Friday, March 30, 2007

Recipe help!

I am out in the suburbs tonight at my parents' house. Every time I come out here I cook. Their kitchen is WAY bigger than mine. Also, they have a dishwasher. (Have I even mentioned how much I loathe hand washing dishes?) Well, I ran a few errands before arriving at their house. I bought a new comforter, some window hangings, king size pillow cases. I has found everything I needed. Time to head home. Then I noticed the store next to Marshal's: Fruitful Yield. Woo hoo! I have been wanting to check that place out for months. Oh my darlings, there was much GF shopping to be had. I was a good girl and only bought a few things. I did find two items I have been dying to try for a while, but can not find near my apartment. Coconut flour and Quinoa flour. Yes!!! I must bake!

Here's the problem, I bought the coconut flour because I remember someone posting a recipe for coconut cupcakes that called for this special flour. Problem is...I can't remember who posted the darn thing. Help!!!Do any of you remember seeing this elusive recipe? Can you point me towards it? If not, do you have any suggestions on how I can best utilize said coconut flour?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What the...?

For the last month or two I have not been being very healthy. Yes, I have been eating gluten free, to the best of my knowledge. The truth is, I have not been eating good food. Eating out alot, high fat, unbalanced diet. Not good. This is typical, though. Whenever I get stressed out I eat junk. Just because it is gluten free does not mean it isn't junk food. Yes, overall the GF diet is healthier, but mango or dulce de leche ice cream is just as fatty as cookies n' cream.

In an effort to get back on the wagon of good healthful eating I have agreed to be part of a research study that Rush Hospital is conducting. They are investigating the economic impact of the GF diet. I need to keep a food diary for 28 days. In addition, I need to collect all food receipts for the same duration. I think writing down all of my food intake will make me eat better, if for no other reason than not wanting the doctors at Rush seeing how gross my eating habits have become.

The real reason I should be more conscious of what I am eating is that I am still having symptoms. The pain is gone. I don't have upper belly bloating. Lower bloating and a few other symptoms are still hanging around (I won't mention those in detail...ew.) The thing is, before changing my diet, the symptoms were chronic, constant. Now it is intermittent. Sometimes it flares up, other times I am fine. I started considering the possibility of Candida. I have heard from many folks online that individuals with Celiac often have a Candida overgrowth. No thank you! Talk about not being able to eat anything. I contacted my dietitian to inquire about this. Good news, bad news. She doesn't believe in the connection between Celiac and Candida. She did, however, say that 25% of females diagnosed with Celiac have residual IBS. This does not shock me. Stress related IBS is somewhat common in my family. The past 2-3 weeks have certainly been stressful: National Kodaly Conference (for which I was on the planning committee), grades coming up, grant deadline, project name a few. Once my dietitian mentioned IBS I called and refilled the prescription for the pills my GI prescribed when I first went to see him. I remember that they had helped at the time (my GI was surprised they had worked since my tests came back positive for Celiac.) Well, when I make sure to take them 5-15 minutes before I eat a meal...little or no problems! So I think I am going to keep taking the pills, try a fiber supplement, and start exercising again (all recommended for individuals with IBS.) I have also heard good things mentioned about taking probiotics. Have any of you tried these? What do you think of them?

So yes, the journey to a healthy gut continues. Hopefully more successfully in the next few months., it has nearly been 6 months since my diagnosis. Nearly 6 months gluten free. Bot, time sure does fly.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fabulous friends

For so many people with Celiac, that hardest thing to deal with is friends and family who "just don't get it". The folks who are supposed to be your support network can be the same ones who unintentionally throw up road blocks to healthy living.

"You can just pick off the croutons."
"It only has a little bit of flour to thicken it."
"You can cheat every once in a while."
"But Grandma made this cake for you. Do you want to hurt her feelings?"
"Well, it is just soy sauce!"

They mean well, really they do. It can be difficult to understand the effect of glutening on the body if you yourself don't have Celiac. So often it is associated with allergies, where there are short-term issues, but in the long run no damage is done. It can be easy to believe that, too. You see that hot, steaming slice of pizza. It tantalizes you with it's oozing cheese, sweet-savory sauce, and delicious toppings (of your choice.) Why not? Sure your gut will be painfully bloated for 24-48 hours. And no, there are no pills you can take. But it is worth it, right? WRONG!!! While the obvious effects are "short lived", the damage done to the small intestines can take 6 months to heal. That is six months of decreased nutrient absorption. We Celiacs have first hand experience with "brain fog", mood swings, and skin sensitivities. Really, not worth it.

Most friends and family are well meaning. They try so hard. They purchase foods labeled GF, get the GF shopping lists from local stores (Trader Joe's and Whole Foods), and look online for GF recipes. It is sweet and wonderful and loving. It almost makes you feel not so bad if they accidentally cross-contaminate your food. Hey! No one told them that their wood spoons could make you sick.

Then there are those people in your life who go above and beyond. At my parents house I have my own shelf in the pantry. Dad makes homemade salad dressing every time I come over. My best friend is getting married in a year and has already started asking the reception hall about making my food GF. She even has mentioned getting a super fancy GF cupcake from Swirlz so that I can have wedding cake. (Love ya, hon!) And then there is the friend who, whenever we go out to dinner, goes online to find a restaurant with a GF menu. Being able to choose from an entire menu of safe dishes is fantastic. (The ironic thing is that we have eaten out many times. When I choose the restaurants they have no GF menu. When he has chosen the restaurant they always do.)

What have the people in your life done to make living with Celiac a less challenging experience?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Help a Diva out! :)

Dearest readers, I have not forsaken you!!! Do not fear, I am still alive and kicking.

There are those times when life seems to take over. Busy does not even begin to explain it. Crazed, perhaps? I have been going non-stop for the past couple of weeks. This week starts the beginning of the Diva Stress Fest: full-time teaching, chorus rehearsals, dance club rehearsals, and play practice. Oh yeah, and attempting to have a normal social life. I am supposed to cook during all of this? My energy to experiment in the kitchen has vanished. I feel no inspiration. This saddens me. I love to cook! I love trying new flavors! I hate doing dishes. There are just so many piling up. Tonight I must wash some of those bad boys and work on a grant application (the life blood of a fine arts program.) I need to figure out some kind of easy, tasty dish to eat. I shudder to think of how many meals I have had lately consisting of apples, cheese, chips, and salsa. BAD Diva!!! Save me from unhealthy, if GF, dining.

So what quick and easy dishes do you make when feeling low on inspiration and energy?