Find some new picks before picnic season is officially over: https://botanicalalchemyandapothecary.com/allergy-friendly-picnic-foods
Recipes for gluten-free waffles and gluten-free cinnamon bread here: Gluten-Free Waffles and Cinnamon Bread
Recipes for gluten-free waffles and gluten-free cinnamon bread here: Gluten-Free Waffles and Cinnamon Bread
‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin, and the gluten/dairy/nut/egg intolerant of the world should not live without. I’ve been wanting to make these lately to join in the pumpkin fever around, but somehow didn’t get to it this weekend. I’m hoping by pulling it up here I’ll be motivated to get baking this week. In other words, this is a reblog reminder. While looking for the recipe through my archives I also found this post which has the link to pumpkin spice granola. This weekend is going to smell fabulous.
For years I’ve been making these scones with slight variations, trying to find the best recipe. I think I’ve found it. They are not too sweet and therefore would be lovely with a cream cheese icing or a sugary glaze, plus that would make them a little prettier, because honestly, they are not that attractive. If you add xanthan gum I’m sure you can get a smoother finish, but it’s just not that important to me and I like the not-so-sweetness of them. As any gluten-free eater knows, it’s fairly easy to make sweet gluten-free items taste good, but it’s harder to find things that aren’t loaded with extra sugar. Of course, you can use all white sugar instead of the brown sugar that I use below, but the depth that the brown sugar adds is lovely and suits the pumpkin well. Here’s the recipe:
Gluten-free, Vegan, Nut free Cinnamon Pumpkin Scones
2 C oat flour (make sure it’s gluten-free)
1 C brown rice flour
3/4 C + 1 T sorghum flour
1/2 C garbanzo bean flour
1 T cinnamon
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 C pumpkin puree (I use canned pumpkin)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C cane sugar
1 T flax meal
1 C vanilla coconut milk (or whatever milk you like)
1/2 C sunflower oil (or whatever oil you like)
Add the flax meal to the milk and set aside. Add the dry ingredients up through the salt together and mix. Blend the sugar and oil in a separate bowl, then add the pumpkin. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the flax/milk combo to the wet ingredients and blend until just mixed, adding more milk if need be. Refrigerate the mixture for 3-8 hours (or overnight), then bake at 360 for 30 minutes on baking pans lined with parchment paper.
I hate to add a picture because the really are much tastier than they look, but here goes~
Oy. I better make some more so I can get some good pics of these little beauts. My boys certainly won’t mind another batch and the house smells divine for hours after they bake so it’ll be more than worth it.
It’s been a long road.
I’ve wanted to write this up for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve been too nervous. I keep waiting for the old gluten symptoms to spring up, but so far…nothing. It’s been three weeks that I’ve added spelt back into my diet and so far I haven’t had any issues. Spelt is the last thing I gave up way back at the beginning of this blog’s existence actually, and now it’s the first thing I’ve put back in my diet after years of actively trying to heal my gut. My personal symptoms include bloating, headaches, fatigue, general malaise, and acne. I realize these sound like odd things to string all together, but the fact is that when I used to eat wheat, those issues plagued my life, then when I’d stop they’d stop, then when I’d eat wheat either as an experiment or by accident, sure enough, those symptoms would immediately be back. So far though, these last three weeks have been symptom-free despite eating spelt once about every other day. It isn’t much but I was so nervous to do it that it took about a month of thinking about it before actually eating a bite of spelt. (By the way, spelt is a variety of wheat with a lower than average gluten content which is why it is more tolerable than regular wheat flour.) My protocol started two years ago which I detailed here, but I also ended up adding adaptogens to my daily life which balance all the bodily systems, digestive herbs every day, and I’ve used Renew Life’s IntestiNew powder for a few months to really rebuild the intestinal lining. I also did a candida cleanse about a year ago b/c it’s important to your digestive health to make sure you don’t have an overabundance of candida in your system which many many people do because of antibiotic use and sugar-filled diets. If you are working to overcome food intolerances, here are some things to consider:
- Stop eating the trigger foods (of course)
- Take probiotics~ the highest potency ones you can find, and take different brands each time you need a new bottle. Talk with your doctor or naturopath about the dosing because most likely they will recommend higher dosages than on the bottle. This is especially true if you’ve been on antibiotics (ever) and never taken probiotics before.
- Heal intestinal lining by taking glutamine and herbs targeted towards such, and also by eating foods that are not overly taxing on the digestive system. These can vary by people, but you know what sits in your gut or causes you to bloat and have digestive distress and what feels good to your body when you eat it. By taking digestive enzymes before you eat and incorporating digestive herbs into your diet, you are also aiding the healing process.
- Give it time. Depending on how long it’s been an issue in your life, it could mean 3 months to 2 years of work. Trust your body, your intuition, and your medical professionals, but especially your body. Food intolerances can arise at any time in a person’s life but they don’t have to last for the rest of that person’s life. You can beat it, you can heal, and you can have optimal health.
Curing food intolerance is not something to undertake alone. I’ve worked with my physician, naturopath, and a GI specialist, plus I am an certified herbalist who’s worked in the natural foods and products industry so I know about what supplements are out there. Please work with health professionals of your own before trying to heal yourself, but hopefully this post will encourage others to heal and not just live with food intolerances indefinitely.
Dublin was a surprisingly easy place to accommodate food intoleraces and allergies. We found the food there to be fresh, healthy, and enlightened, as in menus marked with gluten information or restaurants having Paleo picks (not that we eat Paleo but it is generally gluten-free) and one even celebrating a month of the Paleo diet by offering an entire menu devoted to it. This restaurant, Saba, was right around the corner from our hotel and I could have ordered many things off their menu without having to worry about gluten. When we ate there we ordered rice with our pick which is decidedly un-caveman-ish, so we weren’t beholden to the Paleo diet thankfully, and got an excellent meal out of it.
Another place right around the corner from our hotel was our favorite restaurant of all, a healthy little breakfast, lunch, brunch place called Cocu. There are three locations and it looks like they are even open for dinner at one of two of those places so there are plenty of options for checking it out. Their menus are simple although a little hard to describe so I encourage you to look at them yourself and be inspired. Maybe so inspired that you open up your own version of their tagline “A Healthy Obsession”, and if so, please let it be within 15 minutes of Redmond, Washington because we truly were obsessed and it’s one of the first things I missed when we got back home. Basically, the main lunch items are these bowls where you choose your meat or vegetarian main which is cooked with certain spices/sauces/veggies to complement it, then add two sides such as mixed greens or rice or sweet potatoes or something else, then add a topping such as seeds, nuts, or herbs. It’s all in a big bowl together and works every time, no matter the combination. They also have soups, wraps (not gluten-free), and hot pots which is something like red lentil curry over rice and you add tofu or chicken which was my favorite dish there. Anyway, I could go on because I haven’t even started on the coffee bar area, breakfast items, or side pastries which included many gluten-free items, but unless you are in Dublin right now and can check it out yourself, there’s no point in sharing any more of the obsession.
It’d be a shame to go to Ireland and not get fish n’ chips, and luckily Beshoff Brothers has us gluten-free gourmands covered. This is not a fancy place, just as a proper fish n’ chips place should not be, but it was clean and bright and their gluten-free menu had onion rings on it which I can’t recall seeing anywhere ever before this place. This wasn’t our healthiest meal but it actually wasn’t overly greasy and we both were quite satisfied with our meals, (not gf for my husband, gf for me).
You can even have your sandwich cravings easily satisfied at O’Briens Sandwich cafes. They can make you a sandwich on gluten-free bread which also happens to be egg free, dairy free, and soy free. (Yay!) They use a brand called BFree which isn’t carried in my neck of the woods (yet) but I hope it’s coming soon because they have pita bread which is so hard to find. Do be aware that if you want your sandwich toasted though, it is toasted in the same oven as the traditional breads. I did have mine toasted and felt perfectly fine for the record, but you have to judge for yourself your own level of sensitivity. There are plenty of O’Briens around Ireland so you aren’t ever too far from a sandwich which is a nice change of pace.
Another restaurant that my husband and I found ourselves returning to the very next day after a fantastic dinner and ordering the exact same meals as the night before is Balfes. They have plenty of gluten-free options and the food is fresh and delicious. I had a salad with chicken on it that used guacamole instead of dressing and oh my gosh, why haven’t I done that before?! It was brilliantly executed and my husband loved his meal also. We even thought about going there for a third night in a row but ended up just being too lazy.
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has plenty of gluten free options in their ‘food hall’. They do have a section of gluten-free items such as pastas, cakes, breads, granola, etc, but I only bought the granola because their baked goods all have egg in them. They have a lot more to offer though in their prepared foods sections which seemed to make up about the entire store. I’ve never seen so many individually wrapped meals in my life~ Trader Joe’s has been way outdone. My husband and I got breakfast from there several times and take-away dinner at least once. He was especially fond of the place and kept saying things like, “Look at that lettuce! It’s practically standing up it’s so fresh! It’s like it’s trying to get our attention by waving it’s arms and saying ‘pick me!'”. The fresh produce there did seem exceptionally vibrant considering it was January and I wasn’t aware that Ireland had a robust winter farming industry. I still don’t know what the deal is with their produce~ if it’s grown in greenhouses or imported from somewhere else on some wicked fast plane or what, but they have a good thing going though however they are managing it. Also, I should say that before going I had the impression M&S would be extremely expensive but we found their prices to be quite affordable which was a definite plus.
There are health food stores called Nourish around Dublin that have gluten-free options such as crackers, cookies, etc. The one I went into on Grafton Street didn’t have a huge selection but I did buy some crackers and chocolates from there which were tasty. But here’s a warning to take to heart~ if you rely on melatonin to help reset your body clock and beat jet lag, bring your own because we were told at Nourish that it is illegal to sell it in all of Ireland. Fortunately I did bring some along but we were hoping to get more there and were sorely out of luck. What does Ireland have against melatonin? Another mystery to solve I guess.
Before going to Dublin I found a lovely listing of restaurants that are gluten-free friendly. I was so thrilled with finding it but in all honesty I didn’t have to go back to it often because it seemed everywhere I checked out had gf options. I made it a habit to look at every menu that I passed just to see how gf friendly it was and I found Dublin as a whole to be extremely aware and accommodating on that front as well as on all fronts really. It was a friendly, polite, energetic, and open place that I hope to return to soon and maybe get a chance to see the countryside a bit. If you are wondering where to take your next big vacation and gluten matters feel like a confinement, rest assured that Dublin will embrace you and your gluten issues with open arms and fantastic food.
One last thing to mention, before going I made sure to request gluten-free foods for our Delta airlines flights. They actually did a great job with the meals and I always got mine before they delivered the other passengers’ meals so I never had to wonder if they’d remember or not. I actually couldn’t even eat all the food they brought me which always included fresh fruit and/or salad which is so nice to have on a long flight. I was impressed.
To see more pics, check out my instagram feed at https://www.instagram.com/dragonlilyherbs/ and please comment below on any experiences you have had in traveling through Ireland~ I’d love to hear it!
Happy Holidays! No matter what you celebrate, one thing we can all agree upon is holidays call for fresh baked cookies. I wanted to make something besides gingerbread men this year because those fellas are just so darn high-maintenance with rolling them out and reworking the dough into a big enough piece to cut in to and such, so this year I went the opposite direction and made the easiest cookies ever (with the exception of sugar cookies I suppose.) I even cheated and just used Hershey’s Kisses for the filling on most of them, although for my dairy-free friends I used raspberry jam. Unfortunately I gave all those away (and maybe ate a couple myself) before taking pics, but both versions turned out to be a hit. My husband even likes them and usually if I offer him gluten-free food he looks about as enthusiastic as though I’m offering him a mud pie. He’s my own personal “Mikey likes it!” barometer and these pass with flying colors.
Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies
5 Cups Gluten-free flour mix such as Pamela’s baking and pancakes flour
1/2 Cup melted coconut oil
1/2 Cup Maple syrup
1 cup Coconut milk (I used unsweetened vanilla) or any milk you like best
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Hershey’s kisses (about 20 or so) or whatever filling you choose.
Mix all the ingredients besides the filling/kisses and then roll each cookie in your hands to make them round as you set them on parchment papered cookie sheets.
Go ahead and make a thumbprint in the cookies before baking but you’ll have to deepen them when they come out of the oven too.
If you are using jam, add the jam before baking. There should be about 20 cookies or so. Bake for about 14 minutes or slightly less, depending on your oven. When they come out, deepen the thumbprints and add the Hershey kisses right away so the bottom gets to melt a tad into the cookie.
Cool on a cooling rack for a good couple of hours before trying to bag up these babies, otherwise the chocolate will melt.
These are not super sweet, so you can sprinkle them with sugar or a cinnamon/sugar mix if you want, although personally I like the fact they taste almost like a shortbread biscuit rather than a cookie. I mean considering these are made with coconut oil and cinnamon, and are lacking in refined sugar, they are practically a superfood, right? Well, maybe not quite but I like to think that they are on the healthy side for a cookie.
And now it seems only appropriate to say, “Merry Kissmas!” XOXOX
Even though food intolerance can be cured, it takes time which means time avoiding the trigger foods, and of course allergies are a different story all together. The most visited post on my site is the Easiest Gluten-Free Peasant Bread Ever post which is understandable, because it truly is easy and it’s different than anything you can buy. I’ve worked with this recipe so many times now that I finally feel I can update the recipe which is not only gluten-free, but also dairy and egg-free, and now, xanthan gum free too. Of course, feel free to use butter instead of olive oil, and if xanthan gum doesn’t bother you, go ahead and add it if you wish. I’m using ground psyllium husks instead which helps with the smoothness because I’m just not convinced xanthan gum is a good choice for our family with multiple food intolerances. Also, I make up a big batch of the flour and store it in my pantry for ease of use, and I make up extra once-risen dough to store in my fridge for a week or two. If you find you can’t digest oat flour well, or don’t have access to certified gluten-free oat flour like Bob’s Red Mill, then replace it with Teff or Millet, or a combination of both. Here’s the recipe:
3 1/4 C Oat flour
2 C Brown Rice flour
2 C Millet Flour
2 C Sorghum Flour
1 3/4 C Tapioca flour
1 1/4 Potato Starch
1/4 C Ground Psyllium Husks
Mix all together for your flour blend.
4 T Flax Meal + 3/4 C warm water
6 1/4 C Flour blend (This is half of the flour blend from above.)
1 T yeast
1/2 T kosher salt
2 T sugar
Put the flax meal and water in a large measuring cup b/c you’ll be adding more water to it, but first let it sit for about 10 minutes. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add enough warm water to the flax mixture to get to 3 3/4 Cups liquid. I use a glass 2 cup measuring vessel in which the flax and water set for 10 minutes, then add water up to the 2 C line which I pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients, then add another 1 3/4 C of water to the mixture. If you have a 4 C measuring cup then it is even easier. Blend all together and let it rise for about 2 hours. I do this in the oven~ warm the oven up for a minute on high, then turn it off and let the dough rise with a damp towel over it. Once it has risen, it can be stored in the fridge for a week or two. This is enough dough for 3 loaves of the peasant bread baked in the pyrex glass bowls though you could also use this basic dough in another recipe if you wanted.
To bake the Peasant Bread
First oil or butter a pyrex bowl, or spray with a non-stick spray like Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray. However you choose to do this, make sure it is good and thick because the dough is sticky and I’ve ruined many loaves’ crusts by not making a good enough non-stick barrier. In other words, grease it well, then grease it again. I actually find the cooking spray works best. Take about 1/3 of the dough and plop it in the glass bowl to rise another hour or so. I do this in the oven again, which means I have to take it out of the oven when it is time to preheat.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Stick a shallow pan of water on the bottom of the oven for steam. Bake the bread for 10 minutes before turning the heat down to 375 degrees F for about 22-25 minutes. Take the bread out of the bowl and if you like a crustier loaf as I do, put the bread sans bowl back in the over for another 5 minutes.
Let it cool before cutting.
Today….there is not enough chocolate.
The sun still rose, but it shone on a country that has disappointed me to the core.
I am not a political person, and I don’t care to write a political blog, but I am a person with a big heart for humans, animals, and the earth, and that heart is very, very broken today.
Tonight, I’m breaking out the boxed mac n cheese. The deluxe version.
I actually add more (jovial) noodles to Annie’s boxes b/c the cheese is more than enough for the eager mouths here. I’m roasting broccoli and serving smoked salmon too, just because comfort doesn’t have to mean lack of healthy options. We can have balance. We can have balance. And wine of course.
And dessert all around, because I swear, just like in Harry Potter books, chocolate really does make one feel better.
I’ve written before about living in Prague with my flatmate and how often our chatter turned to foods of our pasts~ dishes we missed, restaurants the other had to try, and (more often than you might ever guess) frozen food favorites. As two pescatarians living in the Czech Republic over 15 years ago, our choices were slim to say the least. We ate a lot of minute rice, bread, cheese, and if we were feeling flush, canned tuna. In fact, the fish served in Czech restaurants was mainly carp served with head, tail, and bones fully intact which wasn’t exactly making our mouths water, so tuna was as fishy as we got there. Every once in a while, over tea or too many glasses of boxed wine, we’d grow mindful and imagine some day far in the future when we’d actually miss food from Prague. It seemed almost laughable at the time, and yet what else brings a place and time back more poignantly than food? Maybe it was the endless grey dotted with blossoming trees this weekend that had me reminiscing about Prague, or maybe it was pulling on my winter coat yet again while the calendar teased of spring, much like the Czech winter seemed to drag on well past its welcome. Whatever it was, I made up a large batch of sopsky salat (pronounced shopsky salat) to bring back the taste of that bittersweet year.
Sopsky salat was on just about every menu in Prague, and it was also often the only vegetarian item available, so I have had my fair share of sopsky salat in my life. It is similar to Greek salad without the olives, but everyone makes it a little different. I decided to make a version with what I had in my fridge instead of trying to copy an authentic recipe and it turned out pretty darn good, but not exactly as I remember. It might have just been missing the cheap box wine accompaniment, or (more likely) my favorite Canadian companion.
1 yellow pepper
1 medium tomato
1/2 red onion
Feta cheese (as much as you want but I used about 3.5oz, or half that package shown)
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper as desired
To make, simply chop and mix. Let the salad set in the fridge for at least an hour before eating for best taste.
This was my son’s and my lunch for a couple of days, with warm (gluten-free) toast on the side. We like to spoon the salad on top of the bread and when the bread is still warm, the feta melts a tad. Delicious. Na zdravi! (Czech for Cheers!)
I’ve been thinking about candida overgrowth lately because of several reasons. One of those reasons is that I’ve lately let my youngest intentionally eat gluten twice to see how he handles it. So far I haven’t seen any issues, but I’m keeping a close eye on him. The reason my kids were tested for food intolerances is because I have such a bad reaction to gluten, but as for them, their reactions were more subtle and not necessarily the gluten. My oldest used to complain about an upset tummy all the time~ almost every day it didn’t feel right. Once he was off all the things he was found to be sensitive to, including gluten and dairy, his stomach issues went away. He can now eat everything that he was once intolerant to, except we haven’t tried him on gluten b/c the naturopath thought that was his main issue. My youngest on the other hand, had less intolerances in general, but a higher sensitivity to dairy. She thought his main issue might be dairy instead of gluten, though he tested intolerant to both (and not much else.) He didn’t complain about stomach issues as much as he had cheeks that were constantly red and bumpy, and bouts of constipation. (If he ever reads this he’ll be furious I just shared that!) He now seems to handle dairy fine, which is why I thought he could try gluten. It’s all just trial and error and figuring out what’s going to best support optimal health, which is why I thought I should probably take a look again at Candida, because a candida overgrowth is bad on its own, and most people don’t even know when they have an overgrowth, but not only that, an overgrowth can actually cause food intolerances and allergies. So, if I want to cure these intolerances of my boys and mine, which I do, then I need to check and make sure our guts are able to support these troublesome foods and that has everything to do with the microbiome.
The simple way to think about it is that candida (which everyone has) can start growing in numbers that cause an imbalance in the digestive system, and when that happens, whether caused by a round of antibiotics, a diet too rich in sugars and processed foods, or any other reason then the candida population can explode. If you have ever had a yeast infection or jock itch, then you have experienced candida getting out of control, and if it made it to one of those places, you can be fairly certain you have too much in your gut, and quite possibly a systemic situation throughout your body. So how does this relate to food intolerances and allergies? Candida can cause leaky gut syndrome, where larger molecules of food can pass through the holes in the gut. These bits of food are too large for the body to recognize outside of the gut, so the immune system kicks in to fight the invader. The offending food becomes ‘labeled’ as bad, so the body reacts to it badly. In this way, food can often go from an intolerance to a full on allergy (with a full immune response). When you stop eating an offending food for a few months, or years as is our case here, then the body forgets that it needs to react badly to it, and if the digestive tract has had a chance to heal in the meantime, so much the better. Probiotics are essential. Now that my kids have had a few years to rid their body of intolerance reactions and have taken daily probiotics (always changing the brand every time we get new bottles~ that’s important too! Not a time for brand loyalty b/c the microbiome is incredibly diverse and all those brands use different probiotics so you get the most diversity by switching up what you use.) My kids seem to be doing pretty well but I do notice that my oldest son’s stomach has a tendency to still bloat very easily. I certainly know the feeling! This is indeed a candida symptom, though can also be a symptom of other things of course, but this particular kiddo used to have a bad issue with yeast and a doctor had him on Nystatin for about six months or even longer, so I know he has the tendency towards candida overgrowth. Before he tries gluten, he’ll have to do some kind of candida cleanse. And as for me, my issues have gone on for decades instead of the small amount of years my sons’ issues have, so I know it is going to take much longer for me. But I do think I’ll get there. It’ll take more work, and a lot more time, but I do think food intolerance can be beaten. It doesn’t just come out of nowhere, and if there is a path the intolerance traveled to become fully present, it makes sense that one can reverse the path.
By the way, there are tons of great articles on candida overgrowth out there, and how to fight it and how to know if you have it. Just do a quick search and you’ll be inundated. To get you started, here’s one I recently read: Candida info.