Sunday, August 2, 2015

Recipe: The Smoothest Shake This Side of Gluten-Free (and Plant Protein Giveaway Winners!)

What's better in Summer time than smoothies and shakes?

Perhaps this smoothie, in the singular.  Almond butter, vanilla, smooth kabocha puree and Japanese sweet potatoes create a texture in a class of its own -- smoothest, creamiest of shakes-variety -- as does the Garden of Life Plant Protein.

Bloody brilliant gluten-free fare in heat that feels like soggy cement here in New England.

If you're looking for a sweet without the chemicals, to gain a healthy amount of weight and want to add the shake for extra nutritional (and highly digestible) punch, or simply love the naturally gluten-free fun of playing with smoothies, this shake is for you.

It's also an exceptional post-workout burst of nutrition, balanced carbohydrates and solid protein, with a shot of necessary fats.

But mostly, it's a treat. That, in itself, after long working days or long dragging days of heat, is nourishing.

Try the recipe below.  And congratulations to the Plant Protein Giveaway Winners!  Serin S. and Karin!
a shake with a book: a combination
ever gluten-free, ever comforting,
always nourishing

ALMOND BUTTER KABOCHA
SHAKE

ingredients:

1 scoop Smooth Almond Butter
Plant Protein from GOLRaw
1/2 scoop Vanilla Plant Protein (GOLRaw)
1/4 cup Orgain Vanilla Almond Milk
1 tbs Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds
1 tsp Raw Almond butter, or
1 handful raw almonds
1/2 small organic kabocha squash, steamed
1/2 cup Japanese sweet potato, baked
1/2 cup ice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
handful spinach (optional)
raw cacao powder (optional)

directions:

1) Add soft ingredients and liquid to the blender first, starting with sweet potato
and squash. Follow the soft ingredients with protein, ice, and nuts and butters.
2) Add water if the blender doesn't begin to blend easily. Blend on puree, and then on high,
until all contents are well-combined and smooth.
3) Serve in a tall glass, dusted with optional cacao, and any extra
hemp seeds. 

Notes: Pouring a teaspoon or two of vanilla almond milk over the top
makes for a great float-like flavour on first sip, especially if
cacao-dusted!
Notes again: Try toasting the kabocha squash seeds in the oven, or
in a toaster oven on bake, and eating on the side for extra crunch.
I love sprinkling them on top as well with a dash of salt and ginger.



Tumbling free,

CJ

Friday, July 31, 2015

Gluten-Free, Free, and Fun (Or, An Experience of Food, No Celiac Risks Involved)

How often can you say you get to do something food-related, and wholly free from the risk of gluten-exposure? If you have Celiac, gluten-free is a necessity; and the risk of gluten-exposure is a serious risk.  But going out to play with food is a Russian-roulette experience when it comes to most social eating, restaurants, or potlucks -- and if not outright dangerous, fraught with the anxiety of hyper-vigilance.

I found one food experience that never spits gluten at me, and gives me a jolt of excitement each time I take to it.

Foraging.

How often do you get a food-related experience that's wholly gluten-free, and free?

The abandoned lots, parks, and otherwise-open-spaces in and around Boston -- along the river, back around the back bay -- are greener than God's thumb.  Not only that, if you know where to look -- and what to look for -- they're bursting with wild-growing edibles.

None of it wheat.

Lamb's Quarters grows like the weed it is, in bushes, and in crawling, baby-leaved bunches.

Purslane carpets rain-damp earth.

Wild black raspberries brambles pop alongside the river, and curl through cracked fences.

A few weeks back, trees all across the city and out of it were bursting and spitting mulberries, which gobbed up the pavements, unpicked.  Though I found two high schoolers under one, picking handfuls and handfuls, turning their teeth purple and red. I joined them.

They hadn't got Celiac, but they knew a free shot a goodness when they saw it.

If you're looking for an experience of abundance -- and a food-related jaunt completely free of vigilance or gluten -- forage. Lamb's Quarters, Wood Sorrel, Purslane, and wild berries are easy to spot. They're also just as free of poison as they are of gluten (one rather important thing I checked pre-foraging this Summer. You can't mistake any of the greens for something rotten.)

It's an unpleasant and damaging experience, always to be worried about food.  It's an ongoing stress to think in terms of can't, not enough, or restriction.

But I've been finding in foraging plenty, naturally gluten-free, and enough green to fill my produce drawer for a week.  Brilliant way to play with food; fun way to escape hyper vigilance; key way to avoid the trap of fear, control, the little voice that says you'll always have to worry, and never be safe to just enjoy and have enough.

Oy, gluten-free doesn't have to mean food-restricted, it can really be an experience of free -- freedom to have a life, freedom to eat, freedom to find the good spots in living.

Foraging: Free food, gluten-free food, tumbling free --

Not to mention, I love to explore.  So foraging is an especially nourishing outing for me -- it feeds my stomach and my senses.

I know the area quite well where I'm pegging off at the moment.  But if you're in a different part of the world, or the country, look into what indigenous plants explode around midsummer. The edibles. The beautiful. The always gluten-free. Lamb's Quarters is abundant most anywhere in the continental United States.  Ireland is full of edibles in the green days of Spring and Summer. Even the Southwest sprouts goods to eat this time of year.

Anyhow, I'm foraging again today. I need a break from hypervigilance.

Notes on plant identification and foraging:

a shot of the lambs quarters I rustled up in
Newton, MA

Don't eat if you can't positively identify.

Don't forage for mushrooms. Ever. Without really knowing your stuff. Death's Head looks terribly like those cute little button mushrooms you get at the market. And it kills you -- after 2 weeks.

there's the cute little plump
purslane
Lamb's Quarters tastes like spinach, is excellent steamed or in salads, and is nutritionally equivalent to spinach and kale.

Purslane is plump and excellent in stir-fries or salads.

Dandelion leaves, if picked young, are tender and taste amazing in a salad. Older leaves, however, tend to be tongue-tweakingly bitter.

Wild black raspberries are the best berry on the planet, and you ought to dig them up wherever you can.

Foraging is also a brilliant way to eat local, get to know your community, and reduce the waste of fuel and resource used to ship in produce from thousands of miles away.  Can you win any harder at life and living with Celiac Disease?  Nope.  It's abundance all ways round.

Post up if you'd ever consider foraging -- or any questions you have.  Would you forage? Why, or why not?

Best always,

Tumbling free,

CJ

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Recipe: Black Bean Beet Frijoles, Beautiful Gluten-Free

But is it dinner time, and can I have beans?

I think, though, I always want beans. It's been a long haul these last few months -- expos, trying a new job, quitting a new job, dealing with adrenal fatigue -- and I haven't written much about it at all.  From one thing driving out another, I suppose -- that's a sign of over-work, over-busy-ness, over-wrought, and time to stop.  Celiac Disease plus Life -- full time jobs in themselves, da?

So tonight, I'll just write about beans.  

Nutritionals and superfoods be blasted into hades. Beans are just good.  I grew up with beans. I made beans myself. My mum and papi made beans like mad in enormous pots that made the entire house smell, and I never got sick eating beans. 

One of my favourite recipes of all times is one I made last night, feeling homesick for ocean, and salsa, and Summer visits to family on the United States southwest coast. 

I tumbled home to my flat, and I just wanted beans, and salsa, and avocado.

It's a whole mess of perfectly cooked, refried blacks in a sautee of garlic, onion, and cilantro -- and it not only tastes like heaven, its texture is perfectly creamy after 40 minutes mashed and fried, and the beats set off the heat of the jalapenos I peg in with tongue-twisting sweet.

I love beans. I would be a miserable kid if gluten got into beans, instead of wheat.  But I can manage without bread. Tortillas, beans, avocado?  Oh no. Nope. Nyet. Nein. Never.

BLACK BEAN FRIJOLES
WITH BEETS

ingredients:

1 small beet
1 small sweet onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbps diced jalapeño
1 tbsp coconut oil (if you prefer, you may also use organic-sourced
lard, olive oil, or grapeseed oil)
1/2 cup pre-prepared organic black turtle beans

directions:

1) Slice beet from tail to root in thin rounds, as thin as you can. Cut those in halves. Set aside. Finely
dice the onion, and add to the set aside beet. 
2) Heat skillet or saucepan until water sizzles on its surface. Add oil, and coat the
pan thoroughly. Toss in the beets and onion, and allow to cook until
the beets are tender, about 15 minutes.
3) Add garlic, half the cilantro, and jalapeño, and combine thoroughly. 
OPTIONAL: add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, and red pepper to taste.
4) Add beans, and sautee for 4-10 minutes. Cover, and turn to very low heat. The beets
should provide enough moisture to keep the beans from burning, but check just in case, and add a dash of water if necessary. Cook 20-25 minutes, and then remove from heat and mash well.
5) Serve hot over a bed of fresh greens, save for later to add to tacos or quesadillas,
or spoon over freshly steamed rice or quinoa.
6) Garnish with remaining cilantro, and for extra kick, dice up some more
jalapeño to add to that.

My favourite: Packed into a gluten-free tortilla, pan-fired
and served with fajitas and guacamole


I'll never tire of eating beans.  My body always seems glad to welcome another bout with beans. And this recipe is a pleaser for the bean-lover, bean-doubter, and bean-indifferent. Not to mention, tripled, it makes mad-good meals for half a week.

Beans are excellent for gluten-free good. After all, they're naturally gluten-less.  You can't tumbled much farther from gluten, or into anything much more budget-friendly and taste-tickling
than a good bout with black beans.

Do you eat beans?  Often? Ever? Never?

Best until next time,

Tumbling Free,

CJ

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Product Review and Giveaway! Plant Protein -- It's Gluten Free Like a Boss


I can't say how much I love Garden of Life's new Plant Protein powders.

Just in time for Summer and shakes, this package hit my doorstep: All five flavours of the grain free and gluten-free Plant Protein protein powders. I've been adding protein powders to meals lately, because thyroid imbalances (indeterminate in diagnosis as yet) and some continued malabsorption have kept me below an ideal weight. I've also been helping a few clients find a solid protein powder for athletic recovery.  With the thyroid on the fritz, I haven't been fencing -- but helping some clients who have Celiac with proper meal replacement and nutrition during their athletic pursuits has kept me looking for good nutrition for athletic performance as well.

For athletes, for those with Celiac, for anyone looking to supplement their nutrition, sometimes, protein powders are a necessity.  Sometimes, they're the answer to a life lived at a speed that makes at least one meal a rush -- and powders in a drink a good substitute.

For me, proteins powders have been meal supplements for healthy weight gain -- necessarily gluten-free-- nutrition supplements when I've fenced competitively and run...and in the case of Garden of Life, they also provide a source of good bugs and trace minerals to help heal my gut.

I haven't been so pleased with a supplement since I discovered CALM magnesium (which fizzes like soda and tastes like it too). The fact that these blends are grain-free makes them especially digestible and even creamier than the previous line-up Garden of Life offered. Like their predecessors though, they have the added probiotics and enzymes. They're perfect added to shakes and smoothies for a dairy-allergic Celiac.


The facts


Plant Protein is highly digestible with the addition of 13 enzymes and 1 billion CFU active probiotics. They prove 15 grams protein per serving. Each flavour has less than 1 gram of sugar per scoop. The protein  is sourced from family organic farms in the continental United States is naturally plant-based, and thus safe for those with allergies to dairy and dairy proteins. (I love the list of plants the proteins stem from -- it looks like a trip foraging through a garden...organic pea seed, organic flax seed, organic cranberry seed, organic chia seed and organic pumpkin seed.) Non-GMO, organic, and additive free, they're not even heated, which preserves nutrients often lost in cooking.


The comparison:

 Powders fall into two categories -- the grainy trying to be creamy, or grainy and chalky. Creamy often requires dairy, or a bloody eye-scraping list of chemically treated additives. Perhaps because they're grain free, the Plant Proteins are brilliantly smooth. From the Vanilla, to the Smooth Chocolate, Marley Coffee, Energy (with a hint of cinnamon), and Smooth Almond Butter, none of these buggers needs a huge smoothie to hide a grainy texture or aftertaste.

















( You can find my review of various other protein powders here.)

Anyhow, I've been having blast muddling around with smoothies and shakes of
 various flavours in the kitchen.   My favourite muddle so far in the shake department has been a Sweet Potato Almond Butter and Vanilla blend (pictured left). But Chocolate PB n Honey Green (dusted with cacao) was rather crazy-brilliant (pictured right) -- and came out the best I've ever made using the Smooth Chocolate.

My only complaint is the price-tag.  On a shoestring budget myself, I love the ethical background of Garden of Life, I love their product -- I love that they take an interest in sourcing ingredients where workers are treated fairly, and conditions are just.  

But they do cost over $20 American for 9oz. Steep? STEEP.  Good nutrition though? YES. Great taste? YES.

In sum:

Whole food-based -- Organic -- Excellent Nutrition for Athletic Recovery -- Supportive of Gut Health -- High Quality Meal Supplementation -- Tastes Like A Shake -- Celiac SAFE (and Celiac Supportive)


It doesn't get much better than that.


Comment below and enter the rafflecopter giveaway -- I get to shoot out one full bag of Plant Protein to a reader!  a Rafflecopter giveaway



Best,

Tumbling Free,

CJ


Disclaimer:  My opinion is wholly and inarguably my own.  I received samples of the product to taste-test, but was not otherwise compensated for the remarks above.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Recipe: Yes, Let's! A Squash Bowl for Breakfast

Sometimes, it's the simple food that's best.  Mostly always.

I've been eating Squash Bowls for breakfast.  They're a quick pudding, and lovely. Naturally gluten-free, easy on the pocketbook, they're also sweet and a full blend of flavours, and they match brilliantly with a cup of protein-packed (courtesy of Garden of Life Plant Protein) Coconut Milk.

Also, in the bloody rush of things lately, I've wanted something satisfying, novel, and easily prepared.

And maybe weird.

One of the best things about having Celiac is eating whatever you like in a mad exploratory way.  Perhaps that's the basis of intuitive eating, in a nutshell.  What sounds good, or interesting, and let's try it!  (Sans gluten, of course -- whatever you like not containing gluten.)

I taught a workshop recently utilizing a tool I learned from my little brother, who is a dedicated theater-little-bloke and play improv with Shakespeare: It's called, Yes, let's!

Well, the Squash Bowl was a yes, let's! And when I taught the workshop, I took the kids through a list of foods-not-safe-for-Celiacs first, and then handed out pads of paper to draw or write on. The game was to think of every and anything that popped into their head that they might put in their mouths, and then think is it edible? and if so, yes, let's!

Let's try it, that is.

Oy, best game ever.

We got some snorters too.  How about Christmas Tree soup? Or my favourite, Gooseberry Eggshell Crunch. (It is gluten-free, but I don't know that egg shells would be the best crunch taste or nutrition-wise.)

Anyhow, I ended by showing them a picture of the Squash Bowl, which brought a whole new avalanche of YES LET'S's, including a Cocoa-Powder-Cinnamon-Acorn-Dandelion-Seed-Peanut-Butter-Pudding.

Below is the recipe for the Squash Bowl.

Better even than the bowl is the game, though.  I've never found a better way to play with food, ditch fear and a sense of restriction, and discover new edibles, than thinking -- or playing -- How about... YES, LET'S! like a gluten-free boss.  It doesn't need gluten. The list on the no table was much shorter than any of the things that workshop cooked up...and a bit boring, really.

If you could brainstorm anything to eat, and try it, what would it be?

BREAKFAST SQUASH BOWL
[ gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free ]

ingredients

for the bowl:

1/2 cup frozen, diced butternut, acorn, or kabocha squash
2 tsp gelled organic chia seeds
1/4 cup puffed cereal or Erewhon Crisp Rice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp powdered stevia or 1/2 tsp raw honey or 1 tsp sugar
optional: Nuttzo nut butter, almond butter, dairy-free ice-cream

for the milk:

1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
1 heaping tbsp Organic Plant Protein, Chocolate
water to blend
1/2 cup So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk

1) Layer chia, mixed with vanilla, zest, sweetener and cereal. 
2) Add squash, sprinkle with additional sweetener to taste.
3) Blend protein powder with cocoa until it forms a thick paste
at the bottom of your mug or cup.  Add milk, stir well.
4) Serve chilled, with milk poured over the top. Optionally, 
sprinkle with hemp seeds, cacao nibs, or one of the kids' suggestions--
sprinkles, almonds, cinnamon and strawberries.


I love the fact that this bowl is a blend of naturally gluten-free, and all whole foods, really.

Best always,

Tumbling Free,

CJ

Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence Day Gluten-Free -- Free From FOOD FEAR (and a Berry Trifle)

Eating -- it isn't alway so much, or so imperatively, a matter of what, as it is a matter of how. Barring the incident that I have to eat gluten-free, I don't have any other rules about food. "Right" is not a way to eat, it is a direction. Well is a way to eat. Nourished. Peaceful.  Enjoyably, is a way to eat -- and hopefully nearly always the way one does eat. With Celiac, safely is a way to eat.

But eating never should be an action made from fear.  Eating isn't a way to control our lives or our bodies, but another way to enjoy both.

As a nutritionist now, not just teaching preschool but teaching workshops and taking calls from frantic parents of kids with allergies, behavioural problems, or Celiac Disease -- taking calls from young sorts my age or men and women with families, mad-busy lives, and low-tolerance for time spent on nutrition -- I've found more and more people want to eat right.

Or they think there is a right way to eat.

As a coach, a consultant, a teacher, I have made it a rule:  I will never tell someone to eat right; and I will never tell someone there is a right way to eat. Why? Because there is no right way.*

I cannot tell you how to eat.

I will give you options -- note the plural -- for how to eat well, especially if you have Celiac, or another medically necessary custom diet that just may look like a restriction.

What does eating right do to me?  It's come up recently, because when I was diagnosed, I thought I could eat right to fix my gut.  But eating right is a mental attitude that does the same thing to my mental and emotional nourishment that the malabsorption of Celiac Disease did to my physical nourishment -- it damages my ability to relate to life, and absorb joy and novelty, exploration, abundance.

To eat to fix is to eat to control. To control is to act in fear, and fear restricts.

"Ima not eat that," said a little boy I worked with recently.  It made my gut clench -- and irrationally, my eyes burnt too. For a moment, I couldn't think of why. 

It was strawberries on the table -- ruby, round, fresh and local, piled in a heaping bowl and the little CJ in me was rather inclined to dive in, face first. EAT ALL THE STRAWBERRIES.

But the 5 year old next to me said he wouldn't eat them.

"Why?" I asked.  Asking questions always helps more than telling.

He rubbed his nose. "Mom says fruits are badder for my tummy, and make people fat."

This little bloke had a wheat allergy, and was off dairy.  Grievous knows why he should need to skip out on fruit -- he showed no signs of fructose intolerance, and he didn't have a gut filled with candida, the sugar-devouring fungal fiend.

FAT? I rather doubt his mom said just that, but the bloody culture is sunk in a mire of fat-fear and perfection, so no doubt he had heaps of options for soaking up the cognitive distortion.

I didn't coach or advise right there and then.  It's always proper to go through the parent when kids are involved.  But eating fruit?That's not badder for you.  And it's not freeing -- or an accurate representation of how are bodies relate to food -- to cut something out from a place of fear or control.

One, it doesn't work.

Two, it doesn't work.

And three, it bloody makes us miserable -- undernourished on our experience of joy in the world, unrecovered from the fears so tightly tied to food-related disease.

Not to mention, fruit does not make you fat. Doubly not-to-mention, shape and body composition are not a reason for shame, and are not a matter of eating. (Another time, I suppose, I could wreak havoc on the DISTORTION that eating equals gaining unhealthy weight. Emotional issues and other illnesses and perhaps chemicals equal unhealthy bodies, sometimes at an unhealthy weight -- either over or under.)

"Don't worry," was all I told him.

Later, after checking in with his mum, we all scarfed strawberries like dibbuns in a wild bramble.

Later still - today actually - I stacked up an Independence Day Berry Trifle.

It's important to be independent -- independent from fear -- if we're to live tumbling free, able to explore and enjoy ourselves and our world.

RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM


There's no right way to eat, mates. I don't believe any nutritionist or coach worth their weight can tell you right. But they can coach you well -- coach you play with your food, enjoy more variety, explore more creativity by cooking, and how to eat safely when your edibles have to be freedibles. Free of gluten, free of allergens; most importantly, free of fear and control.

Enjoy Independence Day if you're in the United States.  If not, enjoy it anyway, by being independent from fear in food. Eating is a joy.

Best in health,

Tumbling free,

CJ


Recipe

BERRY TRIFLE
[ dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, soy-free ]
Serves about 2


ingredients

1/2 cup fresh organic blackberries
1/2 cup fresh organic blueberries
1/2 cup fresh organic strawberries, sliced thin
3 tbsp gelled organic chia seeds

directions

This recipe is beyond simple. Soak chia seeds for 30-40 minutes
in twice the water. Layer your chia, whipped cream, and berries in
a parfait glassto create a flag of red, white, and blue. 

Optional additions: Crushed Erewhon Supergrains Chia Quinoa Cereal,
Garden of Life Raw Almond Butter Plant Protein (to the chia), 
Crushed Mary's Gone Crackers Gluten-Free Grahams.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WHAT'S TATERS PRECIOUS? or, What's For Breakfast If You're Celiac

WHAT'S TATERS, PRECIOUS?

Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew... Or it's breakfast time, gluten-free. Hash them, mash them, and douse them in eggs.  I woke up feeling like orange. Which was good, because I had a fridge full of sweet potato innards.  What do you eat for breakfast? is one of the most common questions I get from friends or clients when they learn I have Celiac -- or learn that they have it.

I was terribly tempted these last couple of queries to bellow: WHAT'S TATERS, PRECIOUS?

As a segueway into self-care, I've been theming days HOBBIT DAYS, meaning looking at the day in terms of abundance, and many meals. Literally and figuratively.  Isn't it easy to forget in the buzz and busy of a day that I'm not made live on empty.

It is.

But what's taters, precious?  A naturally sweet-and-savoury gluten-free breakfast.  This hash is an easy mash on a shoestring budget, a quick but satisfying meal, and the absolute answer to how do you eat breakfast, gluten-free?

It's easy. Two sentences.  What's taters, precious? and a fragment -- naturally gluten-free.

Also, it's book-themed, and books are my touchstone, and stories always and peacefully lead me back to my center.

WHAT'S TATERS
SWEET TATER BREAKFAST HASH

ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, baked, insides scooped out
1/3 small sweet onion
1/4 cup zucchini, shredded
dash coriander
sprig fresh cilantro
salt/pepper to taste

directions

1) Using leftover sweet potato, mash together with onion and zucchini in a small bowl.
2) Spread over a sheet of parchment paper.
3)  Bake at 400F in conventional oven,
or toast in a toaster oven on highest heat until the sweet potato
begins to brown.

4) Serve immediately, with favourite syrup, or with eggs scrambled or poached.



This meal satisfies.  Better yet, it uses leftovers without being an afterthought, is gluten-free without even trying, and manages to play on The Lord of the Rings.  Organic, sustainable, nourishing. Naturally gluten-free.  I've even toasted and wrapped it for the road -- it makes a neat little breakfast package and an easy tote-along. But I'm particularly fond of recommending it to friends and clients who wonder, what can you eat gluten-free for breakfast?

Oy!  What's taters, precious?  Precious good breakfast, is what.


Tumbling into nutrition with intention, health without restriction,
gluten-free!

CJ