Food Fridays- The Produce Aisle

 

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One week of the Specific Carb diet, meaning no grains, no gluten free snacks, I am rediscovering the joys of the produce aisle.

The thought struck me today how the Specific Carb Diet is similar to something God said in Genesis:

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“29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

The main difference being that grains come from seed bearing plants, but omit those and the fruit and veggies are part of the original nutritional guide. No I am not vegan. I still eat meat and cheese, but surely there will be benefits from increasing my veggie and fruit intake.

One thing I love about buying fresh fruit and vegetables is that I do not have to worry about looking for a certified gluten free symbol.

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My late night snack of certified gluten free oatmeal and milk has been replaced by a banana and organic unsweetened peanut butter. For my early evening meal, I no longer use gluten free pasta made from brown rice. I add more vegetables and along with the meat or beans, it fills me up. I am going to give the Specific Carb Diet another week to see if I start to feel benefits from it.

If you haven’t tried it yet, try eating organic fruit and see if it doesn’t taste better to you. 🙂

Later today I will go to the gym and have my weekly weight check. Will let you know how that goes and how life on the Specific Carb Diet goes.

Oh and by the way, my favorite fruit for this time of year- Organic Apples. What is your favorite fruit?

 

 

 

 

 

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Food Fridays- Dinner with Friends from Syria

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting some friends from Syria and joining them for dinner. I won’t use their names or pictures because they came here as refugees and I want to respect their privacy.

Something I appreciate about eating food from the Middle East is that so much of it is gluten free because they do not use bread or pasta as much as we do in the West. Rice is more popular in their cultures and they don’t use breading for all fried foods like we do.

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I like how the wife cooked the rice adding almond slices and the way she seasoned the chicken. We also had dolma.

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One thing I have learned about visiting friends from the Middle East for lunch or dinner is to not eat much during the day before you go. Yesterday I only had two eggs for breakfast because I knew what would happen. The hospitality is wonderful and they want guests to feel welcome. The wife filled my plate three times. 🙂

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It was an enjoyable time with delicious gluten free food. It also gave me a chance to find out what is going on in their lives and what they might need help with.

I am curious what are some of your favorite gluten free meals or foods? Please share by leaving a comment.

Have a great weekend and remember- It is your body/It is your health.

Gratitude while living with Autoimmune/Celiacs- Brigadeiro

Living with any autoimmune problem can be taxing on our minds. We live with pain, changed lifestyles, and doctors doctors doctors. It can be easy to get down, feel down, and let ourselves stay down. It helps me to think about things I am grateful for even little things. For example, this week I am grateful brigadeiro is gluten free and for my friend Angelita who gives me brigadeiro sometimes.

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Brigadeiro is a Brazilian chocolate treat. It is made with a few ingredients, sweetened condensed milk. cocoa powder, and butter. The butter is melted in the sweetened condensed milk as it is brought to a boil and then the cocoa powder is stirred in. It can be eaten after it is chilled with a spoon or it can be rolled into little balls.

I tried to learn to make it myself, but the rolling part was not something I could master. It was fun to try such as in the picture of me rolling brigadeiro with my friend Paty in her home in Brazil. The best part was, of course, eating the brigadiero.

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Brigadeiro is part of Brazilian culture. If I want to get a Brazilian friend to smile, I only need to say brigadeiro. My Brazilian friends mean a lot to me and so does sharing in the cultures of my international friends. Because brigadeiro is gluten free, I can still share that part of Brazilian culture with my friends. For that I am grateful 🙂

 

 

Food Fridays- Dolma Thanks to a Refugee Friend

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Wednesday evening after I finished teaching my class, a former student told me she had some food for me. She was my student in a newcomer refugee class last summer and she happens to be an excellent cook. The food she brought me was dolma. Anytime I eat her food, it is a kind of celebration for my taste buds.

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Last year after I found out I have Celiacs one of my concerns was explaining about my need to be gluten free to my friends from other countries. One day I visited my friend’s house to see the whole family and bring some vegetables from a garden at my church. They asked me to stay and my friend cooked some food and told me, “No wheat” to let me know she made it in a way I could eat it. I realized that day that many of my international friends would be happy to help me with my need to be gluten free.

When I ate the dolma Thursday, I thought about my friend and her family and the dolma tasted SO GOOD. It brought a smile to my face.

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Dolma is a dish that is easily made gluten free since the ingredients are rice, vegetables, and seasonings. There are various ways to make it- with grape leaves, with onions, with tomatoes, with green peppers etc. You can google for recipes. Dolma can be not only gluten free, but also vegetarian or even vegan.

The great thing about food I eat with my friends from other countries is that so much of it is already gluten free especially food from the Middle East. And as I said, so many of my friends from other countries want to help me stay gluten free.

Now if I could just decide if I should shave off my beard for summer. I don’t know.

Happy Weekend All

Mental Health Mondays- Exercise Has Helped

Last May I began physical therapy for a bad knee. The therapy was in the water in an aqua track at Madonna Proactive in my home city Lincoln. I have to admit at first I was not really into it, but I wanted to try to avoid surgery, so I went and did my best. The picture is of the actual aqua track.

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For therapy, I would do two laps into the current, two laps with the current behind my back, one lap backward, one lap sideways, and then go into the center for some exercises.

After therapy was finished, I joined the gym to continue exercising. I would do about ten laps and then the exercises, BUT- something happened.

After I became gluten free last August, my energy level improved. One day as I was walking I felt I could go longer, and lo and behold, I went 20 laps. So I did 20 laps each time for a few weeks and then one day I went 30. I read on the sign that 43 laps equaled one mile, so I hoped to reach 43. One week after going 30, I kept going because I felt good and I hit 50. With nasty gluten out of my body, my energy level and stamina for exercise improved.

What does that have to do with Mental Health Mondays? I don’t think I need to quote experts because it is common knowledge by now that exercise benefits us by reducing stress, increasing oxygen flow to the brain etc etc. The reason I am writing about exercise today is the light goes on while I walk.

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I get ideas when I exercise. I started writing again, short stories, drama pieces, and blogs. Ideas come to me while I am walking in the aqua track. As a creative person, I cannot express enough what that means to me now that the foggy brain of Celiacs is gone. On Saturday I was walking around the aqua track and I finished writing a short story in my head for my blog encounterswiththeancients.com about a man meeting Peter while fishing. I came home and typed it up and will post it on Tuesday.

Exercise helps me sleep better, think more clearly, and just plain FEEL better. If we feel better physically, it helps us feel better mentally and when living with autoimmune problems, which I have a few, that is so worthwhile.

What helps you as you live with Celiacs or other autoimmune problems?

Gluten Free Dining/Sunday Lunch at Chopsticks Chinese Cuisine Restaurant

Anyone with Celiacs Disease experiences the apprehension about dining out because dining out can be too complicated. We have to ask questions about what is in the food. We constantly have to be careful and we should because as my mantra goes- IT IS YOUR BODY, IT IS YOUR HEALTH. It means a lot to me when I can talk with someone at a restaurant about my need for gluten free and they understand.

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This afternoon after church, I went to Chopsticks Chinese Restaurant to have lunch with a friend. I looked at their menu online, but wasn’t sure if they had gluten free items, so I called them last night and spoke with a woman. She understood about my need for gluten free and explained to me they do have some gluten free items. Why do I need to ask that before going to a Chinese restaurant? Soy Sauce has gluten in it. The woman I talked with let me know they have items without soy sauce.

SO– This afternoon I met a friend there. When I went to the counter to order, I told Maggie the owner I need gluten free. She remembered me from the phone and said, “Oh I talked with you last night.” She was very helpful about what I could order and could not order. I got the chicken with snow pea.

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The portion size was generous enough that I took some home. The food tasted good. I feel confident about going back there again. If you go there, you will find Maggie the owner to be very helpful and understanding about the need for gluten free.

Oh by the way, I have proof I can eat with chopsticks. The picture isn’t the best because the window was behind me, but here is proof I can eat with chopsticks.

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Food Fridays- Trying Gluten Free Snacks

If you are like me, when you hear words like organic or gluten free about snacks, you envision something that tastes like flavored this

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And yes there are some gluten free products that are kind of hard to chew or that make me wonder- WHY would anyone think of this?????

Some I have tried pleasantly surprised me. I have to say that as someone with Celiacs, I SO appreciate it when I go into a supermarket and see a gluten free aisle, not only a small section, but half an aisle like I found at a local HyVee supermarket where there were snacks, cereals, canned soups, gluten free pastas etc.

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Well, this week I tried an Acai/Blueberry snack bar from Glutino.

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And NO I am not a paid to advertise. Glutino doesn’t know me and doesn’t follow my blog or me on twitter, BUT I will give a shout out to a company that makes food for those of us that have Celiacs.

I thought it would be fun to make a video of myself trying the snack right out of the box for the first time for an authentic reaction. Here it is from my new youtube channel Celiacs Guy:

 

Is it really gluten free?

In a recent conversation I had with a woman who teaches in the school where I teach in the mornings, the topic of gluten free came up. She has a daughter who was recently diagnosed with Celiacs Disease.

Once a month at the school, there is a pot-luck lunch for the teachers. I stopped in and commented, “I came in to see food I can’t eat anymore” more as a joke with one of my colleagues. My colleague patted me on the shoulder and commented that Celiacs isn’t easy.

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That got the attention of the teacher whose daughter has Celiacs. She shared with me about her daughter and that her daughter still has symptoms after the family became gluten free. That introduced THE question for those of us with Celiacs. IS IT REALLY GLUTEN FREE??????

When she mentioned the name of one popular cereal that has gluten free on the front of the box, she didn’t have to say anything more. Of course I won’t mention the name of the cereal because I don’t want some corporate lawyer calling. However you can figure it out easily.

Gluten Free has become a bit of a fad for advertising. At first, I was misled by it until I met with a nutritionist at the gym I belong to. She explained that it has to be Certified Gluten Free. The light went on.

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I thought right away about the cereal I had still been eating that said Gluten Free on the front of the box. Then I googled it and found that it was not for sure Gluten Free, so I don’t buy that cereal anymore.

Now I look for one of the Certified Gluten Free symbols on the package before I even think about buying packaged food.

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Don’t fall for advertising gimmicks. Look for it to be Certified Gluten Free. It is YOUR health and YOUR body. If I have any doubt, I simply don’t buy it.

Introducing Food Fridays

When I first heard the words gluten free for any kind of food whether it be some kind of sweet treat, bread, pizza or anything else, I have to be honest this is the image that came to mind.

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Yes I thought everything that was gluten free would be like chewing on a flavored styrofoam cup. To be honest, there have been a few items that I thought were like that. I was HAPPILY SURPRISED when I found out my favorite coffee shop, The Harbor in Lincoln Nebraska, had gluten free items they bring in.

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This afternoon, I had a gluten free muffin- CHOCOLATE muffin at that. They warmed it up for me and it had a nice chocolaty gooey middle that I loved.

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I talked with Cindy the owner about their gluten free items. She told me that they buy their gluten free items. The muffin I bought was wrapped in plastic to minimize cross contamination.

They also have gluten free bread they can make sandwiches with. Cindy explained to me that if they get an order for a gluten free sandwich, the staff has been trained to use a different knife and board to make the sandwich on, so if you stop in to order, make sure to tell them you need gluten free. They take precautions, but she made sure to tell me she can’t absolutely guarantee they are gluten free because they are made in the same area as the regular food. Cindy is very conscientious about taking care of her customers. I ate one of the chocolate muffins last week and had no problems, so I felt comfortable getting one again today.

I will try to post Food Fridays earlier in the future. If you are like me, having Celiacs has made me cautious about what I can and can’t eat, but also has left me looking for tasty foods. Of course, the muffin is a once a week kind of thing because I do NOT want to gain back the weight I lost.