Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gluten-Free Roadtripping and Travel Tips

...or, Fuel Well to Feel Well

It isn't a no-brainer, travelling with Celiac Disease.  When it comes to hitting the road, I have half a dozen more boxes to check than my non-Celiac friends or fellow travellers. It isn't a no-brainer, but it doesn't have to be brain-drain, an emotional strain, or a dip into self-neglect.

I enjoy most when I'm well-fueled and well-rested.

So recently, I road-tripped rather madly -- like a hare out of fox's lair, really. I was moving, and then moving again, and then on-the-road to hit two Expos in-between re-settling in Boston. Yes, that part was insane.

But my strategies for being-on-the-road, fed, and gluten-free safely, were sane, not insane.

A few things I've found key to traveling on the road well are as follows:

Tumble free -

- Make a list of all things you're worried about, and cross out the ones that are a) out of your control and/ or b) really not priorities.
For example, traffic will be out of your control.  On the other hand, having a sack of non-perishable food so that I don't need to risk a possibly unsafe eating establishment is very much in my control.
Let go of the bits and pieces you can't control, and the little things that niggle, but aren't deadly or trip-threatening (or life-threatening -- important, that).
-  Bring music, audiobooks, or a few grounding cherished objects.  Seeing Totoro hanging from my rearview mirror, and having music I love, can make the difference in a trip-down-a-stairwell kind of roadtrip, and a trip-down-a-rainbow experience.

- Have one friend or support contact either a) in the car or b) on the speed-dial.
For example,  I had a dear friend and mentor whom I could call if I got too exhausted, needed some guidance, or felt out of my depth. Also, if my GPS went out.  Very important.  If I don't have a map or GPS, but I do have a mobile phone, I can always ring a friend who can get me directions.  Also very important: Have a person who understands Celiac. 

Eat breakfast. Always.

I started 3 of the 4 fourteen hour drives I made in the last 5 months at the beautifully god-maddeningly early hour of 4ish am. Not coffee, mates. BREAKFAST.

But how to pack a solid breakfast that's car-compact and gluten-fee?  I made night-before smoothies. A huge smoothie, packed with Garden of Life Plant Protein, sweet potato, banana, nut butter -- that could get me through hours. It's also easy to pour into a shaker cup or  thermos, and can be sipped safely while driving.

Pack a Snack Seat

If you're not carting a carload of passengers, make the passenger seat the seat for a snack or meal sack.  Have a couple of meals, pre-packed in bentos or glass containers. A few bags of crisps -- Way Better Snacks always sits on my seat, along with apples, nuts, some nut butter usually -- Artisana, and NUTTZO. (Also, a heap-load of homemade nut butter cookies   and a few travel packets of Garden of Life Plant Protein.)  Be sure you've enough food for a day (perishables) and perhaps 2-4 days non-perishable depending on the length of the trip.

Sometimes, my boot/trunk looks like half a pantry.  But it keeps my gut safe from cross-contamination, saves my pocketbook the drain of eating out, and keeps my head from spinning, time-wasting, worried, on the desperate Celiac WHERE CAN I EAT AND DOES IT HAZ GLUTEN-FREE FOODS? wail.

Finally,

Take Time to Scout Out Rest Stops Ahead

This isn't just food-stops.  Though food stops are highly important -- certainly use Find Me Gluten Free, and Google Maps, and local friends or Celiac groups (such as NECO) to scout out markets and gluten-free establishments.  But take time to scout spots to rest.  Look for parks along the way where you can stretch your legs, and breathe.

I powered through most of my last trips, and though I fueled well enough, I didn't feel quite so well since I wasn't doing the easy-does-it mind-and-emotional-nourishment bit.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease.  It may be triggered, from the start, by stress. It is certainly exacerbated by stress. Even those who don't have an autoimmune disease need rest and support.  So plan it in.  You'll also (oy, I have found this personally) make much wiser choices around food, and every other area, if you're taking time to pause.

'Tis called self-care. It works.  It makes the fueling really fit, and stick.

It isn't a no-brainer travelling with Celiac Disease. There are a lot of things I need to plan ahead, that many other people don't.

But it can be a no-strainer.

I can tumble free, instead of power-through, and enjoy the ride.


Tumbling free,

CJ

More roadtrip staples: I've just discovered NOW Foods
makes whole food products, gluten-free.
Tea is a must on the road.
As are these heaping-good
raw pumpkin seeds

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Nutball of a Giveaway: Gluten-Free Nuttzo 7 Nut n Seed Butter

Nuttzo has travelled with me far and wide. The 7 Nut n Seed Butter is perhaps my favourite nut butter on the market for taste, and definitely my favourite for its origins.  Organic, gluten-free, peanut-free, it's not only friendly on the gut, it's friendly on the environment, and promotes fair trade and small businesses. This jar, from my product review, crossed the continental United States with me and took a trek from the tip to toe of Ireland.

Nuttzo's nutrient-dense, unadulterated blend of seven organic nuts and seeds packs a lot of good micro-and-macro nourishment into a small jar. It's been a great tool for me in recovering from Celiac Disease, and getting enough variety as well as enough food absorbed.

Nuttzo founder's adoption story story launched Nuttzo's ace good nut butter.. After adopting two boys from Ukraine, both whom were just one out of innumerable children, malnourished and neglected in orphanages across Eastern Europe, Danielle decided first, she needed some hearty -- and dense -- nutrition to heal her boys. But second, she knew how many were left behind.  She wanted to give
back.

Thus, Project Left Behind was born, Nuttzo, and a business that puts its profits and visibility right back into aiding the children left behind.

It's more rare to encounter severe malnutrition due to a lack of resource in children and adults in the developed Western world, but children with undiagnosed and diagnosed Celiac Disease still struggle to recover and thrive.  Children in impoverished areas still lack proper access to whole, nourishing food.

I buy Nuttzo to nourish myself, but also peg in more than just pennies towards helping the left behind.  Nourishment is a basic need, and a basic right. We respect human dignity when we, like Danielle, acknowledge it and create avenues to meeting it as a need.

I love this recipe utilizing the old Nuttzo: Cinnamon Cacao Syrup for Gluten-Free Pancakes.  Eat breakfast like a Celiac boss, and give back while doing it.  Just remembering the left behind is a dignifying act.  Nuttzo remembers the only real way: by action,  donating proceeds to feeding children who wouldn't otherwise be fed.

Can you nourish yourself any better?  No sense of abundance or self-care is complete without the willingness to pass it on.  Part of being free is generosity: receiving it, and giving.

Part of a good meal -- gluten-free or otherwise -- is gratitude.

I love Danielle's expression of nourishment through her business, her generosity, and her product that is not only peerlessly good in taste and ingredients, but good by purpose and practice. Hope you'll love it too -- and the nut butter you can win in the giveaway!

Try the Cinnamon-Cacao Syrup (recipe below), and enter to win  either a jar of Seven Nut n Seed Buter (Power Fuel) or  a tee to tout the Nuttzo message: No one left behind, no one left unnourished.


giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway





Cinnamon Cacao Syrup
(with grain-free gluten-free pancakes)
[ gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free ]

ingredients:

1 heaping tbsp Nuttzo Smooth Power Fuel (7 Nut n Seed Butter)
2 tbsps pureed pumpkin or kabocha squash
1 tbsp raw cocoa powder or cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconout sugar or 1 scoop NOW Better Stevia Powder
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp almond milk (I like Orgain's best)

directions:

Simply stir well with a small teaspoon until the mixture is smooth.
Add liquid to taste -- I like it thick, but a more purely
syrupy consistency is easy enough with a bit more milk or water.
It drizzles brilliantly.



Let me know how you give back!
Do you see healing from Celiac, or your relation to food,
as another way to nourish your community?


Tumbling Free,

CJ

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Celiac Disease: It's Not an Identity, It's a Circumstance






If I didn't have Celiac Disease, what would I be writing about?

Probably not food, after all.

Perhaps books, or film. I might be writing a travel-logue from Iceland, or  a serial detective adventure, crowd-sourced and character'ed by readers. I might writing about fencing, or French, or the Russian folk ballad, and the mournful balalaika -- or Ireland in Spring.  (I walked the length of it two years ago, through drenching rain, over emerald green hills, down highways and dirt roads with nothing but a macintosh, some solid shoes, and a satchel of apples and sandwiches on my back. Admittedly, I also had a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. It added much more in relief and settledness and pleasure than it did in weight.)

I might be writing about Welsh, and how I love the deep-throated, lilting consonants around globed vowels -- and the music! Or the the Welsh myths, the Mabinogion.

I might be writing about children, teaching, educational philosophy.

But I have Celiac Disease. It has been 6 years since I was diagnosed. I have Celiac Disease, and it hijacked my attention; and I am writing about food on a blog called Tumbling Gluten Free.

Tumbling free from what?  Isn't it the pain of living in constant conflict -- or obsession -- with food?

It struck me this morning: I have a choice.

Circumstances always pressure. Circumstances, both the stressful and the joyful, exert tremendous pressure towards being claimed as identity. I feel like...thus I am.  I have a stomach ache...thus I am sick. I live in a poor part of time, thus I am a poor person.  I have a disease...thus I am a victim.  I eat gluten-free...thus I...

On. And on. PRESSURE.

I might be writing about animals, or botany.  I might be playing with etymology, or exploring in words the byways and highways of the hills surrounding Boston, named whimsical things like Waban and Cheese Cake.  I might be more deeply involved in my project, The Soaring Sonnet, and have written about the itinerant Riddler, who stands on corners in Allston asking dollars and pounds if you can't guess his riddles, because oh no, he "isn't a beggar, he's a RIDDLER." He won't ask for handouts for nothing.

So, Gideon's shoelaces: Couldn't I still?

I'm asking like a fox on fire this morning, because Celiac Disease is a lovely dip into powerlessness, into exploration by-way-of-falling-down-a-ravine, a challenge and circumstance of some pressing priority -- but Celiac Disease is not an identity.

Isn't that what celiac strong should be:  The ability to heal enough, have been supported enough, to have an identity outside of the disease?


If I write about food, you know what?  I want it to be to teach readers and friends, fellow Celiacs, to enjoy food without being identified with it.  How to eat gluten-free without being gluten-free.

I do gluten-free. I do gluten-free when I cook, and I do gluten-free when I shop. But I am not gluten-fee at the end of the day. I have practiced gluten-free so that I can have a whole life outside of my disease.

So if I write about whole foods, and nutrition, if I write about cooking and recipes, if I talk about bloody food, I want it to demonstrate that it's good to eat, and food can still be enjoyable--

--and food, like the accident of Celiac Disease, is not who you are.

If I didn't have Celiac, would I be writing poetry more often? If I didn't have Celiac, would I be writing concert reviews, madrigals, melodies for my guitar?  Would I be writing about the art of stained glass -- or just reflecting on the refraction, an action that impractically creates the pleasure of rainbows?

Maybe I'd be penning historical fiction -- which I've begun on occasion -- or poking impish poetry at Silent John (Kierkagaard), and his fear and trembling.

I fenced and studied like mad...no, I suppose I just read for the brilliant blazes out of everything, and studied when I felt compelled by outside pressure -- but I was set to be a Rhodes scholar. If I didn't have Celiac, would I be fencing and studying in Oxford?

I don't know.  But I do know I have Celiac.   And right now,  like all now'sI have a choice. Celiac Disease and food aren't me.

They have both affected me deeply, but neither of them are my identity.

My time and identity are precious. So if I write about food, I want to convey that -- You are free.  Tumbling free into a life not restricted by any what  that has affected it, however deeply.


Best always,

Follow your bliss tumbling free,

CJ


Note: 

The effects of being malnourished, underweight, and ill do impact people physiologically.  I don't want anyone to read judgment from the above.  It is biological and natural for patients who are undernourished to associate their lives with food.  It's called survival.  At the same time, behaviours I gained by the accident of this disease can become habits -- once the reason for them has been resolved.

When we are no longer malnourished -- or underweight -- food doesn't have to have the prime spot on our clock. Sometimes, habits that served us in the past don't serve us in the present.

I've been struggling with recurring symptoms and malnourishment.  It does make food rather a priority.  But it doesn't make Celiac Disease an identity. A bloody challenge.  But one that shall pass.

We all deserve better than an identity based on a circumstance.  We're all more madly wonderful, diverse, and valuable than that.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

GFAF Expo Recap Worcester: Community, Eat Local, Celiac Team

What was best about the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo in Boston?  The people.  The event was full of good people, and people are invariably gluten-free -- though not always good.  The blogger team was a knock-out.  If you followed me on other social media platforms, hopefully you caught their names.

Some of the best resource we have as Celiacs is a community.  I shall link them all at the close of the recap -- visit their sites, get great product reviews, and follow them for local resources and events.

I am still knackered. It's been an up-hill trawl for me all of this year, and I'm still underweight with a wicked-wacked thyroid, and some continuing Celiac symptoms. Another post on adrenal fatigue and comorbid autoimmune diseases; for now, the Expo.

It was bloody brilliant. Good food, local food, and all Celiac-safe.  Some of the best products out there had reps on the floor;  I only missed seeing Canyon Bakehouse and Better Bean Co. Otherwise, Way Betters Snacks -- sprouted, mostly organic, ace flavored-chips -- showed up, Smart Flour Baking with ancient grain pizza crusts, Pascha Chocolate (who will debut some beyond brill new products later this year), and a few new offerings I had heard heaps about, and anticipated trying HUGELY...namely,  OTTOS CASSAVA FLOUR.


EDUCATION:


The seminar hall.  From baking advice, to an on-point shpiel by a local pharmacist, the education at the event was stellar.

Pharmacist highlighted that he could charge you an arm-and-a-leg for a pill, but you could take care of your own health for free by adhering to a strictly gluten-free meal regime. Oy, it's the simple things in life.

Jilly LaGasse rather plugged Gluten Free on a Shoestring to no end. But she also gave the attendees a great overview of classic American fare translated into gluten-freedom.


FOOD:


Sun Butter, Ottos Grain Free Flour (see pancakes below), Way Better Snacks Chips... Gluten-free CHEERIOS? Even gluten-free cheerios.

Sun Butter makes a brand new organic, pure sunflower seed butter which tastes both sweet and nutty, and makes excellent spread for a bagel, or base for a cookie.

Way Better is simply a staple. I take them on roadtrips.  I keep a sack of Black Bean Chips in my pantry and car as emergency supplies.  I eat them with avocado and BEANS endlessly.  But then, they're sprouted, highly digestible, and some are made with BEANS.

Pascha Chocolate Chips + Nuttzo Nut
Butter = Cinnamon Cacao Syrup
for Pancakes sans Grain

CHOCOLATE?


Pascha debuted a sugar-free chocolate baking chip.  It is a pancake-addition, which has no comparable substitute. Beauty, eh. I've tried the chips now in some silver dollar gluten-free pancakes, and they give a peerless balance of cocoa-bite and sweet to the fluffy breakfast.

Pascha is also an allergen-free company, fair-trade, non-gmo, and organic. 

Gluten Free Mushroom-Chicken Pizza,
courtesy SMART FLOUR FOOD
Smart Flour Baking is my favourite gluten-free pre-made crust.  Bar none. Ancient grain-based, its taste is varied, not too sweet, not bitter -- but best of all, it crisps on the edges without turning into a cracker in the oven, and maintains some necessary chew without any sinking sogginess.

Chips, n chips and more chips...

Way Better Mustard Chips
and As-Yet-Unreleased-GINGER-Sweet-
Potato Chips!
 Beanfields, in addition to Way Better, make some strictly stellar celiac-safe crisps, bean-based. Further review on new flavours from Way Better shall hit the blog later. Also, Beanfields Nachos. Pico de Gallo, chemical-free and non-GMO chips require nachos, da?  and long roadtrips.

Though I couldn't eat them (they contain cheese), Bread Empire debuted Buddha Bread: a bread roll that all my fellow bloggers -- and flatmates when I brought home a sample -- thought was deadly. To the pocketbook, that is.  They'd blow a paycheck on it in a second. So look out for a givewaway coming up, as Bread Empire wants to share the gluten-free good. They highlight the best of gluten-free: simple, and simple ingredients that naturally taste excellent.

AllerWare was a non-food product, but I loved their advocacy for food-allergic kids. They offer resource by way of bracelets, labeled food-containers, and flyers, to help keep your child safe while out and about -- whether dealing with Celiac or the sometimes more immediate and deadly, peanut allergy.

In a quick and final sum-up:  Bakery On Main, local to New England, now offers oat-free hot cereal with ancient grains. Bloody brilliant.

On the note of highlights in gluten-free bread... Schar, a European stand-by, has reformulated their breads.  Now ancient-grain-based as well, their artisan loaves are fluffy, with a solid texture neither chewy nor apt to crumble.

I lived on their ciabatta rolls while living in Ireland -- loved them.  The bread is now comparable to the rolls, and should hit shelves soon. Though it wasn't clear before on their packaging, Schar has a commitment to non-gmo food. Being based in Europe, they deal with stricter regulations as far as pesticides as well, and their foods are always celiac-safe.





Eat local, eat safely, and let me know which product you'd most like to try if you missed the event.  I'd love to pass on some samples via a giveaway.


All in all, a highly successful event.

Especially for the people.  Eating well isn't just about eating safely -- though the Expos give many, including me, an opportunity to that.  It's also a matter of eating in community, mindfully, and sharing the experience and the food with friends.  We had a brilliant team of writers and bloggers, and I'd like to thank Laura for all she does to organize these events, and Jen for launching them.

If interested, check out the other writers and social media gluten-free mates who joined me at this event:

Cynikal Kat

Fearless Food Allergic Mom

Kaila, GF Life 24/7

Gluten Free Life

Sinful Nutrition

Whole Health Dork 


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

When Even the Floor Ain't Safe (Gluten-Free, Serious-Celiac-Style)

NO FIVE SECOND RULE!

I had to shout that at myself, recently.  I had just returned from the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo -- and I dropped a heap of Way Better Snacks Black Bean chips, and my black beans, on the kitchen floor.  I was starving.  I have Celiac Disease.  I sometimes eat like a kid -- which means off the floor...except when living with flatmates who eat bread, I don't have a floor that allows for five seconds.

A crumb of bread sets off my autoimmune response, and damages my gut.

I can haz chips?  I wanted to say. Plz?

The rubbish bin had the chips. Bloody heck, it's was a wrench to dump them though.

This should be part of a list-blog, another one:


THINGS ONLY CELIACS THINK.



1) I can eat ants, right? and dirt? WHY NOT OFF THE KITCHEN FLOOR IN A GLUTEN-MIXED HOUSE?

2) Remind Celiac-kids: Five second rule -- it does not work on gluten. If it works at all.

3) I can haz burger, plz?  O wait. Not off the grill you just toasted buns on. 

It really is the little things in life that make a difference.  Sometimes, little joys.  I giggled my head off with a kid in the area who also has celiac about shouting NO FIVE SECOND RULE like nutballs at restaurant staff in b.good burger joint (where the grill, infuriatingly, has buns and burgers bunched). Sometimes, it's the little disappointments.

Like no more five second rule, because microscopic crumbs can set off a disease that could ultimately kill me.

It doesn't feel like tumbling free, not having a five second rule. Then again, letting go of the little things -- because, after all, there are much more horrific things in life than not being able to eat off the kitchen floor -- that can be tumbling free. Gluten-free, and obsession-free.

I can haz chips, plz? Oy yep -- lots of crisps out of a sack of Way Better.  Just not off the floor.

NO MORE FIVE SECOND RULE, OK?

This is the title to my most recent presentation for families with kids who have Celiac.  It seems like a good launching point.


How do you deal with the impact of eating gluten free on silly things, like the five second rule? 



O the chips...pre-fall-to-floor

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