like balsamic or italian. And enjoy!

* Final note: My birthday ended up being quite wonderful. My coworkers remembered and even gave me gifts. I got so much love through this blog and facebook and texting and phone calls. AND Mike came home from his business trip early! He surprised me at work with flowers, a bottle of wine, and a Gap coat that I’ve been eyeing for months. What wonderful people I have in my life. Thanks everyone 🙂

Today, just smile.

 

Braving a World of Junk Food: Packing a Lunch

As I last posted, I’ve been working the Morton Pumpkin Fest for the last several days. If any of you know of the festival, you know it’s full of some seriously delicious junk food; including but not limited to: pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin funnel cake. Everything delicious, in pumpkin flavor!! It’s my own personal temptation hell.

However, it’s so important to learn how to brave these situations and so that you can join the rest of your community celebrating awesome things like Fall!

Some Tips:

1. Choose one thing to treat yourself to and wait until the end of your trip to do it. The buildup will make sure you don’t violate your own rule.

2. Make sure, before you leave the house, that you eat a big, healthy meal. Being full means you’ll be less tempted by anything other than your planned treat.

3. Bring some snacks! This is where dinner leftovers make things quick and easy.

 

Here was mine for an 8 hour shift at the fridge:

– Sandwich – gluten-free bread, sunflower butter, and blackberry jam we found at the farmers market.

– Smoothie – coconut water, 1 banana, handful of frozen fruit, handful spinach, scoop of protein.

– Salad – whatever is in your fridge. Mine was tomatoes, spinach, pinto beans from the chili last week, and humus.

Tools that make it easy:

– Resealable container like a Tupperware.

– Blender bottle for the smoothie. It’s not only easy to drink out of but it has a little spring ball that you keep in the liquid and when you’re ready to eat you just shake it all up.

– Lunch box/ bag keeps things cold or hot and easy to carry.

^ My handy dandy lunch box.

I was full and happy with my lunch and this morning, as a treat for resisting for 5 days, I had a giant pancake breakfast!

Enjoy your Sundays. Don’t forget to smile!

Low Grain, High Protein, Gluten Free Breakfast!

Low Grain, High Protein, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, and Raw. I realize it sounds pretty gross but I’m telling you, this “granola” is DELICIOUS. When I’m not home to cook, this is what Mike has for dinner. Haha.

I started making this stuff when I started my new goal of less grain/carbs for breakfast and dinner and much higher protein. Granola is my #1 choice for breakfast but I can be kind of picky. That’s why I was so surprised that it is SO GOOD. It’s a twist on another recipe from the awesome book in this post.

Ingredients:

1 cup pepitas, aka pumpkin seeds (they’re really high in protein and so yummy)

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup brown rice protein, OPTIONAL

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup raw almonds, slivered or sliced

3/4 cup raw walnuts, in pieces

1 cup dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries, or a mix!

1/2 cup GF oats

Instructions:

Grind up pepitas, sunflower seeds, and coconut. I use a tiny food processor I got at Goodwill. You could do it in a blender though, or just leave everything whole. Pour all that into a gallon ziploc bag. Add all other ingredients. Shake it all up. Scoop out 1/2 to 1 cup, pour some almond or coconut milk over it. Enjoy!

This is possibly the easiest all-at-once breakfast I’ve ever made. It takes about 10 minutes to make a batch to last 2 or 3 weeks. And, because it’s so high in protein, it keeps me full for hours.

Another tip, keep the granola in the gallon bag with a 1/2 cup measuring cup in there. This way you can ration your supply saving you money and preventing over indulgence.

 

Smiles are contagious, plant one right on your kisser and keep it there all day 🙂

Recipe: Big Ole Pot O’ [healthy] Chili

Sorry for the late post today. I was cooking all day and wanted to post a recipe of something cool. And I made chili!

I mistakenly bought dry pinto beans instead of canned ones so that added an extra 5 hours onto the hour and a half taken to actually prepare the chili. BUY CANNED PINTO BEANS.

This recipe is from my favorite nutrition book, check it out here. It’s a scientific breakdown of your body and the nutrients it needs and doesn’t get in the modern american diet. Anyway, here’s the recipe. It’s really simple and takes a tiny bit of prep time and some serious simmer time. But it’s SOOOO delicious and SOOOOO healthy.

Prepping dried pinto beans (if you don’t want to spend the time just buy canned ones):

^ Sort the beans to pick out any rocks or cracked beans, then rinse them.

 

^ Fill pot with water 3″ above the beans. Boil then cover and simmer for 1 hour. Drain them.

Fill pot with water 1″ above the beans. Boil then cover and simmer for 4 hours. Check every hour to make sure there is still water.

Drain and they’re finally ready!

Ingredients (serves 8-10 < but they’ll want more than one serving):

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

4 cloves minced garlic

2 cups chopped green pepper

4 cups pinto, black, or kidney beans

4 tsp oregano

4 tsp chili powder

4 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp sea salt

2 8 ounce cans crushed tomatoes (get organic if you can!)

1.5 to 3 pounds of organic ground chicken or turkey or grass-fed ground beef

Instructions:

Heat oil in large pot and saute onions, celery, garlic, and peppers until onion is translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add meat, chili powder, and cumin, continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes. Pour salt and tomatoes into pot. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for at least one hour. I finished cooking earlier than I expected so I just kept the simmer going and it got even more delicious.

^ nom nom nom.

If you try it, let me know how it goes!

 

Recipe Thursday: Quinoa Scramble

I am definitely not the healthiest person I know but I am towards the top of the list. One of the ways I make sure that I never fall back into bad habits is that I’m always working on something. Always taking baby steps.

My current baby step: more carbs for lunch, less for dinner. The theory is that I will actually use the energy they give me if I eat them for lunch but at night, they just sit in my stomach, converting to sugar then fat.

So I cooked this recipe to take to work for lunch and I had a salad for dinner! My dessert plate had some sugar in it but that’s the next step I’ll be embarking on.

This recipe is awesome because it has some grain but it’s also full of protein, nutrients from the produce, and good fat. *note: the less you cook the vegetables in the beginning, the more nutrients stay in them. Its gluten-free, dairy free, and sugar-free (yet tasty?). And it’s so QUICK AND EASY!

Quinoa Scramble Ingredients:

high heat oil like sunflower or coconut oil

produce that was 24 hours from going bad (my fridge had handful spinach, 1/4 onion, 1/2 tomato)

3 eggs

1/4 cup almond or coconut milk

quinoa (bought these cool ready-made packages at the grocery store)

salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:

^ Preheat the skillet on medium heat, grease with high heat oil. Add chopped produce and saute until only slightly crunchy (my spinach had wilted).

^ While its cooking scramble the eggs with the milk.

^ and prep the quinoa in Tupperwear so you can take it with you.

^ Add the eggs to the pan and scramble them all up. Cook until the eggs are done.

^ and plate it! Sprinkle with some salt and pepper then cover it immediately to keep moisture and heat in. If you put it in an insulated lunch bag like I have, you shouldn’t need to reheat it.

Enjoy!

Leftover Mashup

A couple of nights ago I had a fridge full of leftovers and not very much time. I’ve started cooking extras when I make dinner then just pop them in the fridge for meals later. It’s awesome until you find yourself with just a little bit of everything, so I made a leftover mashup!

I always keep tomato sauce (with no added sugar) on hand for occasions like this.

So I had leftover: brown rice, lentils, and chicken (from the roast earlier this week).

I added: tomato sauce, and broccoli I bought on Sunday at the farmers market.

Because I’m doing no more microwaves: I put the rice in a pot with a 1/3 cup of water (it hydrates the dried rice) then covered and put it in the oven at 200°F for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently so rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.

^ I can’t find my good camera so pictures are a little grainy until I have some extra time to find it.

Then I cooked the broccoli, chicken, lentils, and tomato sauce on medium until it was warm enough to eat. It’s ok if the broccoli is a little crunchy, the less the heat it, the more nutrients it retains.

Then just pour the sauce over the rice and add some grated parmesan or pecorino (it’s sheep’s milk so there’s very little lactose in it) over the top and enjoy! In the words of Mike,”MMMMMMMMMmmm….”

Don’t forget to smile! They’re contagious.

Roasted Chicken and Some Other Deliciousness

Gooooood Morning!

I have to say that I’ve been so excited to get back into a routine and now that I’m finally getting there, all I miss is sleeping in! I just have to make up for it with weekend napping.

Anyhooo. Last night I ran to the grocery store after work and decided to roast a whole chicken. I got this recipe from a good friend of mine. I cooked her dinner one night and we got to talking and trading recipes. This one has withstood the test of an amateur cook (me!).

The organic chicken I bought was $12 for 3 lb at our local Kroger’s (it’s like Stop and Shop or Vons). It’s rather expensive but so worth it for the lack of toxins, mistreatment, and better taste! And roasting a whole chicken is really cost-effective. The 3lb I bought will last us at least three days with chicken for one meal a day.

NOTE: the recipe seems long but it’s SO easy and has very basic, very flexible ingredients.

Ingredients for the chicken:

one whole, organic chicken (if frozen, let thaw for 24 hours)

few sprigs of rosemary, chopped into 2 inch pieces

half a lemon

1 tbsp sea salt and 1 tsp ground pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 garlic bulb

Additional, optional ingredients:

sweet potatoes

normal potatoes

butternut squash

broccoli

onion

bell pepper

Prep the Chicken:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the innards if they came with the chicken (this is the grossest part). Place chicken on a baking pan. Cut 4 or 5 tears in chicken skin and stuff some chopped rosemary and a garlic clove in each one. In a small glass mix sea salt and pepper, olive oil, juice from lemon (save the skin), and rest of the garlic. Use your hands to rub the scrub mixture into the chicken. Flip it over to get the underside as well. Stuff the bum of the chicken with the used lemon skins and more rosemary.

Add the fun stuff: 

I also bought a butternut squash and some potatoes and had some leftover onions in the fridge. I’d never cooked with squash so I was kind of nervous but I just went for it. Cut your add ons into bite sized pieces and scatter them around the edges of the chicken. No need to season, everything you just put on the chicken will make it SO delicious.

^ The chicken and add ons before roasting. Don’t put it on wax paper, it ended up sticking.

To Roast:

Scroll down to find “Roasting Temperatures and Times”: http://www.helpwithcooking.com/cooking-poultry/roast-chicken.html < I definitely keep the temp at 450° for the first 10 minutes then lower it for the rest of the cooking time. You can pretty much leave it alone after that.

I regret to inform you that I was so excited about the chicken that I didn’t take a picture before carving it. But here it is all plated with cabbage salad (not so yummy)! Mike and I both agreed that it was delicious. And the squash turned out better than I could have imagined.

^Bon a petit! *from now on pictures will be taken on a real camera instead of my iPhone. no more blurriness.

Gluten and Other Food Sensitivities

When my brother was 11, my parents because so confused and frustrated with his lethargy (he never went outside, just sat and played video games) that they took him to the doctor. Every one of the five western medicine doctors they spoke to told my mom that it was “just puberty.” But she kept at it. Finally, through some string of conversations with friends, she was led to Acacia Wellness Center in Solana Beach, CA. They specialize is chiropractic and natural medicine and, as soon as my brother walked through the door, diagnosed him with gluten intolerance.

Gluten is a protein found in processed wheat and related grains. Research is still emerging but, in laymans terms, Gluten intolerance is much milder than Celiac disease but causes a lot of the same symptoms. For the real breakdown, the Wikipedia page is very accurate and comprehensive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_sensitivity

After administering some tests, the naturopathic doctor concluded that my brother didn’t have Celiac but did have a serious gluten sensitivity. A lot of times, if one family member has it, so do the others.  After more visits and more testing, we found out that every one of us four kids as well as my dad are gluten intolerant. This was when I was 16. So my mom, being incredibly devoted to the health of her family, converted our entire house to gluten-free territory. Pasta became rice pasta, bread was now sprouted wheat bread (like Ezekiel), and baked goods had to be made from scratch from some very expensive ingredients.

^ this is the GF (gluten free) cake my sister made me for graduation. Now there are a bunch of cheap, easy, GF cake-from the box, it’s so delicious.

Thankfully, gluten intolerance has become somewhat common place and most grocery stores carry an array of goods to make our lives easy (the best, by far, is Trader Joes). Cutting out gluten meant that instead of sleeping 12 hours a day like I did in high school (no exaggeration) I could get by on 8 hours. It was incredible! I also lost a ton of weight and gained better muscle function so I was better at sports! But my digestion was still really off. I was still fairly bloated and got cramps after eating certain meals. My mom has a great nutritionist so I went to see her but you can find out what you’re allergic to by keeping a food journal and working to eliminate foods that may be causing your symptoms. My nutritionist and I came to the conclusion that I am also intolerant to cow dairy, red meat, soy, and refined sugar.

That was two years ago. Since then, I’ve pretty much cut all of those ingredients out of my diet although my sweet tooth makes the sugar thing very hard. My apartment is only stocked with food I can eat so my boyfriend get the residual benefits too. In general, he doesn’t mind because I’ve become a pretty good cook. We don’t really eat out too much at restaurants (it saves so much $) but when we do, I usually get a rice based or poultry dish. Contrary to what you may be thinking, I don’t really love salad. I eat it when I feel like something light and to stave of hunger, but I consume my vegetables through juicing, blending, and chopped up snacks mostly. But that’s another post entirely.

^ this is one of my lunch time snacks. Almond butter (the sea salted kind is the best) and Nutella (a little too sugary but that’s all I had) on rice cakes and some salad leftover from last nights dinner. Surprisingly filling and yummy.

But that is another subject that I’d like to have frequently in this blog, eating for specialized diets without feeling like you’re missing anything. It was hard at first but now I actually love my food better than all that processed stuffed! Get excited because there are more recipes to come.

Question: Is anybody else gluten-free? Or suspicious they are? Is anybody interested in trying but not sure how to start? Just ask!