Linda at Litebeing Chronicles has a month long blogging challenge going on about delighting in our senses. Join in if you are a blogger and read (and watch) my post here.
For something that lives in our gut, our intestinal bacteria are sure getting a lot of time on stage lately. It’s their time to shine I guess, now that the anti-bacterial obsession has begun to wane (thank you science) and awareness about what problems arise when we lack our good bacteria is on the rise. (Thank you once again, science.) There’s a new book about germs and bacteria and what little gems some germs actually are, and there’s never been a time riper for this information. It seems aimed at parents, in hopes of encouraging them to raise children with rich microbiomes and immune systems, but it sounds like anyone who’s ever wondered if they should wash their hands yet again, or eat that last bit of chocolate that fell on their floor, would appreciate this book. It’s called Let Them Eat Dirt and it’s by B. Brett Finlay, PhD and Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD and although I haven’t read it yet, I heard an interview with Dr. Finlay and am putting it on my rather long can’t-wait-to-read list. On their website, there’s a link to a scientific study of probiotics and what diseases the specific brands help. Check it out! I was surprised to see my favorite brand on there, but not surprised to see it listed as helpful in multiple disease situations. This list also serves as more evidence to support switching up your brands since you can see that not all probiotics are meant for all cases.
In other news, Whole Foods is hard at work rolling out their 365 stores and I had the opportunity to visit one today which just opened in Bellevue. When my friend told me it was already open I was quite surprised because I had only just started hearing peeps and rumors about a 365 opening in Bellevue and certainly didn’t expect to see one up and going so quickly. It’s at Bellevue Square and has a more urban feel to it than the Whole Foods Markets nearby. The selection is smaller, but the brands are mostly familiar, and there seems to be an emphasis on grab-and-go foods. The salad bar was packed with the lunch crowd, there was pizza to buy by the slice, and a multitude of other packaged items to go. I’ll be curious to see how these do.
I hope everyone is enjoying their fall so far.
This is just a quick note to say we have a new favorite gluten-free everyday bread at our house. Schar Classic White Bread:
This bread surprised us for two reasons. The first being that the second ingredient listed is sour dough, made with rice flour and water. When I bought the bread I had only looked at the area that says “contains: soy” to see if it contained dairy and or eggs, so I happily bought it when I saw that it didn’t. I had no idea I was buying a sourdough bread! But as soon as I tasted it I could taste the sour dough and was so excited~ a dairy free, egg free gluten-free, sourdough sandwich bread is something we haven’t had since….well, ever, actually. We are eating a lot of sandwiches these days.
The second reason this loaf surprised me was because it isn’t in the normal spot where I shop for bread at the Whole Foods I frequent. I imagine this is one of those things probably debated among store employees, vendors, brokers, and merchandisers. At the Whole Foods I go to there is a dedicated gluten-free aisle, but there are also gluten-free items throughout the store. Normally when I buy bread, I go to where all the bread is and pick up a loaf or a bag of bagels or rolls. Schar bread is not there. It is only in the aisle dedicated to gluten-free items and by the time I hit that aisle my cart is usually already filled with bread products I got from the bread area. Hm. I know it is difficult to set up a store, I’ve worked in several myself, so I’m curious what people think…Do you like your store to have the gluten-free items mixed in with the other food, or do like it all in one specified space? Or mixed, with a dedicated gluten-free area but with other gluten-free items mixed with the other food in all the other aisles?
Have you been looking for a gluten-free, dairy free, nut free, and egg free graham cracker? Schar has you covered.
I don’t know about you, but after three weeks of making school lunches and snacks for two, I was about out of fresh ideas. Then I saw these new lovelies at my local Whole Foods and my mind raced with excitement~ grahams with sun butter, or peanut butter, or vegan cream cheese! Smores for a special treat! Taken as they are for a snack! And of course, covering them in (dairy free) chocolate because I don’t care how old you are nor how sophisticated your palate, everyone loves chocolate covered graham crackers.
Now I know people who professionally cover things in chocolate have a big routine with the melting and the hand mixing and spreading and all that, but really you can do these very simply and trust me, they taste divine. All I did was take apart a dark chocolate bar (Endangered Species brand)
I then tried melting and dipping with some Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips I happened to have in my cupboard and they turned out to have a more milk chocolate taste and were also slightly lighter in color as you can maybe see in the picture. They then went into the refrigerator for further solidifying and safe keeping. They would last a week in the fridge if my sons let them, but chances are they have three days at most.
These were so easy and such a rare treat I think this will be what I do for my kids’ birthday celebrations in their classrooms this year. Each child will get two along with a few strawberries, and I can guarantee not a one will miss the gluten, dairy, eggs, or nuts. So much better than cupcakes and if anyone doesn’t like chocolate (I’ve heard a rumor these people exist) then they can have some plain Schar grahams which are a tasty treat in their own right. Perfect!
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot with this whole food intolerance thing. There are so many alternatives out there, but I only want things going in the bodies of my children and myself that are actual food, not fake food. This seems obvious, but if you read the packages of most supposed food items you are bound to read some things that are questionable. Most people assume those ingredients must be OK, I mean the FDA approves them so of course they are healthy, right? But of course no one should be relying on the FDA or even the government recommended food pyramid for their eating choices, but instead thinking about food in a way that makes sense to their life, their health, and their conscience. I just started reading a book that is able to articulate how I’ve always felt being mainly vegetarian (and at times completely vegetarian for years) and now with the food intolerances in our house~ that if you have to substitute the foods you are taking out with fake foods, then there is a problem. I had a friend in high school who suddenly became a vegetarian, not just personal choice of hers, but a vegetarian out to convert the world with stop eating animals stickers and graffiti, lecturing friends and family, and oozing self-satisfaction, and the girl ate soy hot dogs every night. Literally every night, and that wasn’t all, she also regularly ate fake sausages in the morning, veggie burgers all the time, and faux deli meat with soy cheese sandwiches. Even then, when I too was a full-on vegetarian, I saw that she was not making healthy choices and wondered if her new skin and digestive problems had anything to do with the excess of soy in her life. She didn’t last as a vegetarian beyond the next boyfriend she had, by the way, who was a big meat-eater and she followed suit, laughing at her old ways with the wisdom of a jilted lover. Unfortunately we lost touch because it’d be interesting to track someone’s eating habits by their current love status, or vice versa I guess. Anyway, the point is, trying to keep it real in the kitchen is harder now with the multiple food intolerances in our house, but it is something I take seriously. A woman I know just went to Spain last summer with her son who cannot eat wheat here without getting a runny nose. In Spain he ate wheat every single meal with out one problem~ what is different? Not the kid so it must be the wheat. Europe arguably has more real food than the US for several reasons, but one is because they do not allow the same GMOs in their farming practices. We have the chance to try to curb some of that here by voting to have products labeled with GMO status. Apparently there has been a huge billion dollar marketing campaign to scare consumers from voting yes on this (the biggest giver of funds is Pepsi by the way, a company that I would assume has an audience that generally isn’t too worried about how natural their product is, but they must have something to lose…) but I sincerely hope most eaters out there are intuitive enough and intelligent enough to understand the difference between the engineered stuff that makes companies money, and the pure food that keeps people healthy. There is a difference between food like substances and GMOs because every thing that grows from the ground could be altered by GMOs, which means even the real food can become Frankenstein, (and to a surprisingly large degree, it already has) but to me the two things are connected in that we Americans eat more fake food and genetically modified food than anywhere else, and what do we have to show for it? Food related chronic illnesses and an obesity epidemic. Let’s try to change that by eating real foods, from the earth, that are not genetically modified. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?
Besides the garlic bread that I’ve been making with the Trader Joe’s flatbread, I’ve also been making pizzas which my sons have declared better than delivered pizza, so that says it all. For the cheese I’ve been combining two goat cheeses together, one is that hard goat gouda from Trader Joe’s and the other is a mozzarella style that I found at Whole Foods. I combine the two b/c while the mozzarella one does indeed taste like regular mozzarella, it almost tastes too much, like mozz on steroids. The gouda has a much milder flavor and tames the other quite a bit to make a very yummy, kid friendly, cheese pizza. Here’s the empty package:
Today I used Namaste Foods’ pizza crust for the first time and the kids really love that too. I use that same brand for waffles in the mornings (almost every morning for my youngest) and it is wonderfully clean of ingredients that people commonly cannot tolerate. Here’s the package:
I needed to spread the crust a bit thinner, but this is how it came out:
The boys loved it and commented on the pizza crust specifically. I won’t rely on pizza and garlic bread for too long, but for now, during this transition period, it’s so nice to have easy to prepare foods that the kids enjoy. My youngest son has been open to trying more new foods too, just like the naturopath predicted! She said when kids stop eating foods they don’t tolerate well, their taste buds change. So far my son is eating rice again, like he used to when he was younger but stopped some time around 4 years old. He also has been eating granola which he used to turn his nose up at. Not that these additions are kale and quinoa, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. (Actually two steps!) I’ll take it.