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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Not so much a resolution as a committment 
2nd-Jan-2010 01:50 pm
Figuring shit out
I will only eat real food.

The celiac actually mostly necessitates this; gluten shows up a lot in additives and in the overprocessing of food. One of the easiest ways to cut gluten is basically to eat real food. Food that looks like it did when it came out of the earth. Meat without fillers.

I've been trying to do this for a while, actually - getting us off of convenience food. But when you're the only person in a three-person household that these things matter to, you get voted down a lot.

Not so much when there's a medical necessity.

And no, Adam and Elayna aren't going off gluten, not unless Elayna also has celiac (bloodwork will come back next week), but we can still all eat real food, and we damn well will. *nods* Because it's healthier anyway. And it's cheaper anyway. It just takes more effort, but not too much, if one plans adequately.

So this is dinner tonight. Every recipe on her site is gluten-free and dead easy, requiring basic staples instead of 16 kinds of flour and arcane spices that you pay $20 for to use in one recipe ever, and hello, crockpot. (I love my crockpot.) I got her book for Chanukah. And this book, too, because sometimes the fancier recipes are good and I will not give up baking.

I say it's not a resolution because resolutions imply the possibility of failure, to me. I have to go gluten-free. No option. I can't just decide in March "oh, I suck, I'm breaking that resolution." You know? And so since I'm already making a broad, sweeping dietary change, it's easy to expand it just a little: no soy (I'd been cheating on that in the past, because trace amounts are in everything), and no hyperprocessed food (which makes cutting soy easier anyway). It is a mere coincidence that this is resolution season.

Which is not to say that everything will be super-healthy. I bought this today, too. :)
2nd-Jan-2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
I am glad you are finding some interesting recipes on your journey to become healthy again. I have other friends who have also had to go gluten-free recently, and I look forward to being a part of your explorations in the world of gluten-free.

Have you been to the Harvest Coop Market in Central Square? They have a vast array of spices, flours, rices, and grains, in bulk at very reasonable prices.

For me, whole foods (what you are calling real food), and food and feeding my friends is important. Having food available for my dinner/house guests instead of them needing to bring their own food is something I want to be able to do.
2nd-Jan-2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
Sadly, Harvest is very expensive - and bulk foods are unsafe due to the extreme likelihood of cross-contamination. Still, I have fond some GF stuff there that I haven't seen elsewhere - wider variety of GF pasta, ready-made polenta, etc. :)
3rd-Jan-2010 01:16 am (UTC)
Granted, I don't shop there for everything, just for the bulk offerings of mostly spices, rice, and flours. I find those prices quite reasonable, but I can't speak for their other prices.

I wasn't aware of, but it make sense upon reflection, of the cross-contamination of bulk supplies.
2nd-Jan-2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
I don't believe in offering unsolicited advice, but diet and nutrition is something I know a lot about. I've been "eating real food" in the sense you describe for decades, I've lost about fifty pounds in the past year and I'm an accomplished cook. If I can help out in any way (questions, resources, techniques, etc), just let me know! I can fully appreciate how hard it is to cut a fundamental component from your diet when that component is in so many food products, hidden and otherwise. I've pretty much had to stop eating anything I don't cook myself from scratch. It's brutal. OTOH, I can still have chocolate and potato chips, so life isn't all grim! :-)
2nd-Jan-2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I can still eat some chips and chocolate. I've rediscovered tortilla chips as a salt delivery system, since I've had to cut pretzels...
2nd-Jan-2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
I hear you... it's hard to be the only person in the house on a certain diet. I'm recommitting likewise to eating what I need to, mainly by cooking more as well. Started with blackeyed peas and a salad :)
2nd-Jan-2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
I am right there with ya on the Real Food.
Two years ago we started on the CSA and I have never been so healthy or felt so good ( we only get sick when the CSA ends or we are on vacation for longer than a week and go without). And in my general eating I have realized that we are low-gluten because I'll cook rice instead of using pasta or bread because it tastes so much better with veggies and chicken.
And even for non-celiac, too much gluten is bad for the body.
And crockpots are a WONDERFUL thing!
And don't forget stir-fry! Simple, nummy, gluten-free, customizable.
I am glad to hear your enthusiasm. And please don't hesitate to shout out for new recipes or ideas.
If you can have potatoes, I have some great Portuguese recipes for you! (I can't remember of potatoes were off the list or not!)
Keep up the great work, have a wonderful 2010!
I'll miss you at Arisia this year!!!!
2nd-Jan-2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
Now that I have a job, we can maybe afford a CSA membership! If not, just must make the effort to get to Russo's more often.

Stir-fry is likewise awesome! Crockpot makes me bouncier than stir-fry just because I'm lazy - I'd rather dump a bunch of stuff in the crock and magically have dinner a few hours later than stand over the stove. :)

Potatoes are totally safe. Bring on the recipes!

And I'll miss you too - will feel weird without you there!
2nd-Jan-2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
Caldo verde (lit. "green soup"):

In a big soup pot- soften a yellow onion and a few cloves of garlic, chopped, in olive oil.
Cut up about 4 medium onions and throw those in to absorb the oil. Cook a little.
I like to chop up some sausage and throw it in as well at this point. Linguica or chorizo is traditional but I will use whatever is on sale and readily available.
When everything is a little browned and smells fabulous, I put in a box container of chicken stock, about 1 cup of white wine, and 1-2 cups of water (depending on the size of the pot and how much veggies I put in). Bring this to a boil and cook til potatoes are soft. About 30 minutes, tops.
This is crock-pot-able.
After everything is cooked, add in the greens to the boiling soup. You can use kale, collard, mustard greens, savoy cabbage, mizuna, or any dark leafy greens (I would not recommend turnip greens, however).
Chop the greens as finely or as coarsely as you'd like. I like it coarse.
They will turn bright green when they are ready, about 5 minutes of cooking. Salt and pepper to taste.
An alternate recipe is to omit the sausage. Put in the blender until smooth- creamy and green! Then put the sausage into the pureed soup. That is the mainland way to do it. The island way (Madeira and Azores) is to leave it chunky, which is the way I was raised on it.

Now this is about an hour of cooking, but I was making this every week and it became routine! And it can be done in the crock pot up until the greens get added, don't add them at the beginning or they will be muuuuuuush!
High in iron and B vitamins! Low fat/calorie (unless you go nuts with the sausage!). I like mine with a dash of tabasco.
Great with bread, especially a hearty dense bread like a quinoa or spelt or millet bread. Mmmmm.

If you like codfish, check out Bolinhos de Bacalhau! Surprisingly tasty. Eggs optional. Gluten free!
Wheat was not a major grain in Portugal so Portuguese cooking often is gluten-free or can be easily made that way. Potato is the main starch element.

Also Holy Ghost Soup (Sopas or Sopas Do Espírito Santo). This is also crock-pot able and the bread required needs to be dense and heavy so also great for quinoa, spelt, or millet bread. You put the braised beef and juices ("molho" pronounced "moy-you") over the bread in a shallow bowl and let it all soak up into bliss. With fresh mint. *drool*

Enjoy I'll see what else I can dig up for ya!
2nd-Jan-2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
Ooh, ice cream is real! good to know :)
2nd-Jan-2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Hey, only five ingredients! All found in nature!
2nd-Jan-2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
My crockpot makes me soooooo heppy.

Here's hoping yours behaves like the Dagda's own Cauldron, and blessings on the food you eat.
2nd-Jan-2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
Real food is delicious. And cooking is not as hard as it seems. And crock-pot meals are awesome, especially when it's winter and one is busy all day. One thing that we do that makes cooking easier is make a list every week of what we're going to eat that week on the whiteboard in the kitchen -- that way instead of having the nightly "What should I cook?" crisis, we have a leisurely period of thinking about food, usually over dinner on the weekend. All of this is to say I wish you success -- not so much with your own committment to go real-food, because I believe that that will happen, but with keeping your family on board.
2nd-Jan-2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
We have a notepad that's half a menu-planning thing and half a shopping-list thing. We just need to use it...
2nd-Jan-2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
Good for you!! You may find that the dietary change will help you with seizures as well, my family changed to 'real food' and got rid of all processed foods and gluten for my brother and his seizure activity went way down!

I need to get back to this I've been a slacker too.
2nd-Jan-2010 09:29 pm (UTC) - You inspire me...
I'm going to *try* to go back to whole foods myself. Every time I've tried it (for short stints) I have felt better. I know that it's right for me, I just get lazy sometimes. *hugs* I'm glad you're embracing your journey.
2nd-Jan-2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
I, too, do a lot of from-scratch cooking, and would be happy to help if I can. I'm not GF, but my stepson is so I have some experience with adapting to that.
2nd-Jan-2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
2nd-Jan-2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
I think that's a good idea for anyone.
3rd-Jan-2010 03:06 am (UTC)
Not so much when there's a medical necessity.
Ha! Ha ha ha ha! That's funny. (I react - albeit usually mildly - to corn in the air, but the rest of the family had chips and queso tonight, for starters...)
3rd-Jan-2010 04:28 am (UTC)
if you haven't run across such a thing yet, and as you love baking, i have a gf chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses masa. even when i learned i did not actually have a gluten issue, i kept the recipe. and, to save you responding (you busy girl) i shall paste it here now :)

i can't recall if these were made exactly as directed, though i can guarantee no nuts were added....

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/8 cup brown sugar, packed
3/8 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup masa harina
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

beat butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until fluffy. add masa, soda, and salt; mix well. stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

roll the batter into balls about 1 inch in diameter or slightly larger. bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.

allow to cool on cookie sheet for several minutes before you transfer to cooling rack. they'll fall apart if you transfer them too hot, and will stick if you let them totally cool on the sheet.
3rd-Jan-2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
I know this might reek of efforting, but it has worked for my family in the past. Set aside a dedicated chunk of time (20-40 minutes) every week for the family to get together and make grocery lists and plan out meals for the week. Sunday evenings tend to work well for this sort of thing, I think. I know Elayna's a picky eater, so this will give her some measure of control over what goes into her mouth and will hopefully wean her off the ramen a bit. Introduce her to Epicurious and maybe Smitten Kitchen for ideas.
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