Pain is just 'gonna happen'

Everyone suffering with any kind of food intolerance knows that no matter how hard we try to avoid the foods that cause ill symptoms, it's just gonna happen. You can buy all your own foods, eat at home, have your own toaster, cutting board and pans and do everything in your power to avoid contamination but we all know, sooner or later it's just going to happen.

Pain has become a regular part of our lives, and as with most of us, something we simply must accept. It sucks, that's for sure, but I just want to remind you all not to identify with this pain. This pain and illness does NOT define who we are. Not in the least. Even when we do outreach like our blogs and Twitter, sharing articles with our Celiac/ gluten intolerant community, we have to admit there is a LOT more to our lives than this. Right?

So I just wanted to take a moment before the holidays to remind you to focus on who you really are:
Strong, loving, generous, kind, artistic, industrious, creative, nature loving, pet adoring, city hopping, athletic or couch potato. (ha-ha) We all are the sum of our greatest gifts. People love us for WHO we are.

So when we have our down moments, when fear and anxiety seem to encompass our every thought, lets try to remind ourselves that there's so much more to life. The moments of pain and fatigue will pass. There is usually a tomorrow to try again. Let's support one another, reach out and keep a positive attitude.

Wishing you all good health. Do your best and remember that acceptance is easier than denial. Focus on what is important.

Ⓗ  ⓟ  ⓨ   Ⓗ  Ⓛ  ⓓ  ⓨ  !!


Just yummy stuff

Because sometimes, it's all about eating yummy things. Some good for you, some not so much. This cake was made from a Pamela's Products cake mix. I added AlterEco dark chocolate, quinoa flour, coconut oil, olive oil, tapioca starch and almond 'milk' I guess I got lucky because it's mind blowingly good.
I've shared a lot of food photo's on this blog but seldom do I share recipes. That's because, as much as I enjoy cooking meals and making random kitchen messes, I am terrible at following recipes. I had learned to cook and bake in professional kitchens many years ago but I escaped from that institution and I've learned how to break all the rules but make it work. 

Never stay between the lines! Adventure is always outside the lines.
Here's a few more food shots to get your appetite going.

Experiment away!


We're all owned.

Lets face it, we're owned by the food industry. Most of us are NOT growing our own food from seeds that we personally cultivated. We're not all eating the 100 mile diet. Heck, most of us can't even afford to buy organics all the time.  We all make the best choices for our own individual economic realities while trying to keep it as healthy as possible but it's nearly impossible to avoid GMO and the chemical engineering of many foods in our diet. Well, here comes a story that really brings this to light. 
We already know that wheat was modified at some point to create a hybrid that produces a higher percentage of gluten once processed.  We know that our bodies have had a difficult time breaking down this high powered gluten and I personally have never heard of anyone, anywhere in the world, who is growing the older version of wheat. Ever asked yourself why not? Who owns those old wheat seeds? Who owns (the patent) on MOST of our foods? Monsanto. Don't be shocked, the patenting of living organisms dates back to at least 1873.  But don't for one minute think that just anyone can grow their own foods from their own seeds, because in fact, seed saving can be against the law!
Conspiracy theorists will love this scenario: To coincide with the growing numbers of gluten-intolerant people in our current population (and to bypass the convoluted pharmaceutical route) "BIO-ENGINEERED" wheat with Celiac friendly gluten will be introduced in a few years. 
OH -Yippie-Kai-Yay! Call me paranoid but... this all sounds like a financial plan to me.
What?-you haven't seen Food Inc yet? Well, pop up some genetically modified corn, put some genetically modified canola oil margarine on it and sit down with the DVD. What are you waiting for? Here's a teaser. Be afraid-- be very afraid!
Some more food for thought: " many people in the United States want food that approximates – in so far as possible – the food their forebears ate. Whole communities such as the Amish mandate this of their members. This powerful instinct will always exist among certain groups, regardless of scientific advances and safety analyses. "
And lastly another article about seeds:


Moderation and observation

With new reports and various studies coming out all the time on how certain foods are adversely affecting our health, it almost seems as though we have to become more and more discerning about what to put in our bodies. After all, we aren't all nutritionists and biologists, how do we juggle all this constant information and make the wisest choices for our diet?

Every living body is different from the next. Everybody experiences different reactions to basic foods, everyone is exposed to their environment in different ways. With so many variables to consider, there's a daily dance we have to perform according to our body's own needs and the messages we receive.

There are the basics, like being thirsty means we should drink water. Being tired indicates a need for sleep but what about all the smaller messages our brains are signalling? Can we hear those precious messages too? How are we to respond when we don't 'speak the language' of biochemistry?

We're all amazingly talented in that we multitask constantly with our minds. Whether we're aware of it or not, there is a constant stream of signals going on in our mind and in our body that we are responding to. Even now as you read this your body is telling you something really important.

Everyone needs to take time out during the day to listen to these messages and respond. Our body can't just leave us and go food shopping for what it needs. It's up to us to listen and try our best to supply what our body needs. It's a constant juggling act. This is a huge responsibility we have every day and the more attention we pay to our inner messages, the more effort we must put into this relationship. This is not something we can put off. Our everyday physical and mental health depends entirely upon us behaving as responsible adults to our own bodies. Be your own best mom, listen and respond.



How I survived the Evil Cupcake of Gluten-doom.

Well, this should be an interesting study in the least. Late afternoon yesterday I mistook a vegan cupcake for a gluten free and vegan one. I devoured it with abandon before realizing in horror what just happened.
I haven't made a mistake like this in a really long time.
I stood there, re-reading the signage, eyes darting back & forth between "gluten free" on one side of the counter and "vegan" on the other, mere inches from one another, I allowed the reality to set in.
Outside the shop I released my emotional response. Tears, sobbing, anxiety over what will unfold, wondering; should purge? (-would this even guarantee that nothing would remain?) I weighed the on-the-fly analysis and decided to see how my body would react, using this experience as a lesson. I'll do a personal case study. See what will ensue.

So here I am, day 1. Morning.
I asked myself; Do I have Any symptoms yet? I'm a bit light headed but that is all. Last night I had a bit of indigestion after dinner but nothing painful. This a.m. things 'seem' normal thus far but I know how long it takes to move things through this body of mine. It's easy to determine when you eat black Quinoa on a Friday and on Sunday and Monday you still see evidence of it.

Normally, after a contamination has occurred (which happens regularly on a much smaller scale) I can get a whole array of symptoms: Stomach pain, nausea, head ache, dizziness, bloating and back-ups, then a lot of pain and flushing out. Weight loss, fatigue, irritability, random sadness and lowered self esteem, lack of energy and motivation, loss of ability to concentrate, skin rashes and itchy skin areas. I'm probably forgetting some symptoms. This has been my life for years, even while avoiding dairy and gluten to the best of my ability. But right now-- I'm okay.

Day 2. Hour 40-something.

OW-- Some sharp lower abdominal pain coupled together with more than a few unpleasant visits to the small room and a bit light headed. hmmm....

Day 2. Hour 48-ish:
RAVENOUS! Gotta be a good sign, right? Filling that empty space back up now.

*NOTE* On the first night I took some digestive herbs. In this case it was called Gaia which is by Aboca, an Italian company. The ingredients are Vegetable Charcoal, Cumin, Chamomile, Anise, Lemon Balm, Fennel and Peppermint.
Every time I've taken this product it has reduced gas and bloating almost immediately and then the next day my intestinal tract feels good.
To me this stuff is amazing.

Day 3 and 4.
Is this headache really a migraine? My eyes feel strained too and  I'm also a bit moody. Could this be an 'after effect' of the gluten contamination? I wonder. 

Gluten free aint easy!

Living gluten free is seldom easy. It's been over 4 years of re-learning how to shop and what to cook or prepare and I still experience moments of hunger filled anxiety.
Once in a while a delicious and fortifying meal comes along and in these moments I can honestly say I understand the terms "emotional eating'. I fall into a blissful state of gratitude. Happiness embraces my mind and body and I remember it for days, sometimes weeks and occasionally months afterward.

The thing is to be able to mix your diet up for variety. Variety is most definitely the spice of life. By the way I'm still enjoying avocado with nut butters and ajvar on Udi's gluten free toast in the a.m. Sometimes I boil a free range egg, just right, slightly runny... mmmm. Lunch and dinner are usually more diverse though.

Today I read that Lady Gaga is going on a gluten free diet to lose weight. Because I respect her I'll refrain from spouting off. Hopefully the press is the reason it's being called a gluten free diet and maybe she personally understands that being a celebrity of her stature has an immense and rippling affect in the world and this is a volatile subject.

More people need to understand that there are quite a lot of us suffering from gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. It's not to be taken lightly. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine triggered by eating gluten. It's a painful condition and with a whole entourage of symptoms from abdominal pain and bloating to joint aches and infections in the intestinal track, cognitive malfunctions and a whole slew of skin conditions from head to toe. There are over 200 signs and symptoms of this disease. The immune system is taxed and thus the stress on the body is widespread. 

As you can imagine-- this is tiring! And depressing, and it's also taxing on our relationships as well. It's not easy to live with. 

As much as I love talking about food, (heck I'll admit I'm obsessed with food) and I love to remain positive because it's the same amount of energy to stay positive as it is to whine about it, only it feels a heck of a lot better to be positive but don't mistake this for the easy life. It aint easy.

So when you hear about someone "dieting" by going gluten free, do us a favour... help educate them a little?

Until next time, take care of yourself and the people around you. 


#20 A good stretch of weather.

The weather's been awesome around here. Coffee in the morning and dinner in the evening are happening on the tiny balcony. The birds are singing and doing their birdie dances together. Bees of different varieties are checking out our little potted plants. Strawberry, Forget-Me-Nots, Oxalis are adding colour to our little outdoor space.
Our friends M & M brought us a whole bunch of organic Avocados and we've been enjoying those with every meal. Who would've thought of making an Onion salad in half an avocado?! I definitely recommend this and eating them outside. I have no complaints about a Spring that feels like Summer, hell no, bring it on.

Armadillo Mangoes!

I hope you're finding all the gluten free foods that you love to eat these days. The markets seem flooded with gf and df foods now. If you're new to the scene, just read labels, look up ingredients and be diligent when you're out. It's really getting easier!

Short of ideas? You might want to refer to this #5 Food List! from an earlier post of mine.

Be well and enjoy your Spring!


#19 Nuts to you!

I'm a little embarrassed that I'm already scraping at the sides of the jar of "Nuts To You" Cashew butter I bought a couple of weeks ago. And what's more is how I've been eating this, and the Almond 'butter' as well, in combination with --- (please don't "ew" me!) -cucumber, Ajvar and avocado. All this on Udi's toast.
I JUST CAN'T STOP! It's so good.
It must be something my body needs, compelling me eat this every day as breakfast, right? Today I also grated a clove of garlic onto the toast with Olive oil as the first layer. I guess the ritual of this whole act is also part of the allure. Layering the foods onto the toast one by one, gives my body warning that it's coming down the pipe. This is SO much better than just eating cereal. I feel that every meal is important for our body, why treat breakfast so poorly?

I admit, that as much as I try and eat the foods I think will nourish my body, and avoid processed foods, drink filtered water and keep my coffee and dark chocolate habits in check, (two coffee drinks per day is my limit, and not after 3pm usually.) I don't consume very many sweets and I aim for 8 hours sleep per night (getting this amount is another matter) I am still working really hard to stay healthy all the time! I wish I didn't have to work this hard to keep my brain clear and my body "balanced" but for me, this is how it works. If I don't sleep enough I can't seem to function at my optimal level and when I don't eat right I feel lousy. Life by 'trial and error'.

I'm jealous of all the people I know who can eat what ever they want, when ever they want and not suffer any dire consequences. Be grateful and enjoy it! Try and understand though, that not everyone has it as good as you. I often feel a lack of understanding and empathy from people when they observe my lifestyle. It's not by choice that I live within these boundaries, believe me. I'm so extremely grateful for my friends and acquaintances who embrace the challenge of preparing foods with out gluten or dairy. I can't believe how lucky I am to have you in my life! (You know who you are) ;D

Following is an example of such a blessing, which took the form of a baking lesson with a certain cook, baker, butcher and food blogger whom I revere.

Coconut Creme BruleThis, my friends, existed ONLY in my imagination (and sugar-lust thoughts) until ... it was made... a reality. Thank you Kari! ♡ I don't know that I will have the patience to do this very often but I will not soon forget that you took time out of your busy life to show me how to make this, my day dream, into a reality!

Well, thanks again everyone for the read. Let me know what you think by checking the points boxes below or commenting and as always..... feel free to share this blog (on any of your social network of choice) with anyone you think might benefit or enjoy.



#18 Avocado the wonder food. I wonder why I'm eating this!

When I was living in California I didn't appreciate the glorious Avocado. Ridiculous considering their health benefits and that they were literally growing on trees near to us! How could anyone not love these amazing fruits? Now I have some avocado almost every day when economically viable. That is I'm not prepared to spend more than a dollar and a half on a good sized fruit. I've seen the prices bounce from 99c - 1.69 each! that's just crazy.

I love mixing weird foods together. At first I had made some Hommus, so I put a little avocado on top, then I tried it with just the Tahini, then Sunflower butter, and then I went for it, I actually put it on peanut butter, it was amazing! Yeah I got a weird look, but do you think I care? Hells no! The nutty texture and flavour goes perfectly well with the mild avocado. I like it on top of eggs too,  and it's great with Ajvar or eggplant spread. I'm not a big eggplant eater, but the spread is a wonderful combination of garlic, onion and red pepper. Love it! Also great in my Food For Life brown rice tortilla wraps. Mmmm!

I feel like it's good brain food. When I'm recovering from a mild gluten contamination, (seemingly unavoidable) I feel like the avocado is good nourishment. Another food I find myself attracted to is the cashew. When I'm attracted to certain foods over a long period of time I think there is a message there. This is my body telling me what I need. I'm not talking about sugar cravings, although maybe there is something to having a little sweet in your day, besides kisses from your lovely that is ;) 

Here's a website that supports my food views. If you don't 'buy it', don't try it, but it works for me!
Avocado http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5#healthbenefits and 
Cashew  http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=98

Oh! by the way, I found that putting a light layer of Olive oil on the avocado before storing it for later use, stops the browning of the fruit! This one was in the fridge for a day after slicing into it.  It was just a hunch I had and it works!


#17 Two words: Food fear

If you just read those two words and you understood my meaning immediately, then you know what I'm about to speak of. Maybe you're in the same boat? It seems like the more I learn about foods; i.e. how they're grown and processed and how they're broken down (or not broken down) in our bodies when ingested, the more my fears are cultivated about eating the wrong ones.
I mean to say that the things I've learned about food in the last couple of years are exacerbating my already existing anxieties. I've learned that most of the world's seeds are GMO'd, (genetically modified), soil is depleted from over planting and mass production, plants are sprayed with pesticides that can potentially cause numerous diseases and hormonal disruptions later in the life, then the processing is changing the very nature and structure of the foods as well as adding even more questionable chemicals with all the possibilities of cross reactions.

We're all just in a giant, food industry experiment. We're all lab rats. Run for your lives!

Sometimes I think about the people I know who have spoken of their various physical ailments, from recurring indigestion to bloating, burping, constipation and migraines, and many never knowing the cause, and others who have suffered for their entire lives with no definitive answers. I also think of people who have died from curious diseases and I wonder, could their problem have stemmed from gluten intolerance?  I've learned that gluten alone can cause over 200 symptoms in people with Celiac or gluten sensitivities and many of these symptoms and diseases can eventually be deadly in people that don't realize they even have the problem. I don't even know exactly what my own problems are from. It's really hard to know because the testing is very specific to a localized area of the body. For example, I've had the thought many times that there is a hole (if you can pardon such a pun) in the intestinal biopsy test. because they take a tissue sample from only one or two areas. That leaves a lot of room for error. Too many people are going around undiagnosed. The medical industry has learned much in a short time about gluten intolerance problems and education of doctors is paramount for the future of people suffering from gluten related illnesses. They don't have all the answers and they know the variety of variables they are up against in this mystery.

But back to the food question. What to eat that is easily digested and best absorbed for maximum nutrition? How am I to know? How is anyone to know what is best for their own very individual body and brain? We can do our own studies where we begin with fasting and drinking only water, introducing one food back into our system at a time for short periods, or elimination diets where we simply remove one food type at a time, (like all dairy for example). But we are not all scientists and doctors and there is so much to know about what goes on in the body. It's astounding!
Not everything is immediate either. People think that what they ate yesterday, magically disappears from their body when they haven't eliminated that much, and then they blame their lunch for the problems they have before dinner. Hello?! Elimination takes time, and it all doesn't just come out in two forms you know. Skin is another huge organ people forget about. Toxins are eliminated in many ways. What do you think that itchy skin is all about? What do you think break out is all about? (It's not always just blocked pores).

Personally I think we all need to pay a lot of attention to how our bodies are reacting to foods, think about what we're feeding our brains, and pay attention to the small signals. We need to behave intelligently and be grown up about what we put into our bodies.

Still, I'm pretty scared. When I have a 'good day' I ponder what could it be? The avocado? The dark chocolate? The vitamin? That I had lots of water? The green tea or (other 'antioxidant' flavour of the month) I introduced? Or maybe it was that I got a good amount of undisturbed sleep for a day.

Too many variables! I guess the lesson is always the same. Do the best we can, while maintaining some mindfulness about it.

Wishing you a happy Friday the 13th of January 2012.

☟ Points plz :)

#16 Survival!

Well, I survived the holidays and all it's torturous treats passing under my nose. I did succumb to a siren of Sourdough Spelt, singing virtues of not being wheat. Let's just say I fell under it's spell(t) haha. It was so good while the denial lasted. But there was much food to be had that was gluten free and I stayed between the lines for the most part. It really was a great holiday, one of the best in memory. Local extended family and friends, meals and socializing all added up to boost me up into January. I'm still feeling pretty good from it all.

I've made quite a few good meals and managed to avoid being 'contaminated' for the most part, which isn't to say things have been all rosy posy, there always seems to be something lurking somewhere in the shadows to wreak havoc on my well being. It's all part of life, right? if it's not one thing, it's another.

It's a challenge, but we have no choice other than to do our best an hope for good health and for good times to follow. 

Cheers. Here's to 2012! Let's see what adventures will reveal themselves.