The Peaceful Feast

Giving Thanks For Gluten-Free Eats and the Bloggers Who Love Them–UPDATED
November 26, 2009, 4:01 pm
Filed under: dairy-free, GFCF, gluten-free, wheat-free

So it’s mid-afternoon Thanksgiving Day, the teen next door is plucking at a banjo on the porch, a fluffy little 3-month old kitten is nibbling at my feet, and I am baking a pumpkin cheesecake pie. I used Arrowhead Mills quick pour for the filling, but otherwise followed this recipe from Low Carb Friends. If this works out, I”ll throw up a pic of the finished product.

I confess: I was a bit of a pouter this Thanksgiving. No stuffing? Nuts to that!!! was my attitude.

But judging from some g-f tweets, gluten-free is becoming the Next Big Thing in gourmet cooking. From the Food Wolf, I learned how a simple butternut squash dish can change your life. Intriguing, no?? I mean, the dish literally made her stop and pray. She was on her honeymoon in Italy at the time so her life was already going through what seems to be heady but joyful changes, so the fact that this butternut squash dish made any impact on her makes this a must-try recipe.

From SensiGirl, I found a delish-sounding gluten-free, casein-free spicy stuffing. Oh yeah! This made Thanksgiving happy again for her, and I am going to try this out myself and see if it doesn’t turn my pout upside down.

And from Kathy Casey, of Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, I stumbled upon a recipe for homemade egg nog that promises to make for some very happy holidays, indeed! 🙂

Okay, the pie is done cooking. Time to let it cool and then head over to the sister’s place for more eats. Bon appetit, and Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

UPDATE: Maybe it was because I used pre-made filling but the pie’s flavor was a little sweet for my sister’s taste. I didn’t mind the filling but hated that the almond-pecan crust sort of blended with the custard instead of being a foundation for the pie. Overall, I’d give it a B. Not bad for a first-time attempt at baking gluten-free.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie


Is Paleo gluten-free?
November 24, 2009, 2:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

I sure hope it is! The food pictured here makes paleo look really

Healing Materialism
November 21, 2009, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yesterday, I strolled the aisles of Vitamin Cottage, blissfully tossing “gluten-free this” and “allergen-free that” into my cart, full of glee bordering on euphoria over my “clean” and “good” and “healthy” purchases.

My goodness, I thought, is it possible that I can be any more materialistic?
My ego retorted: “What’s so materialistic about wanting to be healthy?”

But It’s not necessary to spend more to be healthy; it’s just that I’ve bought into this notion that being healthy means buying extra things. I am a healing materialist.

Speaking in Boulder, Colo., about 40 years ago, Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa warned his students against what he called “spiritual materialism”:

Walking the spiritual path properly is a very subtle process; it is not something to jump into naively. There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This fundamental distortion may be referred to as spiritual materialism.

There are several ways this spiritual materialism may manifest: capitalistically, through new age stores selling enlightenment through expensive gee-gaws and doohickeys, for example. But also, we may manifest our materialism through our humanity by seeking to reward our egos by buying expertly packaged things, becoming experts ourselves, or by … ahem … publishing a blog. 🙂

All this is a long way of getting to the question I’ve been pondering about whether one can take too materialistic an approach toward healing. I think it is possible, but I haven’t quite figured out how this works, or how to avoid healing materialism. I’ll be returning to this topic from time to time and welcome any ideas.

Synchronicity, Serendipity, Coincidence
November 19, 2009, 1:28 pm
Filed under: food allergies, food sensitivities, gluten, gluten-free

Was it deus ex machina or a happy accident? Whatever it was it happened twice so far while I was writing the previous post.

First, Gluten-free Girl tweeted about the Psychology Today article I linked to below describing the connection between gluten sensitivity and depression/anxiety.

And then just moments after I published the post from earlier, I found this article describing some of the problems gluten causes.

I guess the world really is waking up — just as I am — to the problems gluten poses. As a dear physician-friend said to me recently about going gluten-free, “This diet reverses many conditions, you’ll see!”

How Did I Get Here?

We all know the smart thing to do when you are sick is to go to the doctor. We all know to seek expert advice, but who to turn to when these experts fail?

My entire life has been plagued with mysterious ailments and illnesses. Some of these are definitely food related, others are environmental, and the source of others is still unknown. For decades now, doctor after doctor has been unable to pinpoint the cause of all these strange sufferings.

Infancy: Colic and an aversion to eggs, according to mom, who herself was lactose intolerant and allergic to mangoes. I occaisonally get itchy when I eat citrus. My dad was allergic to shellfish. I can’t handle scallops myself.

Early childhood to early adulthood: Allergy-related eczema of the hands and feet. Had weekly shots for several years but the shots ended even though the allergic reaction was in force. Doctor told my mom that I was having an auto-immune response to a number of environmental irritants. Food allergies were never considered. He told my mother to see to it that I marry “a rich man” so that I can hire people to clean (expose themselves to chemicals) for me. Hold on a minute …. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA …. Okay, I am back. Well, we see how that worked out considering that I am both poor and unmarried, but now there’s non-toxic cleaning products, so that’s .. uh … good, I guess. Just kidding. No really, that’s great. If you have got to do your own cleaning chemical free is the way to go.

Age 10: Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling): This is considered a psychiatric disorder along the Obsessive-Compulsive spectrum, but like many other mental health issues, there is some evidence of physical basis to hair pulling. John Kender believes that this disorder may be caused by an allergy to a common yeast found on the skin and in the gut. Kender is not a medical expert but he is a hair puller who devised an anti-yeast diet that he, and many others, claim is a cure for trichotillomania. I haven’t tried this diet so I can’t vouch for its efficacy but here’s a link in case you are interested.

Age 16 — 40: Clinical depression with anxiety. Another mental health issue with roots, some say, in physical health. Depression and anxiety is associated with carbohydrate cravings, which can pack on the pounds. Some carbohydrates are allergens, like wheat, corn, and potatoes, which can create a response from the body, including abrupt changes in mood.

Adult depression and anxiety has been linked to childhood allergies. Many celiac sufferers have been misdiagnosed initially as suffering from depression instead of a gluten sensitivity.

Lifelong: Hypothyroid: Diagnosed at 40 and guess what? Celiac and hypothyroidism are connected.

Age 20 — Irritable Bowel Syndrome: I actually started suffering from this around my mid-teens. Wheat and dairy are implicated in IBS. I’ve also suffered IBS very badly after eating semolina pasta and marinara sauce.

Age 40 — Painful Bladder Syndrome: This is the working diagnosis for what initially was thought to be bladder cancer. Inflamed cells fooled cytology tests into thinking that the inflammation was cancer. My urologist made the wheat/gluten connection to these symptoms and suggested the celiac panel. The panel results came back mixed. Based on my doctor’s recommendation, I’ve been off gluten since October ’09.

A common theme throughout the years is that these are all ailments that correspond highly to food/environmental allergies, yet only in the case of my childhood eczema and the painful bladder syndrome were allergies ever considered a cause of illness. So much for the so-called experts. No wonder Americans are going online looking for cures for what ails them. No wonder alternative healing is a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet, when people overhear me muttering to myself trying to figure out what’s going on inside, I hear words and phrase like “neurotic”, “self-absorbed”, “overly sensitive”, etc.

Oh, poor me. I’m a wee bit self-pitying today after writing an inventory of these health challenges. Well, at least with the gluten sensitivity diagnosis, better late than never. We’ll see how I feel after 6 months gluten-free.

To Eat In Peace
November 18, 2009, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

What to eat when food hurts? I mean achey joints, gassy, runny, bowel movements,  weight that won’t come on or off,  the collateral damage in the war being waged against your body.

I’m talking food allergies.  These are what sends you off into the bathroom for a little alone time with the toilet after eating bread, or tomatoes, or ice cream, or other allergens.

Your doctor may have told you that you have celiac, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, or an allergy to some common, or not so common, foods.

The most common food allergens are: wheat, soy, fish, corn, eggs, yeast, nightshades, dairy, and tree nuts. Chances are, if you are allergic, you are sensitive to one or more of these foods.

I was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity through blood tests about a month ago, and adopted a wheat and gluten-free diet immediately. I quickly learned that gluten and dairy sensitivity goes hand in hand.  I am about 90 percent dairy free and find that my stomach and bowels are much calmer without it. Same with tomatoes, which belong to the nightshade family. I eliminated that and find that there is less drama in the bathroom these days.

Oh yeah: I have painful bladder syndrome, too, which means both #1 and #2 elimination routes are under seige.  PBS means chocolate, coffee, citrus, tomatoes, and alcohol are all no nos. Not saying that I adhere strictly to this — just that these are not allowed.

So, you may be asking after all this information (almost too much), why blog? Well, why not? I need to learn how to join the clean plate club without killing myself.  I can read other allergy blogs and food sites,  but without a place to put everything I find, all that helpful information goes out the old memory hole. Besides, my family, friends and co-workers get bored real fast with my sharing news of gluten-free this and dairy-free that. Never mind my bladder and my bowels, all this food talk leads them to think I got some kind of  problem, which I do, but they don’t, and frankly, they can do without hearing about it.

So, all who have stumbled upon this blog, if you’re still reading … welcome.  Please be at home here. Drop me a line about what brought you to my blog. Pull up a chair. Consider this a neutral zone in the food wars — I don’t advocate a vegetarian diet, or a low-carb diet, or this diet or that.  I’m not a nutrition counselor or a medical doctor. I’m just trying to find food that doesn’t hurt. If that’s what you want, cool, let us then help each other feast in peace! 🙂