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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo: Boston 2015!


The Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo is headed next to Boston July 25, 2015. A whole weekend of gluten-free food, educational seminars, and opportunities to mix and mingle with fellow Celiacs -- it doesn't get much better.  Be surrounded by food without fear? Oh yes.  Because not a crumb will contain gluten.

It's headed to Boston, but I'm glad I don't have to head anywhere much to get there, because I've been on the road enough in the last few months!  If you want good food, good company, and a fun Summer weekend, join me! I'm giving away free tickets to a lucky winner below.

Wondering just what you'll find at the expo center for two full days?

EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY


The Expo shells out a free sample bag on admission, full of coupons and packaged gluten-free, allergen-free snacks.

Find a free cooking class with professional cook, Oonagh Williams, who cooks from scratch and makes naturally gluten-free treats and baked goods.

Get the lowdown on gluten in medication from Thomas Keogh found. (Oy, medications do contain gluten. But they aren't required to disclose it.)

FOOD


I am especially anticipating some of the vendors!  Celiac-friendly Way Better Snacks will be there, with their sprouted, organic/non-GMO chips (or crisps, if you will).  Staple in my travels, and on the affordable side of solid snacking, Way Better is actually...pretty much way better.  Nutritionally and taste-wise.  They're also a company that keeps up by doing good, not just making good food, and they treat their community with attention and generosity. (They even sent me free chips when I was ill.)

Also, I'll finally get to run into Otto's Cassava Flour! It's a grain free gluten-free powerhouse that has the nutrition community and Celiac bakers of the world buzzing.

The GFAF Expo will also showcase the local gluten-free scene.  It's well worth a gander if only to find out what's in your own backyard!  Check out free food from Wegmans, New Hampshire-based Gluten-Free Territory, and a passal of others.

As a a member of the featured blogger team, I get the privilege of giving away FREE tickets, and discounts!


Up until June 26,
get 30% off
with HERE.
Until July 24,
get 20% off HERE.

EVERY attendee purchasing through Tumbling Gluten Free will receive a FREE 1 year subscription to Delight Gluten Free Magazine!

Want to win a free entry? 
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's a lot of swag to give away.  Know that I've had a blast the last couple of Expos I've attended.  Aside from the fun of the event, you generally end up with a good bag or two of samples, and hugely discounted-usually-prohibitively-expensive products.

I'm encouraging all of my clients, especially those with Celiac Disease, to pop on over.  What's the best way to tumble free of the feeling of restriction when your gut won't take gluten?  Get out, get into community, and enjoy life.

At the GFAF Expo, you can do it all.  And you can enjoy it freely, without worrying about cross-contamination or feeding yourself for a day.

Samples.

Good people.

Fun times.


See you there?

Tumbling free,

CJ


Friday, June 12, 2015

What a Restaurant Needs to Be Gluten-Free

...and just what does gluten-free mean?



Gluten-free means free from gluten.  To have an establishment with gluten-free food means an establishment that can guarantee to closest measurement possible that its food is free from gluten. That does sound self-explanatory.  But an eatery that douses chips in fryers shared with wheat flour, makes pizzas on stones slapped with wheat-floured crusts, and cooks up pancakes on the same griddle as the more common-gluten-containing variety does not serve gluten-free.

It may serve meals of essentially gluten-free ingredients. But it does not serve final products free of gluten.

And it isn't safe for anyone with severe allergies, or any one with Celiac Disease.


A restaurant advertising itself as gluten-free ought to be
able to claim its plated, final and prepared
options are gluten-free not just at the start
but when they hit your table.


Many, if not most restaurants with gluten-free menus don't do the half of this though.  They are just as risky for a Celiac diner as one that serves plain and simple traditional wheat buns, breads, and baking.  Perhaps more so.  Because they claim at least semi-safety, and many are willing to risk it -- after all, it says gluten free, yes?

...and just what does safely instituting
truly gluten-free mean?

Safely instituting and executing a gluten-free menu and food options at a restaurant also requires safe practices and procedures, and it requires staff training.

If your eatery has both wheat and non-wheat on the board, and it wants to claim gluten-free, it must have a staff who understand the dangers of cross-contamination, have separated and labeled preparation areas, and know how to prepare meals accordingly.

A restaurant advertising itself as gluten-free ought have
a consultant or in-house training procedure,
preferably with outside certification or oversight,
that gives its staff the resource to make gluten-free food
SAFE -- actually gluten-free.

Many restaurants with the best intentions, but larger staff or space, do not have training for staff and servers to guarantee that a meal can be prepared, plated, and served without cross-contamination.


...and just what does it look like
to be able to serve Celiacs proudly and safely,
and really mean gluten-free?

Really being -- not saying -- gluten-free looks like service.  Real service.  It looks like return patrons, and huge gratitude.  It looks like catering not to fads but to disabilities and needs.  It looks like giving many the opportunity to eat socially and without anxiety, many who otherwise would not be able to -- or might unwisely and be seriously ill.

It looks like Cloud 9 Bakery.

It looks like PuraVegan Cafe.


It doesn't just look gluten-free.  It is gluten-free.  

What does a restaurant need to succeed, be, and say gluten-free freely?


Dedicated Preparation Areas

Trained Staff -- Chefs, Servers, All

Training Procedures and Continuing Education


Do many have it?  No, but more and more are getting there.  I do consult regularly with restaurants wanting to do more than just play the fad.  In Ireland, I was bloody impressed with the education, the colour-coded utensils and safe prep areas in so many eateries.  Really gluten-free is possible.  It's easier than it seems.

If you have Celiac Disease, use the above criteria for reference when you call ahead before eating out.

If you have Celiac Disease, always call ahead before eating out.  Be sure your restaurant provides gluten-free meals, not just meals of gluten-free ingredients.


IF YOU ARE A RESTAURANT OWNER, and interested in instituting safe-practices
for Celiac diners, please feel free to contact me: tumble.glutenfree@yahoo.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

[Recipe] Not What I Ate, WHY I EAT Wednesdays (and Gluten Free Brownies)

Learning:  It's active, but not self-conscious.

How do you re-learn food when you have Celiac Disease?  In today's case, by brownies.

I woke craving brownies -- ones like the palm-sized squares heaped on primrose plates at Passiflora in New Hartford, CT.  In point of fact, I've rather been craving brownies and books for weeks.  But I finally got off weeks of travel to stay with my grandmum, and I had the chance to pick up the ingredients for some gluten-free fudge.

These little buggers are sweet without the sweet that soaks up all other taste; they've a good earthy-fudge flavor and texture, and they bake up in a trice.

BLACK BEAN FUDGE BROWNIES
[ gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free ]



prep time: 10 mins.  bake time: 25-35 or until toothpick comes out clean

ingredients

2 tbs coconut flour (Bob's Red Mill does nicely)
4 heaping tbs organic cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp maple syrup
1 packet NOW stevia powder
1/2 cup organic pureed black beans 
(Better Bean Cubans do brilliant)
1 tsp slightly warmed coconut oil
1/4 Enjoy Life Mini Choc Chips


directions

sift together dry ingredients.

add wet and mix well.

spread thin and flat in parchment lined glass
baking dish, and bake at 375 F until surface fissures
and/or toothpick inserted comes out clean.


So we be changing it up today. Not what I ate.

Why do I eat?  On Wednesdays?  Because what else is there to do?

Talking to friends about the incidence of eating disorders and the prevalence of fear-around-food for Celiacs and others with food-related illness, the food started to look bloody complicated. IT IS NOT. So why eat? Bloody blazes, because it's good to eat, and it's good to live -- and it's much better to learn to enjoy by enjoying, than by ruminating, worrying, calculating how one can enjoy more.

Learning doesn't work that way.  Learning works by doing. We learn to enjoy by pegging up to the bar, and enjoying.  

Food isn't scary.  Food isn't wrong.  Brownies can always be a yes if your mouth and body are saying please.  (They are now, after all, gluten-free.) Most definitely, learning doesn't have to be a self-conscious thing.

Learning -- I like to watch children -- is a matter of doing, trying; stretching. Mindful, not mindless or self-conscious.

Just like eating.

Just like happy kids.

Just like me today, with brownies.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Gluten-Free Bagel That Talks Like a Bagel, Acts Like a Bagel... (Canyon Bakehouse Bagel Review + Giveaway!)

Gluten-free bagels and giveaway?  That's usually a bloody YES PLEASE.   But is it a good bagel?  Because hyksos knows, there have been enough rocks on the market, marketed to Celiacs, for years.

 But what is a good bagel?

One of my favourite gluten-free breadmakers, Canyon Bakehouse, just answered LIKE THIS (and here's the product review -- and a chance to win their Plain and Everything Bagels):
Untoasted, later to be slathered with
cashew butter cream cheese and apple: The Everything Bagel
bagel that looks like a bagel, acts like a bagel, and really is a bagel is about as rare as a Saquatch. Various brands have launched bagels.  But it's been a bleak frontier for mass-marketed Celiac-safe variety on any market shelf -- after all, a good bagel has two or three key facets that make it what it is.

Chewy.

Toastable.

Crisp.

AND SIZE.

I didn't think a mass-produced product to hit all three.  

Chewy on the the inside.  Crisp crust.  Toastable without turning to a rock.  Enjoyable chewy untoasted or enjoyable half-burnt and crunchy WITHOUT LOSING THE CHEW.  Canyon Bakehouse did it.


Toasted, coconut-buttered, soon to be egged:
The Plain Bagel

Oy, these are bagels. Gluten-free.

I never thought I'd see the day.

A few other things that make this bagel worth its weight (well, other than the fact that -- with Celiac -- finding a novelty like a bagel well-made and thoughtfully made feels like a Christmas morning): Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free uses whole grains, organic agave, and readable ingredients.  I find the simpler the better, and it doesn't take mad science to make good gluten-free food, just ingenuity, patience, and a dedication to quality.

I am no great fan of classically gluten-containing food items being tweaked to become gluten-free.  But I also admit that Canyon Bakehouse has done an excellent job showcasing the natural highlights of gluten-free grains such as sorghum, seeds, and the gentle sweetness of agave to make a gluten-free bagel that is less a mimicry, more simply gluten-free good.

I appreciate Canyon Bakehouse's commitment to all of the above.  I especially appreciate the end result:  a bagel that is a bagel as much as any bagel out of a bag.






I've had a few excellent local gluten-free bagels in beautiful little cafes. One highlight was in Wheat's End in Chicago, where the bagel was crisp and chewy, the seeds were seedy, and onion and garlic was intense.  But one can't just hop on the train to Chicago every morning to pick up a bagel and tea.

One can hop on the bike to the local market, and pick up Canyon Gluten Free Bagels.  Or at least, by June 16, they'll be available for that!  Or, perhaps just win them today?

Ready to win a package to take home?


Get some gluten-free bagel'ing on!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Product Review Sum-Up:

Taste/Texture:  These bagels hold up, toasted or untoasted. Nice chew.
Good crisp on the crust if toasted. The final test?  They don't turn rock hard toasted.

Whole food?: No. But these bagels use whole grains and organic ingredients.

Organic/Non-GMO?:  Partially to the first, yes to the second.

Shoestring Budget?: No.  But these blokes pack a good dense punch, and are big. 
(I actually sliced one into fourths one morning, and had enough for company. Better yet, a quarter
still looks like a whole bagel.)

Availability:  In the U.S., they will be available by June 16, 2015 in Targets and Whole Foods. 

Celiac-Safe?:  Certified, baby.



Disclaimer:  I received product samples of the above bagels gratis. My opinion, however, is my own and I received no compensation for the above review.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Gluten Free Event St Louis: Local, Lively, Celiac Support Spreads

The Gluten Free Allergen Free Event in St Louis was a double-heading highlight of both necessary Celiac resources:  food, and supportive community.  Nikki, the effervescent organizer, has gift for pulling the local. If anything, she managed to balance a showcase of stellar good Celiac eats with even more stellar local advocates in a line-up of wonderful educational speakers.


Highlights
The FOOD


Think. Eat. Live

A sunflower seed flour.  Think. Eat. Live. I loved.  The high protein flour blend is particularly kind to any food sensitivity, and not only that, it carries a flavor profile both earthy and sweet, much like its seed-base. Samples included Carrot Cake Waffles, and brownies with a texture like velvet and deep chocolate flavor without overwhelming sweetness; and the company makes a plain base flour, as well as a pancake mix, and others.





Gluten Free Gourmet (paleo baked goods from Jen):

Good eats, all paleo, all gluten-free, dairy-free, and in 3-6 ingredients. Jen keeps it mostly sugar-free as well, since her own story involves a need to heal sans the sugar.  But her product certainly doesn't lack sweetness.  I loved her chocolate chip cookies, and energy nut balls. Another standout in catering to a need for multiple sensitivities to be addressed, Jen makes baked goods along lines that anyone -- Celiac or otherwise -- can enjoy without any sense of restriction.

Huga Bar


Rather neatly innovative, the founders of Huga wanted to plug in the flavors of classic European and American sweets to a high-protein bar.  Unfortunately for me, they include whey -- and I'm way whey, and milk, allergic.  Rather happily, my extended family are not.  My aunt and cousin loved these bars.  From Dulce de Leche to Cinnamon Roll to Almond Honey, apparently you can have a pastry-in-a-package.




My Coconut Kitchen

No change from my review of last year: Angie's artisanally-made coconut butters blend essential oils and subtle-sweet without any sugar or uncanny additives. She offered homemade frozen treats this year as well, highlighting the versatility of the many flavors of her gluten-free, additive-free, organic butters -- and the Toasted Cherry Almond, frozen around a quarter of banana like white chocolate, was better than any ice cream.  Oh so seriously. Coconut Kitchen was a high-highlight of the event.



A sidenote on food: Schnuck's, as far as local support, had Kate their contracted Celiac dietitian on-site with a bevy of fun resource for the Celiac community.  I almost wished I lived nearer, because this grocery market is offering nutrition courses, cooking classes, and even full meal-events specifically gluten-free.  That's all on top of their commitment to an enormous array of gluten-free options in each of their St Louis shops.  Schnucks gets Celiac, and it's a leap and sign of acceptance and support that they're offering full understanding -- and "normal" options to those who eat gluten-free for medical reasons.


The EDUCATION:


Jen Cuevas -- Gluten Free Gourmet

 Simply take her story, and you have a recipe for Celiac recovery.  And you got to take her story if you came to the event.  She's a strong advocate, for herself, and others.  Her journey to healing was and is active and community-based.  She's made her Celiac recovery into a baking-business that makes good by doing good, and that doing good is serving her fellow Celiac's with both food and information.  I live tweeted her.  Because her quotes needed a larger audience. I hope you followed along (@TumblingGF).

"Gluten-free -- it's a recipe for healing, not a weight-loss regime."  Dead true. It's also no fad for the 1 in 133 who have the autoimmune disease.

Sema Dibooglu

We two Celiac bloggers after
the event, eating a gluten-free meal
at Pura Vegan Cafe
Teen author, and Celiac advocate, Sema  (Eat Without Gluten blog founder) made a brilliant presentation last year.  But this year she really hit her stride: she had the info and the experience, but she also had the confidence and practice in presenting it!  I loved her offerings of practical advice for travel, eating in school, and self-care -- all of it so necessary to youth with Celiac.  It's easy to feel alone.  Sema's attitude and concrete advice take the oomph dead out of self-pity.  After all, her theme is the same as mine.  Most food is gluten-free.  It's what you can eat, not what you can't.  And there is never any good reason to sacrifice your health to peer pressure or fear.  Eat well, eat joyfully, and as a teen with Celiac? Sema proved both in her talk and by her actions that you can live a totally free and full life, gluten-free.


Rachel Fasnacht

With a home-farm, and three blogs now, Rachel is also publishing a book.  She is a wonderful resource to holistic healing, to a local foods movement, to learning self-care and Celiac advocacy, and  treating them with nutrition -- nutrition in the sense of approaching food from the roots up again. As she says, "my story of recovery [is one using]... nutrient-dense foods cooked traditionally, special supplements and essential oils."

Please.  Hit her many portals in digital media.  Learn creative new ways to cook.  Ferment your own food.  Buy and eat local.  Take out gluten if you're Celiac, and take out the chemicals and mindlessness that go with ill-treated farm animals and produce. Despite all of those "take-outs", Rachel is much more about the put ins, and her presentation was inspiring with how much good she put into her story, her family, and her community.

If you're local, buy her fresh eggs at local markets.



That's the wrap, mates.

I have done much too much in much too little time. I'm tumbling out of the blog right here and now and taking deliberate SELF-CARE and silence.  But not before I've reiterated the gratitude though for events like Nikki's -- Nikki who truly ties the two needs of Celiacs across the country into events that are fun and informative; St Louis was slightly smaller this year, but much more dense with nourishment, which is both a matter of support and of food.  In fact, no food is quite as nourishing without the people you eat it with.  GFAF Events are always doubly-nutritive because of the support, community, and education.  In sum, you sit -- or wander around with -- the best table of custom-need-eaters in the area.

Best to all of you tumbling free,

CJ

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mindful Eating: Stop Minding (Gluten-Free Celiac Recovery)

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

                                                                --Aristotle



I learned to live life sans gluten quite happily and ably by doing it.  Not by thinking about it, not by planning it even -- but by the grungy, sometimes exciting, sometimes confusing, often weird steps of cooking, talking, shopping, learning food. Part of what I learned was: I had never learned food.

Pre-Celiac-diagnosis, I hadn't the slightest idea of what food meant, or could mean.  I rarely thought of its effects on my body, or its source.  I grew up with gardens occasionally.  I grew up with a mum who cooked.  But I didn't grow up with a solid base in self-care.

...or in the sense that food was a natural, normal, and unearned right.

In the stress of the last few months, I have been re-learning it all over again.  Because another fact I've learned about growing up, and adhering to a gluten-free food-plan (oy, diet is a dirty word) is that I learned from what I saw people do around me with food, not from what they said about food. So often food is treated like an enemy, or a substance to control.

You have to eat gluten-free.  Isn't that hard?  What CAN you eat?

What I've always liked eating, mostly.

What peeves the jeeves out of me is that gluten-free is linked up with diets. What peeves more jeeves out of me is that I can treat my life like a diet.

And diets are always about control.  Learning never has to be self-conscious.

Don't diet, I told one of my students recently.  She's a preschooler.  Her mum went on a diet. She thought she should too.

We learn to do by doing.

Diets are self-conscious. Diets deny, and diets hurt, and diets are all about what you take out.

With Celiac Disease, I take out wheat.  But I was inspired  by (and extremely proud of) Sema, Celiac teen (Eat Without Gluten), as she presented at the recent Gluten Free Event in St Louis.  Her theme?  "It's what you can eat, not what you can't."
What you CAN eat.. .EVERYTHING at PuraVegan
for Sema and me in St Louis: all gluten free!

Her story is rooted in two solid parents, and her mother -- whom I love -- made the first emphatic action after Sema's diagnosis a memorable one. On the phone with a fellow mum hosting a party, she fielded the question: "What can Sema NOT eat?"

Tove, Sema's mother, switched it right around.  She said, "THIS is what Sema CAN eat."

We aren't dieting.

But it can be hard to trust your body after being diagnosed with a disease that has made what ought to be good food wreck one's guts like a foreign invader.  But I didn't even learn to eat before I was diagnosed! But! But! But!

A bloody lot of but's, when doing-is-healing.

I made brownies recently.  I wanted to make them perfect.  That is, I wanted to pick out the perfect ingredients to fuel, heal, and fix my body.

Instead, I just made brownies. Because I wanted them, and it is good to eat. Tumbling free from gluten -- nope, how about just tumbling free from perfectionism? For diets and perfectionism are both forms of self-abuse.

What Sema's parents reminded me was that we learn by watching, and we learn by doing. Celiac is a disease.  And no one recovers alone.  It's extremely important to have people around you who support you, encourage you to eat good food and enjoy good life, and focus on the can's.

It's not what you don't have, it's what you do.

I sometimes forget that tumbling is freeing, but also bumpy.  Life is bumpy.

Nothing anyone eats or plans can fix life or disease.  But letting go of the gluten -- and the control -- can give me a life to enjoy.   When I was first diagnosed, I thought aha, I shall eat the perfectly balanced gluten-free diet and never feel pain or fury or sick again! Never!

Mates, it doesn't work that way.  In fact, the first time I tried to eat cheese again (and ended up using a cross-contaminated pan), I got ill -- and quite emphatically decided I would not eat again until I figured this one out.  Quite rational, I thought.  Really.

Mates, it doesn't work that way.

It's the end of Celiac Disease Awareness Month. I think I shall put some emphasis here on Sema's theme again: It's what you can eat, not what you can't.  We learn to do, by doing.   It can be easy to fall into a disordered trap of perfectionism, or fear, when your prescription for health is a "diet".

Your body knows what it needs and wants.  It won't be perfect.  But re-learning to listen to it? Priceless.  And it will be good.  And you -- and I -- deserve it.  Food is not a privilege; it is a right. Diets deny.  Make your Celiac recovery a positive commitment to self-care.

Don't worry. Tumble free.  Even if it is bumpy. And get a mum -- or surrogate mum -- like Sema's.


Best to you always tumbling free,

CJ